I've called and
Dishes - My good friend Brandy said that her kids all have a color of dishes that belong to them. That way, they can use the same cup during the day and not mess up 3 (or 10 in some of my kids' cases..). Also, if "someone" forgets to clear their spot at the table after meals... they're instantly found out.
I haven't gone out to purchase color-coded dishes, but I have been using the "one cup a day" rule. Wow.. what a difference! I did not realize how many cups we were running through, but it's cut down drastically. Just think, if everyone in our house just used 2 cups a day - that would be 16 cups in ONE DAY. Ay-Yi-Yi!
Laundry - Many of my large family friends have said they keep clothing to a minimal. Some have a rule of "you have 'x' amount of space for your clothes.. if you have more clothes than can fit there - you have too many.
I do think this is a smart rule. But.. well... umm... I just like to buy clothes! Even with this many kids, as old as they all are, I still see them as real-life dolls. Especially my girls. How fun is it to dress up your girls?! So our bows and frills have mostly turned into jeans and sneakers but thankfully Sketchers invented Twinkle Toes and "girly moms" like me everywhere rejoiced!
They are so stinkin' cute!
So, I've come up with different rules that work for me and my shop-a-holic ways.
We have two kids per bedroom. Each bedroom has its own LARGE hamper. When that hamper is full, I just take the whole thing to the laundry room and in it goes. I don't separate anymore. I'll pick one day every now and then and bleach white if they need it, but for daily purposes, it all goes together. It's super easy to take them from the dryer and right into the room they came from for putting it away. Towels have their own hampers in the bathrooms. Bathrooms have hooks.. each child is expected to use their same towel and hang it up at least 2 or 3 times.
And, I do laundry EVERY day. I've always done laundry every day since having 3 kids... but now I do a few loads EVERY day. It is just part of my daily routine now and doesn't seem as hard as it sounds. It saves me from having "Oh no we don't have any towels, socks, or jeans!" panic attack moments.
This is where the going gets tough. I cannot believe how much food we're going through! I refuse to back down from my "we WILL eat healthy" rules... so we're just spending more right now. Ugh...
I'm thinking over meals and seeing how I can make healthy options that don't cost a fortune. For example, last night we had chicken marinated in Italian dressing (cooked in pan with a bit of non-stick spray, no oil, nothing.) with brown rice (from the box, that you have to cook for 35 minutes instead of my normal "boil in a bag" kind.) and green beans.
Fed all of us, was healthy, and didn't cost much! Hooray! If you have healthy meal options for a LARGE family that won't break the bank, PLEASE send them my way!
I've also gotten really strict on "random eating." With just 3 kids I didn't mind if they grabbed snacks whenever they wanted... but that has come to a sudden halt. We have 3 meals, and two snacks, at scheduled times. At first this felt way too rigid... I hated doing it. Now it's just normal! We're actually saving a lot of money by cutting down on them just grazing, and they're eating meals much better. Duh.
These are just a few of the things I've learned so far. There are many more but how long does one blog post really need to be? Share your tips and tricks with me! I could use them!