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Family Clothes Storage

Sometimes worst than the mountain of dirty laundry is the mountain of clean laundry. With lots of kids, it can be difficult to figure out where to put all of those clothes. If you have a large house with lots of closet space, you probably don't have that worry. For most people however, space is at a premium, and with kids doubling up in a bedroom, it can be difficult to find where to put that extra dresser. Large families have been great and resourceful in this area. In this article we feature some neat and practical ideas on how to store and organize all those clothes.

Family Closet/Dressing Room - Anyone who has ever had to single-handedly put up clothes for a family of 10 knows it can be downright tiring. Going from room to room, dresser to dresser, putting everything away is exhausting. Even if your children help in the task of putting up their own clothing, it can still be a trying endeavor keeping track of what goes where. Some large families have resorted to instituting a "family closet". Not a literal closet, it's usually an area where all the family's clothing is kept, meaning bedrooms and other areas of the house do not have dressers, and closetspace in rooms is used for storage of other things like games, toys, etc.

There are several ways to create a family closet. If you have the luxury of an extra bedroom, or a particularly large walk-in closet, this is the ideal way to create a closet. If you don't have the space, part of an existing room can be sectioned off, converting an area off of the laundry area, an underused area in the basement...actually anywhere that you have a deal of space can be utilized. Install hanging rods at various levels, move existing dressers into the space--or even better, abandon the dressers and use shelving and bin systems. With all of the wonderful organizational products on the market today, you can truly maximize the storage potential of any space. Visit any home-improvement store and you can get an idea of how to do it.

If you are lucky enough to have the additional space, you can install a small "changing room" off of the closet. One family created a square frame mounted to the back wall. They simply hung curtains on all three sides (with the front curtain on a rod so it could be opened and closed), and viola, a changing room. If you don't have space for a changing room, you can have your children gather their clothes nightly for the following day and change in their rooms or the bathroom. One mom placed a flat storage bin under the various beds for each child, putting in a week's worth of clothes; all other clothing was kept "off-site".

If you are a large family and are looking to have a home built, you should strongly consider a family closet in the design.

A Different Take on the Family Closet - Love the idea of a family closet, but simply don't have the space? This was my personal dilemma. Living in an old house, space is at a premium as it is. Still, I realized that the benefits of having one location would more than make up for any loss of that space. So, I improvised. I moved all of the family's clothing into my bedroom. Now, this won't work if you have a showcase bedroom, or if you use your room as a santuary to get away from it all. In my case, the baskets of unfolded laundry and all the other clutter usually ended up in there anyway, so it wasn't a big deal. I built some shelving, utilized dressers we had, and hung some additional rods. I resorted to some more unconventional clothes storage strategies (some listed below). With a little creativity, I managed to get it all in there...and my bedroom is not very big so it was a challenge. Sure, it does look a bit awkward with some of these additions, however, the difference it made in my laundry situation is phenomenal. I'm able to sit on my bed and fold a basket of laundry, and in a matter of a few steps, put everything away--with the exception of towels and linens, but that's hardly a problem! When I need to get the kids ready in the morning, I can pick out all of their clothes in a few moving room to room. Should we ever have a house built or move into bigger quarters, I'll make sure to factor in a family closet. Until then, this solution has truly changed my life for the better.

Sometimes finding space for all those clothes is simply a matter of re-thinking how you store them. Using traditional dressers and hanging clothing on rods is adequate in many situations, but it oftentimes does not fully utilize a space. Here are some ideas on how to maximize your clothes storage.
  • Get rid of the dressers. Okay, this is probably one of the scariest ideas, but it can be one that offers the greatest relief. Drawers are less flexible, meaning they are harder to overfill without compromising their function. Pack a drawer too full and you won't be able to close it. Since many drawer bottoms are not solid wood (or thin wood), overstuffing can cause them to weaken and break. This can happen with the actual drawer corners too, since most are made with plastic "L" type fasteners. Using alternative storage can avoid these problems.

    Now, this doesn't mean you should get rid of all of your dresser. Just use more discretion when using them. Having a small lingerie dresser to hide your underwear may be a good idea, but you may want to reconsider where you store all your jeans.

  • Shelves, shelves, shelves. - This is actually one of the best ways to go if you need to maximize your clothing storage options. Just ask any of those organized closet gurus. Adding shelves gives you lots of options. Since most shelving is made from sturdy wood, it can hold weight better than dresser drawers. If you're worried about items falling off or out, invest in some inexpensive plastic/wicker baskets.

    There are many shelving options to choose from, but here are a couple of basics that we've utilized in our home (click on the pictures to see a bigger view):

    Standard shelves installed in our closet. Even with staggering closet poles at different heights, it was still impossible to fit all our clothes on them (we had eliminated dressers). We purchased simple shelves from the home improvement store, cut them to fit, and mounted them using "L" brackets. The closet space was further compromised because of the slanted ceiling. We installed a shelf just where the slant ended and put baskets on it to hold small items like socks.

    The picture to the left is one of my personal storage solutions (click on the picture for a larger view). This is a simply modular cube-design storage unit. I use each cubby for certain articles of clothing, say pants, shirts, etc. If the clothes remained neatly folded all the time, I wouldn't have a problem with the cubes being open, but since my kids are not that tidy, I sewed a curtain and mounted it to the front. Easy to get into for mom and kids. I can pack the cubes really full. And the curtain hides it all when company is over. -- The unit next to it is a storebought tower with the cloth baskets included. These are great for holding socks, underwear, etc.

    Note: Most manufacturers have warnings about this, but it's best to be mentioned again. If you use bookcases or modular storage units to store clothing...or anything else for that is important to make sure they are secure to the wall so they cannot tip and fall on a child. This is true for dressers too. Be safe!

  • Sure, real furniture looks great, but is it practical? Whenever a new baby comes, you need to pull out all of the old clothing for him/her to wear. For the mostpart, baby clothes are easy to store simply because of their size. Unless you have a ton of clothing, a full-size dresser may be underutilized. Sure, you can store other stuff in it, but you are looking to streamline your clothes storage. Consider simply using underbed container, or perhaps plastic storage drawers. These types of units are lightweight, hold up pretty well, and can be re-used for other general purposes when you are done with them. (There's a picture of how we used one below.)

    Dresser knobs to distinguish dressers. - I am a firm believer that labelling can make life much easier. But, the simple fact of the matter is that sometimes you don't want your furniture to look like it belongs in a pre-school. Still, if you have several children sharing a room, or are lucky enough to have a family closet-type setup, you may have a problem remembering whose dresser belongs to who. A fun and easy solution to that problem is to purchase different drawer pulls. You can purchase them at your local home improvement or hardware store. Choose a different color for each child, or be a little more adverturous and pick a different "theme" for each dresser. This is a lifesaver in our home. When I ask my husband to get a shirt for a certain child, he asks, "which dresser." I can simply say, "the one with the baseballs" and he knows immediately where to go. Another variation of this is to purchase those vinyl stickers. You can use them to ornament walls and furniture. The great things about those types of stickers is they can be removed relatively easily, without harming the furniture.

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    Article by: Michelle Lehmann
    2007 -
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Posted 814 days ago
EVERY mom has those days. And if they say they don't, they are lying! I've been having weeks of those days ltaley! Here's what I've learned: It doesn't do any good to beat yourself up over every little thing. We have little kids and babies. Our houses will NOT be anywhere near perfect and that is okay. But I think that sometimes feeling inadequate helps me to be better. I don't need to have a perfectly clean house, but I would like to do better in certain areas and that guilt helps me strive to improve. Does that make any sense? I've been feeling so out of balance these last couple of weeks with our move and I've been a terrible mom. So last night I made sure that I nurtured my spirituality a little more and it's AMAZING how much better I feel today. So simple, but I still forget sometimes. As for laundry I'm okay at getting it cleaned, but folding it and putting it away is another story. Most of the time we just live out of the laundry baskets and then I HAVE to put them away in order to do more laundry! It's a never ending cycle.I think you are fantastic and you do so many wonderful things!!
Posted 1294 days ago
Renee I am so stealing that idea! Just creating a family closet now and so excited!!
Posted 1390 days ago
GREAT ideas! One of my ideas that works for husband and I share a small closet...I used a plastic shoe hanger, the kind where you fit shoes on each side, for my pants. If you roll them they fit perfectly in each slot. There are 20 slots enough room for jeans and shoes! For Less Than $5.00!
Posted 1779 days ago
I found these suggestions very helpful. Thanks!
##article## clothesstorage Family Clothes Storage 48 Article In this article, learn helpful tips to store your clothing to make your laundry easier. 20 17 September 16, 2010 September 16, 2010 0