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

Bread, Blessings & Breaks

Well, it's been a while since I last the midst of life, blogging takes a back seat.  Partly because living leaves little time in this season to write and partly because I wonder if anyone is interested or even would be encouraged at the "living" taking place.  Sometimes, I wonder if my practical, simple tips are worth writing I don't, I just live it.  Does anyone really want to read about in home hospitality or juggling school, helping with husband's business {administratively}, meal planning {or sometimes lack of}, grocery shopping with children, or settling sibling squabbles, or computer setbacks {like erasing everything from my desktop when uploading a new program...yikes}...I mean, really?

When lives gets hard, I really have to look for the blessings in it.  Today, was a challenging day {really having a full house gives opportunity to having many challenging days...} and I had to step outside of the day to look for the blessings.

A rare sight to see Carolyne on the floor...she'll never learn to crawl if she isn't out of every one's arms... ;-)

Playing on Dad & Mom's bed...almost a morning routine with laughter a result
"A cheerful heart is good medicine..."
The blessing of having all the sweet children the Lord has given and being thankful that our home is
  • sometimes noisy {it's better than means living is going on}...
  • sometimes messy {truly, I believe as much as having a house of little ones...and big remind and pick up after, that one day in the not so near future ;-) they'll be gone and I'll miss it (or so I'm told)...
  • sometimes sad {thinking about missed opportunities and how short life truly is...when time of being still gives way to reflection which must be kept as a reminder to live as unto the Lord EVERYDAY...EVERY moment

Ending 2011 with thanksgiving for God's gift of "another day"...what man said would be less than a week, God has given over 2 years...thank you Lord.

The blessing of children who can do things to help out on those days and enjoy to
  • children who surprised me with little blessings they purchased (using their own sweet) from the Cracker Barrel store...a sweet smelling votive and a chocolate bar {may the Lord keep their hearts soft and kind over the years to come...}
  • making dinner  last night {Austin grilled chicken, made mashed potatoes, mixed veggies and quick croissants...}
  • baking cookies...everyday if allowed {Logan is quite comfortable making all kinds of cookies...his sweet tooth will never lack ;-) }
  • playing with little ones {Alyssa is growing up...this past weekend she was a blessing to me in helping with Liz and Carolyne...Mark went out of town taking Graham & K to Logan's football tournament...the first time our family has been separated for a whole weekend like this.}
  • a husband who even after a long day at work answers a call to help with Mom {a few bad days for her,too...but how gracious He is...} and then again this morning
  • "Just because you are loved" labels everywhere this morning as "someone" kindly went around doing other's chores and getting our day off to a good start {Thanks Zach :-) }

The making of peanut butter blossoms a few weeks ago...a few days ago was cinnamon oatmeal...and several kinds in between...sweet delight!
A "Just because you are loved" note on a straightened book cabinet...

The blessing of bread again after far too long of being inconsistent with baking...
  • putting to use a bread machine the family gave me for Christmas to make baking regularly easier

2 hours 33 minutes until today's loaf is done...

And the finished loaf...yum.  A 1/2 white, 1/2 whole wheat Italian seasoned loaf...

The blessing of breaks together making memories and knitting hearts
  • having a precious friend spend a few days with us
  • a field trip to Legoland {because of an unbelievably HUGE discount making it possible for our family to join other homeschoolers}

    As close to New York City as we may get for a while... many have passed by this symbol of freedom and are part of this great country's foundation of new beginnings, leaving homelands with nothing and working hard in the US in pursuit of happiness?
  • seeing the beauty of God's creation
This Monarch emerging...wings drying before it begins its journey...
  • visiting with family from out-of-town recently
Great Uncle Tom & Great Aunt Kathe...such a blessing to visit with ~ looking forward to getting together again in the future as the Lord permits
  • football tournaments {although, we probably won't be doing this again unless we all can go...}

Log's team against a team from Washington was a tight win, 13 vs. 12!

  • a lovely evening of music during the Youth Music Festival in which Austin played in

The conductor, Mrs. Umbarger, did a great job preparing the Harmony Orchestra for this performance and the students were a blessing to hear ~ how the sweet sounds soothe the soul

  • playing a game with the older boys...just putting all things aside to spend time together

    Monopoly can get intense sometimes as bargins are being made...kinda like being on Wall Street...but the fun really is in the time spent together ~ it's been too long since the boys and I played a game.
  • a trip to a National Park during their free admission offer and spending time with friends during lunch while there

The children and I reading about some of the famous explorers in Florida history...

Pippy?  No, just our full of life girl...she's such a bundle of energy and her God given personality surely comes through in all she does!

A little soccer...a little touch football...a lot of fun {and the less energetic ones enjoyed our picnic on the grounds basking in the warmth on this January day ~ another blessing...Florida weather.

Our sweet little Liz

I encourage you to look for the blessings this year and take opportunity to live each day as unto Him...

Blessings in Him ~