Wednesday, March 06, 2013

homemaking hack #2: the family closet

I joked that last week's homemaking hack was life changing, but I can tell you with all seriousness that this week's has made my life so much easier that I can't recommend it enough! :)

I learned the ultimate homemaking hack {for large families, anyway} from Michelle Duggar, the famous mom of 19 kids we all know and love. {She is so SWEET!! I want to be like her when I grow up!}

When we had cable in our old house I watched their show {way back, when they only had 14 kids!}, and on one episode they shared this room in their home they call the family closet:

from the Duggar family website
We had baby #4 on the way, and I was so excited when I saw it...I dreamed of a house with a family closet in it that would make my laundry work a little easier like theirs did. :)

God gave us this house, and I think I cried when I peeked in the back window for the first time. There was the perfect room for a family closet with the laundry room right off of it!! :D


We started out with lots of random dressers- we only have three very small closets in the whole house, so we don't hang up clothes for the kiddos since they're so little. {which might explain some of the wrinkles they always have in their clothes! LOL!}. Not hanging up clothes saves me a ton of time, but that is another post in itself... :)

When we remodeled the room, we tried to figure out what would work the best and look pretty too. We considered having cabinets built but didn't want to spend that much money {or time remodeling} so we ended up investing in four of these Allen and Roth closet towers from Lowe's:



The hubs built a platform for our un-level back porch floors for the towers, and we bought 12 drawers and four baskets to make a pretty family closet/pantry system:


Each kiddo has three drawers, a straw basket, and a shoe basket {#5 will have a dresser for now, until we build more}. They store their special trinkets and accessories in the top basket, and random stuff like jackets and socks end up with the shoes, and I'm okay with that. It's organized, kind of. :)

I love, love, love, not putting clothes away all over the house. I can tell you now, it would never ever happen. I was always behind in putting away clothes when we had dressers in every room in our old house.  Not to mention, it made each bedroom so much more messy to have clothes everywhere needing to be picked up. 

Now I don't let the kids take their clothes off upstairs- they have to do it in the bathroom/laundry room. Their dirty clothes still end up in random places downstairs {and occasionally upstairs}, but it's not too often, thankfully! 

I seriously LOVE having this system, and it has saved me so much time. I loved it when we had only a few random dressers too, though. Keeping the clothes central to one location has been the key to laundry sanity for this mama.

We don't have a pantry at all, so until we finish the rest of the room with shelving, the top shelves are doubling as food and staple storage for now. Eventually, we might use each section above the chalkboard baskets for hang up clothes when the kids get bigger.

It's not perfect for everyone, and sometimes it gets messy, but it so works for us! :D Here's what it typically looks like after the morning rush/weeks of use {a.k.a. before straightening}:


It's been worse too, but hey, I only have to walk four steps to close all of the drawers and clean it all up! :D Elijah's nighttime chore is to clean this room, and he always does a good job putting everything away, so it's not been bad at all lately. :)

You could use any type of system to make a family closet, of course! The Duggar's apparently hang up most of their clothes, and it obviously works well for them! :D Either way, keeping most of the clothing in one place has made such a difference in how much time I spend doing laundry-related tasks.


What works for you when it comes to clothing storage? What motivates you to put the clothes away after they're washed?

Are you a hanger-upper or a drawer person? :D
Drawer girl- my hang-up clothes ALWAYS hang me up when I do laundry. :P

Most unique closet you've ever seen? {if you have a link, I want to see it too!! :DD}
I love the idea of having a washer and dryer in the master closet- and wouldn't it be cool to have a wall of pictures of your favorite outfits pre-matched so you could to remember what to wear? {That might just be me}.

39 comments:

Idaholady said...

What a clever idea...I love it! I am an empty nester, but this would be great for any size family.

Jessica said...

this idea is so intriguing to me... do your kids always get dressed in the closet then? we don't have anywhere to do it here, but who knows what the future brings...

Mandy said...

The little girls do get dressed in the same room but the older boys go to the bathroom/ other rooms and bring their dirty clothes back {most of the time}. :D

Heather said...

Cool! It wouldn't really work in our house, the laundry room is too far removed from the living space... However the design would be perfect for a craft wall I've been wanting!

Mel @ Trailing After God said...

This is awesome and always something I've wanted but there is no room like this in our home. So the clothes end up piled around the living room and on bedroom floors which makes me crazy. As you know, a family of 6 goes through a lot of clothing in a day! You are very blessed to have this kind of space!

Alli said...

We are working on finishing our basement, where our laundry is, and I would love to do this!! It would make my life so much easier. I hate hauling laundry up and down the stairs.

Joya Towne said...

I LOVE this!! My boys share a room right now so it's really not an issue putting away their clothes but this is a really great idea!!

Anonymous said...

LOL! After your last homemaking hack post, I almost commented. I was going to say that a family dressing room is what we do! Michelle Duggar changed my life with that tip, too! (Love her, as well! Such a sweet mentor!) Our family dressing room isn't nearly as big or pretty as yours, but two IKEA dressers fit along the walls and a stacked washer/dryer as well as a clothing rod for Sunday clothes --- makes it the hardest working room in the house (also has pantry stuff, off season clothing box (with stuff like snowsuits) the furnace, wrapping paper supplies, and a deep freezer! Yowza! NOT pretty but very hardworking! Oh, and did I mention the litter box. It was origionally the "cat's room" when we first moved in. Yeah ... not pleased about that, but kitty insists! Guess you can't start something and change plans with a cat! Oh well. Makes us keep up on cleaning the box every single day!) We have 4 kids. 2 boys and 2 girls. The one thing we still need to do is put a lock on the door for our girls (kind of like a bathroom). But the boys have been gentlemen about knocking. My dream shared closet would have changing stalls (like an Old Navy store or something!).

LOVE your new baby news! Yay!!!

~Amber (in Oregon)

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah --- it hosts kitty's food, the electrical box, and the computer panel (whatever that box with all the cords for internet is called)! LOL! Just thought I had to add to the image! Again ... not pretty. But, surprisingly organized for such an itty bitty multi purpose space! Brilliant idea, Duggars! I think all new houses should offer family closet options!

~Amber

Wendy said...

We just moved into our own home finally after many years of military housing. In this house I started the family closet. My son has ADHD/Aspergers and when his clothes were in his room it was a nightmare and we would rewash a ton of clothes that he didn't even wear, because he wouldn't put them away. Now it is so easy I go to our closet and put away all our clothes. (Except for my oldest daughter she is 21 and has her own space...lol) He is getting better at closing his drawers and getting his dirty clothes in the hamper. Life is way easier now :) I love my family closet!!!!

girlmeetspaper said...

I LOVE this idea!!! I wish I had a spare room to do it in...I hate putting away laundry! Maybe in our next home! Until then I'll keep working on new ways to conquer old problems. Great post!

Ulrika said...

Living in a condo in the city there's no way to have a family closet. LOL! We have a hallway/entrance closet and two of the three bedrooms have decent closet space. We also have two hallway closets (like tiny tiny rooms). These are currently used mostly for storage. My motivation for putting away the laundry? There's nowhere else it could go! We have the space in our bathroom to hang one load of grown up's and one load of kids' clothes and we have a dryer that we dry all the towels and sheets in. There isn't really any point in putting the laundry anywhere in between. And when you want to do another load you need to clear the laundry hanging or lying in the dryer. This way there is never more than one dryer load, and two small hanging sections to clear away at a time which makes it very manageable. :)

Anonymous said...

One of the things that has REALLY helped me with the clothes I hang: I lay them all out on our bed in one stack. Then I go through and put hangers in (while they are still stacked), slightly folding each shirt/hanger down as I go through. After 10 or so, it gets kind of tough to keep folding down, so I hang that bunch up and do a new one. It only takes a few minutes to hang A LOT of clothes. It's even faster if I organize my stacks based on where they go in my closet (husband, me, pants, shirts, tanks, etc). It's pretty efficient and works for me!

JoyBelle said...

This is amazing! Don't think my husband would go for it but I never know until I bring it up. Love the cabinets, regardless. They're so handsome!!!

Mandy said...

oh true!! I like your method- and that you don't get behind! awesome! :DDD

Mandy said...

yay for family closets!! Ours is a very hard working room too- we are constantly in there! :D Love useful rooms and gentlemanly boys!! Thank you for sharing girlie!!

Mandy said...

oh let me know what works for you!! I love hearing ideas!! :D

Alison Wood said...

Thanks for inspiring me to try something that has been on the back burner of my mind for awhile. I am going to put my creative juices to work and try to figure out how to get it done. Thanks for the reminder of a job undone:)
I absolutely LOVE your posts and your hair! My daughter has auburn hair and white skin with freckles sprinkled across her nose. She loves your hair too. I'm a follower and am thankful for Christian blogs out there. There not many true Christian blogs teaching great principles. I have already recommended this one to a friend!
Visiting from Pint-sized Treasures

Ashley said...

This is just cracking me up! Every time I visit your new blog posts, it's something that we're either praying about or implementing! Love it. We're moving to another apartment, so we won't have a designated room for the "family closet" but we are considering going dresser-less to make more out of the limited space that we have. :)

Seaweed and Raine said...

Wonderful. Brilliant. Inspired. I have built-ins (except in the 2 eldest boys rooms a large portion of the space up high is full of our camping things), but I can only dream of the time you save having it all in one spot - and bonus, I bet early risers don't wake everyone else up when they are rummaging for clothes! :) (A fabulous thing when you have a little baby). Do you keep your clothes in the same room too?
Sheree

Crystal said...

I've seen that episode and have also wanted a family closet. I knew a family (of 4) that used a family closet way back in the 90's. Our family was using the master bedroom closet as a family closet for a while and I loved it. Everyone bathed in the master bath (we all still do that). However, we wound up converting the closet into a small bedroom for our toddler and coming baby. So currently our daughters (13 and 6) share a closet in their bedroom, my husband and I use the coat closet for our clothes, and our toddler and coming baby share a large chest of drawers that sits in our dinning area and is also used as a changing table. I try to separate dirty clothing into baskets depending on where it has to be put away.

Lisa Suit said...

I LOVE your shelves! And I love this idea, I never thought of how practical it would be even with a smaller family than the Duggars!

Anonymous said...

Love this idea. I have a friend who grew up with 8 siblings. They had a box where all the socks were thrown. Each morning they would sift through said box to try and find a matching pair. She said that she often gave up and just pulled two socks out - no match necessary! :-)

mwimp said...

oh i've wanted a family closet since i saw that episode! we really dont have room for one altho it is on our 'remodel' list. another blog i read said the same as anonymous above. she bought all her kids white socks (all her boys were stair stepped so the socks werent ever too big or small) and threw them on one big basket in their mudroom by their shoe stand hich was also the laundry room.

Dressing said...

Family closet seems to be a very good idea. :) I wish I can do one too. It will be interesting during our spring clean up we all as a family can have fun by cleaning up it together. Again it brings togetherness.

Unknown said...

we don't have a family closet but in my daughters room, almost all of her clothes are hung up in outfits. kind of like you buy them from the store. I keep the hangers we get from outfits and then reuse them as she grows and hang new handle down outfits together in her closet. We are lucky to have large closets in each of our rooms so hanging space is not a problem. The only thing in drawers in her room is underclothes and jammies.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE your family closet- very tastefully done!
I love the Duggars and their organized chaos! With just three kids and a 2 bedroom apartment we don't have the space but fortunately our home has generous closets. My girls split their closet and two dressers (one that fits in the closet) and since its a small apartment its not too much running around for laundry. They put their own clothes away. I can tell you that they tend to stuff most of their clothes in whichever drawer has room and I have not really done much to remedy that, but once every few months I will have them go through all of their drawers and neaten them up. Usually they'll rediscover items they forgot they had and it becomes shopping our home.

Dawn Richter said...

My kids share a room, so I do all their laundry together. When I let it get so bad that there is a lot I separate her stuff and his stuff and do a delicate load with dresses and socks and undershirts (they share the socks and shirts). Then I fold them all together and put them away so it's all the same three or so drawers I am pulling out of with every load. The adult stuff is done together since it all goes to the same room (husband has more clothes than me so the bulk of his stuff is in a dresser by his side of the bed).

Anonymous said...

I use a spray bottle with water to quickly remove wrinkles. You don't need to drench your clothes to remove the wrinkles.

Jessica said...

oh I love this <3 I think if we ever build/buy a house this will have to be on the definite list of inclusions! and it would free up so much space in the kids bedrooms not having dressers and wardrobes everywhere ><

tracyannc said...

Where did you get your rug? I love it!

Rebekah Brake said...

cool idea. Don't have the room right now, but I can imagine how much time it saves!

Cricket @ Thrifty Texas Penny said...

I'm not sure I could devote a whole room for a clothing closet, but a whole room for a general storage closet - yes!
I typically do laundry once a week, whether it's 2 loads or 8. For me it's a movie day and at the end of the day all the laundry is folded/hung/put away and it's done for the week. I wrote about it a few years ago. http://www.thriftytexaspenny.com/2010/08/laundry-made-easier/ It works well for me. When we shared closets years ago there were always arguments about who's clothes were on the floor and who was wearing who's shirt etc. This is easier for me :-)

angela g said...

I need to get back to that now that my kiddos are getting bigger!...I can train them! :)

angela g said...

Hat's what we do! Sort of... I got tired of hearing about socks! Right out of the dryer, we match the socks the dryer didn't eat and put them into a sock bucket....kids all go to the bucket for their socks...my daughter enjoys wearing mismatched socks!

Dana Lamb said...

Do your children have dresser storage in their rooms? If so, what do you store in those drawers, toys? I despise laundry and we are a family of 4. I hated it even when it was just me and my husband. Our laundry room is on the first floor off our garage and our bedrooms are all upstairs. (Yes first world problems I know!) It's also about the size of a small closet. To put the size of the room in perspective, I am 5'3" and weight 100 pounds, when I bend over to grab items from the dryer, my behind touches the wall.

The thing that irks me the most about this house is we have a 10x10 bump out in our garage that could have been the laundry room - why we didn't make that part of our laundry room is beyond me. It's on our project list but likely will happen when our kids are long gone :)

Courtney said...

I live in a small condo, my 3 kids share one room and we have their clothes in a dresser in the living room. I know it sounds weird - but they prefer to get dressed/ready in the living room - well my 6 yr old gets dressed In the washroom, so it makes sense -the dresser is massive and fits three kids worth of clothes (minus sunday dressy clothes - which go in my walkin closet) plus one empty drwaer for tv/movie pariphanallia (sp?) And I can watch tv and put away at the same time :)

The Pistol Princess said...

That is a neat idea and could definitely seeing it work with bigger families. I have to say I am one of thes weird people who actually like laundry time. I like to do a lot of laundry in the evening so I have a nice big pile by mid morning the next day (yes there is a purpose to my madness). When we take a break from homeschooling mid morning, I turn on Focus on the Family and fold the clothes. My twins (6 yrs old) fold their own socks, pants and pajamas. They are responsible for taking all the folded laundry upstairs. Of course one spot laundry also sounds pretty nice too. :)

Anonymous said...

At one point we had a very small house - only two bed rooms so my 3 children had to share a room. Three beds in a room leaves very little space for dressers. The laundry room though small and narrow - had just enough room beside the washer and dryer for a 9 drawer dresser we had. Each child had three drawers. The top of the dresser became the folding table. Stand there, fold, open, put away. There were cabinets already built in in the space above where we put the dresser (that's where I kept the sheets and blankets) so I put a tension shower rod between the wall and the cabinet above the washer and dryer. I would pull hangup clothes out of the dryer and hang them directly above it. It was really nice not having to tote a laundry basket of clean clothes the each child's space ( even if though it was a SMALL space)
Another thing that I did with the hang up clothes ( mostly because I'm a bit OCD ) I got different colored hangers ( I HATE wire hangers!!!! ) for each family member ... makes it so easy on the kids when I tell them to put their clothes away each child just grabs their color hangers!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...