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No matter how well or poorly the economy is faring, more people in America are living in multigenerational homes these days than ever.

Whether it’s young adults moving back home to save money for the next phase in their lives, elderly parents or relatives moving in to avoid the nursing home and age in a place among family, or any number of reasons, reports suggest that more than 20% of households currently live with two or more generations under their roof.

The reasons for these living situations are many, but the point of the matter is that any multigenerational home needs special considerations given to storage concerns to make sure everyone has enough room for their belongings, as many (or as few) as there may be.

 

One of the most immediate concerns will be food storage. As nice as it would be to imagine everyone in the family sitting down for the same meals, there will absolutely be times (due to scheduling, dietary restrictions, or both) where people need to fix their own food. A good solution for this is to take a few pantry organizers and give everyone their own designated areas in the kitchen cabinet (indicated by colored shelf liners if you’re feeling adventurous). This will help everyone grab their own food when they’re in a hurry and need to get to work, and can come in handy if you have an elderly relative with food allergies, or if any of your kids are vegan or vegetarian.

 

A lesser known issue many multigenerational homes run into is managing paperwork. With everyone under one roof, there’s bound to be a lot of important documents that get mailed to your home or sent along with your family, such as tax documents from work, medical paperwork (especially if your elderly relatives need at-home care), and so on. There’s a few ways to manage this – incoming paperwork should be given its own mail organizer to avoid being lost in the shuffle, and any documents that need to be retained long-term can be kept in a desk organizer or an easily-accessed filing cabinet for retrieval later on.

 

Particularly in homes with elderly parents, or if you’re playing host to a very young child who needs the extra precautions, then organizing for safety is an important step that may go overlooked. If your extra residents have a hard time getting around, you’ll want to make sure things like living room furniture are spread out far enough to make sure everyone can get around without the risk of trips or falls. Tape down the corners of your carpet, avoid tables and chairs with particularly sharp edges, and give everyone space to get around safely if they need it.

 

Similarly, you’ll want to label where possible. To avoid things getting mixed together, and to help elderly relatives remember where everything is, you’ll want to start using shelf labels to help identify everything. This can help prevent confusion and hopefully give everyone living there a slightly easier time remembering where everything is.

The most important thing to remember is to be flexible. Homes with this much diversity tend to run into organizational struggles that ‘normal’ homes do not, but with a little foresight you can make it much easier on everyone living there.

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