Large{r} Family Living: The "Family" Closet

Shortly after the birth of our third child, it became apparent that three children is much different than one child {which I’d had for 3 years} or two children {which I’d had for 4 four years!}

I found myself constantly seeking resources online for getting myself better organized… more streamlined… on top of things. Many of the most wonderful tips that I found came from the Moms of large families. Six, ten, fourteen, and more children! It really made perfect sense though… if you’ve got that many kids to take care of on a daily basis {and many of them were also fellow homeschoolers to boot!} then their tips and tricks ‘o the trade  must be time-tested and efficient. 😉

For me, one of the first things that changed radically upon Ellie’s entrance was our laundry…….

I had one child that changed her clothes three times a day… minimum. I had another who believed that the whole house was his dirty laundry basket… and I had a newborn that went through more clothes, sheets, blankets, and burp cloths than both of the older two put together!?!

So beginning with the laundry situation, I decided to do something that one of my favorite bloggers had also done… I adopted a large family mentality.

When it came to the laundry and wardrobe maintenance area, it seemed like many large families used variations on one basic concept: The Family Closet.

The Duggars and the Bates use it.

And so does Kimberly over at Raising Olives… Stephanie over at Keeper of the Home… Andrea over at True Moments of Family… and Mandi over at Organizing Your Way. Since the time of my research into the different variations of the family closet, there are dozens of new blog posts on the subject, as the idea has just become seriously popular. {Just Google: “family closet” and have fun!}

The first incarnation of this concept is something that I shared back in May of 2010 and looked like this…

{I did not yet have my awesome Nikon D3000… for shame…}

A “children’s closet” in our laundry room!

My husband and I still keep all of our clothes in our master bedroom closet and dressers. Our bed linens are kept in our hall closet and the closet spaces in the children’s rooms are used for toy and dress-up storage… meaning no clothes scattered all over their rooms and neater looking spaces due to being able to store some of their playthings away in the closets!

But since adding another baby to the mix in October of 2010, it wasn’t long before we began to outgrow the remaining space of even our generously sized laundry room!

So over the course of this year, the laundry room has gone back to being more of “just” a laundry room…

Although I do still have a bit of storage in there… a linen cabinet serves as the perfect place for crib bedding and various baby blankets. Next to that is a small shelf where I keep baby washcloths, towels, socks, tights, and infant shoes. Oh… and the five gallon bucket??? That’s our laundry detergent! 😉

Of course, I made sure that this didn’t go anywhere! In fact, my dear husband even “upgraded” it a little by adding shelves to it! {Ana White has a great little version of this over at her site…}

And we pushed the children’s closet on out to the adjoining breezeway that we’ve usually used as a mudroom/storage room…

Taa daaa!
In addition to the move, we also added another dresser {thanks to my Mom’s cousin who was ditching it during a remodel…} and added two, three-drawer carts. 
  • The light dresser contains all of Sammi’s shirts, pants and softball uniforms/practice clothes.
  • The three-drawer carts on top contain undies, socks, and Ellie & Emme’s jammies. 
  • The dark dresser now contains all of Ellie, Emme, and Lawrie’s tops and bottoms. 
  • The two white baskets on the top of that dresser contain Sammi & Lawrie’s jammies.
  • The big, yellow giraffe rack 🙂 holds all of Ellie & Emme’s dresses and Lawrie’s dress shirts.
  • The tall wooden wardrobe holds all of Sammi’s dresses and skirts.
The two open bins there on the bottom-left of that picture are where I stash things that have been grown out of, while they wait to be “officially” binned and stored. 😉 
I also have two more bins for Sammi & Lawrie tucked under their current clothes for…
Since I shop Goodwill throughout the year and consignment sales that happen a good bit before the coming season, I store all those goodies in these until it’s time for the Great Season Change Over.
All in all, the “children’s closet” takes up one wall of this room…

…which also holds all of those bins over there that contain all of my children’s clothing from birth through girl size 7! While the girl bins are currently seeing quite a bit of use, I also regularly loan out and donate items from the boy bins… {Maybe we’ll get to use them again someday ourselves!} There’s also two bins of kids shoes and two bins of maternity clothing over there.

There are really so many advantages to this family closet idea. It is something I am really sold on and would even carry out to including all of our clothes if given the space.

The more clothes you can keep in one location, the less likely they are to get strewn about, dragged around, and lost forever. In addition, having it in or close to the laundry room also speeds things along in the wash-dry-put away process! And quite frankly, as a family of six living in this three bedroom, one bathroom house… we are always looking for better ways to make the most use of our almost 2,000 square feet. 🙂

::This post was originally guest post over at my cousin Renee’s site Living, Laughing, and Loving

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