Every family I know feels inferior to the unrealistic “normal” family archetype. This is especially true in the hurried, schedule-packed world we create for ourselves bombarded by Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram images that are perfectly aspirational, and forever out of reach.
Keeping up with the Joneses seems even more impossible now than ever … but maybe that’s just our family. Both previously married, my partner and I have a whopping seven children in our blended family, ranging in age from 5 to 22.
With only one out on her own (who still visits this crazy house because she “misses it,”) our family runs into plenty of logistical snags. Especially when it comes to space. But, over time we’ve found a couple tricks that actually work and help us live together peacefully (well, most of the time).
Let’s face it, one and a half bathrooms are not enough for eight people. The guys didn’t like the idea of using the great outdoors, so we had to come up with some clever ways to keep the peace … and the bathroom looking like a place to clean oneself and not where used Q-tips, discarded clothing, toothpaste tubes, and hair ties go to die.
Here are the top three bathroom hacks that work for my large blended family:
1. Every Towel for Itself
Apparently the concept of drying your face with matching towels that grace the hooks in the bathroom is disgusting to some. Something about not knowing where it has been? There’s also the problem of the blank stares I get when I ask who left their wet towel(s) on the floor.
Well, no more guessing the culprit. After a long family meeting it was decided that each member would get two towels of a specified color to use AND wash with their own laundry. This may mean that there’s a whole rainbow of towels around, but it instills responsibility in the kids, and at least they know where the towels have been.
2. Cubbies Are Not Just for Kindergartners
Cluttered doesn’t begin to describe how our single bathroom looked when we moved into our beautiful home. One tub = the home of 14 shampoos, five razors, four facial cleansers, a few bubble baths, at least two whitening toothpastes, and a princess-themed strawberry one. Not to mention the acne, hair, and shaving needs of the teens (which the younger ones don’t need access to).
Behold, the hall cubby. We took a thrift store rack and some clearance baskets and gave every electric superhero toothbrush and $40 makeup brush kit a safe home. We captured a few photos with everyone sporting a fake mustache, as visual labels for those who couldn’t read. The youngest could find his cubby on the bottom, the eldest on top. To save space in the bathroom, the cubby goes in during showers and baths, and back into the hall at its home when finished.
True, the stray floss pick, toothpaste spittle, and hairspray dust still show up, but I will take it. At least the high school boy won’t mistake his sister’s perfume for Axe, and leave the house smelling like a vanilla cupcake!
3. The Flat Iron Can Go Hook Itself
I will admit, the girls do take up most of the drawers left in the bathroom with their hair accessories. Most notorious is the straightener, which I am most certain is being used by more hands than those belonging to the females in the family. I just don’t have proof … yet.
The issue with hair styling devices is the burns the kids can get when reaching to put it away, unaware it has recently been used.
A little double coat hook screwed into the wall, high above little fingers, is priceless. The stacked hooks have a place to rest the mouth of the straightener and hang the cord. When the iron cools it can be safely tucked away.
So far so good for our little family with these little epiphanies.
What tried and true bathroom hacks does your family use?More On