On the weekend, I branch out from cooking-related posts and write about my family, answer reader questions, or just blog about what's on my mind! If you have a question or topic you'd like me to tackle, send it my way! :)
A number of people have asked me how I store and organize our children's clothing and toys. I don't know that my ways are anything special, but I'm happy to write about it! :)
We're currently a family of 6 living in a 2-bedroom (900 sq.ft.) apartment, although some time *soon* we're planning to move to a rental house with a yard! After 2 years in an apartment, I am completely 100% ready to not have carpet in the dining area and have more than a 4'x8' balcony for our "outside"! ;)
I've written about about baby stuff in the past: Prepare for Baby Frugally: Money-Saving and Space-Saving Tips which shows photos of the kids' bedroom and what sort of things we have.
But, that post doesn't specifically address clothes and toys for older children. So, here are my methods:
Storing Clothes: I keep the clothes in dresser drawers, with 2-3 drawers per child. We had dressers from when we lived in Ohio, since the bedroom there had no closet. And dressers make it easy for kids to put away their own laundry, since closet hangers are so high!
Changing Seasons: Since we're in the Seattle area, we don't have extremely cold winters or very hot summers, so we just layer on an extra sweatshirt as needed, or wear socks/slippers if it's cold. Everything else is just shorts/pants and a t-shirt!
Dressy Clothes: Each child has 1-2 nice outfits, for church or special occasions. But we also wear nice (non-holey!) jeans or a nice (not-stained!) t-shirt for church, so we don't need lots of fancy clothes. :)
Shoes: Shoes are stored in a plastic drawer/dresser by the doorway. Each child has about 3 pairs.
Coats: Each child has 1 heavier winter coat and 1 sweatshirt/hooded jacket, 1 hat, 1 pair of gloves. These are stored in the closet (summer) or hanging on the end of the bunk beds (in winter, for more frequent use).
Storing Toys: Toys are in containers/boxes/bags in the closet, and we get out one or two things at a time. I have a bookshelf for children's books, which is also in the closet.
I took a quick video of the kids' bedroom, which will show more details and give you a glimpse of what we actually have in there! :)
Tereza asked how often I organize the children's bedroom, and the answer is both "all the time!" and "never"! :)
Since everything has a place, and the children are able to do the pick-up themselves, my involvement is mostly just getting things out of the closet or putting things back in. Kinda like checking books out of the library. :)
Every 3-6 months, I have to go through the clothing and pack away stuff that is too small or throw away stuff that is too worn out. I have two small-medium sized totes in the closet, which is where I store any clothes for the kids to grow into. If their wardrobe is lacking, I can usually find a few things at GoodWill to fill the needs. :)
KimC has a great series titled "Big Family, Small House" which has lots more storage and organization ideas! The main consensus? Have less stuff! With a big family, the amount of things needed and used on a regular basis will be greater, but minimization is still possible! :)