Monday, May 28, 2012

Large Family Tip--The Family Closet

The title says it's for large families, but really, if you have a kid(s) who can't seem to keep their dresser drawers tidy or a house that isn't conducive to gathering laundry, a family closet might be right for you.

I learned of the family closet shortly before Birdie was born because I was flipping out about having 4 small children to care for and was looking for ways to make daily living more efficient. The family closet is one of the things we have incorporated into our lives since Birdie came around, and it has worked out very nicely and cut down on my laundry duties as well as made it easier for my big kids to keep their clothing tidy and accessible. One of the benefits of the family closet is that everything is hanging, so you have less folding to do. Another is that everyone keeps their clothing in one place (and ideally in or near the laundry area) so that when you put your clothing away or gather dirty clothing, you only have to visit one location. I would have ours in the laundry room if I could, but our laundry room is ridiculously small. Maybe some day we'll remodel and make it bigger! Another benefit for larger families is that it eliminate the need for dressers in the bedroom. This is great for room sharing or tight spaces. It also frees up bedroom closet space for other storage items. And one of the benefits I have seen in our own lives is that it avoids the messy dresser drawers my kids tend to have.

Step one was to limit the amount of clothing my kids had out. My kids have grandparents on both sides that spoil, spoil, spoil them! So they have way too many clothes. I got some boxes, just basic moving boxes, but you could use something fancy if you like, and I labeled them by gender and by size. I wish I had a picture, but they are stored in Birdie's closet and she is sleeping right now! I limited them to about 5 to 10 shirts and shorts/pants and one jacket. I limited socks, undies and pajamas too. One way to get good use out of all the clothes they have is to rotate them monthly or as the seasons change. Here in Oklahoma, the weather changes from day to day, so I do have to make sure to keep at least a few of each season out just in case. I don't really limit the baby clothing because babies don't get into their clothing needlessly the way my big kids do, and because babies go through alot more outfits per day.

Step two was to gather my materials--a good sized closet (but you can use your mud room, laundry area or any other place that a shelf can be installed), a shelf--I purchased Closet Maid shelves at Target for around $12 dollars each, and hangers--both pants and shirt hangers. The only other thing you need is bins and laundry baskets. I wanted fancy cute bins, but I also wanted to keep the project cheap, so I used plastic bins that had previously been used for our Workbox System. You need a bin for each child's socks and a bin for each child's undies. And you need a laundry basket for each child, or if you have many children, pair them by age groups or genders, or however you like. This is just how I do it. I also have a shelf and dresser in the closet, but only because I had no where else to store it, so in it went. I chose a few pairs of jammies and each child has a jammie drawer. It's messy. But I can handle one messy jammie drawer per child. You could hang jammies too, but I didn't think it necessary since jammies don't really wrinkle in a messy drawer the way day clothing does. And since I didn't have enough pants hangers, the shelves have the baby's pants and a couple of the big kid's pants/shorts. If I had more hangers, I wouldn't use that shelf at all!

I've included some pics so you can get an idea of what it is like. Maybe the family closet is something that will work for your family!
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Aspiring Foster Mama said...

This is a great idea Jennifer!!

fitnfree said...

That's a wonderful idea! My niece is on her 4th child - due in September. I'll have to show her this. Thanks!

Rach J DeBruin said...

Absolutely love this idea! I stumbled onto your blog today & am looking forward to reading more articles :)

Rachael D

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