Storage Solutions ~ For Our Family

This week’s focus at 4 Moms, 35 Kids is Storage Solutions. What fun…in our house with so many various ages and needs at any given time, I am always seeking to maximize our home’s space.

The best storage solution is NOT to have more than you need so that you limit the NEED for storing. Now, with that said, we also must be wise and good stewards of we have…so the answer isn’t to give everything away either. For those of us still in child bearing years, keeping items we know we would use with subsequent children is a good idea…or regarding schooling, keeping items we know we will use with children up and coming in various grades is also a good idea.

How do we utilize storage tools? I have done a couple posts in the past about organizing which may provide you a better understanding of how our use of labeling and baskets, bins, and totes are great tools we use. Maybe, seeing how we improved our school closet or pantry will provide you a few more ideas on maximizing closet space to its fullest potential.

School closet (normally has mirrored by-pass doors on this closet) is our foyer closet conversion...shelves were added (years ago), bins/plastic baskets, magazine racks, paper racks, and plastic drawers are labeled to help organize our materials better.

Our most recent project is remodeling one of the girls’ closets to accommodate a drawer system in order for “Little Bit” to have some dresser space. The local home improvement store carries this line of closet systems we have used in all our bedroom closets to fit our needs. Fairly economical and they have held up in all the rooms so far…so…

Closet emptied and new unit being installed with 3 separate closet rods...

In the bedrooms, I have combined the different closet systems with bins, baskets, hooks and storage boxes to help keep our things orderly. Labels are added on the containers to help everyone know where to put things. Hangers are color assigned to each person to help with putting laundry away and to keep closets looking uniform (see another picture at the bottom of this post).

 All out of season clothing or clothing that is outgrown is stored in the large Rubbermaid totes in our attic. I also utilize these totes for storing seasonal decorations, toys that are brought down for rotation purposes, baby/infant items and homeschool portfolios (not kept in the attic). I use our Print Shop program to print picture/word labels for the fronts of the totes so they can be easily located when needed.

In the living areas, baskets are one of the methods to increase storage. Books are typically kept in them to allow easy access and easy clean up. Now, we have a lot of books, but for the little ones I like to keep most of their books in a basket. We all have books on bookshelves and night stands, as well. Homeschooling has a tendency to cause book collections to GROW. An ottoman doubles as storage for baby toys (see picture at the bottom of this post).

Children's books are easily accessed for reading time and quickly put away using the basket storage method (surplus books are kept in the book cabinet or book cases).

 My husband (last year) added windows, vinyl flooring, shelving and paneling to our screen room to allow added living space that could be used daily no matter what the season/weather. I moved all the toys (after purging took place) to the now Florida room and put them in clear plastic bins, baskets and plastic dish pans with colored labels that include a picture of the contents and the content name. This has helped greatly to keep bedrooms clean and orderly, as well as keeping messes confined. Clean up is something even little ones willing can do because of the labeled bins with pictures. Love our space…great for play, reading and keeping an eye on the children when they are outside playing!

Our well used and enjoyed Florida room...adjustable shelves mounted to the wall to hold all the toy bins and plastic baskets.

An example of the Print Shop label I made to help identify each bins' contents...this picture/word label works great for helping little ones with clean up time.

Other baskets have been incorporated throughout the house for storing scrapbooking items on my floating shelves above my desk area or a hanging basket above my husband’s stand to hold charger cords for cell phones (see end of post).

I love using these floating shelves to hold books, scrapbooking tools, and display some special keepsakes. 

 Finally, not so long ago my husband added sliding wire racks inside our kitchen cabinets which I love (not an agape kind of love…just the practicality of them)! They have saved on bending and lifting of a lot of my HEAVY cookware…cast iron pieces and stoneware pieces (see another picture at the end of this post). Not only have they saved my wrists from lifting out of awkward places inside the cabinets BUT these sliding racks have allowed my cookware/bakeware to be better organized so that I can easily access all of them…which means they can be used….which means happy tummies. I’d say that’s a win win situation.

Sliding wire racks mounted in our cabinets to make accessing heavy cast iron cookware easy!

 So in summary…my preferred storage tools are:
  • Baskets
  • Plastic bins and totes
  • Shelving and drawer systems
Labels whenever possible really help to keep things organized…be it labels from our label maker or printed off of Print Shop. So what storage solutions work for you? Leave a comment (I love learning new tips…) or participate by linking your storage solution post here.

Always seeking to maximize space with storage solutions for our ever growing family ~

And another section with one single sliding wire rack and one double tiered sliding wire rack to hold stones and glass bakeware AND our KitchenAid...all quite HEAVY!

Hooks are another method to utilize wall space for storage...a hanging basket for phone chargers, keys and ceramic plaques to remind us of God's goodness.

Our ottomon serves as a storage area for baby toys...

Baskets to hold cloth diapers/burp cloths, travel crib bedding, etc.; girls are assigned "pink" hangers so all their hanging clothes are neat.


Becky said...

Oh wow the closet looks beautiful. I also love your toy area, great labels. Off the subject I would love to know how you handle fights over toys between 2 yr and 3yr olds. I need some new tricks :) Thanks for a great blog.

Vickie said...

Great post. Love the organization ideas you shared. Would also love to have a Florida room. can I encompass that using our unused back room....hmmm, thoughts are churning.

Thanks for the great ideas. God's Blessings

mary said...

I am so jealous. What wonderful ideas and it all looks so great! Wow I wish I had you here for a day. Thanks for all the tips on storage. I think I'll be using everyone of them. Great post.

~Jenn said...

Those sliding wire racks are a great idea. All my dishes are jumbled together and fall out when I open the cabinets. I'm going to go look for some now. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

Blessed Mom said...

Your home is beautiful! We also use lots of baskets around our home for various storage! Thanks for sharing!

Seasons of Life said...

Becky ~

The organizing is the easy part…getting little ones to get along…the hard part. ;-) I have a book titled “Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends” and look forward to seeing this as they get OLDER.  I have two that can be oil and vinegar most of the time, but then wow…the next minute they are best playmates. Just time and a lot of reminding…

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Vickie ~

WOW…an unused back room, sounds like you are going to have a lot of fun putting it to use. Maybe you’ll do a post to let me know what you decide to do…I’d love to see your home project when you do it! May He give you tons of creative ideas to put into use.

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Mary ~

What an encourager…I’d love to help! It’s usually easier reorganizing someone else’s home then mine. ;-) It’s a blessing to know that sharing what works for us may be helpful to others.

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Jenn ~

I really do love how useful our sliding wire drawers have been. We purchased them from our local home improvement store (Lowe’s). If you don’t have one nearby, you should be able to order some through their website. FYI...measure from the inside of your door hinge to the next opening, so the drawers will be able to slide. Some minor adjustments were needed to be made on one of our drawers due to lack of a center mounting support, but it was easily remedied. Hope you find and enjoy them as much as I have.

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Blessed Mom ~

Thanks for visiting today. Aren’t baskets a great and versatile storage solution? Ours blend right into our décor and are easily dressed up or down where needed depending on the room. We went to a local Pioneer Settlement for a fall jamboree and there was an older gentleman (90, I believe) who was making the most beautiful baskets from pine needles. He learned this from an Indian many years ago…a true artisan.

Blessings to each of you in your storage solutions endeavors ~

Laura {{* *}} said...

I am totally

When I *see* the fruit of your
management skills
I know that I too can become
what I am not.

{{* *}}

Seasons of Life said...

My dear ARE. Your home reflects welcome, character, history, living, style and yes, order. ;-) It is I that is inspired. :-)

Blessings ~

Anonymous said...

You have inspired me to work on the laundry room. Thanks for the ideas.