Friday, June 02, 2006

More family ideas...

Another idea that worked very well for our family. (I thought I would leave the mis-spells this go 'round. I have a slight problem with dyslexia I think. Never been diagnosed, but I had such a hard time in school! ugh! Any who, for anyone else out there with the same situation, you're not alone! I LIVE for spell check! :> As you can ss in just this short space, the letters get a tad jumbled.)

Another idea that worked for our family was organization! We were lucky enough to have exactly seven members in the family. That made it very easy to give each person a day of the week. On your day you got to sit in the front seat, say prayers (yup, ALL of 'em if you want!), You were the helper, the errand runner, the "picker-outer", the chooser, the tie breaker, etc. Whatever, it was your day.

We also assigned everyone a colour. Your favorite colour was on your toothbrush, your comb and brush, your towel and most of your shirts! We used a dot method for sorting clothes so you could end up with a rainbow of clothes the younger you were in the food chain. #1 clothes had one dot on the collar or waistband (permanent marker), #2 had 2, #3 had 3, and so on. The idea being that when #1 was done and it was handed down, we added a dot...TADA! it's now #2's! (and on down the chain...) When the laundry was finished all I had to do was put it in the front room and tell everyone to find their dots. I taught them to hang everything up and it was done in a flash.

So you got your own colour, your own dots, and EVERYONE had white (or grey, etc., depending on the year) socks, no sorting! The guy types also had appropriate colours for Sunday suits and the gals had their tights, but not having to sort socks...Glorious!

Only ten outfits per kid, if that-no more! The colour thnig helped to mix and match and the ten outfits became more with creativity. This way there wasn't over loaded clostes. If we bought something new, something old was either handed down or given to D.I. Each kid got a Sunday outfit. A pair of play shoes, school shoes and church shoes, and in the summer some sandles.

We didn't use the in room closets and we didn't use dressers. Everything was hung up in a hall closet near their bedrooms. We added rods to accomodate their clothes and marked the rods with coloured electrical tape to mark whose stuff went where. Tall kids on the top rods, short ones on the bottom rods. Shoes were hung on the door in pockets. This meant that we could used the bedroom closet space for other stuff, in our case- beds. We had custom bunk beds made for the boys. A three tiered number that fit perfectly and the boys loved it until they were in jr. high. The girls had a custom trundle in their room. They had huge floor space with the beds out of the way. The cost of the beds wasn't as much as you might think. We found a young guy fresh out of college who wanted the work. It worked well for both parties.

We rotated toys. We had very generous Santas, Grammas and Grampas, and family out the wazoo. The kids became really spoiled and their rooms became very cluttered. So every once in a while we gathered up a bunch of toys and stored them in the garage. Then in a month or so we would exchange those for the ones on the floor of their rooms and viola! they had new toys to play with! Thsi worked very well. Every November they would gather ALL of the toys and give most of them away at the D.I. toy drive. They didn't mind doing this because they knew they would be getting new toys soon at Christmas time.

In each of the kids' rooms (we had one for each gender, 2 in one, 3 in the other) there were storage bins for toys, etc. I put everything down at their eye level. Pictures, shelves, etc. It was all so that the kids could see it. We used coloured veggie bins that stacked for things like legos, blocks, and other toys that have multiple pieces. There were large hooks for back packs, and mesh bags of toys or cars. Everything was labled with a polaroid picture attached with rings so that there was no mistaking what went where. I made a large muslin "rug" with a map of our town, with streets and houses, stores, and parks. I used permanent markers and made everything "Matchbox Car" sized. It could be left on the floor or folded and put up and away.

We had a long hallway that led to the kids bedrooms. We would go down to the library and get books, but we would also get art! We would check out one piece of artwork from the library and hang it in the hallway for a month. We could learn about the artist or why it was modern or Italian, if it was painted with oils or drawn with a pencil. It was cool and cheap! (We also checked out videos for free!)

We also had a progression of pictures depicting the life of the Saviour that went down a hall. From birth to His death, hung at the kid's eye level they could tell the story of Christ by the pictures. Every room in the house, except the kitchen because we had NO wall space- and the bathrooms, had a picture of the Saviour.

Well that's it for now. Let me know if any of this stuff sounds like it would work for you too.

add to sk*rt


valerie said...

that sounds a LOT like how I grew up!

Maren said...

These are all great ideas.

s'mee said...

Thanks Maren and Valerie! Ooooh how I prayed for help! When Thor was gone so long I began to understand why mothers in the wild eat their young!

Now I look back on it all and wonder how I made it through with all five still intact! I have a s-i-l who had a baby just 8 years agao and is going through it all over again. I marvel at her and at most of the moms I see, I forget how difficult it can be.

Sarah said...

That dot thing is sheer genius. I grew up #6 in a family of 9 kids and by the time I got a pair of jeans, they had 3 or 4 names crossed through and there wasn't room for my name on the tag. I going to definitely do that one with my kids (just one right now, but we have "big" plans.)