The creation of a family closet

This post could alternatively be titled “Saving my sanity when dealing with mountains of laundry”.  :)  I have mentioned our laundry situation before.  Previously, we had the same setup that most other families do.  We had dressers and closets full of clothes in each bedroom.  Our laundry room is downstairs and the bedrooms are all upstairs, so putting away clean laundry has always been a bit cumbersome.  I would constantly fold things and then place them into laundry baskets or have them sitting in neat stacks to go upstairs.  Said baskets and stacks didn’t always make it upstairs, and it was not unheard of for us to actually wear ALL the clean laundry without ever putting it away.  This drove me crazy and seemed to be an intractable problem. 

Then I read about creating a family closet.  The concept of one centralized closet for the entire family’s clothing  intrigued me.  I began to research the idea and analyze our home to see if it might work for our family.  It wasn’t long before I was convinced that this simple solution could eliminate many of our laundry woes.  I knew it would be a huge project, but my husband was immediately sold on the idea when I shared it with him.  With an idea firmly in place and a goal in mind, I began the process of rearranging and consolidating every closet and drawer in our house. 

We have three children with hopes for at least one more, so holding onto good clothing is a must.  I have many plastic storage totes full of clothes labeled by gender and size. I stacked them in my son’s bedroom closet with girls’ clothing on one side, boys’ clothing on the other, stacked in size order.  I pared down the mountains of outgrown clothes, limiting each tote to one gender/size.  So, for example, the boys 3T tote has all the clothing for both warm and cold seasons.  My aim was to keep 6 to 8 outfits per season, with at least 1 set of messy playclothes, and 2 dressy outfits for church.  Each tote also contain 2 sweaters or sweatshirts and 6 sets of pajamas.  Children’s clothing pieces are quite small, even at the preschooler age, so this amount of clothing fit surprisingly well into each container.  Children often have many more outfits than really need, so it was nice to declutter and simplify a bit during this closet reorganization project.  Along with the totes, I also stored Halloween costumes from previous years in my son’s closet and boxes full of each child’s baby clothes that I hope to sew into a quilt one day.  His closet is quite full, but organized enough that we can go right into it and easily pull out clothes for the next season.

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In my daughter’s closet, I placed the 3T totes on top (next size up!) so they’ll be in easy reach for moving down to the family closet.  This closet also holds my and my husband’s coats since they’re bulky and would take up precious space in the new family closet.  They fit well here, though – still plenty of space for more little girl totes!  A group of local moms in my area is holding a consignment sale this coming month and I’m planning to score good deal clothes for next spring and summer, hopefully including Easter dresses for the girls.  I love finding good values at consignment sales and yard sales! :)

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Where our bedroom closet once held clothing and was stuffed to the brim, it now holds only Christmas decorations, our tree, and other seasonal decor.   I also created a wrapping station in this closet for easier gift wrapping. 

Each of these closets make me happy to look at but my absolute favorite is the family closet.  We moved in two dressers and placed a storage tote full of maternity clothes to the floor along with our shoes.  I’d like a shoe storage cube soon to make that part a bit neater, but I’m still holding out to find one at a yard sale.  The main bar holds my clothes, my husband’s clothes, my son’s church clothes, and the baby’s dresses.  We hung a shower curtain rod above one of the dressers for my older daughter’s clothes. 

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If you have ever considered creating a family closet, now is the time to do it.  I simply cannot say enough good things about having only one place to put away all of our clothes and shoes.  This closet is right beside of our laundry room, so it’s very simple to put away everything as soon as it’s folded or placed on a hanger.  My children can get into the closet to pick out their own outfits, which my oldest girl particularly enjoys.  They’re also able to put away their own shoes and coats.  My husand loves it because he’s able to get dressed for work in the morning without having to tip toe around upstairs in the early morning hours. By creating a more minimal wardrobe, we also have more drawer space.  We have sheets and blankets in my son’s drawers, board games and card games in our bedroom drawers. Our house is so much better organized now, and our lives are certainly easier thanks to the family closet.  You may think of family closets as a solution for very large families, but it can be helpful for a family any size -  ours has worked wonders for our family of five. 

How do you organize your family’s clothes and shoes?  Would you ever consider creating a family closet?

 

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