Storage can be a bit of an issue no matter how many kids you’ve got, but when you’ve got five it can be a case of getting on top of it or getting buried alive!
Over the years we’ve picked up a few tricks and learned how to manage the astonishing amount of stuff a five-kid family can generate. If you’re struggling to fit in all your kids’ stuff at home, hopefully one or two of the ideas here will help.
Use Your Space Better
Most of us don’t use what space we have to its fullest capacity. There are all sorts of nooks and crannies tucked around houses that can turn into useful storage with a bit of ingenuity. When you organise the little things that clutter up cupboards or surfaces, there’s more space for other things. Shelving, for example, is a powerful tool:
- Put some shelves in awkward cupboards under the stairs, or hang hooks or install shoe racks to help keep hallways clear.
- Put a narrow shelf on the end of a run of kitchen cabinets. With a rail in front it’s a handy place for recipe books or to store spice bottles. A rail on its own will provide somewhere handy for tea towels or oven gloves.
- Use shelves instead of display or bookcases to create more floor space in any room. Use areas around and over doors for shelves as well as open wall spaces.
- Add extra shelves or rails in wardrobes.
- Replace the kickboards under your kitchen cabinets with hinged or sliding doors so you can access the floor space. As long as it’s clean and dry under there, it’s handy for all sorts of items from dustpans and brooms to bats and balls.
Make Furniture Work Harder
Use storage furniture wherever you can.
- Give kids ottoman beds so they have storage under the mattress, or use bunk beds or raised beds in shared rooms where floor space is at a premium.
- In the living room, have coffee tables or end tables with drawers or shelves. They are very handy for all those little odds and ends that clutter up surfaces, like games controllers, TV remotes, spare batteries, phone chargers or tablets and iPads.
- Have footstools with storage inside. They make handy extra seating for little ones as well as being somewhere to stash hobby equipment, craft supplies, or small toys and games.
Sort Out Priorities
Some things are more important than others, and what’s important to kids will change over time. Sometimes very little time!
Crazes and favourites can come and go in a week. When you’re tripping over stuff that’s no longer being used, worn or played with, life quickly becomes one almighty muddle. Some things may never find favour again, but if and when they do it’s great if you still have them, rather than having thrown them away.
A simple idea is to get a self storage unit for the overflow, or just a locker if you don’t need much space. In your storage room you can keep everything not currently in use. If you like to hand down good clothes to younger kids, this is also a great way of storing them till they’re needed again.
It can also help keep the garden organised if you use your storage room seasonally. It’s somewhere to put all the garden furniture, equipment and toys during winter.
With a self storage room, you can have a really good clear out without actually getting rid of anything.