Monday, September 10, 2012

Happy at Home: Family Closet Style

(Hey there, friends! It's Monday, which means it is time for my next installment of Happy at Home. A few weeks ago, I decided that I had had enough of the go, go, go. I mean, I loved the go, go, go, but it was running me ragged. My home was becoming neglected, the meals I served to my family were a wee bit on the sad side, and my children were beginning to think it torture if I dared to suggest a stay at home day. So here we were, paying the mortgage (month after blasted month) for our charming little cottage, and no one (except for Boss) was wanting to spend any time here! So I decided that it was time for a change. I decided that I was going to learn the art of being happy at home. And my hope was that my children would also learn to be happy at home, through watching their mama (that's me) take more pride in caring for their home and in preparing their meals. I desperately wanted to start viewing our home as the blessing that it is, instead of seeing it only as another chore. And then I decided to share my happy at home journey with all of you here. My hope is that if you are also struggling with being a homemaker, like me, that my journey of striving to find happiness at home will inspire you to do the same. So get comfy, friends. This is a long one.)

Image Found Here
Laundry has always been the bane of my existence. Always. Growing up, my superbly awesome at homemaking mother did my laundry for me. For eighteen years she lovingly washed and dried all of my clothes, and the most I was responsible for was putting them away in my room. And that is where my laundry problem began. I seemed to be incapable of moving clothes from basket to drawer or hanger was lazy. So I simply decided that a 'fresh out of the basket' look would be the style that I would rock. And since I still had friends, and even dated a little, I suppose it is safe to say that I rocked that rumpled look, indeed. I couldn't walk through my room without stepping on clothes, and after a few years my parents forgot what color of carpet existed under all of that name brand clutter (they actually gave in to name brands! Can you believe it? The only name brand my children know starts with Gran and ends with imals.), but for the most part they left me alone about the mess.
When I headed off to college, things didn't change much in my laundry world. I was now responsible for all of my washing and drying, but my lack of 'putting things away' routine stayed just about the same. What can I say? Why mess with tradition? It wasn't until I got engaged that my slothful ways started making me a bit nervous. Soon I was going to be a wife! And wives were supposed to do wifely things like wash and put away the laundry! Just the thought of it made me sweat. But one day, after a pre-marital counseling session where we discussed how we would divide household duties, Boss shared with me that he would really rather prefer to do his own laundry, and if I didn't care, he would just do mine, too. And then a hallelujah chorus sang, and I knew that God really did answer prayers! So once again, even in my married life, the washing and drying of clothes was removed from my list of responsibilities. And I had never found Boss sexier.
Fast forward nine years and three children later. Boss still does his own laundry, and for the most part he is still washing and drying the rest of ours. But it was no longer sitting well with me. I felt guilty. I hated that Boss had to go to work, and then come home to work some more. So before we moved to our most recent home, I vowed to take control of our laundry life. And trust me, sometimes it really does feel as though the laundry takes on a life of its own!
I first heard of the family closet concept from reading The Duggars: 20 and Counting (you know I love their family. Don't hate.) And even though I only had three children, compared to their nineteen, I fell in love with the idea immediately! The thought of having only one place to put all of the family clothes, the thought that my children's rooms/closets would now be clothing free (my daughter's inherited my slothful clothing genes), all made my heart go pitter patter. And I knew that I must have a family closet. Pronto.
Our new house just happened to have a little room that connects to both the laundry room and our master bathroom (perfection), and I knew right away that it would be our family closet. I don't care that we are wasting sleeping/playing space. If we ever have more children, we will buy bunk beds. This family closet is here to stay. Boss and I looked on Pinterest, googled family closets (lots of blogger's have posted on theirs!), and listed on paper what we wanted our family closet to look like before we began. We eventually decided on the Laundry Basket Dressers pictured below (building plans found on

Boss followed Ana's instructions and built these puppies with his bare hands. It was quite manly, and I am in LOVE (with a capital L) with them! Boss still keeps his clothing in our bedroom, so he built four dressers, one for me and each of the children. Pajama's, socks, and underwear go in the top basket, play shirts in the middle basket, shorts/jeans in the bottom basket. Easy peasy to keep everything organized!

In the plastic drawers I keep swimming wear in the top drawer, hats and scarves in the middle drawer, and belts in the bottom drawer. A little way of keeping track of all of those 'extra/worn only sometimes' items. The plastic drawers are sitting on top on an old dresser we already owned, which now houses off season clothes. Cool weather is quickly approaching our area, and soon I will switch shorts and summer shirts into this storage dresser, and the pants and long sleeve shirts will make their way to the laundry basket dressers.

Everything that is not play clothes or pajamas, I hang (dresses, skirts, nice tops). We bought one rolling rack for the girls (pictured above), and one rolling rack for me (pictured below). The only thing that I hang of Jack's are his dress shirts, and those go on the end of the girl's rack.

All of the tubs (below) are stacked neatly in the corner next to our shoe organizer (which I forgot to photograph). Four of the tubs hold baby/toddler clothes for sweet little foster babies, and the other four tubs hold off sizes that the kids are waiting to grow in to. They are tacky to have out, I know, but I honestly don't care. Organization is beauty, I have always said. Okay, I haven't always said that, but I have been trying that philosophy out for the past few months and it's growing on me!

We have two dirty clothes hampers. That's it. (Although, Boss does have his own elsewhere.) When they get full, I wash the clothes, dry them, and then I put everything away, and give myself a nice little pat on the back for a job well done. I don't have a particular laundry day. I am afraid that would send my OCD self spiraling out of control. So for now we are just going with what works. When the hamper is full, throw the clothes in the wash.

And just because I know that you care, this is our last little dresser sitting empty, just waiting for little foster baby to arrive, so that we can fill it up with his/her clothes! Can't wait for the day when I can show you that it is FULL!

So there you have it. The laundry system that has saved both my sanity and my life. I still don't love to do the laundry. We will never be best friends. But I no longer dread it. I just get 'er done, and move on with my week. And Boss still helps out, in case you were wondering, because he is great like that. And for another perk, my children's rooms stay much neater! All they have in their rooms are beds and toys, and the toys can now go neatly in the closet, since the closet is not being used for clothes. Genius, I tell you! It really has been one of the best homemaking choices I have ever made, and it truly has brought more order and happiness to our home. So, if you have ever thought of turning part of your home into a family closet, go for it! You don't have to have a particular room. Some people, if their laundry rooms are big enough, just use that space. Others section off a corner of their basement. Some just use the larger master closet. It doesn't matter where you choose to store your families clothes, so get creative! Instead of feeling like you just need a new space, get creative with the space that you already have! Trust me, no matter how many children you have, family closets are the way to go. Try it out. You will be so very glad that you did! And your family closet just might help you to feel a tiny bit more Happy at Home.

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