How? What do you use? I'm desperately looking for ideas here! Pics, pins, anything, just to give me hope!
Our house isn't particularly small, but we're just drowning in STUFF. There's not a home for it all, we just don't have space for all of it. I can't get mad at the kids for not cleaning their rooms when there's not a place to put all the stuff! And yes, a major decluttering is underway, I know that's the first step.
DD1 (6) and DD2 (4) share a room. DD1 has a demi-loft bed that is about waist high, it has a set of 3 drawers underneath it that she uses for her clothing (pants, jammies, panties & socks) and some storage space at the end. DD2 has definitely outgrown her toddler bed and we're saving to get a set of bunk beds for that wall (not getting rid of DD1's bed, just in addition to it). I don't know if #5 is a girl or not, but either way there will be a set of bunks (looking for some with drawer storage underneath) in each room. It is a tiny room but the closet is bigger than in the other kids' room. There is room for perhaps a tall skinny shelf at the end of DD1's bed, but there won't be room for much if anything between the beds. That just leaves the closet for storage. I need to go through and donate any excess clothing, the laundry is everywhere and the closet just pukes out clothes. And the stuffed animals - I swear they breed in there overnight! I have no idea how to store them.
DS1 (8) and DS2 (2) share a room. DS1 has a demi-loft bed like DD1 and DS2 is in a toddler bed for now. Down the road there will be a set of bunk beds in there in place of the toddler bed, but DS1's bed will remain. There's a toy box in there too, one that was mine as a child, but it's not practical. It gets filled with crap and then the lid doesn't close all the way and more stuff gets piled on top of it. DS1 loves Legos. Enough said, everyone knows how they breed and overtake the house. DS1 also needs some sort of storage or something that DS2 can't get into, DS2 is pure havoc.
So, the tl:dr version: Stuffed animal storage? Storage/shelves/ideas for older kids that the little kids can't get into? Ideas on how to keep the grandparent guilt ("I haven't seen you in forever and don't remember to call, so let me send some random item) gifts (x4 kids) down to a minimum?
Chaotic mama to 5 plus a bonus one on the way.
When we were in a small apartment not only did we need better end tables for the couch, but somewhere to put the cloth diapers and toys. I ended up buying 2 of these drawers (altough mine were 2 drawers the same size, didn't want to keep digging through walmarts site)
And I bought 2 more when we moved to a house. right now 3 of the units are in my odd front room/diningroom area which is the kid's playroom, and one is in the closet in the boys bedroom for jeans/shorts for my elder son.
sturdy enough for a crawling baby to pull up on and stored lots of little toys and made for easy cleanup.
For stuffed animals when I was a kid (my sis esp had a thing for them!) my mom bought us nets...
Lots of prices/sizes out there. we had them over the corners of our twin beds and we could stand on bed and get animals, and it made cleaning up fun tossing them into the nets.
they use up all that wasted space :)
I was going to recommend the nets as well - IKEA has them, too, super cheap (if you have access to an IKEA!).
Lego: I live with 10 boys. You can imagine the number of Lego around our house. We have both 'community' & 'personal' Lego storage. The personal are these: http://www.box4blox.com/
The community are simple storage tubs, that have the locking handles on the sides, like these: http://www.amazon.com/Sterilite-19848006-18-Quart-See-Through-Titanium/dp/B002BA5F52
They keep the 2 year old out pretty well, when the handles are closed. They also fit well under a bed, if you get the right size.
I also love the hanging shoe racks for inside closet doors - helpful for shoes, or toys, or anything else you need to store:
Good luck! And yes, DECLUTTER LIKE CRAZY FIRST!!!
Jen - Partner to Joe, Craig, & Jordan , mama to DS1 (7/13/99), DS2 (10/27/01), and DS3 (6/13/06), and DS4 born 12/13/12! Attachment Parent, co-sleeper, baby-wearer, Sudbury School founder & educator, PhD Candidate doing birth research, cloth diaper lover, GF (again), etc!
I have several laundry-basket sized 'toy buckets' around the house. If there's stuff around and nobody can figure out where it should go - it goes in there. It helps keep it off the floor, at the least. Eventually I'm able to thin them out (so when they're all really full, that's the sign we have to get rid of toys). When still in the process of figuring out places for everything, this has been the most helpful.
Stuffed animals: I've seen people get a bean bag chair cover - and store them all in there. Obviously it's lumpier than an actual bean bag, but it's big enough to fit them usually. One thing nice about that is they're also not all visible all the time (adding to your visual clutter). And the chair is usually fun for kiddos too.
Excessive grandparent giving - Haven't made much progress here myself, but I've trained the kids that 'Oh look, new stuff from grandma - it will replace some of our older stuff from her -- what can we get rid of right now, or can we leave the new things packaged to donate to other kids later? That would be so nice of us. Grandma forgets how many toys we have -- it would be so hard to take care of the toys if we're always keeping everything.' I also enforce that grandma stuff replaces other grandma stuff at least 85% of the time. So - 5 new stuffed animals from grandma? We get rid of 4-5 others from her, or don't keep the new ones if we don't like them as much as the old ones.
We use Ikea billy bookcases with the optional doors (fun fabric on them) for a lot of storage pretty much everywhere. We add extra shelves and then some storage containers from the Container store. Looks neat and stores a lot.
I also vote for Ikea. We've been using a Trofast system (http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20087525/) to store our 2 kids' things. It also doubles as a coffee table for us and it's the right height to be a bench.