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How I Manage Large Family Life

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We have a large family. 6 people live in our house full time, along with 3 dogs, and one kid that lives here part time. It takes a lot to keep this household running smoothly but it can be done. With proper preparation and smart planning, it can be done. 

1. Groceries. We eat a lot of food in this house. A lot of food. And I do not have the time or energy to go to the grocery store multiple times a week. I do one Sams Club trip at the beginning of the month. I do a smaller Walmart pick up order once a week. And I do a trip to Aldi’s every other week.

2. Learn to say no. I no longer feel the need to say yes to everything that is asked of me. I don’t feel even a twinge of guilt for saying no to volunteering at school, birthday parties for kids that my kids don’t even like, or events that we have no interest in attending.

3. Limit the commitments. A few years ago we established the “one activity per season” rule. I cannot do multiple activities for each child. And bonus- the kids don’t burn out.

4. Get up early. I am not a morning person. Not even a little bit, y’all. But I get up at 5:30 every morning because it gives me the extra time I need to get stuff done. I sit with my planner and see what is happening that day.

5. Find your perfect planner. I found one I love this year- the Plum Paper Planner. It’s amazing. I use it for everything in our life. It keeps track of everyone’s activities, practices, events, and games. It keeps track of due dates for important papers and projects. I use it to remind me of phone calls and appointments to make. If I lose it, I will cease to function.

6. Meal planning. I was doing a monthly meal plan but things kept coming up and meals kept getting pushed back. It just wasn’t working anymore. Now I meal plan once a week. I keep a running list of our favorite meals on an app to make it fast and easy to plan. Then I spend Friday afternoon doing our next week’s meal plan along with my Walmart pick up grocery order. It works!

7. Laundry. The bane of my existence, but I have a system now. Instead of the kids having individual laundry baskets in their rooms I put 2 baskets in the linen closet- one for light wash and one for dark wash. It saves me time not having to sort their laundry on wash day.

8. Create a command center. I converted a section of my second pantry into our command center. It holds the family calendar, the daily files, the kids school papers, the printer, and everything else we use on a regular basis.

9. Make a drop zone. I had to make a drop zone in order to stop the front foyer from being the drop zone. We have a whole lot of stuff coming into this house on a daily basis- football gear, book bags, lunch boxes, jackets….it’s just a lot of stuff. Creating a drop area has helped a lot.

10. Have a shared family email account. I don’t know why I didn’t do this sooner. I use the family email for football, basketball, soccer, dance, gymnastics, and school reminders. So every member of the family has access to all the information.

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