[quote="lizaanne, post:1, topic:212209"]
Eight toothbrushes, dozens of towels, piles of dishes, -- I can hardly keep our home straight with just the two of us and both of us working huge hours, how do you manage the little things in life? My gosh -- the shoes must take over a home!
We're only a family of 5 so far, but I spent a small chunk of childhood living with my parents, 2 siblings, Grandma, and Great-Aunt (so there were 7 of us, total). Here's how we solved the toothbrushes -- Costco. And everyone gets a different color. If there aren't enough colors, one of the duplicates gets a toothbrush cover/bristle guard (like you use when traveling) to distinguish it from the other one.
My husband and I are already starting to simplify and reduce the amount of stuff we have, even though there's only 5 of us. We only own 6 towels (only 6 towels, 6 washcloths, and 6 hand towels can fit in our washer at once), so we won't need more until/if Baby #5 comes along. We'll be utilizing the One Towel Per Person rule, then. They can either be hung to dry and reused once or twice, or a load of towels can be done every day/every other day. When the kids are small, they all bathe together and they all use the same towel.
Dishes are the same way, for us -- One plate per person, per meal; one or two cups per person per day; dishes are put through the dishwasher overnight so they're all clean the next day.
All children's socks are kept in the same drawer (all 5 of us share one 4-drawer dresser), so each child is responsible for choosing their own socks. They learn quickly which ones belong to someone else (i.e. are either too big or too small). All of our clothes are kept in the same master closet for now (our kids are all under 5 years old), and we are whittling down clothing to 3 pairs of pants per child, 3 skirts/shorts, etc. I do laundry more often, but it beats having mountains of loads to do. I'd rather do laundry every day than have enough clothes for once-a-week washing. And like another poster mentioned, we have plenty of laundry baskets, one for each color/load, and laundry gets sorted as you take off your clothes. Saves time over having a hamper where everything is thrown in together.
We keep shoes in a hanging shoe cubby in the closet, by pairs, and each child has only one pair of casual shoes, two maximum, in the same size. When their only pair of shoes gets wet, they can temporarily use the next size up (I like to keep one size up, ready to go) or we buy waterproof shoes. ;) Dress shoes are purchased with much more room to grow than casual shoes, and so are worn both at Christmas and Easter... Sometimes, I can get 2 Christmases out of the shoe, depending on how fast the kiddos grow. I keep all shoes, so that they can be passed down, which means only my oldest girl and oldest boy get new shoes every time (unless the shoes get worn out before the next kiddo in line gets a chance to wear them).
You know, before you asked, Liza, I never really thought about how we did stuff. We just gradually started making little changes here and there, as problems came up. :) I feel all cool now. :rotfl: