A big part of raising a large family is organization! Large family moms aren’t more organized than average-sized family moms, but out of necessity, they find ways to keep their big families organized and running like clockwork! This page is full of simple organization tips and tricks for your large family home!
I used to be the color-coding queen when it came to organizing my kids’ stuff, but then I ran out of colors! Can I get that notebook in puce, please? While I still use colors to organize some things, I’ve realized that large family organization goes far beyond color-coding all the kids. But, let’s start there just for the fun of it, shall we?
Large Family Color Coded Organization
The most obvious way to color-code your children is to assign each child a color (remember to make it a color that can easily be found on things like notebooks, towels, and cups!), and then use that color for everything you need to organize.
Read: Color-Coded Children (how we color-coded the kids when we had a smaller-large family!)
I did really good with this until I hit Baby #9. My kids were color-coded as follows:
and then I ran out of colors that were easily found. I also realized not everything came in all of these colors all of the time, and inevitably, I couldn’t find 8 different colors in the thing I was needing to organize. ARGH!
Instead of color-coding everything, try choosing different designs. Think notebooks, cups, socks, towels, etc. I will admit this isn’t as easy for me to keep track of (the kids are pretty good about remembering which one is theirs – unless they are under the age of 3!), so I often write names on things like notebooks.
Another version of color-coding is Large Family Matching Outfits.
Sometimes you need colors to make everyone look the same rather than trying to make them all look different. When you go out as a family it isn’t just cute to dress them all the same, it’s survival! It is much easier to find your family in a crowd when they are dressed in the same color. It’s best to choose a color that stands out.
Best: Bright or Fluorescent colors
Worst: Blue! (lots of people wear blue, not to mention it blends with jeans)
Listen to this podcast for more ideas:
Clothing the Kids – Raising Arrows Podcast
The natural segue from here is…
Organizing Large Family Closets
While I haven’t written a post on this exact topic (soon I hope!), I do have some resources from other sites:
- Family Closet (not a large family, but lots of photos for inspiration!)
- Kids’ Closets
- Master Bedroom Closet
Here’s a simple way to store shoes (especially play shoes or tennis shoes):
And something all large family have in abundance…Hand-Me-Downs! How do you store those? Well, there are a lot of methods out there, but the one I chose is super simplistic. You can check it out here…
Large Family Laundry
Large families naturally have a lot of clothes, and those clothes inevitably need to be washed! Here are some ideas for tackling Mt. Washmore!
- Huge List of Large Family Laundry Systems
- Teach Your Kids to do Their Own Laundry
- Large Family Daily Laundry Routine
- Large Family Laundry Solutions (podcast)
- Laundry Methods (video)
Large Family Bedroom Organization
We have rarely lived in a home with more than 3 bedrooms, and even when we had more, the kids did not enjoy being in separate bedrooms.
Read: Large Family Bedrooms
Our most recent home was a 3 bedroom with very little storage. All of our extra stuff had to go in our garage. In the post below I share how we made it work.
7 Tips for Living in a Small House with a Large Family
(how we live in a 3 bedroom house with very little storage space)
When I wrote that post we had 10 people living in the home. We now have 11! Because of that sweet little addition, we had to move both of the little girls to our bedroom – one in a toddler bed and one in a playpen.
Read this post: Organizing Baby’s Bedroom (in my bedroom!)
I also wrote a post about Making a Special Place for Baby When You Don’t Have a Nursery. We haven’t had a “real” nursery since baby #3, but we’ve found ways to make wherever baby is a special place!
One last thing — If you are considering living in a really small house while building a home (or waiting to find just the right home for sale), you’ll want to check out these two organizationally-inspirational resources!
Living in Your Garage While Building Your House Debt Free (friends of ours)
I’ve also found a really great way to organize stuffed animals! –>
Large Family Homeschool Organization
Go here –> Organizing the Large Family Homeschool
And…the best resource for all things large family homeschool related is my book:
This book gives you tons of ideas for making your homeschool run smoothly! Learn how to tweak curriculum, homeschool with a newborn in tow, group kids together to maximize your time, and so much more!
Another resource I have that will help you create a homeschool schedule that works for a large family is my ecourse – Creating a Homeschool Schedule You Love!
Looking for more Large Family Resources and Hacks?
Go to my Large Family Living page!
Large Family Van Organization
Before I dive into the intricacies of organizing a large van, I need to tell you that one of the most important organizational tools you need is a Van Seating Chart. When all you have are car seats, you don’t have to think much about where people sit, but as they grow older (and there are more of them), you have to consider logistics, and having a van seating chart takes care of that for you.
Here are some van organizational ideas from other large family moms:
- Video Tour of Summer Van Organization (my lovely friend Jamerrill!)
- Unique Van Organization (they removed the 3rd row instead of the back row)
- Organizing 15 passenger van (using Thirty-One products)
- Large family mom van list (extensive!)
Large Family Chores
One major organization piece that often gets overlooked is keeping the house clean by organizing the chores your kids are responsible for! If you get nothing else from this page, be sure to take some time to organize their chores and you’ll be amazed by the results!
Below are podcasts explaining how I have organized chores over the years:
Check out my Homemaking Page for even more ideas on managing a houseful of kids!