In the beginning, JD adamantly only wanted two children. I thought that four would be perfect. Once we caught God's vision of putting orphans into families, our plan was multiplied by God. We are currently blessed with 12 children; five biological, six adopted and one more waiting in Ethiopia. Our first adoption was from the U.S., the next three were from Liberia, West Africa, and our last two were from Ethiopia. We are supporting our 12th child in Ethiopia after her adoption could not pass court.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Quest for Simplicity

I am following in Linny's foot-steps, at http://www.aplacecalledsimplicity.blogspot.com/ and devoting my Saturday posts to ideas for living simply while managing and organizing for a large family. While I have much room for improvement in this area, I have also learned from others as my family has grown to 11! I'm afraid I often see the idea of living simply as a contradiction to being thrifty and prepared. In my mind, living simply means that you just pass on your children's clothes instead of storing them for the next child; being thrifty leans to the idea that you save and store in order to avoid re-buying. Of course, I don't think Dave Ramsey and simple living have to clash, so I am going to do my best to balance continuing to get out of debt, being prepared for the future and living simply.

I'm not sure the path all my Saturday posts will take but I am going to incorporate my best big family organizational ideas. I will label the Saturday posts - living simply, so a search should produce all the organizational ideas for anyone who is searching just for those.

Here's one idea that has evolved into a great system at our house - it's a shoe holder for hats and gloves. For several years, we dug through a box in the coat closet. Then I bought a shoe holder, but everyone dug through each pocket, leaving a pile under the holder. Now everyone has two pockets - one for a hat and one for mittens. (Actually, you can fit more than one pair in a pocket if you'd like.) I simply wrote the names on the pockets and no one has any need to dig in anyone else's pocket. Not only is it much simpler for each person to find what they are looking for, I automatically know who's to blame if there is a pair thrown on the floor.

Since it's now summer, I was considering packing up the hats and mittens and reusing the same shoe holder for summer hats, swim goggles and floaties. The top pockets are also perfect for sun-screen and bug spray right by the front door.

I do keep a rubbermaid container of less-used hats and gloves in my storage room, like snow gloves, etc. Any other ideas in this area, anyone?


  1. Jenny! THank you so much for posting! Great practical advice too!! And the watermelon pic looks yummy...BTW, your family is beautiful - looks like God's heart..colorblind!!

  2. Hey Jenny,
    This is one of my FAVORITE ways to organize. I use this to organize just about everything except shoes! I have one in the pantry for the boxes of saran wrap, foil, Ziplock bags, birthday candles, matches, etc. One in the classroom for pencils, markers, flashcards, rulers, all the misc. school stuff. We have used them for hair access. in the bathroom. Barbies and all their pieces. Medicines and first aid supplies... oh the list is as endless as the possibilities!
    Have a great day...
    From one coast to the other,
    Miss you...

  3. that's a great idea! Thanks for sharing :) We have one that we use to organize school/office supplies (we homeschool so there's a pocket for pencils, a pocket for rulers, a pocket for index cards, etc) and another is hanging on the wall (since we have pocket doors primarily) in each child's room to hold their shoes and socks. We have used them in the bathroom for hair products/brushes and also in the toy room for Barbie's and matchbox cars. Why I never thought to use it for hats and gloves is beyond me! But I got so tired of rummaging through the hat bin this winter :) LOL thanks - I am going to bookmark your blog. I look forward to reading your other simple living posts. Maybe you could write more about the distinction you were mentioning between simply living and frugal living. I'd like to hear more about that. :)

  4. Yes; me too. Great posting:) lol, I've never really been organized.Lol, you should see my house right now...?(uhh-oh)Your children are such a blessing=D Have a wonderful day:)