Thursday, January 17, 2008

Organization with 6 Kids

When people hear that I have six kids- one of the main statements I always hear is "I don't know how you do it... I cannot possibly get everything done with the two I do have". So, I decided to write a post about a few things we do to stay organized around our house- freeing up more time for family fun and living a life free of chaos. But before I start I have to give credit to my mom- she is the queen of organization and most of what I learned came from her. (Thanks mom!)
1. Always have your clothes laid out the evening before for the next morning. Actually, for the younger kids, I decide what they are wearing for the week on Sunday night. Then I have those things hanging to one side of their closets, paired together as a set so it's easy for them to find them. We even lay out socks, under ware and shoes to save time looking for the ones that always seem to 'hide'.
2. Pack lunches the night before if they are packing the next day.
3. I make a list of what we are going to eat for dinner for the week- or sometimes 2 weeks in advance and always throw in a left over night.
4.My husband types up a calendar at the beginning of the month that has every one's schedule on it-games, work schedules for the older kids if available, and any other important things that might be going on that month. That calendar includes a seating chart for our vehicle to prevent fights of who sits where each morning. ;0) We keep a copy of this calendar in our home as well as our vehicle just in case I did not have time to check it before walking out the door and need to remind the kids of anything.
5. Laundry. Oh the never ending laundry. While I think it's important for kids to learn to do their own laundry we would have problems with people leaving their things in the dryer for days and no one else could use it. So, I do the laundry- daily, and we have a shelving system. Each child has their own shelf with their name on it and I wash and fold their clothes (although my husband and the kids do help out with this when asked) and their clothes are separated and put on their shelf. Typically on Saturday they are asked to put their clothes away- or before if their shelf is getting too full. This system works great for us because I have found we do not have laundry laying all over the house, on floors, beds, etc. It is simply left on the their shelf with the door closed until they put it away.
6. Sorting socks and boxers and white t-shirts are always a hassle trying to figure out who's are who's. So, we use a laundry pen and each has a designated color.
7. Grocery shopping. I typically do a big shopping day once a month where we stock up. My husband often goes with me on this day because it is definitely 2 full cart fulls. This works best for us because we get paid only once a month. Then, about once a week we end up running to the store for a quick trip for milk, fruits and fresh veggies. (although we are going to have our first attempt at gardening this year which will be another post in itself).
8. Because we get paid once a month- we use the envelope system. We estimate monthly expenses for our bills each month and put that amount into a separate labeled envelope. We have one for gas, one for groceries, clothing, etc. This helps me make sure we do not go over on one thing and not have enough for another.
9. Each child pitches in to help around the house. Even down to the smallest. Aleigha and Mya are great at helping empty the dishwasher, bringing in the mail and love to dump things into the compost.
10. We do daily devotions with the kids. With a large family it is so important to me that we stay close and that each child feels like they are being 'heard' and included. By sitting down for even 15-20 minutes each night, doing our devotions and sharing our prayer requests it often gives our kids time to open up and share things they might not have done as we rushed around throughout the day. This time of the day has easily become the most precious to all of us.

If anyone has any other ideas or tips they would like to share about how they keep their family running smoothly I'd love to hear from them! Just leave a comment below. (Don't know how? Click on the comment link below this post, type in your message and if you do not have a google account you can click on anonymous and it will work!). THANKS so much!


Sarah said...

Oh this is so great! I've always said that you should write a book, and now I know I'm right!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Sarah. I've always told you to write a book. And thanks for the compliment(?) on my organizational skills. Remember you are "little Marcia". Love ya!


Sara said...

I only have 2 kids, but since I work outside the home part-time, I really have to organize myself. I found it helpful to divide the chores up throughout the week and do 1-2 chores each day, rather than clean the whole house in one day, especially when the kids were real little. I also thought it helped create a checklist for Bryce once he was school-age, of things he needed to do each day of the week...put books in bookbag for library, collect trash, make bed, make lunch, etc. It helped take the load off me and make him more responsible for his own things. He would bring his list to me at the end of the day to check. I am amazed at how you run things so smoothly Amy!!qozlt

Tara said...

WHAT is a laundry pen??