Content Amidst the Chaos

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Manage-it Monday December 1, 2009

Filed under: Manage-It Monday — jps23 @ 8:36 pm

Okay, so I am running behind in updates to the blog.  I used to think that was silly, that people can’t find time to sit down and make their entry.  Well, I’m not laughing now.  It’s so easy to let it slip by undone, especially when the demands of life get especially demanding!  For my post today, I thought I’d let you all in on how we manage clothes.  Now, our system isn’t perfect because we aren’t as diligent as we should be about keeping things moving through the laundry, but it’s the most effective system we have in place around here.  I came across many of the parts of our clothing routines on different blogs and websites, and we combined them and made them work for our family.

We started with a large, five-shelf set of wire shelves for laundry.  I believe I bought it at Target.  I then bought 6 round baskets to place on those shelves and a rectangular one, as well.  I labeled the shelves at first, and then after moving, I decided that labeling the baskets worked best for us.  Our loads are as follows:  towels (the rectangular basket), jeans, blues/greens, pinks/reds, lights/whites, darks, fancy/work.  In our new home, we have a laundry chute.  It’s in the bottom of the kitchen pantry, which makes no sense to me, but there it is.  The kids drop their clothes, most days, down the chute into a tall basket, which is then sorted into the smaller baskets on the shelves right next to the chute.  We wash them on an as needed basis.  We wash daily, skipping a day every now and then if we’re super busy (which we usually pay for later).  The more in the basket, the higher priority for washing.  Sometimes, it depends on what we’re short on or what is being highly requested.  I’ve tried a laundry schedule before, where you wash specific loads on specific days, but that just hasn’t worked for us in the past.  The girls usually sort the clothes for me, and all of the kids, except S6, will help move them from one machine to the other or from the dryer to a basket for me to fold.  They don’t fold neatly enough yet, which doesn’t matter to me in appearance as much as it does regarding the space it takes up when not folded tight and neat.

Now, for storing clothes…I learned in the old house that the girls cannot keep their clothes in their rooms.  They pull too many out, change too many times during the day, and use their clothes for dress up too much!  We had a wardrobe from IKEA in our room where we stored everyone’s clothes, and then at one time, sacrificed a room to make it a family closet (thank you, Duggar family).  However, we needed the room for people more than clothes, and when the clothes were in my room, I got pretty tired of looking at them.  When we moved into this house, I adapted an idea that I found on a website called Lots of Kids (www.lotsofkids.com).  Go ahead and laugh, but we have lots of kids, so it makes sense to me!  This particular mom to lok had a closet built that spanned the wall, and she used baskets and crates to store her family’s clothes.  This house has built in shelves on the wall that the washer and dryer sits on in the basement.  Perfect!  And they are the depth of about an 18 gallon plastic container.  So, I bought five clear containers from Target, labeled them with each child’s name and size, and I store their clothes in these bins.  The two older boys share a bin because they can wear a lot of each others’ clothes, but everyone else has their own container.  I haven’t gone to the solid-colored polo shirts and denim jumpers/skirts like the Duggars, just yet, and I hope to not wind up there.  Yes, it would make laundry much easier, but I just can’t do it.  I may reevaluate one day, but for now, this is the way we do it.  The boys’ and girls’ pajamas and underpants are stored in the dresser/changing table that is in the boys’ room.  The socks, all Hanes for the girls and Fruit of the Loom for the boys (which are marked on the inside of the cuff with the size), are stored in baskets on top of our shoe bin, which sits by the back door (the only door we use).  The boys are in different sizes, and S4 has to wear special socks for his AFO’s, so they each have their own basket with their name on it, but the girls wear the same size, so they have a basket for socks and a basket for tights.  These are stackable, colored baskets from Target (green for boys, blue for girls) that match our playroom and aren’t even as big as a loaf of bread, so they don’t take up too much room.  Mine and Superman’s clothes get stored in our room, when I’m diligent enough, or just plain can find the energy, to carry the basket upstairs and put them away.  I’m still not sure what I will be doing with the baby’s clothes.  I’ll get back to you on that one.

Picking out clothes…the plan was to pick out clothes on Sunday night for the school week and store them in those days of the week sorters in the kids’ rooms.  I bought one for the boys, which hasn’t been mounted, and I haven’t gotten one for the girls yet because their room is right beside the unfinished basement where the laundry is housed.  However, for the purpose of order, I’m going to have to get them one, as well.  It’s part of the plan to fix up their room as part of their Christmas.  Not an absolute necessity, but I can justify it when I count it as part of a gift!  We’ll still try to get this implemented, but for now, I can go down and get everyone’s clothes, Superman usually can do it with success, and the girls can even go down to get their own clothes and an outfit for their buddy.  All of these work, but they add to our getting ready time in the morning, so I’d like to implement my original idea asap.  Once I upgrade my space on the blog, I’ll add photos.  I’ll also post more about ironing and other fabric issues later, like linens and clothing repairs.  That’s all extra.  The most important thing is getting clean clothes on everyone each day.  If you know us personally, you know that they don’t always have to match, either!  As long as the sensitive child is comfortable in her clothes, we are all happy!

And that’s how I manage laundry and clothes!

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