A Tour of our Family Closet (Video Blog)

Duggar Family Closet
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. πŸ™‚

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

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  1. 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!

  2. 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. πŸ™‚

  3. 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.

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

  5. 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 πŸ˜‰ Yours looks great!

  6. 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. πŸ™‚

    1. @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.

  7. 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.

    1. @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).

  8. 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!!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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

      1. @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.

  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. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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. πŸ™‚


    1. @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 πŸ™‚ 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.

      1. @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! πŸ™‚

        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!

        1. @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! πŸ™‚

          1. My brother and his wife have 9 kids and I LOVE their clothes storage solution. My brother installed pull down stairs to their attic and laid plywood across the trusses. They have a LOT of these sorts of drawers. http://www.officemax.com/office-furniture/storage/general-drawer-storage/product-prod3340126?cm_mmc=Googlepla-_-Office%20Furniture-_-Storage-_-General%20Drawer%20Storage&CS_003=9286091&CS_010=22347505&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=22347505&gclid=CP23n-v60K4CFQV_hwodSRdsBg
            They are stacked 2 high and the drawers are labeled according to size and gender and go in size order around the attic. They also store shoes and other random things up there that fit in the storage drawers. It’s easily accessible as needed. I hope that helps someone out!

      2. @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. πŸ™‚

  16. 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.

  17. 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!

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

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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. πŸ™‚ 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.

  21. 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! πŸ™‚

  22. 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!

  23. What a neat idea! It dawned on me while watching this, though, that I already pretty much have a ‘family closet’…but it’s just my husband and me right now, ha! Maybe a consideration for the future…. πŸ™‚

  24. When I first hear about this, I thought…ugh, that’s weird. But at the time I hadn’t realized I wanted a large family yet, nor the implications of having one! Now I’m thinking more and more that I need to have one, because I am getting tired of having clothes EVERYWHERE. My son still sleeps in my room so his clothes, although put away in his room, end up in my room most of the time, and end up all over the floor. My daughter has her own room but her clothes STILL end up in my room because she often changes in my room. I hate going around to a million rooms (bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen) gathering up all the laundry. I don’t know what’s clean or dirty sometimes! Then I hate putting it away and it takes forever. Not to mention the various-sized clothing I have to find somewhere to store between children and seasons (and my children are only 18 months apart so they will share all the neutral clothes only about a year apart, so by the time I’ve sorted it all and put it away it’s nearly time to get it back out again…).

    Seems like ALL of this headache could be avoided by having a family closet, right? We’re working on our “large family mentality” in general so this will be a step we’ll probably need to take sooner rather than later.

  25. Thank you, Stephanie!

    I have been wanting to do this for quite some time. I need a major laundry/clothing re-vamp! This seems like such a great idea.

    (I fold our underwear, just for the sake of full disclosure) πŸ™‚

  26. Hi,
    Thanks for the video, that’s a big family closet. I was inspired by the number of clothes you keep. I’ve been reading a lot about simplifying so I was wondering how do you decide how many items of clothing your kids need each season? I need to go shopping for the oldest but would love to keep it simple since I’ve noticed sometimes I buy more clothes than she actually wears in a season. It doesn’t really bother me since I have two younger girls so eventually everything is useful but still I would like to buy the necessary and no more! So, how do you determine what to buy and how many?

    1. @Ivonne, I don’t have any firm guidelines for how many clothes we have, but here are some general ones that I keep in mind:

      For my girls– 2-3 fancy dresses, 2-4 casual dresses, a few skirts (my 5 year old now is beginning to wear more skirts, less dresses), plus 2-4 pairs of pants or capris, including at least one pair of jeans. Each has about 5-7 short-sleeved shirts, and the same long-sleeved, plus a couple sweaters or sweatshirts.

      For my son– 1-2 pairs dressier pants, 2-3 jeans, 2-4 “other” (khaki, cord, etc.). Same as girls for shirts and sweaters, but a few extra dressy shirts and a couple nice sweaters or sweater vests.

      For all my kids- about 3-5 pairs of pajamas that suit the season (hot/cold) and maybe 1-2 extra for the baby in case she wets through, plus enough underwear and socks to last just a little over a week, in case mama can’t get to all the laundry in time. πŸ™‚

      For shoes– I aim to have 1 pair dress shoes (maybe 2 for the girls- white and black), 1 pair running shoes, 1 pair nice/casual (or sandals in summer), and 1 pair of boots. Anything above and beyond that is a bonus.

      I find it interesting that people don’t think I have too many clothes for my kids. Even though we keep it pretty simple, there are still some days or some seasons where I think that we have a little bit too much and that we could simplify even more!

  27. Love the no-folding! I think my jammies drawer is in for a surprise!

    I agree with the comments about not folding undies. Let’s be honest, why do they need to be straight and pristine πŸ™‚

  28. Just wanted to add my comments. I too have had my children fold their underwear and socks. But my daughter now doesn’t do it and I don’t mind since she has a drawer for it. I make my youngest son fold it though because he has a shelf and it looks nicer, plus it makes it easier to see which is clean or dirty. If I find messed up underwear anywhere in his closet, I know its dirty. This saves me from having to rewash all his underwear. I wouldn’t want to have to do that on a day other than our once/week laundry day.

  29. I like it! And wow you have a lot of room in there!

    What about trying a metal grommet in the mesh bags with simple velcro loops? They’d be slide-able too, that way if your darks are overflowing the whites there’s room for it to expand…that’s the best idea I’ve got!

  30. My husband and I recently decided that in our next home we will definitely be having a family closet. I currently put laundry away in four separate closets and four separate dressers, in three different rooms. And I currently only have three children! I am looking forward to the simplicity of one closet and I know that as my children grow older and take on more responsibility with the laundry, a family closet will make things easier on them, too.

  31. Thanks for the great resources!
    My husband and I just looked at a house for sale yesterday and it had a HUGE storage closet on the second floor. I immediately thought how perfect this would be for a family closet. The laundry room is on the main floor, but it would still be easier to store everything in one place and only make one trip upstairs with clothes.
    Of course, there are MANY steps to take before we “potentially” buy this house…but the family closet is a selling point!!

  32. Thinking, thinking, thinking. I’ve really been wanting to do this, but can’t figure out how to make it work. We have our laundry room in the basement and thankfully, we do have a huge walk-in closet right across the hall. So I think we could swing it somehow. I’m trying to figure out how much of a pain it would be to go downstairs to get clothes or get dressed. Then what do we do with our bedroom closets? It would seem weird to me to have Christmas decorations in my bedroom closet. πŸ™‚ What about towels and linens? My wheels are turning….I would just love to have someone come over here and actually help me sort it all out!….any volunteers??? πŸ™‚

  33. That was a great tour. I am working on my family closet right now. My dh and I are designing ours and will begin working on it soon.

    Loved the tip about the “not folding cloth diapers or pajamas”! Great tip! I am stealing that one.


  34. Thanks for the video! Found it today as I researched how to make a family closet, which was new to me up until recently. We have 8 kids’ laundry to accommodate so I have used variations of the family closet for a while…all the dressers in my bedroom, all the church clothes in my closet (so that they can be found when needed!), etc. However, for one reason or another I have not yet been happy with how things have been organized. The other day I had an epiphany: the 5 girls, with their 2 bunk beds & toddler bed, fit much better in the master bedroom. This leaves the boys in one room and my husband & I in another smaller room and…(drum roll please)…the spare room to convert to a FAMILY CLOSET! I must admit feeling a bit sad about losing the master bedroom. However, the sanity of not having laundry invading E.V.E.R.Y.W.H.E.R.E. will be an excellent trade-off! This was a huge change for everyone, and having the video ahead of moving everything around helped when I began to get the resistance from a few family members. I just believe that in the long run, everyone will have more peace & serenity without the LAUNDRY MONSTER invading the entire upstairs!

  35. I watch 19 kids and counting and it never occurred to me to do this in my little home of five. But actually, it’s genius, for many reasons. First and foremost for me is that bedtime seems to be so tense lately because my kids get lost in their rooms getting their PJs on. If they had their clothes in MY room (which is void of toys and additional distractions) maybe the process would go more smoothly??? I’m going to seriously consider this. I might have a new project this weekend…

  36. I had a friend who put all the youngest kids’ clothes in the laundry room, with a laundry tub to quick wash up potty accidents and a changing table and the diaper pail. The hair stuff was in there too for the girls’ hair in the morning. Once they got to, say, about 7 or 8, she moved them out and they had to keep track of their own clothing but even *her* Sunday stuff was in there as Sunday mornings were sooo hectic with many young ones. (She had a new baby every 18 mos for 12 kids’ worth). If it could have been near the upstair’s bathroom it would have been perfect as no traipsing clothes up and down, and near the bedrooms. AND she always wished it had room for her sewing machine to be set up all the time…she made almost all the kids’ and her clothes till they were about 10 or 12yo each and had lots of mending too, as u can imagine.
    Otherwise I always just was crazy strict about clothing and hanging it up at nite to wear again; and putting it away when dried. I always had a light and dark hamper too — immediate sorting, automatically. πŸ™‚

  37. Thanks for the video! There are replacement clips to hold the mesh bags onto your hamper at The Container Store. Have fun!

  38. Enjoyed reading the information on sorting and organization. When we did our major clean up, we decide to get some of the laundry carts on wheels like you see in athletic clubs. This really helped us to move kids laundry to the laundry room and back again, quickly.

  39. I love this! We have teeny closets in our house, but a retry large laundry area…this would free up tons of bedroom space!

  40. Hi, I have been wanting to implement a family closet. We have 6 children (one girl). I was wondering if you have any updates on usage or tips since it has been a while. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I still love using our family closet, 1 1/2 years after setting it up. I find that the more you can minimize and streamline the children’s clothing, the better. It also really helps to label things like dresser drawers, baskets, etc. Having a better quality 3-bag laundry system has been huge for us (I bought one on Amazon that I love- http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000EDOQU8/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=keeofthehom-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000EDOQU8- aff link). I also find it helpful to keep things like fancier little girl dresses up high, so the girls can only reach their day-to-day clothes without asking.

  41. My family is too large (six kids) for one of those 3 bag sorters. I use regular hampers. We have 2 and darks/colors go in the blue one, and whites and lights go in the white one. I still have to sort whites from lights, but it’s a little less work. And even the 3 year old can put her clothes in the correct hamper because we can tell her the blue or white one.

  42. Makes me think that not keeping toys, games and books in bedrooms would also be useful. Have a closet or room where one toy (or toys) games, or books are chosen and returned to select another. Placed on shelves organized by age. Make life much easier for everyone–no “kid clutter.” Might reduce “gender specific toys” and might encourage creativity and collaboration. You get this and I will get that and we can both play. Encourage responsibility. Love to know if anyone does this or is thinking of it? (my kids are grown or I would be doing this!)

  43. Love this! When I read about it in the Duggar’s books, I thought, “What a great idea.” I’ll have to think about how (actually, where) I can do this in our house. Hmmm.

  44. We are building a home in the next year and I changed our houseplans around so we will have a family closet as well. Our closet and laundry room will be in the same room and we will have 2 sets of washers and dryers. One day I would love to get my hands on Laundry Mat sized washers and dryers!
    Our Laundry room measures 18×20, so I will even have enough room for a large folding table, that the little ones can be doing school at while I am doing laundry.

    1. My friend just discovered that when you do get that washer and dryer that is meant for a laundry mat they come with a 10 year warranty on parts and labor.

  45. i am so distracted by my STUFF -scared, shakey even not knowing what or how to get rid of the stuff. I have thought for years about doing what you did, and even talked like it too, just not much action. Brand new items we have that we need to get money for, we are financially challenged and I “think” this stuff will help us IF we sell it. ??? what else can we do with it. Books, brand new sneakers, clothes, etc etc brand names, etc….. sooo tired of stuff in my space and soooo scared to get it GONE.

    1. Hi. I have two things that help me with clutter. One is to remember that EVERYTHING in our homes, takes time. Every additional item takes time and energy to make sure it’s taken care of and is in it’s spot if it has a spot of it’s own. The other thing once you are ready is to go to the library and get the book, “Lose 200 pounds in a Weekend” by Don Aslet. GREAT help for taking the plunge and cleaning out.

      Sorry, I just realized you posted this in January. This response may be a bit dated. Today is the first day I have heard of a family closet and saw this post. πŸ™‚

  46. This is a very neat idea! I don’t think it would be for my family – but I see some ideas you’ve done that I would love to implement. I may keep my eye out for a used 3 part laundry hamper for my husband and I. I sort the laundry based on: casual clothes (my baby’s and ours), professional clothes (work things, nice skirts, etc.) and towels/undergarments (hot wash). It would be so nice if I could sort our items upstairs into those 3 loads before adding my sons and washing them! Great ideas. Your closet is a lovely size.


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