A little birdy told me that people wonder how my large family handles day-to-day life. Honestly, I’m not sure many people will find this information all that interesting, but I will give it a shot anyway. I will answer a few questions every week through October.
Where does everyone sleep?
Well, we tried having the children hang by their toes from the rafters like bats, but that didn’t go well. It was especially rough on the bedwetters.
I’m kidding, of course.
We are blessed to own a four bedroom house. Sweet Pea sleeps in the master bedroom with Hubby and me. My babies mostly sleep in bed with me at night, so keeping the crib in our room makes sense.
The three boys are in one room with two sets of bunk beds. The extra lower bunk bed is a double and makes a nice spot for friends to crash. Cookie Monster has used an entire box of push pins to hang his artwork all around his bunk.
The girls have no bunk beds because I feel a three-year-old is too young to be trusted around one. I have mental images of Ducky trying to fly off the top bunk. No, thank you. Instead we have a twin bed with a trundle under it and a toddler bed that will convert to a twin.
The fourth and smallest bedroom is what we call a dressing room. There are seven of these cabinets from IKEA anchored to the walls, one for each child’s clothing. We also have a set of drawers in that room that holds all the sheets for the kids’ beds. I adapted this idea from the Duggars (you know the people with 19 children and a TV show) who use a family closet. I love being able to put laundry away, switch out seasonal clothing, and pack for trips without disturbing sleeping children. The Dressing Room also has a futon with a fairly comfortable mattress for guests to use.
Where do you put all the stuff?
In my opinion, houses don’t generally have enough convenient storage space. I need a broom closet for my mops, brooms and vacuums. Why do I not have one? Does nobody else use these tools?! Builders, architects, designers, hear me now!!! I need a place to put my brooms, mops and vacuums! Please? One utility closet on each floor would be fantastic, thanks.
Anyway, storage can be tricky. My goal is always to keep our rooms useful, but comfortable. So, I try to sneak storage items into rooms. For instance, I found a beautiful dresser on clearance at a local furniture store. It lives in my living room and holds all the cloth diapers that are not currently being used. I also have a small basket with a lid in which Sweet Pea’s toys hide. There’s no way I could fit all our sheets in one linen closet, so a tall skinny dresser in my bedroom holds all the sheets for the crib and my bed. Of course, I love storage ottomans and there are book shelves all over the house.
I confess, for the photo I pulled my basket of knitting and lap top off because they looked raggedy.
I try to make good use of wall space. We hung two sets of hooks on the walls in our entryway. One is a handy spot for me to hang my baby carriers when I walk in the door. Another set of hooks gives us a spot to hang rain coats to dry and catch guest coats, since our coat closet is quite full. We also installed storage cabinets above toilets to keep hair items and tooth brushes out of reach of small hands.
I do not use our bedroom closets in traditional ways. The dressing room closet holds a few items that really need to be hung. However, the remainder of that closet holds guest linens and a kids’ book shelf, I love this because when the kids don’t shelve the books nicely I can just push the books into the closet and close that door! No more books scattered everywhere and the dressing room has become a nice reading room for the kids. The children’s closets hold tubs of toys that are out of rotation and so those closets are supposed to be locked and off-limits to children.
I try to use doors as much as possible. The back of my coat closet door has a shoe organizer on it to hold things like bug spray, sun block, and hats. My office door has a hanging bar for empty back packs. Over door hooks on the pantry hold aprons for all the kids and we hung extra shelves on the inside of the pantry door to hold wax paper, aluminum foil, and such.
While we like to keep storage devices in living areas nice looking, in rooms like the basement, garage, and laundry room, we just go for lots of utilitarian shelves. We have turned one room of our unfinished basement into a storage room. It holds our camping gear, boxes of seasonal decorations, and memorabilia. We also have sets of shelves to hold outgrown clothes in rubber maid tubs. Each box is clearly marked with gender and size. As children grow, I simply grab the next size box, load it into their drawers and make note of any items they might need replaced.
Hubby put up a few new shelves in our laundry room this year so that now three out of four walls have shelves on them. However, I will tell you more about how I stay on top of laundry next week.