The family bin (sometimes called Sim bin or library) is the section of the game interface where a Sim or a household is stored until they have a residential lot to be placed in. It's as if the Sims are "in limbo" when they're not living on a residential lot. After a family is created in Create a Sim mode they go straight into the family bin, and from there they can be moved into a lot. In The Sims and The Sims 2, families go into the family bin when they are moved out of a residential lot. In The Sims 3, families have unlimited uses, meaning that they will only disappear out of the bin if deleted.
The family bin in The Sims accessed by clicking the "Create A Family" button in the button bar at the top of the neighborhood view. It's rather basic, and is simply a list of families. For each family, it shows the family's name, a headshot of each member, the amount of funds the family has, and the number of family friends. The player can select a family, and either delete it, or move it into a lot.
This screen also contains the button used to access Create a Sim.
Sims in the family bin cannot be called. Since they're are not living on a residential lot that has a phone, they are not considered to have a phone.
Family bin families:
Other neighborhoods do not have pre-made families in the Family bin.
The Sims 2
The Sims 2 adds the ability for individual family members to move out by using the "Find Own Place" option in a newspaper or computer. Telling a Sim to do this places them in the family bin. If The Sims 2: University is installed, Sims go into the family bin when they leave college.
With University, college sub-neighborhoods have a student bin, which serves the same purpose as the family bin. Households created in Create-A-Student are placed there, as are households created by sending teen Sims to college, and students who are moving from one college residence to another.
Until University, Sims or Sim families in the family bin could not be combined with other households. This feature allows teens who are going to college to join an existing (non-Greek) household, and allows graduates to do things such as re-join their families or form households with friends from college.
The family bin, unlike the lots and houses bin, is neighborhood specific, so families can't be moved from one neighborhood to another. Sub-neighborhoods are the exception, though. A sub-hood (with the exception of a university) attached to a neighborhood shares its family bin. So, for example, if there is a Downtown attached to Pleasantview, any of Pleasantview's inhabitants could go to live in Downtown and vice-versa.
Sims in the family bin cannot be called, even if they have cell phones. Since they're are not living on a residential lot that has a phone, they are not considered to have a phone, even if they have a cell phone. However, Sims in the family bin may be brought home from work or school. Also, if The Sims 2: Open for Business is installed, they may appear in the hiring pool; and if The Sims 2: FreeTime is installed, they may appear on hobby lots. Players can delete Sims who are in the family bin, but should not do this other than newly created families from Create-a-Sim(though even deleting newly-created sims can be bad), because it would actually damage the neighborhood and might eventually corrupt it due to the process not completely erasing the sims. Using the delete tool simply shreds the character files, but leaves behind orphaned memories, gossip, and files pretaining to the sims' wants and fears.
Family bin families:
- Riverblossom Hills
- O'Mackey (Alexandra)
Student bin families:
- Sim State University
- La Fiesta Tech
- Academie Le Tour
The Sims 3
The family bin in The Sims 3 works more or less in the same way as in The Sims 2, but now also shows the difficulty of each household. Unlike previous games, the family bin is identical in all neighborhoods with the same families, meaning that moving a household to the family bin will make their members lose all relationships with the original neighborhood's sims. Like the previous games, Sims in the family bin can't be contacted in any way.
Family bin families: