Large families mean big responsibility and work in the form of laundry, cooking, cleaning, paperwork and general care of the children. An organizational system helps keep you on track so the priority tasks get completed on time. No two families are the same, so finding a system that works for you is key.
Create Chore Systems
A system for completing the major household chores makes you more efficient. Laundry, cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping are the primary chore areas for a large family. Assess your available resources and needs for each area. Create a routine that maximizes the space and resources you have available for the task. For example, you might add a simple countertop to your laundry area for folding and sorting, along with divided laundry bins for sorting the dirty clothes. Have the kids sort the clothing by color for easier washing. Give each child his own basket so you can fold and sort clothing right out of the dryer.
Tackle Prep Work Early
Many tasks for a large family are simplified with some prep work. For example, choosing outfits for each family member each night when you have more time makes mornings less hectic. Planning out a weekly or monthly menu helps you get dinner on the table faster. You can also cook part of the meals and freeze them ahead of time so you just reheat them at dinnertime.
Identify Functional Areas
Dividing the house into functional areas creates an effective use of space and keeps your home organized. A dedicated study area for the kids, storage area for off-season clothes, coat storage, dirty laundry location and other specific areas are useful for a large family. You might also divide closets into separate areas, depending on what you store there. For example, the top bar of the coat closet could be for adult coats while the bottom bar holds kids' coats. Assigned locations makes picking up easier and allows you to find things quickly.
Schedule Grooming Time
Bathroom time is often a challenge for a large family, especially as the kids get older. Instead of trying to get everyone through a bath or shower at once, assign different bathroom times for each child. You might bathe the younger kids at night before bed while older kids shower in the morning. A morning grooming schedule also helps get everyone ready and out the door on time. You might have some kids get dressed first as you fix hair, brush teeth and handle other grooming tasks for the other children. Once the kids are done, have them switch to handle the other part of the morning routine.
Create a Central Communication System
A central communication area keeps all information in one location. A color-coded calendar and dry erase board for messages creates a simple communication center. You might also include a mail holder or a divided organizer for each family member's paperwork. Update the center frequently.
Based in the Midwest, Shelley Frost has been writing parenting and education articles since 2007. Her experience comes from teaching, tutoring and managing educational after school programs. Frost worked in insurance and software testing before becoming a writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a reading endorsement.