MAKE ROOM For Everyone – Don’t Let Multi-generational Living Spaces Wreak Havoc on Your Household

Guess who’s coming to dinner? And possibly staying for breakfast and lunch, too? Life can unexpectedly deliver relatives to your doorstep, requiring both new accommodations and living arrangements. Experts in household organizing offer strategies to prepare your home for unexpected arrivals.


No matter who is showing up, whether a boomerang child, an aging parent or a child with offspring of his or her own, you need to make extra room.

Gayle Chillious, owner of Caring Transitions in Beachwood, recommends starting with the spare bedroom where things tend to accumulate. Set aside three large bags and fill them with trash, donation items or give-aways to other family members or friends. Start with closets, then dressers, then extra bathrooms. The clutter culprits most often are clothes, books, old TVs and CDs. Then try to tackle kitchen and the basement. One tip: use a deadline to stay focused.


The arrival of an adult child and a young grandchild or two through events such as divorce or other life-altering circumstances quickly can turn a household upside down.

Jill Fiore and her husband, John Galloway, of North Olmsted faced this situation and worked through solutions. Eleven years ago, their daughter Christy, now 38, moved into their house with her daughter Tori, now 14. Jill and John had just downsized to their child-free home when the new arrivals appeared. “It quickly became a struggle and the clutter came to a head,” Fiore says.

Clutter, a lack of space, and varying schedules are common issues when two or more generations suddenly find themselves sharing housing. It’s important to set ground rules at the outset, says Muffy Kaesburg, a professional organizer at Organizing 4 U.

“For example, after homework is completed at the kitchen table, everything must be removed so meal space is not disturbed,” she says, adding that family members of all ages must try to keep common spaces clean and avoid spreading their things everywhere.

Read more 0