Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Downsizing and Organizing

Last November, when our lease was up, we decided to look for a home that would be much closer to where Peter works.  It's been nice to rent for a season as we've been able to try different areas and styles of houses and learn first hand what we like and don't like:)  Right now we are really enjoying having Peter home more and spending less in gas.  The trade off is that we have had to downsize as we moved more central.

With a move and new house, there will always be organizational challenges.  How do you downsize a family of nine 1,000 square feet and still have room to live?  Well, not without many challenges and letting go of unnecessary items.  Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing many of the organizational tricks that I am using to make our home livable and peaceful.  For those curious followers, we are now living in a 2,000 square foot home...but it has a huge backyard and deep covered back patio which are very important:)

Today, I want to share how we have managed to organize all of the kids' clothing.

We decided to turn one bedroom into a family closet.  In our case, it's actually a closet just for the kids but we call it "the family closet".

As I began my quest, I first listed the needs and the extra "icing on the cake" qualities that I wanted in our family closet.

I needed a place to store:
   *everyday clothes folded and out of sight (no clear plastic boxes)
   *hang up clothes
   *cloth diapers (and a place to change diapers)
   *dirty laundry

I wanted:
   *color coding
   *a folding table
   *a pleasant, organized look (as much as possible...haha)

After hours of researching blogs and Pintrest, I chose a plan that we could adapt to our color coding system and stay within our budget.

Here is what I put together.

We purchased two Ikea storage units and Peter and the older boys put them together.

Next, we purchased some cardboard banker's boxes and spray painted them according to our color coding plan.  As you can see, we have  room to grow:)  The boxes where quite cost effective compared to the wicker baskets being sold with the unit.

Then, we purchased a double professional clothing rack for hanging clothes.  The side pictured is for the older three kids and the other side for the little four.

I decided to put our white changing table in the room (to go with the white shelves) for changing and storing cloth diapers. 

I also added a 6 foot white table for folding laundry under the window.  Oh, what a difference this makes!  Now, I never have to scoop piles of laundry off couches to have a place to sit...haha.  Under the table I store three dirty clothes baskets for the older kids.  At the end of the table is a stack of laundry baskets.  One of these is the missing sock basket:)  There are weeks where all of these baskets are in use!

I already have a little shoe organizer for the little boys' shoes and the room has a closet where we can organize the older kids' shoes and little boys' dirty laundry. In the closet we also have a laundry basket (not pictured as it is behind the door) with extra clothes hangers.  We also store paper diapers that we use occasionally on the top shelf.

Lastly, I decided to add a cute little clothes line with my favorite baby clothes from the years:)

I am still looking for just the right curtain and maybe a picture or two to complete the room but I am really happy with the space and atmosphere of this room.

I'd love to hear ideas from other large families about how they organize all the clothes.


  1. Allison, you inspire me!!! I have a constant project going on in my home. I do NOT like clutter, and I am not attached to many "things". But I live with two who keep every scrap of paper, or every little trinket given to them. I make it a point to remove one or two things for every one item that comes into my home. Goodwill can be a dangerous place to buy extras not needed. Thanks sharing this topic with us. I look forward to reading more!!!

    1. Lynne, My daughter is that way. I have no idea where she gets it from because I am not sentimental about very many "things". Peter and I have a motto: "When in doubt, throw it out!" Ha. I have purchased tons of little, stack-able, plastic boxes for her to fill with all of her "treasures" and keep neatly stacked in her closet. So far, it has worked to keep me from having to look at all the stuff:)

  2. Oh that is so nice to have a space designated for laundry and clothes!!!! I love all your ideas and the sweet baby clothes hung with clothes pins, I have some of my baby dresses hung in Shayla's room the same way. I have always dreamed of a laundry room with images of vintages little girls doing laundry:) By the way what are your consequences if the kids make a mess of their clothes? My boys are always leaving their clothes on the floor:( I look forward to all your tips!:

    1. Tesha, I just realized that I didn't answer your question about consequences for messy laundry. Our family closet is one of our check points with morning and evening chores. In the morning, the kids can earn a quarter each day if they get all chores done well without me having to keep reminding them. I have a list posted for them to follow (get dressed, make bed, pick up, etc.). So, if they leave a mess in the family closet they will not earn that quarter and will have to use their free time after school to take care of the mess. It isn't a perfect plan but it keeps things mostly picked up. But, I am constantly calling some kid or other in there to pick up:) It does help that I have to walk past that room to get to mine so I see the mess pretty quick. In our last house the boys' room was out of my normal path so it would get really bad...haha.

  3. Oh Tesha, I wish I had some of my baby clothes for Abby to have! What a treasure.

  4. What a beautiful resource. One day sweet friend, I will need to be making a family closet of my own. As I read, I was thinking of a verse to be painted alongside the clothesline holding all of those precious baby clothes ...

    Colossians 3:12 NIV
    ... clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

    Be blessed bunches,

    1. Perfect verse, Sarah! I'll have to google that:)

  5. Wow! I love your idea! The bankers box idea is amazing! Now that you have used them for awhile, have they held up? Thank you for sharing.

  6. Underestimate the importance of home organization in your work spaces!