A family closet: how it works in our rental house 1


Family closet rental houseRemember when I wrote about our laundry system and family closet…oh, say, two years ago? We’ve moved twice since then, and since it’s working so well, we kept the system with just a few tweaks.

We moved back to the US temporarily so I could have baby number 5. There are bedrooms on one floor and the laundry on another, and the thought of trudging up and down with laundry and a big belly made me appreciate the family closet idea once again. But the laundry is just off the kitchen – where could we put our clothes?

Luckily, there is a powder room with a closet just off the kitchen. It’s not as convenient as putting the clothes directly into the drawers (what I do at our “real” house). But there is a folding counter across from the laundry machines, and I stack the clothes there until they are ready to move.

Here’s a quick review of our system and some photos of this iteration for you.

First, I don’t sort. I know, that sounds crazy if you’re a sorter, but it actually doesn’t affect much of anything. We have little kids, and we don’t have lots of whites or fancy-cycles-needed clothing because…well, we have little kids. So everything is pretty much colored and regular cycle. (Tzitzit and occasionally white dress shirts that need whitening I do separately, but that’s not often!) We’ve even simplified further here by only using fragrance free, gentle detergent and then washing baby’s laundry along with everyone else’s.

I try to do about a load a day. Everyone gets dressed in the bathroom and then brings their dirty clothes or pjs right to the washing machine. That takes care of loading the machine. šŸ˜‰ If you add in linens, you’ll get my load every day. Sometimes more!

I wash my household linens on a specific day – it’s part of my routine. So blankets and sheets are done Friday l’kavod Shabbat (in honor of the Sabbath), towels on Thursday night so they are ready for pre-Shabbat showers, etc. I also throw kitchen towels in every day and change out bathroom hand towels, rugs, thow blankets, and whatever else as needed.

Once everything is washed, I try to fold it hot from the dryer.Ā Ā That minimizes wrinkles and keeps things looking nicer. If I don’t catch it hot, the things that look bad go back in, either to run again for a few minutes if it’s a lot or to wait until tomorrow’s load. I also don’t turn clothes right-side-in for older kids. I consider that part of their job in getting their laundry ready, and if they can’t bother to do it, neither can I. šŸ™‚ That sounds a little snarky, but that’s the jist of my reasoning.

The last step is putting things away. Adult clothes are actually in my room along with my newborn for space reasons. But the four older kids (9, 6, 4, and 2.5) have their clothes in the closet, and they are all able to find what they need. Although my two year old daughter doesn’t get the whole “neat” thing. Or she doesn’t care – it’s hard to tell! When you’re putting clothes away onto shelves like this:

  • think about how they’ll come out. To minimize the mess, I always put the fold of the pants and shirts out. If they don’t pull the garment open as they take them out, I find it stays a lot neater!
  • fold so it fits. I have different short sleeve and long sleeve piles, but have to fold the kids’ shirts three times from the neck down to fit. I used to need them flatter, so only folded them twice. Be flexible to make it work.
  • smaller things like underwear and socks are in the crates across the bottom: the big ones are for me to put in unsorted and then the kids sort into each child’s own crate. It’s the laundry task the kids can easily do, and then I don’t have to keep track of who has what kind of underwear – they all seem to know, but it’s something I haven’t caught onto yet. šŸ˜‰
  • Shabbat clothes are either on the upper shelves or hanging on a rack.Ā Keeping those once a week things out of the general circulationĀ minimizes the mess and keeps our Shabbat clothes neater.
  • Get some shelf dividersĀ if you have open shelves! It gives it a little structure and makes it easier to keep neat. I got these – Ā from Amazon, of course. I love Amazon.

Not touched up photoAnd there is my laundry system and an actual not-picked-up photo for you. What do you think?


About Amital

A die-hard listmaker and observant Jewish mommy of 5, managing the challenges of life bit by bit with the help of a Shalom Bayit book and lists. And chocolate, of course. Lots of chocolate.


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