A quiet room and a loud room

One of the hardest (and most unexpected) challenges for me in transitioning from single life to momhood was organization.

I have never been an organized person at home. I didn’t really get the point. It always seemed like there were better things to do.  I was of the opinion: Why make your bed if it’s just going to get messed up again?

But one husband and three kids later, I get the point: If we are not organized, the whole family ceases to function. We can either have peaceful mornings or stress and yelling with everyone leaving the house in a horrible mood. So much of it just comes down to organization. Who knew?

Since realizing this tool, I’ve become so curious how other parents, not natural Martha Stewarts, pull it off. So, please, write in your tips.

With 3 kids in a 3 bedroom house, this is how we do it:

First life-changing decision: a quiet room and a loud room.

I had so much trouble keeping the kids’ schoolbooks and homework organized. This led to lost homework, missed homework, frustrated teachers, and the previously mentioned yelling and stress.

So we came up with a quiet room and a loud room. One room for work, study, art: a place where you can go and count on for quiet:

Every kid keeps her own books above her desk.

There’s also the grown-up desk. (Pretend you don’t see my husband’s drums.)

I realize the irony that the “sleeping” room is called the “loud” room. Unfortunately, the label is accurate. 2 kids sleep in bunk beds:

Another parent may have made the beds before taking the photo, but at least the kids made those themselves.

The littlest kid was sleeping in a toddler bed that fit the room perfectly. Then, she grew. Our solution was to build this loft bed. (Don’t worry, she’s in the lower bunk, not up there.)

Making use of every bit of space, and because we all love to read, we made the landing on the stairs into a reading nook. I love this because it feels like an extra room.

It even doubles as “the music room” (This is where my husband’s drums should be.)

In case you can’t tell, I am wildly procrastinating writing my book. The good news is, that this summer, in spite of traveling, sickness, blogging obsessions, and various other unforeseen drama: Part One is done! YAY I am so excited about it.

Now on to Part Two…

13 thoughts on “A quiet room and a loud room

  1. I love the idea of a quiet room and a loud room — look forward to implementing something like it once we have more space! Echoing jmlindy, I would love to move in with you! Your house looks like a creative and comfy place to hang out.

    Do you mind if I ask the source of your bunk bed? We are having sleep issues with my two girls who share a bed and my oldest has been resorting to making a nest for herself on the floor. Wondering if bunk beds might help solve this problem, and I like the design of these.

    Love your site, hoping to launch a new blog that deals with similar issues. I am of the “Free to Be You and Me” generation, raising two media-hungry girls and horrified by the myriad gender issues I see on-screen, in the toy aisle and in the clothing stores. But don’t get me started…

    Sorry for the long comment, and thanks for the inspiration!

  2. One thing I did as a mother of two boys and husband with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) is to institute the 15 minute night before check list.
    Depending on occasion (from school, to sports, to family trips) each would have a 6 bullet pointed list of things to get ready for the next day. For example, the school list for the boys would be:
    #Homework checked and proper folder
    #Folders, Books, Notebooks & Supplies in Backpack
    #Water bottles refilled, lunches packed and in Fridge
    #Proper shoes for next day in cubby under backpack
    #Proper outerwear on hook next to Backpack (including hat/gloves)
    #Review calendar for activities for the next day (Sports, scouts, etc)
    For my husband and myself:
    #Restock briefcase with legal pads, pens, etc
    #Check electronics plugged in and recharging
    #Water bottles refilled, lunches packed and in Fridge
    #Check boys school/after school schedule, co-ordinate drop-off/pick-up
    #Check menu for next days dinner/pull from freezer/prep work
    #Check car/van for gas, garbage bags, sports gear etc.

    We have different lists for morning etc. These are all printed on different colored index cards from my kitchen (command central) computer. The family calendar is posted in the Mud room on the door into the kitchen Each family member has a different colored pencil to mark down appts, commitments, etc. (Including the dogs/cats/gerbils/lizard etc) so we can see who needs to go where and when.

    It took two years with our oldest to get in this system going and when his brother came a long we just incorporated him into. Luckily my husband married me (the OCD medical professional) who likes to plan out actions, have “treatment” protocols available to review, and was blessed with parents who taught me how to keep house while working full time. (My Dad did everything in the 60’s from changing diapers to cooking to housecleaning to leading a brownie troop and my Mom (who did not like to cook) taught us house repair, baseball and how to make sure each child got some special attention everyday. (She had been one of 13 siblings and vowed none of her 4 would be forgotten)

    A cool resource is FLYLADY.NET especially her calendars.


    • Hi Teri,

      Wow, I am really impressed.

      I tried the color-coded calendar and it lasted for about 3 weeks. “The Calendar” is seriously one of the biggest challenges of motherhood for me. Neither my husband or me is OCD! I wish we were, just one of us, at least…

      We do have hooks for each kids by the door and I make sure all backpacks are loaded up the night before. All clothes are laid out the night before, including socks and shoes and sweaters if needed. My kids know that I “don’t look for things in the morning.”

      This morning, I did realize the need to create a new rule: No opening backpacks in the car. Back packs must stay zipped until at home or in school.

      Thanks for the comment.


  3. I really admire your use of space in your house, and might have to use this for inspiration if I have kids one day. 🙂 Your family has some really fantastic layout and storage ideas – I love the loft bed in particular.

    • Hi NikolitaNiko,

      Thank you! I live in a Victorian built in 1911 so hardly any closets and no garage. We have no storage! But the good side, I’ve realized, is if you don’t have space for clutter, you cant have much of it.


  4. I love your sense of style! One thing I was wondering, do your children actually sit down and do their homework at their desks?

  5. Fantastic use of space! Very inspiring as we are soon to cram two children into a two bedroom and similar size landing house. How do you get into that loft bed? From the angle of the image, it looks like the child would have to fly or vault and then do the limbo. I’m guessing there is an easier way…

    • Hi Amma,

      There is a ladder coming down the left side on an angle. I could not fit in the photo. Though usually they climb up the back of the couch and mount on the third step of the ladder from there.

      Good luck with the house!


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