Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to Organize Everyday Things With Multiples

We live in a pretty small house. It's about 1200 square feet. Sean signed the paperwork to purchase it on Valentine's Day, the month before we were married. It was my first Valentine's Day with a guy, and he gave me a house (which I waited until after we were married to move into). How sweet is that?

We picked it out together thinking that it would be the perfect spot to live for a few years before starting a family. The original game plan was: be married for three years, have a baby, maybe have a second baby, then move, then have another baby or two.

Our game plan always makes me think of the passage, "In his heart, a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." -Proverbs 16:9

Gee...ya think??

Now we are six living in a tight starter home with no foreseeable plans to move anytime in the near future.

Actually, it's not all that bad, because as I keep telling Sean, the bigger the house, the more there is to clean. I definitely do not have time to clean a bigger house! But the space problem can definitely become an issue some days.

So we have discovered that the best way to create more space is to go UP.

This is what our dining room looks like. On the left hand side of the photo, you can see the corner of our kitchen table. We bought two 4-tier racks from Walmart along with some plastic sterilite bins to keep things in.

The left rack holds all of their clothing. The boys have six bins and the girls have six bins. We do keep a few jackets and the girls' fancier dresses in their closet, but everything else is here.

Each bin is labeled with the gender and exactly what is in it. This way, I can tell at a glance where to go for a particular article of clothing. It also makes it pretty obvious when I should do the laundry. That and the pile of dirty kids' clothes that seem to materialize out of nowhere.

On the other rack, we have some bins for things that I need to access on a fairly regular basis.

The top shelf has what I like to call a "Special Box" for each of them. My mom did something similar while we were growing up, so I've continued the tradition. It contains lots of firsts: first Halloween costume, first birthday candle, first outfit, micro-preemie diapers, and other special items that were made specifically for them or have significant meaning. Since we are still experiencing lots of firsts, I'm adding to them often. It's easiest if I can keep them handy so that their stuff doesn't pile up.

The next shelf holds baby cereal, crackers, a plastic drawer set for hair bows and hats, and a box with paper and pens for notes so I'm not scrambling when I need to write down a brilliant idea, or more often, a list of things to remember. Pregnancy Brain has turned into Mommy Brain.

Bottles, burp cloths, bibs, bottle parts, and miscellaneous supplies like thermometers and those snot balls (I'm sure there is a more high tech name like "bulb syringe", but my name is way more fun!) go on the next shelf.

The bottom shelf has a plethora of formula, baby food, and light jackets for everyday use.

Bins, bins, bins!

Now you know how we do it! The labels I used for the bins were something free that I found online here. Just download them, print them out, and write on it!

With a little creativity, it is possible to have a semi-organized space in a small house. It certainly does not always look this way, but if you catch it on the right day it's a good calm sliver of space in my house. Thank goodness, because messiness drives me crazy. That's the other thing that God is teaching me: He has the best game plan in the end...and I need to be okay with some chaos. I'm sure I'll have a post about that in future!


  1. Totally love these kinds of posts!!! Thank you!!!

    1. Thanks for the feedback! I always like to know what you all like to read!

  2. Ugh, you make me sick with how organized you are (and I mean that in the sweetest way!);p Seriously, I was just complaining to my DH earlier about how our 1200 sq.foot house is too small for us and our ONE child! We have so much wasted space, and I would never have thought to do something so simple. You are awesome!

    1. Lol! Well, thank you! :)

      Yes, we might be more comfortable in a large house, but it is certainly doable in a house our size. If you are looking at replicating this type of thing at your house, I bought the shelves (about $50 each) and storage boxes (about $8 each) at Walmart. It was a bit of an investment, but much cheaper than upgrading our house. :)

  3. Those are some really good ideas! I'm always looking for better storage ideas. My husband is a student and we live in an apt with out twins so space is tight! Organization is a survival skill with multiples!

  4. Love the "go up" philosophy! We live in a small townhouse with our triplets, so I really need to be better about organizing all our "stuff". I try to get rid of things as soon as we're done them, but we just seem to aquire more and more these days.

  5. Great way to organize and use your space!

  6. I like this idea but can you give me ideas on how to handle a shoe closet I cant get my kids to use the shelf

    1. Hmm...I'll have to think about that one. We don't have a shoe closet as our house is too small. We keep the kids' shoes up on a shelf right now, but once I know they won't take off with them, I'm hoping to use a "shoe basket." It seems like it might be an easy way to keep them all in one place. But since I haven't tried it yet, I'm not sure how it will work...


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