How Do We Manage ALL Those Clothes?

Living in a large family forces one to be organized in order to keep order and peace in the home. Being organized helps us to be better stewards of what the Lord has given us. Our home is not large by most standards, especially for the number of people living in it, however it really is big enough for us. With each child, a little more creativity is tapped into {thank you Lord} as we re-organize to accommodate another blessing. One key is regular assessment of what we really need and either storing, selling or giving away what we don’t. This keeps our living area free from clutter.  With creativty comes the implementation of it and I have lots of helping hands to take it to the next step of putting it into action...taking the vision and applying it by DOING.  I am so thankful for a handy husband and sons who are going to know how to be just as handy by helping and doing!

Handling Current Sizes/Seasons

As you can imagine, a family of 10 has a lot of shoes, clothing and basic essentials. An area I will address today is the topic of managing all the clothes. For handling ‘current’ clothes, each person has a section of their bedroom closet for hanging items and assigned drawers {either with a built-in drawer unit in their closet or via a good ole dresser} for their folded clothes. I love the built-in units as they keep the bedrooms more open with less furniture needed. To further keep things uniform and orderly, we all have an assigned hanger color which helps when doing laundry.

My husband added this unit purchased from IKEA to our closet before Carolyne was born to accommodate her clothing, towels & blankets.

Closet system purchased from the home improvement store allowing for double rods for hanging clothes and storage shelves for personal belongings, books, etc.  When we built our house in 1995, all the closet had the standard wire rack with clothing rod...just ONE long rack in each closet.  That was also SEVEN children, what the Lord has done!.  Our closets have all had a makeover to accommodate our changing and growing home.  Mark and the boys have been instrumental in getting this done and taking the vision I had and making it a reality...thank you Lord.

The good ole fashioned dresser...each of the boys in this room get one side for the folded laundry items.  This was my husband's dresser and continues to serve our family well.

Then these closet drawer units and double rods were installed into our other sons' closet allowing room for folded and hanging clothes.  Each son has a hamper/basket for their dirty clothes {which they wash themselves} that is also kept inside the closet.  I like these units better than the wire ones used in other other sons' room.  You can go here to get more design ideas.
On the other side of their closet we chose to use adjustable track shelving and baskets instead of drawers. Thus system uses brackets which wood shelves are screwed to and the brackets can be adjusted according to desired heights.  We also made the shelves go the full width of the closet unlike the other side with drawers, maximizing space.  This allowed it to be more customed for storing his belongings as well as using the baskets for folded clothing.  He slips his laundry basket under the last shelf for dirty clothes.  They slipped another Closetmaid type of drawer unit under the rods for storing games and such.
Same system was installed in the girls' room with double rods and drawers.  Each girl has a rod for hanging clothes and then this series of drawers is Elizabeth's.

This is the full shot of the girls' closets/drawers.  The center drawer unit is for Alyssa.  The right closet is identical to the left {see previous photo} with another series of drawers belonging to Kailynn.  Three girls' worth of clothing and it IS doable.  ;-)

How Much Do We Keep of Current Clothing?

The amount of clothing each person has is determined by what can be managed and what they can afford. We purchase all the clothing needs for our home and usually give new items during the year for birthdays or special occasions. When our children are old enough to work regularly, then they become responsible for buying items they need/want. Just as with any budget, they learn and establish a budget at a young age with funds set aside for such purchases. We have found that this is another life lesson and skill they will need when they have families of their own AND we have also found that whenever funds earned are exchanged for products, there is ownership that takes place and this in turns makes better stewards. {There is a cost associated with their purchase…work in exchange for goods…also helps them think twice about spending.}

I will say we could do even better in this area by further assessing what is REALLY needed. Having less, makes managing easier. Less to wash, less to care for, less to store. I have read others who only keep 7 days worth of clothing and a special outfit for church or occasions. That makes things very simple…I’m just not there yet.

Storing Out-of-Season/Outgrown Clothing

From early on, I saved the clothes purchased/given to our children and stored all outgrown items for future use with younger children. I have chosen to use the sturdy colored storage bins and labeled them according to contents. The out of season and outgrown clothing are kept in these bins in the attic until something is needed. I try going through them each season as clothes are rotated in and out, purging what is no longer needed or too tattered to keep.

I prefer the Rubbermaid or Sterlite brand colored storage bins.  I use them for clothing, holiday decor, toys, etc. and try to color code them according to the theme {Red - Christmas, Blue or Green - boys, Purple or Pink - girls, Grey - shoes, Taupe or Orange - Thanksgiving/Autumn, etc.} and label them to make keeping things in the attic organized, too.

What to Do with Clothing When It’s Been Worn Out

Clothing that is too tattered or outgrown is sometimes repurposed, like this great idea from Quinn at Reformation Acres!  Another repurposing idea can be to take all those favorites and make a quilt ~ what a great way to remember those sweet baby/children's outfits!  If things begin to accumulate to a point of more than may be needed in the future for other children, clothes may be passed on to other families or donated. IF a need arises for new clothes to be purchased…I ALWAYS keep an eye on the clearance racks and think ahead of the current season to replace more worn items. You’d be surprised what GREAT deals can be found on the clearance racks for well-made clothing…far better sometimes than buying consignment, thrift or garage sales…and the items are NEW. We also try bless others as items are reassessed, as we have been blessed with ‘new-to-us’ clothes, too. All these options really help to stretch the dollar.

Another way to stretch the dollar is to make your own clothing and I know many a family who are training up skilled seamstresses. This is an area I am not proficient in, but do sew enough to get by and not nearly as much as I would like. All my children will at least know the basics {including the boys}.

Managing the Dirty Laundry

I have written a post about our laundry system here which you can read to see how we handle this area of managing clothing in a large family. I haven’t deviated too much from this method, as I find this is what works for our family. Training our children from about age 9 on to do their own laundry helps to keep things from backing up. Up until this point the younger ones help with sorting, folding, delivering to each room, transferring clothes into the dryer or pulling them out, etc. We believe this helps them to be contributors in our society not just consumers…

Look what Mom found BEHIND the laundry, no, no.  Someone's got laundry to do.  So, even with all the are only as good if they are utlized.  :-)   Here's a glimpse of REAL LIFE...

I hope that reading about how we manage the clothing for our family will help you and provide a few ideas to make your life a little easier…

Blessings as you seek to serve Him, even when doing the laundry ~

Linked this week to:
Raising Olives is one of the Mom's hosting this topic...
Sandy's DIY here to see others

1 comment:

Make a Joyful Noise all ye Lands said...