Our family closet: we wash, dry, and store our clothes in one room

December 7 | Guest post by Molly

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Family closets are usually used by large families but you don't have to have five or more kids to benefit from a family closet. Heck, you don't even need to have a kid to enjoy the ease of keeping all the clean laundry in one place.

Our family is made up of two parents and two children (and two dogs and a cat). I refuse to carry clean laundry up the stairs and distribute clean clothes to several locations just for them to get dirty and need to be washed again. I can't justify that effort when I don't enjoy it and when there is an easier option, so we've set up our laundry room-adjacent family closet in a way that makes more sense.

its so easy

It's not magazine-pretty but I love it!

Here's how the closet works: the clothes are hanging on a hand rail hung from the ceiling with rope. I added some screws on the ends (perpendicular to the rail) to keep the hangers from sliding off.

The basket of coats, jackets, hats and gloves will only be on that chair during the cold seasons. When it warms up they'll go out into the shed (in a tub with a lid) and our swimming stuff will go in that spot.

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I always keep a tub easily accessible for outgrown clothes to donate. Tossing clothes into the tub here and there helps keep the clutter down, plus it makes getting ready for a clothing swap much simpler.

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We also have a reading nook in the family closet because you have to utilize all the space when your house is 700 square feet.

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It's a little odd, but it works well for us — and is a huge timesaver for me!

  1. This intrigues me. I like the idea of all clothes being right there. Do you separate clothes by family member, or is it all hung and everyone knows what is theirs and what isn't? I'm glad you found a system that works for you! Also, it almost feels like you're shopping everytime you go to get dressed, and you're in a 'store' where there are no sales people to harrass you.

  2. Ah, I love this! It totally makes sense to me.

    I like to watch house buying show on tv and have wondered what the big deal about a walk in closet is. But this, this room makes sense. All the clothes + washing machine in 1 spot. Genius. And I love how non-matching everything is. It's ok to have a home that not just walked out of a magazine picture. :)

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    • I'm glad you like how non-matching everything is! Your comment just made me appreciate our furniture more, thank you!

      The metal shelves are from the FDA, the black table is a curb find. The dresser is from my childhood (and use to be bright orange, yellow, and pink). The papasan is from craigslist and the extra chair is from Five Guys.

      3 agree
      • Can I ask exactly what room this is? Like, is it a back entryway or something? I would lovee to do something like this in my future (hopefully, not far in the future) home, but I want to know kind of what to look for. :)

  3. I love it! Especially the reading nook part; great thinking outside of the box!

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  4. Absolutely Brilliant! I had been tossing around a similar idea at home but wasn't quite sure how to execute it! Thank you for the inspiration!

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  5. We live in an apartment and I used to keep my laundry basket outside our bedroom door next to where the washing machine lives. I could undress and just toss stuff through the door and when it was full I could see it from the kitchen and it would remind me to do laundry.

    My husband HATED it and one day said new rule was that all clothing needed to stay in the bedroom. So I moved the basket just inside the door.

    I would LOVE to have a space to wash clothes and for them to live. Maybe when we move to a house (where my washer dryer aren't basically in the kitchen) I'll find a way to make it work!

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  6. My husband's friend and his husband have a similar laundry and clothing storage room thing going on too and it works great.

    It's definitely something I would want in a future home. Too bad it wouldn't work in the one I have now.

  7. I think for me it would be all about location. I want a one-floor house. Then traipsing to the family closet to get dressed every day would make sense. But our laundry is in the basement … I see yours is too, but I have fibromyalgia, and there are too many days when starting off with those stairs would be a bad idea. Darnit.

    1 agrees
    • Yeah, I have bad joints and, during the weather changing seasons, my knees have a tendency to give out. Last week I ended up crawling up the stairs after doing laundry because my knee couldn't handle the steps in the cold.

      Still, I WISH I could do this.

    • My sister-in-law's laundry room is upstairs where the bedrooms are. I like that a lot too!

      Currently we kick our laundry down the stairs in the morning and our toddler puts it all in the hamper (her choice).

  8. I love this idea, especially the reading nook to go along with it all! Now all I need is a washer and dryer….

  9. I plan on doing this when we get our back porch fixed. We have a house that was built in the 30s one closet no rod just hooks on the wall. Right now we have piles but some day my dream is to make a laundry room on the back porch and have all our current clothing near the washer.

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  10. yup – I have 2 shelving units, 5 shelves high. There are five of us, so – Dad shirts, Dad pants. Mom shirts, mom pants. big boy shirts, big boy pants. Little boy shirts, little boy pants. Baby girl shirts, baby girl pants. ALL socks are in a laundry basket at the door of the dryer. Undies are on the appropriate shelf in the corner. There is one shelf for towels, and one for bedding. We have a closet up in the hall for extra bedding. That's it. There are NO dressers or hangers in the bedrooms upstairs. There is a laundry chute from up there, and dirty stuff comes down to the laundry / changing room. That's it. MY work is simply to empty the dryer, then empty the washing machine to the dryer, then turn on a new load to wash. Ten minutes a night, and I am DONE> : )

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  11. Ooh. I want this! One question, if you have closets in your bedrooms what do you use them for? Mainly I worry that if I were ever to do this my fiancé would use the closets as extra room to hoard things :)

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    • Our house has one bedroom and two tiny closets. The upstairs closet has things stored in it that we don't want stored outside. Our downstairs closet is the toy closet.

      Our house is really small and awkward so what works for us won't work for every house and family. Another benefit of our family closet is that it opens up space in our bedroom that would otherwise be filled with dressers and laundry baskets. Instead of a dresser in our bedroom, we have a large wooden dollhouse and a sewing machine, plus some space to play.

      I had a friend who kept her bed in her closet so her whole room was a play space (she had a pretty big closet though).

      The term "think outside the box" can be cliche, but it fits here. If you make a family closet, you need to reframe how you look at the space that use to be your closet. It might not be a closet anymore – it might be a small craft space or a really cozy reading nook or anything.

      You mentioned hoarding – If he is taking over the house with clutter you could give him the closets as his clutter space. The deal could be that as long as the door closes he can put whatever he wants in there.

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  12. Our bedroom and the only bathroom are upstairs. Typically we take our clothes and a towel upstairs before showering. In the warmer months we do just go downstairs to the family closet naked after a shower. Currently our kids are little (toddler and baby) so we haven't had a moment of everyone trying to get dressed at the same time (just Mommy trying to get everyone dressed, heh)

  13. ….is 700 sq ft considered a small house in America?

    my whole block of land is 600… it's considered "not a bad size block" the house is about 1/3 of that space…. it has three bedrooms… it's not a large house, but it's not tiny either…..

    • Is there any chance you are thinking square meters? A 200 square FOOT house would only be 10×20 ft… I think you'd have trouble getting 3 beds in there :)

      • i'm pretty sure we still measure land in feet…. *frowns* i don't knooowwww…. *goes off to measure her house in paces…

        house is approximately 9m X 13m so… 28' X 40'…. does that make my house 1120 sq ft? i don't actually know how that works…..

        • Exactly. As long as whatever you're measuring is rectangular (or close enough) you multiply two adjacent sides together to get the square footage.

  14. THIS IS SO BRILLIANT. As someone who is buried in laundry for entirely too much of my existence, my eyes widened and my pupils dilated as I read this post. Not only will this be the ultimate of perfect for our arrangement, I will go as far as saying it makes laundry time sort of enjoyable.

    THIS IS BRILLIANT.

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  15. I tried to convince my mother for the longest time that this is actually what we should do. Our washer and dryer were in the basement, and then we each had our own laundry basket and racks for our shirts. We had the space! My mom just wasn't so up with the idea.

    I basically used the basement as a closet as I hated taking my laundry upstairs and didn't mind going to the basement each morning.

    Sadly, this won't work with my current living arrangements, but if it ever does, I'm going to try to convince my FH that this is the best option!

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  16. We had something similar to this growing up, but with a shower stall. (The Laundry room was the only place my parents could put a shower in our old house. Ours wasn't as well organized as this one though, and I think technically we were supposed to bring our own clothes upstairs and put them away.

  17. We actually have a space like this in our house, but I've never really known how to use it properly, so of course, it doesn't get used. Now I feel inspired!

  18. READING NOOK IN LAUNDRY ROOM?

    That's so cozy I want to move right in! Dang!

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  19. Don't know if anyone else has made this comment, but much as I LOVE the idea, my family is mixed ages and mixed genders. It would be a royal pain for everyone to have to go to the "laundry closet" to get their clothes, go back to their rooms to dress, then BACK to the closet if they forgot something, then BACK to their rooms….

    It's a fantastic idea for a married couple with a baby, or for people in this tiny home where it's just a step to the bedroom. Not so much in my mixed family. 😉

    • We have a mixed family too. Two boys and a girl. My teenage boy probably wouldn't be too keen on this, but he could keep his stuff in his room, and the rest of us can have the family closet. Our house is one story and 720 sq ft, so this will be great for us! Thanks!

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  20. I like it! I don't want it (I like my things my way and would have a hard time with other people messing up My Stuff, don'tcha know), but I like it!

  21. this is quite possibly the greatest thing ever. if I can convince my husband to do this maybe I can also change his folding habits (shirts folded down the middle, not folded at all, etc.)

  22. I connect to this so much!
    I am a costume shop manager and this is right in tune with my work. I can't believe I never thought of it before. As it stands we do this in a very unorganized manner! Meaning we simply wash the clothes and then dig through the hampers to find clean things! I am so doing this in our next apartment!!!

  23. WTF THIS IS GENIUS.
    I'm not a neat person in general, but most of my mess is CLOTHES. EVERYWHERE. I'm def going to work this idea out the next time I move so it's all confined to one space!

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  24. I have been obsessing over this idea since it was posted and can't wait to implement it in my new place. Thank you!

  25. This may be just perfect for our next place and our lifestyle. We're in a 700 sq ft apartment, and we're buying a smaller cabin and hopefully adding a kid…Currently we use our bedroom closet to store fishing gear and snowboards and home brew and our boat. We store uniforms, suits and coats in in the entry closet, and our clothes in on dresser. I'd love it if we had a place to put the dresser near the laundry machines now, but it's in the kitchen.

  26. It's a great idea. I think a changing room and a mirror will complete the room.

    • There's not really a space for a mirror or a screen in there, but that would be pretty cool! We have a large mirror in the living room and we change everywhere (which currently works for us)

  27. Other popular bi-fold doors are the mirror-paneled bi-folds. These are usually found in bedrooms and bathrooms of the home. Mirrored bi-folds may act as full-body mirrors and that is one of the traits that make them a favorite in the wardrobe area. Also specially effective in small spaces, mirrored bi-fold doors provide the illusion of having a bigger space when closed, yet allow maximum use of space in homes, restaurants, hotels, bars, or other interior spaces when opened.

  28. i loved this idea and have done it in my house in a spare room its saved my bedroom and my clothes

  29. This is an old post however I have been eating something like this for a long time. I was now checking to see how others feel it works! Happy to know other's enjoy this set up. Once mine is set up ill be converting our closets into reading nooks. With small homemade selves from white plastic eaves trough and a big cushion. My room is a walk in closet so there is room for a table and chair with book self… A great mommy time out place!

  30. My God… This is GENIUS. As soon as we have a home where we actually have in-suite laundry, I am SO doing this.

  31. OOOOOMG I AM STEALING THIS IDEA!! Fantastic! See, me and my husbands bedroom is cluttered with clothes (no closet). We have 2 toddlers and 1 on the way, and no dresser in their bedroom, so things get unorganized VERY quickly. We also have another small room (we live in a two bedroom trailer, with a dinning room we use as our bedroom, the whole place has barely any closet/storage space…very tiny!) but I was not really sure what i wanted to do with that little room. I never would have thought of this and you just saved my OCD life. THANK YOU!!!

  32. I'm super late to this party, but WOW! This is absolutely brilliant, and I think the reading nook makes it even more awesome. Cuddle up for story time while the clothes are in the wash. Brill.

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