Family Closet/Laundry Room

(I warned you that this blog was about ‘the good, the bad and the mundane’.)

I have a long and hostile relationship with laundry.
I started married life with access to a washer and dryer in the basement of the condo units. From the time Ethan was born until he was three, I used the laundromat with no other access other than my mom’s house. And up until one or two kids ago, I experienced the usual amount of laundry woes. Sometime between Mikey and Sean the problem went from challenging to what felt like insurmountable. Something had to be done. 
I tried a schedule, several of them. “Do a load a day” plan – yeah, well, what if you find fun things to do three days in a row? I tried the once a week plan – oh, really bad idea. One time I bagged it all up and sent it to the laundry mat – nothing was right from the laundry detergent to the folding, not to mention the cost. I always ended up with piles of dirty laundry in my dirty laundry room, piles of clean clothes on top of the dryer, in baskets all over the house and some eventually pulled out by the kids onto various floors. ‘Where are my clothes’ was the mantra I hated most. (Really it ties with ‘what’s for dinner?’) 
There were times I’d stand and fold a whole basket of clothes, only to find them rifled through, and therefore back to ‘needing folded’ status. Kids were yelled at, I was exhausted, Dennis was often frustrated and if he even implied that I wasn’t getting enough laundry done…well, I try not to curse here at the blog.

When I heard about the ‘family closet’ idea I did not think I had enough space. Some people used a whole ‘extra room’ – what the bleep is that?!?! I looked at beautiful laundry rooms and I won’t even link the pictures here because they are just too pretty and they will only upset you! I thought we needed an entire laundry room overhaul followed by the construction of super-awesome-custom shelving and cubby spaces.

But thank God there is a more pragmatic, logical person living in my house. (Don’t let that get back to him.) He said we would just haul what the boys already used for clothes storage down into the basement and go from there.
It’s not too pretty, but the results are magnificent, if I do say so myself!

Magnificent because it’s working! Here’s the plan. 3 huge garbage cans work as the ‘laundry sorter’. Wash, dry and pull the clothes out on top of the washer. Each article of clothing is folded and plopped directly into a drawer.

Ugly and yet effective! I have always been a ‘function over form’ kind of girl.

I still bring whatever is Dennis and mine, as well as towels, upstairs and put that away. I timed it – it takes 9 minutes. That also does not leave me any baskets full of clean clothes littering every room in the house (right before this I counted 8 one day), a pile of 13 clean loads of laundry piled somewhere waiting for a spare two hours to fold, or baskets that the kids end up dumping over. What’s done is done – right there and then!
There is an organzational addage that says ‘touch something once’. I was putting my hands on the same clothes once to pull them out of the dryer and into a basket, another time to fold it and replace it into the basket and yet another to take the basket and dish out the clothes into drawers. Is it possible I have cut the work by 2/3? I waited a month to tell you about this and everyday I continue to think that I have reclaimed time and saved my sanity by using this system.

Q&A
Where are the boys getting dressed?
Sometimes they go down and grab clothes and get dressed in their rooms but mostly they are changing right there in the laundry room (the reason I bough the super-cheap runners from Home Deport for $2.27/ft.) They were often doing that anyway being that their clothes were sitting in some yet-to-be-put-away basket of clothes. Changing down there means the clothes they are changing out of can either go back in their drawers or right in the dirty laundry. Bonus!
What about clothes that need to be hung up?
I decided the only clothes that are getting hung up are Ethan’s shirts, scout uniforms and the one pair of dress clothes that each of the boys own (another tenent of happy laundering – own less clothes!!).  Ethan’s shirts are being hung up directly over his dresser on a bar above his dresser with the option of doing that for the other boys also. The scout uniforms and dress clothes are all hung together in one small closet upstairs.
What are you doing with all the extra space by not having to have dressers in the kids rooms?
Loving it! Everyone got bookshelves to hold all their personal belongings and a few extra square feet of floor space 🙂
Got another question? Post it here, let’s figure it out. (I swear I did not know that I could write this much about laundry! I think it tells you something about me, but I am not sure what yet. If you have an opinion about that you can also post that here 🙂

Comments

  1. Pat Morris says:

    Funny that today I happened to be in a laundromat which i rarely visit except when the need to launder bulky items like sleeping bags….I used one of those huge front loaders and when I was done I noticed a woman with a mountain of laundry pull up with one of those cool laundromat carts and start filling multiple large capacity machines….I could only imagine how many kids were in the family…well your story fit in with my jaw dropping experience today…and by the way I love your solution…genius!

  2. Looks great – glad it’s working well for you! 🙂

  3. Rie says:

    We had a family closet when we lived in WA. We had an extra room right next to the laundry closet. BEST THING EVER!!!! And ours was ugly too but I didnt care. I wish we had the space now. So happy for you!!!

  4. Janet, this is so practical and useful. I love it!

  5. Vibrant Soul says:

    As usual another wonderful idea and plan put into practical use.
    xo

  6. […] couple of years ago I bumped into a post of a friend who wrote about the family closet that she set up in her […]