Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Advice, Anyone?

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This is the part of the program where we include audience participation. Ready?

Okay. Here at Smockityville, we have laundry issues. Extreme issues, friends.

Here is the scenario.

  • Our children are very messy.
  • Thus, we have lots of laundry.
  • Our children are very many.
  • Thus, Smockity is busy.
  • Our washer and dryer ("Canyon Capacity" ~ Thanks, Hon!) are located in the kitchen.
  • Thus, there are always clothes that need to be folded and put away on the couch.
  • Except when relatives call to say they are 2 hours from Smockityville and would we mind if they drop in.
  • Then there are clothes that need to be folded and put away behind Mr. and Mrs. Smockity's closed bedroom door.
  • Any Smockity child under 8 cannot be trusted to deposit clean, folded clothes into the correct receptacle.
  • Thus, Smockity finds clean, folded clothes in the laundry hamper.
  • And the toy box.
  • And under beds.

    Need I go on? I think you get the idea.

    So, for a while I've been dreaming of a place I could house all of our clothes, a family closet, so to speak.

    That way, I could go directly there with the clean clothes and sort, fold and put away clothes all in one location.

    The only problem with that is we don't have an extra room just waiting around for me to think up a use for.

    But, Mr. Smockity and I do have a large master bedroom with a very large walk-in closet. So, a few weeks ago when the Mr. came home with a set of old lockers, those gears in my noggin started turnin'.

    What if I put the lockers in our closet, label them, and house all kids' clothes in there? There are 18 lockers, total. The size of the unit is approximately 6 feet by 6 feet, I think. I am too lazy to measure don't know where the measuring tape is am using my keen observation skills.

    This would also allow for more space in the children's bedrooms because the dressers would be taken out.

    The question I have is for moms of many. Do you think this could work? Are there drawbacks I am not thinking of? Have any of you experimented with anything similar? Is this idea completely crazy?

    Let the commenting begin!


      Anonymous said...

      I used to get those flat plastic things for gift wrap and store each child's clothes under their beds. Great under cribs for blankets, sheets, etc.
      When we moved to AK, my dear husband threw all the cotton socks out and bought wool, all in the same color. If they got lost or mixed up, there was always another sock!
      Is your washer/dryer in a closet? If so, put some shelves in over them. If company's coming, you can always throw the clean clothes in the oven!!!
      Even with 3, it was 'interesting'. Once when I was hospitalized, my mother-in-law put clothes hamper baskets in each room and made sure they used them...what a wonderful woman she was!
      Sooz in NV

      Julie said...

      The only problem that I see is that they would forever be coming in and out of your bedroom. With 3 kids and one on way the Master bedroom is the only space I can call MINE!!! I am not sure I would be willing to give that up. But with all the kids you have you may have already given up the idea of any space being all yours. In which case it may just work.

      Smockity Frocks said...

      Thanks, Sooz. There are already toy bins under beds.

      Julie, Space to call mine? Ha ha! You are funny!

      6kids4me said...


      I was thinking that the lockers wouldn't separate the types of clothes enough. Everything (from socks to pajamas etc. would be all mixed together) and when they couldn't find what they are looking for they would pull it all out and then you would have to put it all back into the lockers, and if more than one kid does that then you have to sort them too. I have heard of a family that puts all of the dressers in one bedroom so that the other bedrooms are just for sleeping. That way you could keep the dressers and the separate drawers to help keep things organized. Also since it is one room you could keep all of the clothes in there after washing and just keep that door closed when any company is visiting. I hope that helps.

      Holly said...

      Hey Connie,

      When we lived in Michigan we had one room that we called the "dressing room." It was in the basement, adjacent to the room where I did laundry. (I hesitate to call it a laundry room...because it was just really a not all that great basement.)


      The room had been a storage room, maybe a pantry. It had shelves all around the room. We threw a rug down, had a girl's dresser and a boy's dresser, then used the shelves for jeans, sweatshirts, shoes, etc. It worked GREAT! We had to make sure that first the girls got dressed, then the boys...but that was okay. The laundry was RIGHT there, (awesome) and yes, I put things away but it was easy!!!!! It was easy to keep up on their clothing - what needed to be passed on, what was a duplicate, etc., because it was all in one room. NICE!

      There were no dressers in individual rooms. That, too, was nice. More room!

      You've already thought of all of these bonuses - right?

      We don't have that right now - but it's not so bad because I have 4 kids OVER the age of 8 and they can FINALLY (with stringent motivation...sigh...) put away their own clothing.

      Do you have any small ones that nap in your room? That might be a "minus," when you need to put things away but can't ever get in there. (I know this because our baby is always sleeping in my room!)

      IF you have room for the lockers, and still have room for your things - I say it is a good idea!

      I think if you ask most moms of larger families this question, they are going to give you the "thumbs up" for centralization of clothing. As you said, we spend SO much time on laundry. It really helps if it can be streamlined.

      At the very least, you will be able to see when it is a mess and ask a kid to tidy it up. You'll be able to tell who left their clothing lying around, etc. That will help.

      Gotta run. Gotta throw a load of laundry in. :)

      (P.s. My biggest 3 kids are at camp this week. We don't usually do camp, but Grandma paid for this one and it is a REALLY small camp...something like 30 kids. daily laundry loads went down from 5 to 2! One of those loads is a cloth diaper load. Now I KNOW who the REAL culprits are!)

      Shari said...

      That is not completely crazy. We have friends with 12 who have all of their clothing in one place and it works well for them. However, since you are using your Master Bedroom, there probaby needs to be rules. My kids do not have dressers in their rooms anymore. I use those plastic stand up things with drawers that are much smaller. AND, just for the number, the Duggar family with 17 children uses a family clothing closet, too. I hope this is an encouragement to you! Have a blessed day! :)

      watchthesky said...

      I personally don't think the lockers would work. I've been there and done that with pretty much every idea possible. The only one that worked, and I LOVED, was to simplify. I went through all the kids clothes and they got to keep 2 of each thing. 2 t-shirts, 2 jeans, 2 sweaters, etc... and then 1 Sunday outfit. I allowed 3 pairs of socks. My laundry pile never got too big to handle and their dressers were never beyond repair by their little hands since there was only a few things in them.
      I used Rubbermaid bins to store all of their other clothes and when one thing wore out or was stained I just got another from their packed away bin to replace it. It was a little harder to do this with my girl because every clothes item just seemed too cute to put away, but after I got over that life was much easier.

      I know exactly what you are talking about and when I did this method I didn't have that shameful pile of clothes in the living room anymore.

      Hope you find some method that helps and works for you, and if this is the one I'll want a special medal or something for the revolutionary way I changed your life. :)

      Kara said...

      I was going to say the Dugger family has a family closet, but Shari beat me to it! I've told WB that in our next house we will have a large utility room so we can keep all clothes there. I'm sure once that happens we will no longer have kids at home:) But I think it's a nifty idea and I'm sure one you could fine tune as issues came up. I'm thinking of moving all three girls to one room and putting their dressers in another...I've also tried to figure out a major closet organizer that would allow for all clothes to be in closet vs. in a dresser just for room sake!! Let us know what you come up with:)

      Dawn @ My Home Sweet Home said...

      Hmmm... the benefit would be less possibility of losing things. My kids always lose half a bathing suit; half a pair of socks; half an outfit.

      I still keep my 3yod's clothes in our room and dress her; hers are the only clothes that aren't lost or misplaced!

      Lockwoods said...

      I've never tried the family closet idea, though I've heard from others about it. We just don't have a spot for that.
      I could be wrong here, but I think you might have the same problem...clean laundry piling up somewhere and not getting put away.
      With 11 children and only 3 of those being "barely" over the age of 8, I do understand!!
      I've been there!!! This is the ONLY thing that worked for us...
      *Teach your children to sort...mine LOVE it! It's one of their favorite chores.
      *Wash every day so you don't get behind. I have trained my 11, 10, 9, and 8 yo to run the machines so they participate when needed.
      *As soon as that dryer buzzes, get out the clothes (less wrinkles) and do something with them other than leaving them in the basket or piled somewhere!!!!....We don't have time per se to always put them right away, but I just grab whoever isn't busy (busy being defined as preforming a live saving operation or changing a poopy diaper), and we quickly fold/sort. This takes place in my bedroom. I put the closet items on hangers and lay them flat and we fold the other items and put them into a) boys' basket b) girls basket or c) daddy/mommy basket. This never takes more than 5 minutes...usually closer to 2.
      *By the afternoon, all the dirty clothes have been washed and are folded in baskets. The boys take the boys basket and the girls take their basket and they put everything away. EVERYONE helps...the really little ones can put away the socks and underwear...the middle ones help with the dresser stuff...the older ones hang stuff in the closet and supervise everyone.
      This took some training and practice and yes even consequences for not doing it correctly (once I knew they had it down), but it's worked GREAT!!
      We are never behind now (unless we are sick or the machines break or we go on a big trip).
      Well, that's my 2 pesos worth. :)I will pray you will find the best solution for your family!
      love and prayers,

      Sandy said...

      I'm toying with the idea of a family closet of sorts too..since the only time I have to really get into putting laundry away is nap time or night time.
      I say go for it..including pics and details as you go of course..

      Anonymous said...

      I HAVE A FAMILY CLOSET. I only have two boys and a husband, but it works great for our family. Thankfully, I have a huge dungeon-like laundry area for this to work. We have all the dressers and hang up racks in that area. Everyone brings their own dirty clothes down and sorts them. Everyone is responsible for putting their clean clothes away.
      My boys (7 & 9) are being trained to run the machines and switch loads over as necessary. It's taken about 2 years to get the system working smoothly, but it's working.
      I say - go for it!!!! No more dressers in the bedrooms overflowing with clothes and taking up space.

      Julie P

      Lora Lynn said...

      We have 4 (almost 5) kids 4 and under. I commandeered the hall closet and made it the kids' closet. Girls clothes on one side, boy clothes on the other. Mine are pretty close in size, so we can have one box for pants, one for shirts, and one for pj's and underwear and it works fine. They can find their stuff. They can also put it away because the bins are on the floor, at their level, and I can shut the door on it all.

      I've trained mine to sort their clothes (with some discipline) and we LOVE it. I think you might have some trouble with the lockers, unless you've already pared down their clothing so that its' very simple to find stuff. But I guess 12 lockers divided by 8 kids might work. Big kids get 2, maybe?
      The closet we use isn't very big, here's a link to a pic:

      Anonymous said...

      We used to have sort of a family closet. More like a family dresser next to the washer and dryer in the basement and clothes poles* (actually they were hand rails for stairs cut in half :) hung from the floor joists. I hung everything up the second it came from the dryer. Socks & undies got in a drawer. Each person had one drawer. We cut a cardboard divider(s) (mom had 3 to make 4 sections - undies, bras, socks, nylons/slips)
      in the drawers. Those were the days of a nice dry basement with a bathroom/shower room right near the washer/dryer. Now the kids keep their things in their rooms & I make them put them away every day. but they're older now, so....

      Neena (NeenMachine) said...

      I forsee problems when the kids get older (with the lockers that is). But for now it just might work. You will have a lot of traffic in and out of your room though. And if your kids are anything like mine - they leave a trail wherever they go.
      Let us know what you decide.

      rachel said...

      Taking dressers out of kid's rooms.....Hmm. A light bulb went on in my brain. I am going almost crazy with the drawers ALWAYS hanging open and clothes all over the place. I'm going to have to think about this.
      The drawback to me would be having everyone tramping through my bedroom, because I still do make some effort in preserving that as my space. (think bed made, uncluttered, cool and dark ahhh)

      Nikki said...

      I started to leave you a comment, but it turned into a crazy long novel. So, I'll either post it or email it. I'm not sure that I'm much help though. I only have four kids.

      But my ultimate cutting-back-on-laundry-amounts dream is to live in Hawaii, feed the kids in the nude ahem, them in the nude, and dunk them in the ocean after meals.

      Mommy Cracked said...

      It just might work. I've seen some of the drawbacks already listed, but it couldn't hurt to just try. Good luck!

      Jennifer said...

      We have 5 children, 7.5 and under and this is what we do:
      * the girls are in one room and the boys are in another. Each room has one dresser
      * for their laundry baskets, I got those big plastic tubs with rope handles, one for the girls and one for the boys. The children are responsible for bringing them downstairs and back up to their room.
      * I hang everything up as it comes out of the dryer except undies, jammies, slips, etc. Yes, even the boy shirts and nice pants, but not their jeans. Each child has one drawer and is responsible to keep it nice enough so the drawer will close. (My girls and I only wear dresses/jumpers, so our clothes should be hung up anyway. And the boys and husband don't wear T-shirts, only button down/polo shirts.)
      * we put the railings in the girls closet closer to the floor, so they can hang up their own clothes. And the 7.5 yr old and the 5.5 yr old put away all their clothes. I'm still working on the almost-4 yr old. (We will be putting another railing in his closet that will be closer to the floor soon.)

      Hope things go well with what you are planning!


      Heather said...

      My very favorite laundry organization tool is the hang up clothing dividers which we place in the closets over the rod. We pick heavy duty ones that have 5 slots and we label them. Cheap ones tip forward and empty contents - the heavy canvas ones are great! T-shirts, shorts, sweaters, p.j.'s and long sleeve t's. The kids learned to put their things in appropriate slots by about 5 years old and they still do a great job. Pants / dresses / dress shirts all hang beside with round cardboard dividers in between.

      little dresses said...

      This has been so interesting to read. I need a better solution too. I'm off to see if I can find out what you decided on!

      Aunt LoLo said...

      Oh,! You're BRILLIANT. When I was younger, I was CONVINCED all I needed were two hampers - one for the clean clothes and one for the dirty!

      The only drawback I could see would be that 1) the kids couldn't get dressed without all traipsing through your room and 2) with all the kids traipsing through your room to get to their clothes, your room might get to looking like THEIR rooms (clothes all over the floor, etc.) pretty quick!

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