Sunday, November 8, 2015

Clothing Storage & Access, Thinking Outside the Box

We purchased our current home when we had only 3 children…now we have 9! *smile*  So we had to start thinking “outside the box”, or in our case, inside our box. This has resulted in the Lord showing us over time many different do-it-yourself and inexpensive ways to adapt our house to fit the needs of a large family, projects we’ve already done and ones we hope to do in the future...

How to organize clothing in our small space is a question that I receive all - the - time.  *smile* Our house is 1,100 square feet.  It’s a 4 bedroom, 3 bath room – giving us the number of rooms we need, but they’re small.  We do also have a 2-car garage which we used to park our cars in until we were blessed to be able to purchase a 12-passenger van, but this does not fit in the garage.  We have our master bedroom and then a girl’s bedroom and a boy’s bedroom, the fourth room is for playroom/computers/books.  So!  When we were expecting babies #8 and #9 – our twin girls – we had to find a new way to fit more of the children into the two children's bed rooms, which meant clothes had to go somewhere else. We reflected on how we’ve always admired the Duggar family and how they adjust their home to fit their needs, and we were especially intrigued with their one big closet for all of the children’s clothing.  Ta-da!  Our “Duggar Closet” was on its way.

My wonderful husband, Bob, envisioned finishing out a quarter of our garage and making it into one big clothing closet for all of the children’s clothes.  So we did massive home decluttering of our garage, and I mean massive, aggressive purging, which actually feels so good no matter how much you think you like your stuff! 

We rearranged things, and cut the existing wood shelving to relocate them to a different place it in the garage.  Our Costco food items storage had been kept in the garage and we moved that inside the house to our recently completed pantry conversion (created from a coat closet).  

In the garage, Bob had replaced the single light bulb that lit that side of the garage with fluorescent lights when we first moved in, so the space is well-lit which makes a huge difference in how the space feels and looks.  He then laid carpet (nothing fancy, no pad underneath even), framed, sheet rocked, and painted the wall that would divide the back quarter of the garage from the front quarter.  

To facilitate condensing half of the garage contents into a quarter of the garage space we purchased a small shed for our back yard to put all of the bigger, bulkier items in to: bikes, lawn mower, shop vac, camping gear, etc. If you would like to see how we organize our home you can do so. *smile* Below are photos of the project in progress; then we’ll talk about organizing the closet.

After completing the construction work we moved the children’s shelving units (Ikea, $199 each, baskets $12 each) from their bedrooms out in to the garage.  We had already purchased a commercial clothing rack (Amazon $71) for the girl’s dresses to hang on out in the garage when we needed the closet in their room for other things.  The family’s coats are now hung out in the garage, and the family’s shoes are organized on shelves there, too.  Next, we organized the children’s clothes into the closet including purchasing additional baskets for the shelves and adding in younger children’s clothes which had been previously stored in our bedroom.

The children each have baskets or boxes for their clothing.  When the children were all smaller each row was organized left to right as follows:  under garments, pajamas, short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, and the last basket for the boy’s church clothes or the girls miscellaneous. Now that many of the children are older the oldest ones have more baskets for themselves because their clothes are larger sizes. Since we do laundry 4 times per week we don’t need an abundance of clothes. Choosing clothes for each day is quick and easy, and putting laundry away is so much more time efficient – we all love it!  Here’s a photo of the finished product (with the upper rows now also full of baskets)! 

BONUS:  Here’s an added blessing!  When the older children desire a play space separate from small fingers, or a place to practice violin when it's warm in the summer, they can wheel the hanging rack over to the other side of the garage to the "mud room".  There is now additional living space in our house with this closet.  We do use a space heater in the winter when we can’t easily play outside as often. 

Here is how we store shoes and coats in our garage "mud room" (just across to the other side of this garage from where this closet is built).  All of the children's coats hang on the opposite side of the hanging rack from the dresses, and their shoes are on large, plastic Costco shelf unit - boots on bottom, tennis shoes next shelf up, church shoes third shelf up, then teenage daughter's shoes on the next from the top and top shelves.

Mom & dad's coats hang on a bar on the opposite side of the children's shoe rack, and our shoes are also on part of a shelf unit.  These are the shoes we wear all the time, church shoes are up stairs in our closet, and out-of-season shoes are put away in our closet where we don't need access to them currently.  This greatly saves space.

Here is our "mud room" from the other angle, and in this side of the garage is where we store the children's clothing we're not currently using either due to size or season, filling all the bankers boxes (there are lots more boxes over to the right out of photo).  These boxes are easy to stack, to lift, and to label (i.e. "boys, size 3T"). And the carpet we laid down does not have pad beneath it, it's just carpet on the concrete. But it's much warmer than walking on concrete, and it is great at capturing sand, rain water, and snow before any of it enters into the house.

I hope it is encouraging to you to see a little glimpse of one of the ways the Lord can show us that His provision for His children is adequate and enough. *smile*

We praise the Lord for His enabling us – as always - to make our small home work beautifully for our larger family. 


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