Friday, January 13, 2017

Family Life Hacks

Welcome to the post where I am going to share with you how we roll.    I have learned a few tricks over the years to keep 7 people many tricks that people have asked me to share them. So here we go. 

Welcome to the kids part of the house.  

Now before you think we live in a great big house, we don't.  We live in a beautiful mini home that we just built an addition onto (but aren't living in that space yet) so for now this is all the tricks that have helped us keep our place organized and running smoothly.   As smoothly as a household of 7 can run. 

Here we have the boys closet.  The 3 little boys are aged 4, 3, and 13 months so this one closet is where all their shirts get hung up from smallest to biggest.  This helps save on dresser space and since they are always growing up in size it only makes since to have everything in one place. 

Also in the closet we have these amazing storage containers (Sortera)  from Ikea.  They can be opened without unstacking (amazing!!!) and in these we put clothes that we are giving away, outgrown and growing into.  We are so blessed to receive lots of hand-me-downs so this helps to sort through all those things that are coming in or going out of the house. 

Seven people with 2 feet each that is a lot of socks, so my amazing husband came up with a sock solution.  Everyone has their own colour or type of sock.  Micah and I both wear wool socks, Eben is all black, Jaelyn all white and the little boys are the coloured ones.  This makes putting socks away so easy as we never need to find a mach, we simply put the colour sock in the right basket.  This is the little boys sock basket.  Since there feet are within the same size range they all can wear these socks. 

When living in a smaller place it is best to use all the space you have including your vertical space. Seriously people my husband is amazing at this and he designed all our systems...I simply follow :)  So in the nursery (a room the two littlest guys share) we purchased these Kallax Shelf units from Ikea.  We ordered 4 so we have 2 sets hanging on each side of the room and each has 4 of the Drona cloth boxes in them.   

We use 2 of the boxes from each side to hold Isaiah's and Zeke's clothing and PJ's.  Since their clothes are so small (and these boxes are actually really big) they hold all their current size clothing in them.  Also another win in the laundry department as we only have to throw each of the boys clothing into their own basket. 

We want to make use of every space possible so under the bed is also a great place to store things.  I purchased these plastic shoe box containers from Costco and the chalk board labels from the dollar store to store all our homeschool things under the crib. 

Extra school books that we are not using a the moment are also stored under there in a large container from the dollar store. 

Onto the big kids room. 

This hanging thing was also purchased from Ikea (get use to me saying that their stuff is amazing) and holds socks, underwear, socks, underwear and tights.   The dresser beside it has Ebens shirts, pants, and Jaelyns shirts and pants.   Hanging over the dresser are Jaelyns dresses and long shirts and also Eben's dress shirts. 

Above their closet is our toy storage!  Yes we store toys up high because we do a toy cycle.  That means our house isn't constantly filled with EVERY toy the kids own. This system works so awesome. If they want to get something from this closet or their locker like that box of animals they have to clean up whatever they are playing with and put it up before something new comes down.  Seriously this is a game changer because the kids will play for hours with their "new" toys. 

This tall thin locker fits prefect in their room at the end of their bunk beds. This helps keep things such as games, legos, markers and little toys up high so the little kids don't get into them.  These things also are part of the toy cycle.  This unit has 2 big pull out drawers that Eben and Jaelyn put their PJ's in. 

I love this hand towel unit (from walmart) we hung beside our Norwex Pet to Dry to hang up all Jaleyn's headbands.  

A back of the door towel hanger, plus an extra one, is amazing for keeping all their hooded towels hung up.  The backs of their bed room doors also have hooks on them to hold book bags and extra our swimming bag. 

The 2 laundry baskets another one of my husbands amazing thoughts.  When one is full of dirty clothes it goes to the washing machining leaving the second one there to collect more dirty clothes.  The purpose is no pile up of dirty clothes laying on the floor.  This works for the majority of the time ;) 

Moving onto the main space or living room. 

A couple of years ago we redid our living room space and I love it so much.  We decided to get everything off the floor and up on the walls to make the space look and feel bigger.   When we got a flat screen TV we knew we wanted all the cords to go behind it and we wanted all the machines that go with it, DVD player, VCR, wii and our laptop to go up as well.  So Micah's dad and brother helped us build this shelf.  We had to use a little bit of space in the our coat closet but it was worth it!  Now we have a self that host all this plus our homeschool books! 

Under the TV I made a bench seat out of a toy box that I had when I was a little girl (we painted our living room somewhere between these two photos ;)  

This beautiful bench is a toy box to all the car stuff.  

And from the old TV stand we had I took the drawers out of it and made them into shelves.  One is for some of the wii stuff and the other is for our card games. 

Instead of having a coffee table we decided to get a big tray (made by my talented friend Amanda) that would sit on the couch to would hold our devotional stuff and hot drinks.  

My amazing father made me this school desk after I sent him a photo from pinterest.

This desk has been so amazing for the kids to do their school work in a place that I can see them and help them.  It folds up so it doesn't take up any space when it is not in use.  The little chalk board above it is stick on.  The inside of the desk has places to store books and other school supplies. 

On top of the the desk I used mason jars with chalk board labels (labels bought from the dollar store) to separate the different supplies out. 

Under the desk we have these 2 big containers that were purchased at Costco.  When the kids want to work at the desk they sit on these like stools.  The best part is these are were the kids keep their jackets or sweaters in the spring and fall and in the winter their hats, mitts and scarfs. 

Baskets are your friend.  They decorate your house beautifully but are also very functional.  This basket which sits on top of our heater box holds all the extra wii remote stuff.  It doesn't look very good open like this. 

But a cute blanket tucks in there perfectly. 

Our kids love lego so last year when we saw these amazing lego blocks at Costco we knew we needed to purchase them.  They are huge lego blocks that are storage containers for your lego.  The yellow holds the Duplo lego for the littles and the red and blue are all little lego.  They stack together and fit nicely down the hall way. 

This red bucket also sit in the hall way for toy collecting.  It is where we (Micah and I) put toys that we find that didn't get cleaned up.  You know all the stragglers that get left behind once the kids are in bed or the toys that we clean up from behind or under the couch (*side not check out my friend Natasha's life hack for keeping toys from getting trapped under the couch).   Twice a week this bucket gets emptied out (by the kids) and they have to put their stuff back where it belongs.  

Like I mentioned earlier I love having baskets in our living space.  This one sits on the floor just beside a big book shelf.  This basket is the library basket.  It is where all our library things go.  That way they don't get lost in with other books and they are easy to find when we have to take them back to the library. 

Welcome to the kitchen.  

The kitchen is a great place to have these plastic baskets.   I am pretty sure I learned about these from a friend on mine in Moncton and have been using them ever since.  I love having this sit on the end of my island as a catch all basket.   You can also use these to keep your freezer organized

My lovely snack basket!!!  I love this basket and so do the kids.  Each week I fill it up with snacks that way when I go to pack Eben's lunch I can easily grab 2 things from it.  I have found that buying in bulk for snacks is always a better deal.  So, when on sale, I buy gold fish, crackers and big bags of sugar cereal for example and I portion them out.  Usually 1/4-1/2 cup into snack pack baggies purchased at the dollar store. 

The water station is a game changer for those of us who don't have a fancy fridge with a water tap.  We fill up this large cooler, write everyones name on a cup and ta-da they can get their own drink of water :)  This is exceptionally great in the summer months. 

Meal planning is a life hack that I have written so many post on!!  It is one that saves me so much time, money and energy.  

I love the idea of a family launch station (seriously it is a real it on pinterest) but our entry way doesn't have any space for such thing (woohoo the addition will).  My creative husband struck again with using this tiny section of wall in the hall way to hang up the kids book bags.  I love having a place for them to hang them up!!!  

Our room

Micah and I decided we didn't want to put a dresser in our room so we decided to purchased these closet organizers (no not from Ikea) to keep our clothes in.    Over the top of our closet we have these big cloth baskets one holds seasonal clothing and the other is our gift basket.  The gift basket is a place where I keep all kinds of gifts that I find on clearance.  These can be gifts for kids birthday parties, Christmas, baby shower gifts, friend gifts.  A gift basket can save you so much money if you purchase things when on sale and store for later. 

With lots of little ones around Micah did not want his guitar on a floor stand and if it is stored in the case it doesn't get played so this Hercules guitar holder is prefect.  I can't wait to hang more of our instruments in the new addition.

Extra hacks

Here are a few extras for you.

We love this basket!!!  We use it year around.  So right now, in the winter, it has all our skates and helmets in it.  That way when we want to go skating we just pick it up and go :)  Everyones stuff is in one place.  In the summer it becomes our swimming basket so it holds sunscreen, swim diapers, bathing suites and towels.  When we are heading out for a swim everything is all ready to go!!!  

And you just never know when you might head to an indoor pool in the winter so I put all our swimming suits in this bag and hung it behind the door of the nursery for when we want to go and take a dip. 

I am one of those moms who can't build a train set.  I have tried so many times and I just can't put it together.  So I asked Micah to build the set and then number the pieces.  Now all I have to do is snap the pieces together in order.   This worked better then expected because my kids can put it together!!   I took all the piece out and they put them together in order... it was amazing. 

This hack I can't take credit for...shout out to my pre-school teacher friend Crystal! 

If you have lots of little puzzles like this you simple mark a symbol on the back of all the pieces that go with that puzzle.   One bag has F and the other bag C- clean up is so easy now :) 

We have lego lovers in this house so this hack was prefect!  All the lego goes into a fitted sheet (this one is a crib sheet) this helps with sorting the lego and cleaning it up after wards. 

This picture overwhelms me!  But this is what we do to sort all of the kids clothing.  Since we only keep in the house clothing for that specific season everything else gets put into the vacuum sealed bags then stored in these containers.   We sort everything by size and label them.   This makes it so easy to go through the bins now!!!  

In the van

This past year we upgraded our Dodge Caravan to a BIG size family van.  This meant that we would no long have the stow-n-go that we used to store so much stuff in so we had to think of ways to add storage to Big Red.   I found a pattern on pinterest for this car caddy.   We put one in each row of the van.  They hold things like sunscreen, bug spray, wipes, kleenex, extra socks, chalk, books and car toys.   Not only do they allow us to store things in the van but they also help keep the back of the seats clean cause they can be taken off and wiped down or washed when they get dirty. 

I love this Greenbox that Micah has bungee corded around the back seat.  It is helpful to put bread in when I get groceries so it doesn't get smooshed.   

And to finish it off here is my at the beach with a baby!!!  Milk creates are amazing.  Baby can get wet without eating the rocks!!!  

So please readers I want to hear from you!  Comment with 1 idea that you like and with a "life hack" of your own!!!  We all have something to share to help us on this journey. 

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