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530 – How to Organize a Multigenerational Home

Organize 365 Podcast
Organize 365 Podcast
530 - How to Organize a Multigenerational Home

This podcast episode will give you tactical and functional organizing tips for multigenerational living. If you are in a multigenerational home or considering this option – this is for you!

Multigenerational living is near and dear to my heart these days. I am cherishing this life phase I’m currently in – sharing my home with Abby (my daughter) and Grayson (my grandson). I know many members of the Organize 365® team and community also live in multigenerational homes. 

I realize that different circumstances may lead you to be in a multigenerational home. The three main situations that I’ve seen for multigenerational living are:

  1. Caregiving. If you are living the “sandwich” generation lifestyle – taking care of your parents while trying to keep up with your adult children – I have a BIG HUG for you! Being a caregiver can be incredibly isolating. I’ve been there, and it can be a long road. 
  2. They are consciously merging households. This seems to be a more recent phenomenon (in the United States, at least). Families consciously decide to live together because they enjoy each other, it makes economic sense, and they can share in the work and experience of running the household together.
  3. Life circumstances. Sometimes it’s not a conscious decision, but life circumstances create a situation where multigenerational living is necessary.

Regardless of how you ended up in a multigenerational home, here are my top organizational tips for making the most of the situation:

  • Be purposeful about transitioning the home to support a multigenerational home.
  • Ensure that everyone (INCLUDING YOU) has their own space. Everyone needs their own space. In my home, this means that Abby and Grayson have their basement apartment. They get to decide what they want down there, what it looks like, and they are responsible for everything in this space. I also have my rooms in the house that are just mine.
  • Create rules for communal spaces, but be willing to renegotiate and evolve those rules as the situation changes. For example, the collaborative spaces in our home are the living room, kitchen, laundry room, and garage. These areas get to be cleaned and organized to my standards. There are rules for how we operate and care for these areas.
  • Laundry Days – This one has been great in our household. We have designated laundry days to ensure that we can get laundry done for ourselves on the days that our most convenient for all of us in the household.
  • Don’t feel guilty about saying what you want regarding the communal spaces.
  • Organizing the kitchen and food in a multigenerational home – start by considering the stages of life each of you are in. In my household, we have the toddler phase, Greg and I work away from home, and Abby is a stay-at-home mom. Our kitchen supports three very different stages of life. We have created a dedicated space for everyone’s food and Grayson’s adorable toddler eating utensils, plates, and sippy cups.

How I’ve maintained my cleanliness standards in communal spaces:

  • Baby Gates – Living Room, Dining Room, and Laundry – Grayson doesn’t go in those areas, so they stay picked up.
  • Weekly Cleaning – We have a weekly cleaner come, and every Thursday, we know the house is being cleaned, and everything needs to be picked up.
  • Minimalized toys in the family room – Constantly decluttering and rotating the toys in the family room – not minimalist but minimized.

When you live in a multigenerational home, there will be some frustrations. If you are feeling frustrated (and I’ve been there), try to do a mindset swap and remember the many blessings of this experience. 

Your home needs to be organized differently, and you need to establish different rules for yourself for all the phases of life and other people living in your home with you.

Top 2 takeaways for living in a multigenerational home:

  1. Pick your battles.
  2. Create rules.

See the episode resources below for your supply list to help keep each member of the family and the entire household running smoothly. You’ll share a lot, but you don’t need to share your brain!


Did you enjoy this episode? Please leave a rating and review in your favorite podcast app. Share this episode with a friend, and tag Organize 365® when you share on social media! 

How to organize a multigenerational home
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