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Crowded House: How to Keep a Home Tidy When You Have a Big Family
If you ask a child in the Radford family how many brothers and sisters they have, the answer will be a little more than you expected.
The family, who live in Morecambe, Lancashire, appeared recently in The Sun online for being the UK’s largest family.
‘How many children?’ you ask. Get ready for it….
The mother of the household let the newspaper into their home for a look around. The family bought the home, which is a former care home, for £240,000 and had it specially converted to meet their needs. There are three main floors and a basement, which is where the only spare room in the house is and, at present, serves as a makeup room for one of the children.
It may have helped that the two oldest children have flown the nest, but this impact will have been minimal, since there are still another 19 children living there. Then there’s the parents themselves, who need their own space, of course.
Bless this un-mess
One of the surprising things is that despite being so large, the family has managed to keep the home incredibly tidy. You could forgive yourself for thinking that maybe Mary Poppins has been around and worked a little magic, such is the tidiness.
Even though they’re not too happy with the kitchen and are ripping out soon, there’s no knocking the bedrooms. There’s a sense of minimalism about the place, yet the the children haven’t had to sacrifice pleasures such as video games or computers in their rooms. The girls’ room has four single beds, whereas the oldest child still living at home — aged 21 — has her own room. The boys’ rooms make full use of bunk beds, except for the inclusion of a crib for the toddler.
Despite the minimalism, the house is full to the brim and has one or two struggles storage-wise. When you enter the house, you’ll stumble into a little clutter, which the family has tried to address with coat hangers and a shoe storage unit. Otherwise, it’s impressively tidy.
How can you keep on top of your own family’s mess?
If the Radfords can keep their home tidy, then there’s hope for you, too, to have a large family and still maintain an organised home. You can employ a whole host of hacks to stop clutter and mess from overwhelming you.
Use smart storage
Call on the storage power of an Ottoman bed. One like the Ottoman beds from Bedstar would do the trick. These beds make the most of space and allow you to store away things under the bed without them getting all dusty. You have the extra bonus, too, of not having to get down on your hands and knees to find items once you’ve stored them away.
Ottoman beds free up space in the room that you might otherwise have occupied with a wardrobe or chest of drawers. They’re also terrific for storing away seasonal items. Come Christmas time, they provide a superb hiding place for presents (as long as the beds aren’t in the kids’ rooms, of course!).
Set up a storage bin, box or bucket for each family member
It’s a good idea to set up a storage bin or bucket — even for the adults — so that members can access the items they use each day quickly and easily. More importantly, they can store away these items in the same manner, so that spaces stay clutter free. The bins are also easy to stack, label and organise if you prefer to use them for general storage.
There’s no reason why you should do all the work. Everyone makes the mess, so cleaning must be a group effort. Designate chores to different members of the family, whether that’s changing the bins, hoovering, sweeping the floors, etc. The bonus benefit of this is that it also helps you to bring up responsible children.
Have a wastepaper bin or pedal bin in each room
A lot of families will have a bin in the kitchen and one in each bathroom (if they have more than one). If you have a large family, however, it’s better to have one in each room. You’ll be surprised at the laziness of some people! They’ll leave rubbish lying around just because it’s easier than walking into the next room and putting it in the bin. Solve this by putting a bin in each room.
Implement the ‘One In, One Out’ policy
Of course, events like birthdays and the biggie, Christmas, create more opportunities for new items and extra clutter to enter the household. There’s nothing wrong with getting new items, as long as they don’t accumulate and become an issue — which it won’t be with the ‘One In, One Out’ policy. It’s a simple question of getting rid of something old every time you or someone else in the house gets something new. For instance, if they buy a new jacket, or pair of shoes, they should get rid of an old jacket or pair of shoes. What could be more straightforward?
You could save yourself a lot of cleaning up after your family if you teach them all personal responsibility when it comes to keeping the home clean. All it takes is to make them responsible for their own mess and teach them to tidy up after themselves. Some family members may need a little help from time to time, but otherwise, teaching personal responsibility will go a long way.
If all else fails….
Maybe you’re just too busy to stay on top of your home’s cleaning and tidying needs, in which case you should think about hiring help from a professional cleaning service, if you have the cash to. In fact, if you know that the cleaner is coming the next day, you’ll feel more motivated to get things a little tidier so that they don’t have to clean around all the mess.
A tidy, uncluttered house is within your grasp. The Radfords have achieved it and so can you. It takes a combination of delegating responsibilities, providing the right storage opportunities and the will to pull together. Enjoy the tidy home that follows!