Some time ago, I was researching ideas for making my daily life a bit easier.  I found myself perusing large-family websites to find solutions to common household issues.  One of my favorite pages is the Household Center, where I found all sorts of ideas.  One that really peaked my interest was the idea of a family closet. 

Picture a typical laundry day.  Perhaps it involves several loads of laundry that must be washed, dried, and folded.  I like to sit and fold on some type of table or bed, which allows the toddlers to unfold things as fast as I fold (all in the name of “helping” of course).  I often delay the folding until after the kids go to bed.  Then, I’m stuck with piles of neatly folded laundry that must be shuffled all over the house to the different bedrooms, but then again, they can’t be put away in the kids’ rooms because they are sleeping.  When the kids woke up and were assigned the task of taking their clothes to the rooms, the younger ones often dropped a few items on the way, and I would later find everything mixed together in a drawer somewhere.  There was just no easy flow to the laundry sessions.

Supposedly, the family closet solves this entire dilemma.  The great thing is that it is totally flexible based on the space you have available.  There are no rules!  You can decide if you want it in your laundry room, or a seperate area altogether.  In my case, I decided I wanted everything to be in the same area, with an additional area for storage space and seasonal clothing.  My big dream plan for the farm will be a significant investment, so I decided to start small and experiment, tweaking the plan as I go.  God blessed us in this new house with a huge utility/laundry space that I figured would be perfect!  So here is what we came up with:

S completed this project for me a week ago.  I am able to sort, wash, dry, and fold all the laundry within an arms reach of each area.  Then, I pre-match outfits for each child, sort into piles of play-clothes, dress-clothes, and others, then divide the kids clothes into their designated section of shelves or hanging racks.   We also had an extra 5-drawer chest that we put in there, and each child was assigned 1 drawer for underwear, socks, and PJ’s.  It is a limited-shelf area, so S stores most of his regular use items down there in the remaining spaces, but I still have my stuff  in our bedroom. Despite the limited area, though, I have cut my shuffling of folded laundry down to my clothing and my bedroom.  EVERYTHING else (clothing-wise) is in the family closet.

A quick sketch of my layout

Next to the closet space is a makeshift table for folding and sorting clean items. Just to the right of that is the washer and dryer.  Directly across from it are the hampers used for sorting.

 The plan is that the family will make their way downstairs each evening, select the clothes they want to wear the next day, and take those items to their rooms.  Dirty laundry is collected either in a basket in the bedroom, or in a hamper in the laundry area–dependent on where the bedroom is located.  Each week, on the designated day, as part of chores, the clothes are removed from any bedroom baskets and sorted into the laundry room hamper.  Each child (older ones) is responsible for their own clothing.

I may do a few tweaks as the time goes by, but so far I absolutely LOVE IT!  It just seems that my laundry time has somehow been cut in half.  I no longer stress about an unexpected visitor because my pile of laundry is laying on the couch in the middle of the living room. In one glance, it is easy to see who is running low on what. 

I am just thrilled that I have this opportunity to experiment with the concept prior to creating my final version back at the farm.  Be sure to check out Lots of Kids’ Family Closet site for more ideas.