Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Family Closet

Okay, I have had an ongoing battle with laundry. Yes, that somewhat benign thing that everyone else on the planet does without much thought or worry, has been known to kick my butt on a regular basis. It is sad, but true. BUT NO MORE!!! I have a secret weapon, I have knowledge handed down to me by other, more experienced mothers who have fought the laundry dragon and come away victorious!!!!

First, what was my issue, where was this sort of assembly-line scenario falling apart. First you gather, then wash, then dry, then put away. Isn't that how it goes? Well i had a few extra steps in there... I had gather (I'm good at that one) and wash, then I have sit and start to get that weird smell, then wash again, then dry, then fluff because we forgot it in there and everything is all wrinkled, then put in big pile on chair in bedroom, let rest.... dress from this pile until you cant remember if parts are clean or dirty, and then wash all the pile again. This brings us back to gather, the part I'm good at!!!

Okay, its ugly, but there it is, my not so streamlined version of a laundry assembly line. So, where is the back up? It comes from two places, first if my husband gets involved it can throw me into a terrible backspin that has been known to cause years of laundry hell. I kid you not! There was the removal of wet clothing to dry one shirt incident of 2003 that left us behind and continually screwed for over a year! So there is that....

Then there is the whole folding, hanging, putting away thing. I hate it! I feel so defeated by it and I basically avoid it like it is some sort of terrible manual labor that involves pick axes and a lot of sweat. But why? Oh yeah, because I will fold them and put them away and then in a little one's attempt to find that perfect shirt they will end up all over the floor, where they are then napped on by the dog! Frustrating? YES!!!!

So if I can get that end of things situated, I could then dry fast, and therefore wash faster (without the weird smell) and then we are back to gathering (the part I'm good at)!!!!

Well, a wise mother of sixteen posted on her site about the family closet (insert sound of angels singing here). Yep! One closet for the entire family. Not only one closet, but NO DRESSERS! Freedom! (again with the angels). So here is what we do and why...

Once closet for five people
  • the clothes range from ME to GD to GM to myself and then my husband
  • Below the clothes on the floor are two bins, one for kiddy socks, one for adult socks
  • everything is hung on hangers, including t-shirts. This keeps us from keeping clothes we don't wear because they aren't hidden in a drawer, it also makes it so the kids can see exactly which one they want and we don't end up with clothes on the floor.
  • the only clothes not on hangers are underclothes and pjs. These are in my closet in drawers below the hanging clothes.

This is why it is great...

  • All the laundry in one room means it is easy to put away
  • hangers only makes it VERY fast to put away
  • clothing in one room means everyone dresses in there, so laundry is already gathered
  • bedroom closets in the children's rooms are free for toys, and special things they want in there (personal storage)
  • no dressers frees up space in each child's room so they have more room to play
  • I keep a couple bags on the floor (the paper ones with handles) one for donate, one for outgrown and needs to be stored; this really helps me not over accumulate and keep things streamlined and uncluttered.
  • I keep clothes that are in the cycle (outgrown by one, but about to be worn by another) on the shelf above the soon to wear child's clothes, this prevents forgetting about them and finding them when the second child has already outgrown them too.

Mommy is sane! I win! I am victorious! I wouldn't even claim victory if I hadn't been doing this for quite some time now. It has been a couple months and the system has not failed me yet. I don't even have to think about it. EVERYTHING is right there. It is so simple and obvious.


Roo said...

Confession: I like to do laundry. It's my favorite chore. I especially like to fluff and fold towels. I can ignore the dirty dishes, the toys and books scattered over the house, endless questions about what is for dinner if only I have fluffed and folded towels in my bathroom.

Yet, the idea of a big closet for everyone's clothes sounds heavenly. I'm quite jealous. My home was built in the 1920s when closets were no bigger than two-feet wide. I crave closet space. Enjoy yours!

APKimberMama said...

I'd love a huge closet or tiny room we could use as a family clothing area! I wish I had something like that near the laundry room! The wheels are spinning....

Joanne said...

You are quite possibly the funniest person I know~ I believe after you have raised my ADORABLE grandchildren into AMAZING adults that you should publish a book on all of your domestic issues!!
Did I not model good domestics? I mean laundry was and still is my most favorite thing!!
Love, Mom