Saturday, July 26, 2008

The struggle to stay organized

Angel at The Voice of Adventure has again challenged us to reveal how we handle trying to stay organized and keep up with multiple kiddos. Although I currently have 3 kids (ages 16, 13 and 5) and will be bringing home a toddler in a few weeks, we also have 2 more munchkins here Mon-Fri that our nanny watches and that also adds to the need to be organized. 

My biggest ally in the organizational battle is the design of our house. We had the luxury of designing every square inch of our house and having it built just for us and our needs. We designed it so that there is an entry off the driveway/garage area that has a large mud-room area, a bathroom and leads into the laundry room.  It's all tile so handles dirt well. The laundry room is big enough for shelves, extra storage, plus a small refrigerator and a small chest freezer.  

In the sunroom/dining area we have a large window seat that Chris built. Besides adding some nice seating area, it provides a lot of storage space for toys.
At the end of the day, you open the lids and scoop toys inside. We used to try and keep toys in kids rooms but that never worked. This is much easier. 
We also have a large walk-in pantry. On one of the low shelves we have a plastic snack tub full of Mommy-approved snackins. This promotes independence and frees me up from constantly having to hand out snacks. I also use these tubs, one for each of the kids who come to our house each day, for their mothers to put their own food. It helps Nanny feed kids easily and also to let their mothers know when they need to be re-stocked. 
We took our old computer, loaded it up with educational kids programs and placed it on a low table for little kid access. This solves 2 issues: 1) No more little kids messing with our good computer and 2) they can help themselves with minimal assistance.
In the mudroom I have placed a large plastic tub that muddy shoes go into. With acres of land and a pond, we see a lot of muddy shoes. There is a small bench next to it to sit on to remove shoes. There is also a small bench outside the door under the breezeway where our rubber mudboots all reside (for the really wet days). 
We have a waist high table for diapering, with all the supplies handy. The basket stores diapers and pullups for those requiring such things. Hand sanitizer, wipes, creams, powder and a toy or two are also handy. Plus, it's easy on the back of the diapering adult. No bending!
Other things I like to do are hang matching outfits together on a hanger, only buy white socks (no searching for the pair that matches) and place socks/underwear and pjs in low drawers where little ones can help themselves. 

For the older two, they either have to do their own wash or they have to present the wash to the laundry room, and then pick it up and put it away. Mom or nanny will do laundry but they are responsible for the rest. Katie mostly does her own.  The main computer in the house is located in a niche off of the living room, allowing parental monitoring at all times. (I'll never forget the day years ago when Katie accidentally clicked something and an ad for a porn site popped up. She started screaming with her hands over her eyes. Luckily it was just a large pair of naked ta-tas and not something worse. She cried she was so upset because she thought she was in trouble. Poor traumatized kid!)

I wish I had more secrets. It's still a constant battle, day in and day out. But we have a lot of fun around here and that's more important!


Ginger--Maya's mommy said...

WOW!!! You really have it together.

Anonymous said...

Makes me feel like a dip and I have 3! Mental note, get organized and I won't be getting snacks all day long!

Ana's Mom

Anonymous said...

PLEASE!!! Keep it coming. Excellent advice. I think we'll be building a mud room!!! Thank you!

Dana said...

I cannot even keep my mind that organized!! You have come a long way since we shared that room...
Love you!

Celestial Fundie said...

The plastic tub for shoes is a splendid idea. Removing shoes at the door will definitely kee your home cleaner.

I have an whole blog about removing shoes in homes: Shoes Off at the Door, Please You might want to take a look.