Monday, December 6, 2010

Closet Organization and Laundry System
(Girls' Room Edition)

I was about to loose it one day upon walking into my girls' room. It was so untidy, even after cleaning it. Our IKEA dressers broke within 6 months of buying them, so the kids' clothing has been in those plastic pull out storage drawers for awile and they were getting out of hand. I wanted a SYSTEM. A system to where I didn't have to pull out winter/summer clothing for different ages all the time. Norah has been growing like a week and we've gone from 12 month clothing to 2T in a matter of months. Yikes! So, we had a day where we went shopping (yes, we went to IKEA) and found these sturdy box-like basket holders and decided that they would be the best choice. We purchased one large one for the closet where I could organize both girls' clothing (left-hand side is for all summer clothing from 2T up to size 8 and the right-hand side is for all winter clothing 2T to size 8). This way, I don't have to lug out clothing bins from the garage every few months and change things out. If it doesn't fit in the basket (they are huge by the way), it gets donated to Goodwill or another home. It felt so good to get rid of extra clothing that hadn't been worn. Avonlea is very much into dresses and so her pants drawer is pretty much empty.

I put labels on each box...

(Left side...summer clothes...from bottom up)
box #1: 2T-3T

box #2: 4-5

box #3: 6-7

box #4: 8

The right-hand side is the same except it's winter clothing.

I love having curtains up to have the option of closing off the closet.

Here's one other thing we thought would be helpful. I like having a changing table for babies, but our old changing table took up too much room. This shelf was perfect because I can fit the girls' pjs, Norah's diapers/wipes/washcloths, etc., and socks and underwear. The top is a changing table pad that hooks right onto the shelf using a buckle system.

I wanted to add this fun, little accessory to Norah's pack-n-play. It's actually a window box planter (IKEA...$12.00 for the box and hooks) that we keep toys in. If there's a Saturday morning when we all want to sleep in, I make sure that the night before, I've placed this "toy box" onto her crib and she can play for a while while we get in "just a few more winks". ;)

I also did a little more organizing of the bookshelf. I put Norah's baby board books on the bottom shelf and Avonlea's books up higher.

Here's where the girls' toys are stores. I have one label up on the doll clothes/accessories, but need to make more as I've changed around some things.

I have to say that Lincoln was a bit jealous that the girls' room got a pretty makeover. We told him that they got a makeover because there are two girls in the room. If someday God gave him a brother, he too would get a makeover. He seemed satisfied with that answer.

Closet Research

Before I tackled this job, I really wanted to make sure I did things right by of coarse, researching. I looked online for other families who needed to tidy up closet organization. I found many large families resorted to having a "family closet", a seperate room/large walk-in closet that they convert into a shared closet. This eliminates the clothing in the bedrooms and makes for more space. I didn't see this as a option for us since we didn't have an extra room/closet to convert to this. We also don't have that many clothes.

Here are a few sites/blogs that I found extremely helpful should you be in the need to do some closet organizing...

OR, you can always "Duggar-style" it if you've got 19 children!...(below)

However you decide to organize your closet and/or laundry system, it has to fit YOUR family and their needs. If you have little ones, make sure the clothing is reachable. Make sure they can read what goes where or you can always use pictures to show where things go (as in ESOL classrooms...English Speakers of Other Languages).

Laundry System
In terms of our laundry system, it's simple really. Each child has a laundry basket in their room. Rob and I share one. I don't wash clothing according to color!!! That gets too complicated and there are better things to do with my time. If a child has an accident on their bed, I'll wash in hot water. If I'm doing a wash of cloth diapers, they go in hot, but everything else goes into cold water washes.

Avonlea and Norah share a pink basket for now. Their clothing is still small so they both only use up one basket per week. When Norah gets older and they need another basket, Norah's will be purple. Yes, I color-code my children. :) Makes life easy.

Lincoln has a blue basket.

Both older children know that on Mondays, we do laundry. Their chore charts (see below)have a laundry sticker on it and they each drag their baskets to the garage where we start our laundry on Monday mornings. They do help me change it over from time to time and we keep a stool out in the garage so that Lincoln can be "tall enough" to see where his clothing goes when thrown up into the washer. ALL laundry gets done on Mondays and gets folded Tuesday evenings. We could have 4 loads, we could have 8 loads, but we fold it all at once. I've tried other methods where I'll do a load or two a day, but then you've always got laundry laying places and that annoys me. I'd rather just have one big pile once a week to tackle. To each his own style. ;)
We love using Jolanthe's chore cards. She's over at Homeschool Creations, so be sure to check her out. I honestly don't know where she gets to the time to do the amazing things she does, but what a ministry!!! :) Don't you love it when someone else does the work for you? I'm all about that.
Okay, so now it's YOUR turn to show us what YOU do for your laundry organization/closets!!!


Tessa said...

Love this post! I have been trying to figure things out as my childrens' clothing situation is about to get a whole lot more complicated. I have a question about your bins int he closet. You just labeled them according to size but how do you seperate t-shirts from long sleeves and pants and shorts etc? T-shirts summer 2T and Longsleeves and sweaters winter 2T? And what about play vs town clothes? Like clothes that can get stained etc vs ones that you want to be able to wear to church and such.
I currently have 5 drawer dresser to house my sons clothes but I have to go through it and pull out the too small stuff all the time (I just put it in a big bin and when it's full I close and label how old he was when I closed it). It has worked for just him but now baby number 2 is on the way. If it's a boy I've got lots of clothes but They're now all in a big bin that I have to sort through and try to figure out where to store it (I only have a very small dresser for the new baby). If it's a girl now I'm trying to store boy clothes (and pull out neutral stuff intermittently) and sort through/store any girl clothes we get. Oye!
Anyway, totally looking into a similar system (except starting with newborn clothes of course).

As for my laundry system, I have a basket in our room and one in Caleb's that has a "light and a dark side." I sort it right away (often the dark side has a lot of mud or sand in it, don't want to wash it with a white shirt). On Mondays I scoop out both of the darks and put them in the washer (actually Caleb does this now so I don't have to bend as much lol!) and then after that we do the same with the lights. I usually fold in the afternoon while my son is napping. I usually only have to do clothes on Mondays and then on Thursdays I do things like sheets (once a month unless peed on) and Norwex (my cleaning rags have to be washed seperatly) or anything that didn't fit on Monday. Usually it's a very small load at this point. I don't really count diapers a "laundry" because I do them every other day (or will once the new baby comes) and they just go from diaper pail into washer, into dryer, into drawer. Very little actual work involved there.

My big laundry tip is to eliminate extra laundry. Wear dirty clothes around the house and only put on clean clothes when you go out :) We have farm/play clothes and town clothes. He's not allowed to play in the sandbox or with playdough in his town clothes. And I wear the same jeans all week while I'm at home and put my clean ones on when I go out (very limited in clothing options at this point in pregnancy lol).

Sorry, that was a really long comment. I'm glad I'm not the only one with closet woes!

Matthew and Valerie said...

Love the toy planter idea. I might steal it when Robbie gets older! :)