Eight toothbrushes! How do large families manage the little things in life?


#1

I apologize if this is a stupid question, but we are not able to have children so I don't have the concept of managing one child much less six, eight, or more!

I have a friend who has six children, and the other day on Facebook he mentioned something about eight toothbrushes!!! :eek:

It just got me thinking about the little things like this in a large family - how do you manage this? 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!

I am sorry if this anyone takes this the wrong way and is offended, I am really truly fascinated by this, and really wonder how it all gets done. I'm an only child as well so I really don't have a clue. :o

~Liza


#2

The answer is simple. Bulk buy. Don’t worry about the fancy stuff. I mean. I know their are tooth brushes that cost more, cause they have funny shaped handles to give them better control. ( or so the adververtisement tells us.) But why? I have heard of no one losing control of their tooth brush and knocking out a molar or something. I have used plain old toothbrushes all my life. And i’ve only had one cavity in my 39 years. And yes the shoes! Shoes are everywhere. But my biggest gripe about my 5 kids. Are dinner plates. They are the only things that deny the laws of physics. The kids have no trouble carrying plates loaded with food, to their rooms, or lounge room. But as soon as they are empty, they become so heavy that the kids can’t carry them to the kitchen sink. And don’t get me started on socks. Why 5 kids need 600 pairs of socks is beyond me.


#3

It's really no big deal. :) I come from a family of 8 (two parents and 6 kids) and we did quite well with this sort of stuff. Yes there are piles of dishes and 6 of everything important, but there are also 6 kids to wash those dishes, and even cook the food when we're old enough.

It is kind of amusing just how much stuff we have with all these people though. I am 18, and I'm 4th oldest, so we're all old enough to have computers, which comes to over 6 computers in the family. Let me tell you, as the acting networking tech in this family, it's a nightmare sometimes to keep all these computers online. :P

Also, we usually buy games that have multiplayer, and our board and card games MUST accomodate at least 4 players. Nothing beats a rambunctious game of Gin Rummy, or a 2v2 of Starcraft. :D


#4

[quote="lizaanne, post:1, topic:212209"]
I apologize if this is a stupid question, but we are not able to have children so I don't have the concept of managing one child much less six, eight, or more!

I have a friend who has six children, and the other day on Facebook he mentioned something about eight toothbrushes!!! :eek:

It just got me thinking about the little things like this in a large family - how do you manage this? 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!

I am sorry if this anyone takes this the wrong way and is offended, I am really truly fascinated by this, and really wonder how it all gets done. I'm an only child as well so I really don't have a clue. :o

~Liza

[/quote]

This is why I have a lifelong habit of not leaving anything in the "public areas" of the home. (Living room, dining room, den, kitchen) When we were growing up we could have a book or a toy out. But only one and only if we intended to use the toy in the next hour or so- otherwise it was to be put away.

My friends always thought my mom was so strict. But I pointed out to them with five kids if everyone left shoes, backpacks, toys, books in the living room there wouldn't be any room left for the people.

You just learn everything has a place and if you are old enough to get it out you are old enough to put it away. (Or do the dishes, or take out the trash....)


#5

Oh dear- you have my sympathy.

Thank goodness, most of us had moved out before network gaming hit it off. It was bad enough being tech support for my parents (I am the youngest).

But I second you on the board and card games! My friends want to visit when they are home for the holidays because they know we always start bringing out the board games around 8 o’clock.


#6

There were seven of us (two parents, one grandparent, four kids) growing up and it's all about organization!

Everything was labeled and had a place. I think my mom said it was easier with lots of kids because she didn't let anything go--everything that was bought had to have a purpose and a storage place before it was brought into the home.

Each of us had two towels (labeled and the color of our choice) and it was our responsibility to hang them up, dump them in the hamper, etc. My mom was very "tough love," so if we hadn't hung it up and it was damp, tough cookie! No dry towel for you. We had a place for shoes when you came in the door. If you were an older child and your shoes were found elsewhere, they were thrown away (for serious)--couldn't go to soccer practice because your cleats were tossed out? Bummer, keep track of your stuff. :eek: We learned very very quickly. (to be fair, my dad was the softy who would sneak our stuff back in sometimes...he couldn't stand to see us cry!)

Anyway I think you just develop patience as a parent, discipline as a child, and extreme organization as a family!


#7

[quote="Kat127, post:5, topic:212209"]
Oh dear- you have my sympathy.

Thank goodness, most of us had moved out before network gaming hit it off. It was bad enough being tech support for my parents (I am the youngest).

But I second you on the board and card games! My friends want to visit when they are home for the holidays because they know we always start bringing out the board games around 8 o'clock.

[/quote]

What sort of board/card games do you like best? I prefer the classics like Gin Rummy, Black Jack, Chess, but I also like newer games like Settlers of Catan, Quidler, and Uno.

[quote="ForAll, post:6, topic:212209"]
There were seven of us (two parents, one grandparent, four kids) growing up and it's all about organization!

Everything was labeled and had a place. I think my mom said it was easier with lots of kids because she didn't let anything go--everything that was bought had to have a purpose and a storage place before it was brought into the home.

Each of us had two towels (labeled and the color of our choice) and it was our responsibility to hang them up, dump them in the hamper, etc. My mom was very "tough love," so if we hadn't hung it up and it was damp, tough cookie! No dry towel for you. We had a place for shoes when you came in the door. If you were an older child and your shoes were found elsewhere, they were thrown away (for serious)--couldn't go to soccer practice because your cleats were tossed out? Bummer, keep track of your stuff. :eek: We learned very very quickly. (to be fair, my dad was the softy who would sneak our stuff back in sometimes...he couldn't stand to see us cry!)

Anyway I think you just develop patience as a parent, discipline as a child, and extreme organization as a family!

[/quote]

I guess responsibility is a strong trait in your family. :) That's funny about your dad though, my mom would sometimes punish us with various things like early bed time, and occasionally she would lift the punishment after we'd suffered a bit. :P


#8

[quote="Alexander_Smith, post:3, topic:212209"]
Also, we usually buy games that have multiplayer, and our board and card games MUST accomodate at least 4 players. Nothing beats a rambunctious game of Gin Rummy, or a 2v2 of Starcraft. :D

[/quote]

Lol, I can't wait till my kids are old enough to play board games (they seem to like little kid board games, so I am hoping they will like having game nights :) ). The other day I sat down to play Sequence with my 2 yr old, 4 yr old, and 5 yr old. Lol, I learned my lesson (the older 2 weren't that bad, but the 2 yr old... well...was a 2 yr old).

Liza, we are a growing family, but so far, since we have just been adding one at a time, its kinda easier to seek solutions as the family grows than to grow bam overnight. I am not very virtuous in organization, but I am working on it. I read somewhere that having a growing family forces you to learn. I have a ways to go, but I have had to come up with some systems to keep things easier to find and for cleaning up easier.


#9

[quote="Alexander_Smith, post:7, topic:212209"]
What sort of board/card games do you like best? I prefer the classics like Gin Rummy, Black Jack, Chess, but I also like newer games like Settlers of Catan, Quidler, and Uno.

[/quote]

Uno was banned in our house. Spoons was banned in our house. What were you saying about rambunctious games? (We broke a small table playing Spoons- my parents were maddddd!)

Gin Rummy was very popular with my older cousins but by the time I was old enough to play my family didn't play it much.

We love Black Jack, 31, Phase 10, there was an old board game called Survive that was a huge family favorite until it fell apart. Guesstures and Taboo are a ton of fun and tend to be the most lively. Apples to Apples has become a new favorite.

I can't get them to sit down for an involved game. I haven't played monopoly in forever. Every now and then I can get them to play Clue (one of my favorites) but that's it. Oh well, we always have a good time.


#10

organization makes everything easier!

i have 6 kids -- in each bathroom i put up a 4-toothbrush holder on each side of the mirror -- that makes room for 8 brushes and 2 tubes of paste.

i insist on a 'mudroom' at the back door -- lots of places to hang coats and sweaters and jackets, everyone has their space and color hanger, lots of shelves for each person to put their own shoes away, lots of bins and hooks for hats, gloves, scarves, etc, or flip flops and sandals, depending on the season. all coats and shoes come no further into the house than the mudroom, so they are contained and findable.

everything has a place and that place makes sense according to it's use and where it is usually used -- i have a craft area with cupboards and shelves and bins and hooks and everything you need is there and better be put back there when you are done with it.

i have 21 bins in the laundry room to sort clothing into as they come down the laundry chute -- the laundry gets sorted into these bins twice a day and it is easy to see at a glance what loads need done, nothings gets lost, it runs like clockwork.

chores are divided and assigned and posted -- family meetings and discussions revamp the chore charts whenever problems arise.

everyone loves and helps each other -- house rules keep us all mannerly and kind and able to realize when someone needs a little help or break or if 'unfamily-like' behavior needs addressed.

i don't know how people who don't organize can make it work. life is good.


#11

As another poster said, the children generally arrive one at a time and so do their things. I have six kids and the shoes and socks drive me nuts... we homeschool and there are all the schoolbooks, papers, pencils, etc... the younger four are boys and I slip and trip over legos and toy cars all day... but this is LIFE. I mean that literally---Steven Curtis Chapman had a song years back called "Signs of Life" and one line went, "There's a man from outer space sitting in my chair, Signs of life are everywhere." It is also true that when you have eight people in a house there are more people to pitch in. It can be crazy and chaotic but I wouldn't have it any other way.
BTW, I label the toothbrushes with a permanent marker.


#12

[quote="RachelKH, post:10, topic:212209"]
organization makes everything easier!

i have 6 kids -- in each bathroom i put up a 4-toothbrush holder on each side of the mirror -- that makes room for 8 brushes and 2 tubes of paste.

i insist on a 'mudroom' at the back door -- lots of places to hang coats and sweaters and jackets, everyone has their space and color hanger, lots of shelves for each person to put their own shoes away, lots of bins and hooks for hats, gloves, scarves, etc, or flip flops and sandals, depending on the season. all coats and shoes come no further into the house than the mudroom, so they are contained and findable.

everything has a place and that place makes sense according to it's use and where it is usually used -- i have a craft area with cupboards and shelves and bins and hooks and everything you need is there and better be put back there when you are done with it.

i have 21 bins in the laundry room to sort clothing into as they come down the laundry chute -- the laundry gets sorted into these bins twice a day and it is easy to see at a glance what loads need done, nothings gets lost, it runs like clockwork.

chores are divided and assigned and posted -- family meetings and discussions revamp the chore charts whenever problems arise.

everyone loves and helps each other -- house rules keep us all mannerly and kind and able to realize when someone needs a little help or break or if 'unfamily-like' behavior needs addressed.

i don't know how people who don't organize can make it work. life is good.

[/quote]

21 bins? I'd love to see that system!

I remember family meetings.....You took your grievance to the Powers-That-Be, They conferred among themselves, then issued a Grand Edict. If you didn't like the result- you might be able to appeal.....but the decision was rarely reversed.

I need to stop reading this thread. You all are making me want to have lots and lots of kids.


#13

well, i have 7 kids aged 17,1,6,14,12,,10,5,and 5 months and it can be very chaotic, especially when their friends are over. as for tooth brushes..they get lost. a lot. we arent organized at all, to be honest! we keep our toothbrushes in a big box in the bathroom (we only have 1 bathroom) , some of the kids keep them in their room..we have a 3 bedroom house, 2 kids in one room, 2 in another, and 2 more in a weird room next to the garage that passes as a bedroom, and the baby sleeps in our room. i delegate a lot of the chores so its easy to get the housework done..i have to admit, we dont have a lot of money to spend, because we are in the lower income bracket, but having a big family really is wonderful, you learn whats really important.
:thumbsup:


#14

[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!

[/quote]

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:


#15

Yep - it is all about organization and a high tolerance for a little bit of dirt! :thumbsup:

When I was growing up, there were four kids (4 kids whose births spanned under five years), two parents and our Grandma (Mom's mom) living in a three-bedroom house. Since we had 3 girls and one boy, my brother got the small bedroom to himself. We 3 girls and Grandma shared the other bedroom. We had one set of bunk beds and two twins plus a desk to do homework upon tucked into a tiny bedroom. And only one bathroom! (Hard with 3 teenage girls AND a teenage boy who preened more than us girls!) Our home was only 1200 sq ft. I cannot today imagine functioning that way, but we did it and no one was emotionally scarred! lol

A big family was fun. I wanted to have at least 3 kids but was only able to have two. I think one of my children is spoiled to this day because with only two, we tended to be laid back about things. Big families force you to be organized!


#16

....Oh - and add a dog into that mix, too. My little Pug came to us for my 7th birthday and live for 14 years.


#17

[quote="Truly_Beloved, post:14, topic:212209"]

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.

[/quote]

Yes! Same here! The key to keeping my sanity is minimizing EVERYTHING. We have six towels too, Truly! :) The little kids share a towel at bathtime and I hang it to dry for the next few days. DH and I use our own towels and they are hung to dry for later use, too. After all, you should be clean when you get out of the shower, so the towel should be clean too. If not, you're doing something wrong in there. ;)

Toothbrushes? I buy a bulk supply of about 15 which lasts over a year, because we visit the dentist every six months and get free ones for everyone.

The kids each have one cup apiece, and they are responsible for keeping track of it. When there's a baby in the house we even have only one bottle for Dad to use when I'm at work.

We have one plate for everyone in the family, one bowl, etc....there is really no excess of anything.

The kids have two pairs of everyday shoes apiece, with the exception of Girlchild who also has a Mass pair. DH and I also have two pairs of shoes apiece and one dressier pair.

Closet space is limited and we don't own any dressers, so clothes are limited too. For example, this Fall, Boys get three pairs of jeans, 6 play shirts and 3 Mass shirts. Everyone has one fall coat and one winter coat.

Jammies are a free for all - we have a bin of oversized tshirts for the kids to pick from.

Toys are restricted to the toy room, so there's not an overwhelming mess everywhere. Yay!

Organization is definitely huge here. Without it, I'd go nuts.


#18

[quote="sanctareparata, post:17, topic:212209"]
After all, you should be clean when you get out of the shower, so the towel should be clean too. If not, you're doing something wrong in there. ;)

[/quote]

That's one of the funniest most logical things I've read in a while. :D I never thought about it like that.


#19

This has been a really fun, and fascinating, thread to read!! Thanks everyone for all your posts, it really does give me an idea of what it’s like in a large family.

Wow - I pray for all of you!! It can’t be easy, but it is clear that the rewards are endless. :slight_smile:

21 laundry baskets - AMAZING!!! :smiley:

~Liza


#20

[quote="lizaanne, post:1, topic:212209"]
...I have a friend who has six children, and the other day on Facebook he mentioned something about eight toothbrushes!!! :eek:

It just got me thinking about the little things like this in a large family - how do you manage this? 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!...

[/quote]

I read a tip on toothbrushes from another mom that I'll pass along. They can be washed in the dishwasher! I now do this once a week and it seems to work great. As other wrote, we color code toothbrushes. In cases of duplicate color, I add a smudge of nail-polish to one. I replace toothbrushes on fairly regular intervals, espciallly during cold and flu season. I keep a large stock of back-up toothbrushes.

Here's some of the other organizational tricks I use:

Towels: color coding saved my sanity! Every person has a certain color bath towel and I even added hooks to the back of the bathroom door so there's room to hang them all. We share hand towels and I replace them every day, (sometimes more, especially during cold season.)

Shoes and socks. Socks drive me crazy! I don't have any great organizational idea for sock, except for promoting barefeet. Shoes stay by the doors or in the closet. Limit to about three pair in active use per person (tennis shoes, dress shoes, sandles/boots) Husband and I have more shoes that we keep separate from the kids's shoes.

Laundry: Hampers in every bedroom. Lights and colors separated and, wash done separately for each bedroom. That minimizes the sorting as the clean laundry basket goes back to the same room it came from. Teens wash their own laundry.


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