Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Family Closet

We have a big master closet.  7'x10'.  And we don't have many clothes.  After living in our house for 6 years, I never liked the closet.  It was a catch-all, and I ended up living out of the laundry basket.  Laundry.  That was another problem.  We have the laundry on the 3rd floor, right near the bedrooms.  It's amazing, but when I was doing laundry for 5 people, plus linens and cloth towels/rags/napkins, it never got properly sorted or put away. 

I was having to put stuff away in the Monkey/Small Fry's room, Split Pea's room, our room, and the linens (linen closet and kitchen).  It just never got done.  And I hated the huge piles everywhere. 

One day in October I was bit by the "purge" bug.  You know, the one that causes you to get so sick of an annoying mess that you just decide to throw everything away?  I ended up cleaning our hated-master closet and moving boxes that had sat untouched for 5 years. 

Then I had a lightbulb moment.  Our closet was big enough to house EVERYONE'S clothes.  One place to put ALL the clothes?  Could it be done?  Thank goodness for a new IKEA that had recently opened just 20 minutes from my house.  I brainstormed some ideas, headed to IKEA and built a "child-size" version of their closet spaces. 

Over the course of about a week, I bought and built some furniture, rearranged the closet, moved the boys' clothes out of their closets, did LOTS of laundry and tested out some new set-ups.  

View from the door, closet in progress.

We already had built in racks about 5' high that went around two of the walls.  Along one 10' wall, I set up two drawer systems and placed a wire-rack with a hanging-clothes bar.  Small Fry has a section to hang his clothes, and a set of 4-drawers.  The Monkey has the same set up.  Split Pea has a section on the taller rack (because he's just too little to pick out his clothes), and a set of plastic drawers that hold his pj's, pants and socks. 
Mounted one rack to the wall on the left
I used existing wire shelving unit for my lounge clothes, pj's, socks.  I built a wooden set of drawers I had randomly purchased from IKEA one day, and used that for Hubby's t-shirts, pj pants and boxers.  I bought square open boxes for the boys and hubby to hold socks and underwear.  
About 95% finished.  Just need to add my clothes and finish cleaning up. 

 After just over a month, the closet is working better than I'd imagined.  I still feel motivated to fold and put away laundry all at once.  It's easy since I only have to go one place, fill up a basket with the linens for the boys to fold before dinner, and we're done.  

The current state of the closet.  Looking to the right from the doorway. (My clothes on the upper right, Split Pea's on the upper left)
The boys *really* love picking out their own clothes and they are very respectful of the space.  They put their dirty clothes in the basket, and know where each of their items is located.  I love being able to ask them to get dressed, "and don't forget socks and a hoodie" and they do it.  The independence has been great.  
Looking to the left from the doorway.  Small Fry's clothes on the bottom left.
Hubby's wooden drawers and hanging clothes (behind the door is a shoe rack and mirror)
Since they also bathe in our large master garden tub, it's easy for them to get pj's on in the closet and entertain Split Pea while he goes through his nightly routine of meds and shots.  
Split Pea's folded clothes, and shoes just to the right of the doorway.

From a useless catch-all mess that I dreaded dealing with, to a completely functional family closet that solved problems of laundry getting put away, kids wearing the wrong size underwear and clothes in just a week.  I am happy we made the is making life a little more sane with three kiddos 5 and under. 

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