In some homes, guests are greeted by piles of clothing upon walking through the front door. More piles can pop up in other rooms. Typically this indicates that the family has too many clothes, poor laundry workflow processes or both.
Certainly purging clothes that are no longer needed, liked or fit well is a good practice. Establishing better use of space in dressers and closets, and better laundry processes, are also good practices. Have you considered having a family closet?
Family closets are exactly what they sound like—the entire family shares one closet. This is a growing trend because of the time it saves dressing, washing, putting away and storing clothes. It can even save time when packing for trips. There are as many ways to create a family closet as there are families – but here are some ideas that are frequently used:
- The size of a family closet depends somewhat on how many family members are using it but 50-70 square feet is usually sufficient to accommodate families of eight or more members.
- The closer the family closet is to the laundry room and/or the bathroom where bathing takes place, the better.
- Each family member has one space where most of their clothes are kept. This space can be a basket, bin or shelf but the idea is that no one has more clothes than their space allows. One mother’s rule is that each of her four children have 10 shirts and 10 pairs of pants but no more.
- Stackable drawers work well to hold smaller items such as socks and underwear. Some families who have children close in age put all the boys’ underwear in one drawer and all the girls’ underwear in another drawer. Socks can be treated the same way. No more separating for each family member!
- Ideally a family closet is large enough to dress in. This allows clothes that are taken off to be put away if they’re not ready to be laundered yet or to be thrown in the appropriate laundry basket (whites, lights, darks, etc.) so there’s no need to sort laundry later.
- Keep a folding table (in the folded position) in the family closet.
- Searching “family closet” on YouTube will provide some great ideas.
Family closets solve many organizational problems.
- Clothing doesn’t pile up in bedrooms because it never goes into bedrooms. Bedroom closets can now be used for games, books, toys and other purposes. Dressers aren’t needed and don’t take up valuable floor space.
- Clothing comes out of the dryer and goes to only one place — the family closet. From there, the folding table comes out. Clothes are folded and put away right away.
- Boundaries are well defined so no family member accumulates more clothing than needed.
Think outside the box and consider a family closet (or at least some of the ideas) rather than continually fighting the Clothes Monster.