Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Big Family Closet in a Small House

When we designed the Barn House we knew that we wouldn't have much space for laundry. After all, the entire living quarters is only 1,600 square feet for 9 people. I had always wanted to try a family closet. In our situation it is a kids' closet. Our master bedroom has a closet and dressers for our clothes. We planned and measured our tight space and determined that we could fit 7 tall dressers side by side. These dressers are from Ikea. EJ secured them like kitchen cabinets. They are attached to one another and the wall.

He built a shelf with 8 different hanging areas. 7 for the children and one near the washer and dryer for whatever extra hanging space I might need. The shelf above holds baskets. Inside those baskets are keepsakes for the children. They each have a box with special items inside like the clothes they wore when they came home from the hospital (or in Mei Mei's case the clothing she wore the day we met her).

Their dressers have 5 drawers.
*Special Drawer (where they keep their special trinkets)

These small dressers require me to only keep the clothes that they wear. There is no room to keep more than that. I put their off season clothes in tubs for storage. I find that keeping minimal clothing also helps with the laundry situation.

We hang their nice clothes as well as anything that is too bulky for the drawers. This is obviously too high for the younger children to reach. That is on purpose.

Library books are kept on top of the dressers. This is a special place so they do not get mixed up with the numerous books we own.

We also store our games on top of the dresser. Honestly, we never have that many at a time. Little children are not known for keeping all the pieces together. 

We rotate boxes of toys. No matter how hard we try, we always wind up missing a few toys from the last box that is now located in storage. I try to put those items in this container until the next time one of us can access the box where it belongs. As you can see, this container also lives on top of the dresser.

The other side of laundry area is a command center for me. My keys are stored here as well as any paperwork I need to keep handy. My purses and bags hang on this wall along with our family calendar. There is also a handy bookshelf on that wall. My drying racks are located on that side as well.

Ideally, I would fold clothes directly out of the dryer and place them in their proper drawers. We have found that this is just not realistic. Our days are too busy for me to stop what I'm doing and tend to the laundry right away. However, we must keep laundry moving or we will be overrun with dirty clothes. We wash 1 or 2 loads per day. The children take turns emptying the clothes from the dryer into a basket and moving the load from the washer into the dryer. We stack the baskets of clean clothes on top of one another until we have time to fold and put clothes away. EJ does a separate load with all his dress shirts so they don't get thrown in a basket.

When it is time to fold and put clothes away we throw all the loads on the table and spread out the empty laundry baskets on the floor nearby. Then we all work together to toss the clothes into 5 baskets different baskets. The oldest three have their own baskets. They fold and put their clothes away. The little girls have one basket and the little boys have another. Sometimes I fold them and then let the little ones help me put them in their proper drawers. If time is running short, I just fold them and put them away.

There you have it! Our current laundry room and routine.