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Big Family Minimalism! - Page 5

post #81 of 90
they are not clutter if they are useful or beautiful

(And ditto a pp... in my neck of the woods, two is considered a "full house" in terms of kiddos. When I was pregnant with #3 I had a midwife ask "this was a mistake right?" in reference to the pregnancy, and I actually get comments from strangers because we have a third! I always want to refer them here so they can meet families that really do hit the mark of "lots" )
post #82 of 90
Originally Posted by thewaggonerfamily View Post
Just read through the whole thread. Am I the only person who finds it humorous that the majority of the posters "only" have 2-4 children? Not exactly what I'd call big. But lots of great ideas here!
True, but I have found over the years that families who have several close-in-age children can have similar logistical issues to families with lots of kids, and those kinds of logistics just aren't often covered well anywhere but the "large family" boards and threads, in my experience.

I had four babies in 5-1/2 years and had two sets of "two under two." Most of the families I've found online with the kinds of clutter logistics and efficiency logistics that I have faced (and that I think this thread is meant to address) have been either families with closely spaced babies, families with lots of kids, or both.

So even though I am well aware that I have "only" four, I had four in carseats at once, two in daytime diapers and four in nighttime diapers, two or three sharing nursing, four who were not yet good at helping with cleanup, etc. With those kinds of overlapping needs and no big kids yet to help out, four feels like a big enough family to post in a thread like this. I know most people IRL seem to go a little crosseyed when asking me how I manage, or especially how I managed when they were all little.
post #83 of 90
I've been lurking here though I only have 3 of my own...but I run a home daycare, so weekdays during the day, I have 6. Big family logistics are therefore pretty familiar to me.

I have *got* to implement the `one mug and dish per person per day' rule. We already have a klean kanteen filled up for each person every morning, but it is the cups of milk and herbal tea (for the older ones) that are killing me.

I've stopped using the dishwasher. It is more ergonomic to just wash the dishes and put them away. And they get cleaner.
post #84 of 90
Some fantastic ideas, here! As a mama of "only" 4 kiddos :, I've had to rethink some of my methods- amount of clothing and storage for stuff being 2of the big ones. Oldest dd had 27 short sleeved shirts (that all fit!) at one time- if I let that continue, we'd have 108 shirts to deal with, wash and put away during the summer months : I stopped buying storage containers for toys/puzzles, etc. When the amount of stuff is more than the space we have to store it, some stuff has to go until everything fits again. I don't believe in making all of the kids' toys community property, so each one has their own stuff, stored in their rooms and downstairs in the playroom. But it all has to fit in the space allotted, and they do get to help me decide what goes and what stays- if they can't help me choose what goes, then I choose for them. (And I shamelessly toss all Happy Meal toys the day after they come home )

We also had 4 kids in car seats, 3 under 5, etc. I totally agree that the spacing of kids is more relevant than number of kids sometimes. Although, even with a 10yo to help, 4 kids is nutso most days :
post #85 of 90
SO nice to see a thread devoted to larger families. I've been reading and thinking, so please forgive me for jumping in with a lot to say...

I was very organized when I had one child. Somewhat, with two. When the third arrived, it was a struggle, but I could do it with enough coffee and effort. Four and five are really testing me....chaos, noise, legos, madness. I will not mention the laundry, and today - you may not look into the bathrooms. What on earth do they do in there?

Now, we homeschool also. DH is away 3-4 days a week for work. I am really, really making an effort here to GET RID OF STUFF so that I can focus on what really matters! We would love to list our home in the near future, and find a couple of acres. The thought of staging our home is overwhelming, but I have time, a clipboard, and a whole-lotta coffee!

I've been making progress, but need a little help in getting the family on board. Over the five years in this home, we've amassed an impressive amount of nail holes, corner dings, and baseboard scuffs. The toys have reproduced! I have too many little shirts, single socks, and books, books, books! The carpet upstairs is horrible! I was turning a blind eye to these things, which was a mistake. Or not...maybe I was overwhelmed and busy having happy babies. Whatever the reason, right now I feel the clutter pressing on my happiness, and I'm ready to throw open the windows, shovel out the crap, and let the kids see that the stuff doesn't matter! I want to see bright, open, sunfilled spaces!

I'm trying hard to be content, but motivated. Feeling sad and sorry gets me 'stuck'. One book that helps me is "Material World" by Peter Menzel. I take in the amazing photos of how people live all over the world (and not just next door, down the street, or in the media). It's a great object lesson for the kids, and a good place to start when deciding if we really need this or that. Blogs are sometimes and inspiration, and sometimes a big fat bummer when I'm comparing. I use them sparingly. Same with magazines, HGTV, etc. Even with one child, my reality, my needs, and my budget were pretty different from the 'norm'.

Big long post wrapping up here...For me, step one in organizing a big family is a mental process...finding a vision. Why am I doing this mama, homeschool, AP granola thing? What am I trying to achieve? What should my ideal (present) home feel like? (My goal is a peaceful, cozy, nurturing, sunlit space with simple well loved things. Neutral, light colors. Stack of books, bowl of oranges, pile of pillows....I'd love to read about others!) I try to have that picture in my mind before I order the baskets, chuck the toys, scrub the grout, etc. Mothering and organizing a large brood feels like trying to hit a moving target most days! I've wasted so much time and money trying to find the stuff that would make me organized. I'm getting wise to that fact that some quiet time thinking about what I want the space around me to feel like, look like, smell like brings everything into focus.

Anyhow, I'm not close to being 'there' yet. I really hope to learn a lot from all of you, and look forward to reading more!

post #86 of 90
Digging up an old thread

We are a family of seven living in 900 sq.ft. and I battle this constantly. My hubby is on the hoarding side too so it make things much more difficult. We have a boys box for their toys (mostly legos and blocks now that they are older) and a girls set of shelves with bins. I usually can keep this up pretty well. It has gotten better as time has gone on. My problem mostly is outdoor things like skates, skis, skateboards, etc. We rent so a lot of options are out for us.

I do find the "how many per kid" question a difficult one. Does anyone have any ideas on this? I do find that many things I keep are sentimental to me or dh not necessarily the kids. I think just reading this thread has helped me get a little more motivated!
post #87 of 90
I am really enjoying this thread. We do the one water bottle per child( I actually managed to find seven different colored ones at one store, on sale even!!!) We use the same bowls/plates throughout the day, washing quickly between meals(no dishwasher). I have to say that we got some very pretty ones from the Asian market and it is more of a joy to wash them and see them drying on the towel than the old mismatched ones. :P Beauty can make the mundane bearable. One of our more troublesome areas is our homeschool materials...books and craft items and nature basket treasures. I need to cutdown the books but I know I will need some of them again. There are bookshelves in most of the rooms. I strive to keep them organized and for the most part I do.
Another frustration for me is the closet. I have all the winter coats and fall jackets in my closet and oh my goodness! there are a ton of them! It looks like a store lol. I tried the space bags but my cat pops them every time, so I suck it up and have bulky coats on one whole wall.
post #88 of 90
Originally Posted by SimplyMama View Post
Big long post wrapping up here...For me, step one in organizing a big family is a mental process...finding a vision. Why am I doing this mama, homeschool, AP granola thing? What am I trying to achieve? What should my ideal (present) home feel like? (My goal is a peaceful, cozy, nurturing, sunlit space with simple well loved things. Neutral, light colors. Stack of books, bowl of oranges, pile of pillows...
Excellent point and I have the same vision for my house! I want big pillows and bowls of oranges too!!
post #89 of 90
Subbing for ideas. Baby #5 is 6 weeks old and I'm wanting to do a total overhaul of our home and get rid of stuff. We need it.
post #90 of 90
Hi! Expecting baby #4 in a couple weeks, so I feel like we're getting ready to make the leap into big family territory!

So far I'm loving the one place setting per person idea as far as dishes, and I've just today purged three trash bags full of toys and stuffed animals from my kids' rooms. Yesterday I finally let go of more than half of the girl clothes I've been hanging onto that dd has outgrown (our latest addition is a boy). The clothes were hard to let go of, because I still hope that someday we might add another little girl to our family. But I simply can't keep all these clothes for years and years.

Love this thread!
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