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Storage tricks and ideas for big families

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Ok I need storage tricks and ideas for big families.

 

What do you do to keep the clutter at bay?

 

Do you keep all the old clothes, shoes and stuff to pass down to the youngers?  

 

Where the heck are you storing things? 

 

Our house was big for us when we moved in, but now we are so out of space it is nuts.   Doesn't help that we are so bombarded with stuff from extended family.

 

 

 

Long term plan is to move to a house that fits us more.   But everyday I am recycling stuff, getting stuff to donate, sell, and to just throw out.   I just don't feel like I am making much progress because there are so many of us here with stuff.  I mean even shoes are nuts.  When each kid has maybe 4 pairs it adds up to a ton.

 

How do you store shoes? 

And everything else.

 

I just feel like I don't have good systems at all to make it not seem like we are drowning in stuff. 

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I don't have a large family-only five of us. But I have limited storage space with an otherwise amply sized house. The people who built it apparently prioritized personal space over storing possessions. :) We have not a single walk in closet to be found. I also don't have anywhere to put storage solutions, so Im having to make due with what we have space wise. 

 

I buy kids' beds with under-bed storage space. That's where some toys and clothes we've had passed down or given to us get stored until needed. I don't keep much of anything that can't be used within a year or two either anymore. Especially as the kids get older. Trends change too much and things go out of style, or more importantly, I forget it exists and store it for years. By the time I remember it they've outgrown it. We did make a wise purchase of some Ikea dressers and those square box/bookshelf things. Those have helped immensely. The dressers are big, but they can store more than clothes and at least get things up off the floor and looking neat where the kids can find them. 

 

For shoes, my mother bought me a shoe rack from an estate sale that I now have by the front door for the kids. I was tired of shoes everywhere or people not being able to find shoes. So now, when they come in, shoes on the shoe rack. Only their mud boots/unusual shoes/slippers go in their own closets or in our sunroom on the boot rack now.  My house isn't going to make an HGTV spread anytime soon, but we are no longer late to appointments because we can't find their shoes! 

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I don't keep clothes to pass down except for expensive or specialty items--winter coats and boots, dance shoes and soccer cleats.

 

If I can pass something down right away (as between ds6 and ds4) I do, but most of my kids alternate genders and won't wear the same clothes; I don't save dd13's clothes for dd9 or ds11's clothes for ds6.

Edited by maize

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I don't keep clothes to pass down except for expensive or specialty items--winter coats and boots, dance shoes and soccer cleats.

 

If I can pass something down right away (as between ds6 and ds4) I do, but most of my kids alternate genders and won't wear the same clothes; I don't save dd13's clothes for dd9 or ds11's clothes for ds6.

 

 

Wow.  Doesn't that cost you a lot in the long run? 

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Wow. Doesn't that cost you a lot in the long run?

We've been fortunate to get a lot of hand me downs from others, and I don't buy expensive stuff--basic t-shirts and leggings from Walmart or Target.

 

It's way cheaper than a bigger house with storage for lots of stuff would be!

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We save our kids' clothes in space bags.  We use one bag per child per season.  For instance we have bags labeled:  Girls Summer age 8; Girls winter age 3.  We used to use rubbermaid type boxes, but they took up too much room.  With the space bags, we use the large size bags.  If the clothes don't fit in the bag, then we take a few of the more worn pieces out and get rid of them.  One bag per season is plenty.  We store the bags in the basement on plastic shelving units.

 

Shoes that currently fit are kept in a wicker laundry basket by the front door.  Any shoes that are still in good shape when they are outgrown are stored in large rubbermaid boxes in the basement.

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We have an 2x4 ikea expedit by the front door with baskets in the bottom four slots.  That's for shoes.  Next two slots are small outerwear items (gloves, hats, scarves right now, summer hats and sunscreen in the summer.  Top two slots are DH and my landing spaces- I've got my keys, purse, cell phone, etc. there).  On top I have only items that need to leave the house- things that need to go to the basement storage unit or things that need to go home to someone else's hat.  

 

Oh, and my kids only have one pair of shoes per season.  They also have very minimal wardrobes.  Each kid uses up just two drawers in a standard ikea dresser.  I only keep in-season clothes in the house, everything else is in the basement.  

 

We also have minimal toys, which the kids are responsible for picking up.  If it gets too hard, I assume we have too many things and I help them deep clean their rooms.  

 

Hand-me-downs are stored in the basement, a few big rubbermaid type tubs.  I don't have too many because of the minimal wardrobe mentioned above.  By the time the kids have used it for a season, it's usually too beat up to hand down.  I still think I'm saving money in the long run compared to having huge amounts of clothes.  I turn down offers of hand-me-downs or go through them immediately, pick out a few sturdy items, and immediately donate the rest.  I do keep winter coats and boots.  

 

We have 4 kids and are in a 1100 sq ft apartment plus a small basement storage area.  

 

 

 

 

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We save our kids' clothes in space bags.  We use one bag per child per season.  For instance we have bags labeled:  Girls Summer age 8; Girls winter age 3.  We used to use rubbermaid type boxes, but they took up too much room.  With the space bags, we use the large size bags.  If the clothes don't fit in the bag, then we take a few of the more worn pieces out and get rid of them.  One bag per season is plenty.  We store the bags in the basement on plastic shelving units.

 

Shoes that currently fit are kept in a wicker laundry basket by the front door.  Any shoes that are still in good shape when they are outgrown are stored in large rubbermaid boxes in the basement.

 

What brand of space bags do you use? I tried this for all of the quilts we inherited from my husband's grandmother to store under out bed.  I now have an expanded stack of quilts in a space bag under my bed that I will have to take out one by one because the seal keeps popping. I've tried two different brands and the seals just don't hold up more than six months. Suggestions? 

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After trying all sorts of storage, I found the best things was to keep things to a minimum. I did not save clothes, only purchased what we needed at thrift stores or other cheap options. One, maybe two pairs of shoes, per kid. Generally, my kids wore things out and rarely outgrew before that. The biggest storage issue was swim stuff, backpacks, gear bags, parkas, and the box for competition suits/extras. Those hang on hooks on the wall in the laundry room (both houses).

We moved from a large house to a small one last year and minimal living made that much easier.

 

The thing about hand-me-downs is that I had to be ruthless in making my kids wear them. Generally, they didn't like the color and body types were different, so they didn't really fit well. It was better for me to give that away in hopes that some else would love it, rather than leave it languishing in a drawer in my house.

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What brand of space bags do you use? I tried this for all of the quilts we inherited from my husband's grandmother to store under out bed.  I now have an expanded stack of quilts in a space bag under my bed that I will have to take out one by one because the seal keeps popping. I've tried two different brands and the seals just don't hold up more than six months. Suggestions? 

 

We use the original Space Bags.  I think they are now owned by Ziploc.

 

The seals seem to hold pretty well.  Our boy baby clothes have been sealed up for 15+ years ( :glare: ) and I don't think that the seals have ever popped.  Of course, these bags are older, so the quality may be different.

 

 

Edit:  I just remembered (even though I posted it earlier) that we didn't use the bags right away.  So probably 10 years in the Space Bags.

Edited by Junie

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I have two shoe racks by the front door; I like this style (there are versions with more tiers as well, or you can buy 2 and stack them):

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B013F0RJE6/ref=mp_s_a_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1481900364&sr=8-12&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=shoe+rack

 

I tried this idea... no one besides myself would put their shoes/boots on it. All the shoes would end up on the floor in front of it. Grrrrr.....

 

I have hand-me-downs in plastic totes lined up & stacked in the basement. I have one bin for each size, and clothes have been passed down from DS7 to DS4 to DS2 and now DS baby. I buy brands for DS7 that I know will last with minor mending (lots of knee patches). I do not keep shoes/sandals, but I will keep winter/rain boots and soccer cleats. Everything that they currently wear is in their closets, using hanging shelves and extra rods.

 

I have the same problem with toys... I feel like there are too many and they can't/won't put them away themselves. I move toys into boxes in the basement and purge routinely. I *rarely* buy them toys... I'm not looking forward to all the crap they will get this Christmas.

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Echoing everyone else, less stuff, storage boxes under the beds, only save the important stuff.

It helps that we don't have seasons. My kids wear swimwear all summer, instead of regular clothes. No winter gear.

 

Each kid has one drawer and one storage box for clothes. If it doesn't fit, we donate it. Two pairs of shoes. One everyday, one dress. If possible, I buy a single pair that does double duty. We take hand me downs and buy used, Wal-Mart, outlet stores, and stick to basics. 

 

Toys go in Ikea boxes under the beds. We actually have plenty of extra space for new toys. 

 

Only enough linens to go on the beds. No extra blankets.

 

Hang everything. We have hooks everywhere to hang stuff up. Use the wall space. 

 

Get creative with the closets. My closet has jewelry boxes, hair, makeup, toiletries. The linen closet has tool boxes, fishing tackle, and extra bath products. The coat closet has all of the school stuff, games, toys, extra 5gallon water bottles, craft supplies, and coolers.

 

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I think the seasons thing is hard. 

 

4 pair of shoes isn't that much to me.

 

1 running pair

1 dress

1 pair of sandals for swim team

1 pair of snow boots

 

 

 

We have been keeping everything.  I need to edit that.  I have started but 2017 I am going to do more.  

 

 

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