A Tour of our Family Closet (Video Blog)

Not our closet... this belongs to the Duggar Family, who have 19 children!

When I knew that we were moving to a new house with a much larger master bedroom closet, I made the happy decision to create a “family closet” rather than continue to keep everyone’s clothing in their own rooms.

What, you ask, is a family closet? It’s a rather unique concept that I learned about initially from larger families, where all of the clothes for the whole household are stored in one convenient place.

Why use a family closet? There are many reasons, but the most popular reasons are:

  1. For ease of putting laundry away, and keeping all of the dirty laundry together in one place.
  2. To keep the general clothing mess and mayhem to a minimum.
  3. To make getting lots of little ones dressed more quickly and easily in the mornings (or into their pajamas in the evenings).
  4. As a place to store all different sizes/genders of clothing, making it simple to pass clothes from one child to the next as they grow.
  5. To remove dressers from bedrooms to make more room for beds and lots of sweet kiddos. :)

Take a moment to go on a little tour of our own family closet and consider whether this might be a useful option for your own family:

It’s only been a month and a half since we began using a family closet, and even less time that it’s been very organized. I still have more than I want to do with it, but I am already impressed at how the clothing mess and stress has disappeared, and my laundry time is beginning to be cut down as I get into the rhythm of using the closet!

Other Resources:

Creating a Family Closet @ Lots of Kids

A Family Closet Pictorial @ Lots of Kids

Finding a Laundry System That Works for You @ Organizing Your Way

Laundry Help: The Family Closet @ Raising Olives

Do you use a family closet? Have you considered it? What do you think of the whole idea?

Image of the Duggar Family’s closet

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. How funny that you posted this! I have been investigating the idea of a family closet latey! This was great. I love seeing how other people organize their stuff. I’ve heard that family closets are so beneficial, especially to larger families. You have no idea how relieved I was to know that there are other people out there who don’t fold jammies and underwear! I just throw ours in the drawer…actually I make my children put away their own laundry, so you know it doesn’t get folded! Great post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you so much for showing me the inside of your drawers. I loved seeing the unfolded laundry. Why?? Because now I feel better about my unfolded drawers! :)

  3. Thanks, This was very intersting. I have been curious about this sense you mentioned it a few weeks ago. I was curious about where your underwear was also. :) I think that kind of system makes a lot of sense. I will have to think things out as they relate to our family. I’m sure I’ll find some kind of solution.

  4. I loved the tour. Especially your daughter showing everything. So cute.

    I like how easy it is to put the laundry away too. And just for the record, I’m not much of a folder either!

    I keep thinking how this might help keep my extremely messy child’s room a little more tidy. Maybe.

  5. Loved the video, the concept, Vanna, and hearing your voice.

    I don’t fold underwear either and I want a sorter like that!

  6. We use the 3 bag laundry system, too. We’ve been lucky that our clips have lasted all twelve years that we’ve been using ours, but the whites one is about to split completely, and I’ve already got a solution! I’ve been using some big office supply clips to hold one on, and some claw hair clips to hold the other. They can clip in the corners, so hold better than the single plastic ones you get with the system..and they work great!

  7. I LOVE the concept but wow, we’d have to have one HUGE closet. I’m pretty sure my husband and my clothes would take up your entire closet – and I really really like my clothes, so paring down wouldn’t work. BUT, I have a 3yo and a 1 yo – Both of them can actually where 24 mo clothing (on some stuff…stretchy pants and tops). It would be so nice to not have to bin everything up after every size/season. Right now they share this teeniny closet space and an armoire (with only 2 drawers). NOT much room at all. But, we deal. It’d be so nice to just be able to keep clothing 12 mos to 3 T all out in one closet so they can wear EVERYTHING that will fit instead of me putting up 2 yo stuff because neither of them are “technically” in that size (where they can wear all of the 2 T stuff) just so I can keep it all together in totes in storage. *sigh* Plus, add in prospective new babies…and wow, it’d just be great to have things more handy.

  8. I think that is wonderful. I am happy for you! Organization makes Mommy’s life so much easier!

  9. You have *really* got my wheels turning. I love to reorganize things and I want to figure out a better system like this!

    I also love how you don’t fold certain clothing items. It always cracks me up when I hear that some people actually fold their underwear. :)

    Kelly

    • @Kelly the Kitchen Kop, I know, what’s up with folding underwear? I didn’t show you the dresser in our bedroom that holds me and my husband’s “delicate” items… :) None of it’s folded, either!

    • @Kelly the Kitchen Kop,
      I tried to “let go” and not fold my underwear, because I agree it seems a little crazy, but I can’t live like that :) It drives me nuts to know it’s in there all disheveled. I just lay it flat and sort of stack it though, so it doesn’t really take any time.

      The closet idea is intriguing…I might have to try that at some point.

      • @Amanda,
        Your reply totally cracked me up … “It drives me nuts to know it’s in there all disheveled.” I TOTALLY agree!! haha! Although, I do love the idea of not folding the diapers and jammies! Even when I do fold them, inevitably they get all messed up anyway! :-)

        Stephanie, I so have closet envy right now! So wish we had a larger space. I’ve never heard of the family closet before, but if we had big enough space, I’d be upstairs rearranging right now!

        What do you do with the clothes the kids outgrow (or hand-me-downs they don’t fit into yet). We currently have them in bins in the garage (we have VERY little storage space in the house), but it feels like a huge effort every few months (b/c they grow so fast!) to switch over sizes. Suggestions?

        Thanks for the post. Enjoyed the video–especially your little helper!

        • @Erika, Right now we have outgrown clothes in large bins that we keep in an alcove at the bottom of the basement stairs.

          They are all just stacked up, so depending on which bin I need to access, it can definitely be a pain to get at them. I needed to access the next size up for my baby girl last week, and I ended up spending time rearranging them according to which bins I would need to access next, to try to minimize the work it would take next time!

          What I am trying to do is keep one bin/box with the clothes that each child is growing into available in the family closet for easy access, and then one bin where I toss ALL of the clothes that they outgrow. When that one bin fills up, then I do as I did last week and transfer it all in one afternoon to the appropriate outgrown clothes bins.

          I’m not sure there’s any really easy way to deal with the clothes storage situation unless you have a really accessible place to store them, which most of us don’t. If anyone has any better ideas of how they deal with outgrown/too big clothes, please share! :)

      • @Amanda, LOL, I love that you tried to “let go”! I’m very out-of-sight, out-of-mind, so maybe that’s why it doesn’t bother me. My underwear drawer isn’t much more organized than my kid’s pajama drawer and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest. :)

  10. Two things–

    1) I have that same laundry sorter/hamper thing. It’s WONDERFUL!! The best invention ever!! I want to find whoever thought to do that and shake their hand.

    2) I never would have thought to do a family closet, but that is brilliant!! I wish we had a huge closet in the place we’re moving to next week. That is such a great idea!

    Thanks for posting the video, very cool!

  11. Very cool! It’s just my hubby and I, so we don’t need a “family closet” (nor could we have one with the way our house is laid out), but I think it’s a fabulous idea! I’ll be passing this idea long to people as it comes up!

  12. I love this! I think I have the same laundry basket and my husband had to fix it for me. He drilled decking screws into it to fix it. Mine kept twirling around so that the bags would easily fall. The decking screws are at the outside four corners and they are drilled in at an angle. (His words, not mine!) Hope this helps!! If not feel free to email and ask me more.

  13. I’ve heard of this idea before too. It looks like a neat idea. I would love the idea of putting it actually in our basement, where the laundry room is, but I find that over time, things stored down there not in bins get a bit of a basement smell, although the basement is dry and doesn’t ever smell to me at all (and I really notice smells). We don’t have enough closet space to do this upstairs in a bedroom. I think walk in closets must be a fairly new invention, our house is too old for it LOL

    • @Nola, But do you have any sort of room or alcove that you could convert into a “closet”? It doesn’t have to be an actual closet, that’s just what worked best for us.

      • @Stephanie @ Keeper of the Home, Yes I knew that…but no, we don’t really have any extra room…our house is not even 900 square feet and only has 2 bedrooms (although it does have the basement like I said that wouldn’t work well). I’m going to be thinking about some other idea to re-organize the laundry situation though…its a little crazy at times in a split level home with the laundry in the basement! Anyone have ideas I’d love to hear them.

  14. Love this idea… I’m seriously going to think about accomplishing it!
    As for the 3 hamper laundry system, we have one and it started falling apart within 3 months. I had to use duct tape to keep it together, but when the knobs that hold the bags in place started falling off, I just used a wide top, but thin enough plastic, then metal bolt in their place. Not as pretty, but they were sturdy enough when I screwed it thru both sides of the plastic tubing. Just because I had them, I ended up putting the nut on the bottom of the bolt. Hope that might help!
    All the best to you and your family, and thanks again for all the great information you provide!

  15. I like the idea that the family closet can cut down on the chaos in the bedrooms! I have to take deep breaths before entering certain children’s rooms or close the door. But all the while knowing that I will have to enter at some point to sort the chaos! SO going to be thinking about this! Not sure we have the room. THanks Steph. It makes so much sense!

  16. I hadn’t ever thought too much about a family closet, but it’s actually what we do at our place too. Our home is small, and one closet awkwardly shaped, so we have all our clothes (aside from pjs, underthings, exercise clothes, etc. which are in a chest of drawers in our bedroom) in the closet in our office/crib room. We use the other closet for storage of “things” and “stuff” and seldom or never used clothes like my wedding gown, hubby’s sport coats, etc. To be fair, we have only 1 child, and she’s still small, so we can still fit everything in our one little closet. I don’t know how easy it would be for us to do with multiple children in our current living situation. Thanks for the tour!!

  17. Love it! Thanks for sharing this with us! Glad to see another cloth diaper user who occasionally has to use sposies. I was so mad when I had to purchase disposables last week, but I’d already spent a week trying to get rid of my 20 month old’s diaper rash, so I used an ointment at the pediatrician’s suggestion and needed to use disposables. No fun, but the rash is nearly gone, and it’s day 5. Poor baby had blisters.

    • @Gabrielle, That’s when I resort to sposies, too. Occasionally both of my youngest gets rashes so bad that they blister and peel. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Then we bring on the disposables, just until the skin really starts healing well (meanwhile I strip the cloth diapers so they’re super clean when we use start using them again).

  18. Great video! And a family closet is a great idea. If my kids were still young, I would definitely try this out.

    I just wanted to mention your laundry sorter. I used to have one just like it and it also fell apart. So when I bought another one I spent a little more and got the metal frame with canvas bags. Each canvas bag has metal handles that it hangs from on the frame and it is WONDERFUL! I have had it at least 3 years and it has held up so good. Even with the bags being way overstuffed occasionally. I think I got it at Walmart or K-Mart so you might check it out if you like your system and want to keep it long term. :)

    • @Kim, That’s on my long-term wish list. We’re starting with this plastic, hand-me-down laundry sorter. If I find that I really like it and it makes life much easier, then we will spend the money on a really good one that will go the distance!

    • @Kim, Ditto Kim’s post. We had the same mesh bag one and it caused me SO much grief! I actually had our mesh bags duct taped to the plastic frame at the end of it all! Crazy!
      We also went and got the one with the metal handles that slide over the metal frame (Target) about a year ago and it still looks brand new! It was BEYOND worth the $40.

  19. Thanks for taking the time to do these video blogs–I really enjoy them!

  20. Elizabeth says:

    Right now our closet is very small and very full! But we’re looking to buy land in a year and put a manufactured house on it. The manufactured house I love has an enormous closet that I was considering turning into a reading nook, but then I thought “family closet!”. SO, I will be doing this in a year or so ;) Yours looks great!

  21. Awesome! Makes me realize we have way too much clothes. Time for me to let go of some and get organized.

  22. This is great! It really makes me hope that we have a walk-in closet in our next home!

  23. I’ve never thought about using a family closet but I can definitely see how it would cut down on the laundry chores. What a great idea. We do not have the space for that right now but it’s certainly something to think about. Clothes are the most frequent thing that messes up bedroom floors around here.

  24. I actually just transitioned my two daughters into my closet and they’re loving it (well, the baby has no opinion, but the three year old sure does!). It has cut WAY down on laundry “mess” for us as well. :)

  25. Wow you have so much space in that closet. Our closet is very small and running over because I have lots of stuff in it! It’s my project next week. I’ve never thought about doing a family closet but it does seem like a neat idea if you have the room!!! Great job!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] One thing to note about laundry…the ideal way to do laundry for a large family is a family closet. I’ve done this before in our old house and it was wonderful. (Presently the baby’s room is in the closet, so it’s not feasible…but soon I hope!) The benefit of the family closet is that there is only one place to go to put away clothes. For more ideas and resources on setting up a family closet, visit Keeper of the Home. [...]

  2. [...] second link I’d like to share is to a blog called Keeper of the Home. The mother here has a video of their family closet (and another picture, actually, of the [...]

  3. [...] for things without a proper home). A week or two earlier, I had also dramatically cleared out our family closet, main bathroom, and kitchen in similar fashion, inspired by Organized [...]

  4. [...] that the Duggar family also has a family closet, but I hadn’t seen or read about theirs yet.) HERE is the link I [...]

  5. [...] Storage Containersa minimalist in the closet (a tidy, not overstuffed, closet) – The Minimalist MomA Tour of our Family Closet (Video Blog) .broken_link, a.broken_link { text-decoration: line-through; [...]

  6. [...] The closet you see above is the hanging portion that contains our 3 children's shirts, sweaters, dresses and skirts (plus a few fancy dresses that hang above). What you see is basically what we have, minus the clothes that are currently dirty or in use. There is also one small dresser (3 drawers) that houses their pants and shorts, plus another dresser that holds all of their summer and winter pajamas, underwear, socks/tights and cloth diapers, and some jackets in the hall closet. [...]

  7. [...] about her family closet over at Keeper of the [...]