Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Family Closet

I am FINALLY getting this post up.  I've been really busy lately, and life...well, it certainly isn't ever going to slow down!  I had to take these pictures and them take the time to label them, so that took awhile.  If you can't read them, click them and they should get bigger.

I get asked ALL the time "how do you do (insert topic here) with FOUR KIDS?  Frankly I don't think four is all that many, and I look to friends/blogs where they have eight or more kids for inspiration on how to organize my four  :o)  A family closet is something I'd seen various places and we decided to give it a try.  I'm partly not blogging about it till now because I wanted to make sure it was something we would actually use.
#1 an I do not currently use the family closet.  We will in the future, but that is another story for another time.  
 Above is how the closet usually looks.  Ok, put a couple of laundry baskets and a mound of laundry (right now HUGE as our dryer is broken) in the front and it would be a little more accurate.  I put my best foot forward and moved the junk.
 The clothes rack that was in the front on the other picture rolls out of the way and can sit out when I'm hanging up clothes (see far right of picture).  It houses the boys' church and school clothes.  Right behind it is a smaller one for the girls.  Basically any pants/shirts hanging are not for painting in or playing in the yard.

Each kid has a shelf for play/everyday clothes.  Their stuff is where they can reach it (sans Sweet Pea) but so far only Snug is responsible enough not to dump the piles off while getting his clothes.

I know that on the far left and bottom are some funky things, my paint program messed up the picture but I refused to go back and redo all of the writing.  I have two rolling carts with drawers that I used in our old house that are now repurposed to hold tights/leggings/outgrown socks/Crocs/sun hats.
 The large wardrobe in the back is all of the kids off season dress clothes or dress clothes that they have outgrown/someone else is going to grow into.  On the far left is another hanging thing that houses the boys' church shoes at the top (their everyday/school shoes are in crates in their bedroom but I don't want church shoes scuffed up), #1's work/church shirts that I've pulled from the dryer, and a hanging organizer that I keep the kids' sweaters in.
 This is an up close view of a toy organizer that I'm using for socks and underwear.  The yellow and blue bins are boys/girls unmatched socks.  Clearly it is time to dump them out and pair them.  The kids help me with that.  They each have a bin for underwear and socks (Sweet Peas has her onesies).  There is also a bin for long underwear that this summer I think I'll put swimming suits in.  The green bin is for seasonal clothes that I don't necessarily want worn all the time, but don't want to forget when the time is right.  When Christmas is over I'll put in St. Patrick's Day shirts or Valentine's shirts or whatever I find in their bins*.  They all don't have clothes for all of those occasions, but if they do I want to make sure they are used.
Here's a closer look at their everyday clothes shelf.  I labeled two of them so you could get an idea of what is there.  The girls have sweatshirts on this shelf, the boys do not.  They have them in their room for easy access when they need another layer to play outside.  Note that there are not PJ's anywhere.  These are still kept in their bedrooms.  We just find it easier.

Why a family closet?  This works well for us because I am dragging quite a bit less laundry back up the stairs.  I simply pull it from the dryer and put it directly away.  I am saving LOTS of time.  Also, when the kids had clothing in their rooms they tended to root through it and make a mess.  I am pretty sure I was washing clean clothes all over again, and there was some clothing that never got worn.  Now everything is evenly rotated.

*I have bins for each gender/size at our house.  Take for example Rosebud.  She is wearing 18-24 month clothes.  In her bin are her summer clothes (that aren't for church, those are in the wardrobe).    We are very blessed by hand-me-downs and if I end up with several pairs of say, jeans, I'll keep back a couple of pairs in that size bin to ensure that Sweet Pea will have some without holes when it is her turn to wear that size.  We are sometime SO blessed by hand-me-downs that I end up passing on clothes in the size my kids are currently in to other people.  We also have families that we swap clothes with when our kids aren't using that particular size.

I have a few rules about clothing.  For the girls it must be modest, even though they are small.  My kids don't wear clothes with certain cartoon characters or slogans that we don't care for.  Another rule I have is when I put a size away, if it doesn't all fit in one plastic bin I have to sort through and get rid of some things.  I think this might change for Snug soon as his actual clothes take up more space, but for now I am careful to only keep what will fit in a bin.
 I also am careful to only keep a certain amount of certain clothes.  If you look at the picture above you'll see that Rosebud (bottom shelf) has eight long sleeved shirts.  I took these pictures when (most of) the laundry was done.  No little girl needs eight shirts, but I won't keep any more than that.  If I am given more I'll decide which ones we'd get the most use out of and pass on the rest (or keep one or two back in the bin so Sweet Pea has some without stains).
I shop Goodwill, clearance racks, and kids resale stores, but you have to be REALLY careful when you do this.  People tend to see a great price on a cute item and think "wow this will save us money!".  However if you already have, to use the above example, eight long sleeved shirts for that child, buying one more doesn't save you money, it is wasting money.  I carry a spreadsheet in my purse.  It tells me exactly what I have in each size starting with the size Sweet Pea or LMM are in up to two sizes above what Snug and Rosebud are in.  It includes EVERY article of clothing in the family closet and bins along with winter outerwear, shoes, and even snow boots.  I can glance at my chart and know if this pair of boys jeans in a size 7 with no holes in them is something we need or no.  If I have 6 pairs in the bin, it is a no.  If I have 2 it is a for sure YES!.  My spreadsheet is very specific.  As soon as I buy something or they get a box of hand-me-downs or a gift from grandparents I update the chart.  It is as easy as putting a tally mark in the appropriate box.  Having the permanent chart be very specific keeps the task of updating it easy and doable.  If it isn't easy and doable, you won't do it!!!

Wow, that was a long post. Hope that was informative for at least someone.


Becky Marie said...

Very cool idea. I have the two big boys sharing a closet right now, and I try to keep our clothes organized. I need to be better about sorting what we have in storage. I really like your idea of having a spreadsheet, I should probably do that. Thanks for posting this.

A Cheryl said...

Wow, this is a great idea on so many levels & so close to the laundry room. This would work for any size family. Love you.