Laundry really isn’t our thing. It’s not that we can’t do it, we just choose not to. It simply isn’t a priority for us. There are literally a million other things we’d rather do. So we go off and have family fun time, leaving the laundry for another day.
While we’re out having fun, our dirty clothes hamper is busy rally his forces. Before we know it, he’s massed an army so large and so smelly that it seems we’ll never escape his tyrannical rule. Despite the odds, we buckle down and get to work. The ensuing battle is long and treacherous, as both sides suffer multiple casualties. After three full days of washing, drying, and folding nonstop, we finally stand triumphant. As we survey our conquered battlefield, we resolve with an iron will to never let the laundry get that bad again.
Of course, two weeks later, we’re buried in another equally large, equally smelly mountain of laundry, cursing ourselves for not being more on top of it.
After living this way for years, we finally decided that something needed to change. One day, Sam proposed that we try doing a “family closet.” If you’re not familiar with family closets (as I wasn’t), the basic idea is that all of the clean laundry in the house is stored in a single closet. Ideally, that closet is close to the laundry room, but it doesn’t have to be. A lot of people end up choosing the master closet (we did) because it’s the biggest in their house.
I’ll admit I was skeptical when Sam first proposed this change. It seemed crazy to pack all our clothes into a single closet. Eventually she won me over, and I’m glad she did. Listed below are the six reasons that a family closet works for us.
1 – We Don’t Have to Haul Clothes All Over Our House
Before implementing a family closet, clean clothes went from the dryer onto our bed (our bedroom is right next to the laundry room). From there, we’d sort the kids’ clothes in baskets and haul those baskets down to their rooms. Sometimes it’d take three or four trips to get everything down there. A family closet eliminates those trips, saving time and energy.
2 – Our Laundry Actually Gets Put Away
Previously, there was less than a twenty percent probability that clean clothes ended up in a dresser. After sorting and hauling clothes we were so pooped that we’d resort to the, “I’ll put those away later” strategy. And by “later” we usually meant “never.”
Now, the clothes get folded and put away within minutes of ending up on our bed. At least that’s the idea. We haven’t quite reached a 100 percent put-away probability, but the odds have definitely improved.
3 – Junior and Addy Can Help Out
With the family closet, Sam and the kids have developed a foolproof laundry routine. It works like this: when a load finishes, Sam empties the load onto our bed and starts folding. Addy puts the folded clothes away while Junior switches the clothes from the washer to the dryer. He then starts a new load in the washer and comes in to help Addy put the folded clothes away.
An essential element in this routine is that both kids are working within earshot of Sam. She’s able to gently nudge them along while continuing to work herself. Of course, the kids’ portion of the laundry brigade isn’t quite the well-oiled machine we’d like it to be, but it’s getting there.
4 – We No Longer Have Piles of Clothes Laying Around the House
All our dirty clothes go in the laundry room and all our clean clothes go in the family closet. The only clothes not in those two places better be either 1) on someone’s body or 2) in transit to one of those two places. That’s our family rule, and our kids actually do a pretty good job sticking to it.
5 – Our Morning Routine is So Much Easier
The family closet offers Sam the luxury of one-stop shopping when picking outfits for the kids. Everything that everyone needs is all in one place.
6 – We Had to Get Rid of Clothes We Don’t Wear
For some baffling reason, Sam and I both were holding onto to clothes we don’t wear. A family closet helped with that. With all our family’s clothes stored in one closet, we didn’t have room for clothes we didn’t wear. So we had to get rid of them. And it was so liberating.
While a family closet hasn’t cured all our laundry woes, it’s definitely had a positive impact. If you find yourselves buried under heaps of toddler clothes like we did, you should try it. If you do, let us know so we can share your story.