Easy Storage Solutions for Busy Moms
I absolutely love to organize! But alas, with my six young kids, my love for organization cannot be judged by the status of my home. A mom has to choose to either have a super organized home and yell at her kids, or choose some simple organizing methods and have less pressure. Some of the biggest challenges of being a busy mom with many kids are sorting socks, finding shoes, storing hats, belts, and hijabs. I cannot count the number of times my family was delayed, or one of my kids looked ridiculous because they couldn't find their stuff. So if you're going through the same, I hope these tips help you avoid some stress.
My Solution for Sorting Kids Socks
For a while, I was separating eight piles of different colored socks into eight different drawers (2 parents + 6 kids) and ending up with the usual loner socks that no one has solved to this day (maybe taken by a cruel sock fairy?).
One day, as I was thinking how I could be doing something brainier, I decided to hand over the chore to my kids. Unfortunately, after numerous attempts of telling them to get back to work and threatening to take away every single sock they owned, I knew I needed a better solution. I decided to solve this tedious task by a simple but efficient method.
Here's what I did:
When packing away laundry, I placed all socks into one big pile and left it for last
I called my little ones to separate the socks into black, white, and colored (they thought it's a new game)
We played "find the matching sock, " and once a match was found, they made a sock ball
We kept daddy and mommy's socks apart and packed it away
Each child took turns shooting sock balls into a big, clear plastic storage container (super fun if you're keeping score)
The loner socks were put into a basket marked "single but looking" and set aside in the laundry room for the next wash time
The winner was high-fived and applauded!
The sock tub stays in the hallway near the children's rooms or can be placed in a coat closet
Socks are not stored in my kid's rooms any longer, and when they want a pair, they scout the tub, grab it and go!
This has saved me a bunch of time by eliminating the need to divide everyone's socks into individual drawers. I want to add that when shopping for kids socks, try to purchase socks that are a little different for each child. For example, get white socks for your daughter with a pink toe or a frill, and white socks for your son with a gray toe or some black emblems, etc. This will help your kids find their socks quicker from the tub without fuss or fight. On occasion, I've seen my son wear a pair of socks with a pink toe because he didn't check the sock too well, but hey it's the price they have to pay for your sock-sorting-sanity, now about their shoes...
My Solution to Solving Kids Shoes
At first, I tried placing my children's shoes in their bedroom closets, then in shoe organizers behind their bedroom doors, and finally, I stashed it in our already-bulging coat closet. None of these methods worked because my kid's shoes where it was supposed to be. Instead, it lay all over and everywhere around the house (sigh). Whenever it was time to go out, we went through the "I can't find my other shoe song" which drove me in a tizzy as we'd end up being late.
Having six kids, each with multiple shoes, add up to a lot of shoes! But we decided a while ago only to purchase two pairs of shoes at a time for our little ones - one sneaker and one sandal. When our kids got older, they are upgraded to owning four pairs of shoes, the third pair being 'nice shoes' for going out and the fourth pair being flip-flops. This keeps it simple since children's feet grow pretty fast. Young children find it difficult to remember to put away their things if your expectations are too high, so I try to incorporate simple and realistic methods of storage for kids.
Here's what I do
Choose an area for shoe storage that is located at a convenient location if you don't allow outdoor shoes inside the house. We chose our garage entrance for shoe storage, as it leads from the car into the house and is also accessible to the backyard. This makes it convenient for our kids to grab their shoes either way.
When my children were young, we purchased two clear plastic storage containers and placed girls shoes in one tub and boys shoes in the other tub. You can also divide the shoes according to age. We put the container near the entry door.
Our kids found it super easy to grab their pair of shoes from the tub and get in the car, or come from the car and dump their shoes in the container before entering the house. Our younger children find this a breeze, and our shoe dilemma was almost non-existent.
Now that some of our kids are older and have more shoes, we have purchased two durable, plastic storage shelf units. We situated the shelf unit in the same spot in the garage where we the tubs were. We labeled the front of each shelf with a child's name. Our older, taller kids get the top shelves, and our younger kids get the bottom shelves for easy reach. Our kids independently place their shoes on the rack, which keeps it separate and out of the way.
You may still encounter the occasional forgotten shoe lying about, but I stay firm about my children putting their shoes away immediately, or there are repercussions (such as cleaning the entire shoe rack). However, once the habit is instilled, your reminding will lessen. Remember with kids; one has to find simple ways to solve day-to-day issues. If you are going to implement rules that you want, instead of rules that children can manage, you will be nagging and cause more strain for yourself.
Storing Belts and Hats
I find it best to store my family's belts by placing a hook on the closet wall and hanging the belts from there. If you are trying to store many belts for multiple kids, then folding it and putting it in their drawer or an over-the-door bag might work better. Another idea I like, is to hook belts on shower hooks that don't snap close and hang them from our clothes rod. Your kid's baseball caps can also be stored on shower rings and hang from a hanger, or placed in an over-the-door bag. I've used both methods depending on space and amount of items.
My Favorite Solutions to Store Scarves
As a Muslima, storing scarves is a real challenge. Putting them in dresser drawers is not the best way to see your colors, especially if you have many scarves like me. These women found straightforward and cheap ways to store it using hangers, pegs and shower curtain rings.
I had tried most of these methods in the past when I had fewer scarves, but now I have transitioned to a wire drawer like the one in the photo above. I'm loving this method the best! I store my scarves color-coded because alhamdulillah I've gathered a huge selection of scarves over the years, and it works out great to go to one particular drawer when you need to find the right color.
I hope these tips help with your storage solutions as a busy mom inshAllah. Happy organizing habibtis!