Spring has finally arrived in Maryland and I was chomping at the bit to get the winter clothes packed up and the summer clothes unpacked. After a few 90 degree days in which my boys were playing outside in flannel lined pants we needed to bring out the shorts!
The problem with clothing organization is simple. We have a big family, and each person has a summer and winter wardrobe. Our house does not have an attic or a basement so finding storage space for these clothes is difficult. The bins (all 20 of them) are scattered around the house in various closets and storage places.
The other big problem with swapping out the clothes is that it means I must enter my boys’ room. Honestly, I try to avoid the room as much as possible. I am sure this is a shock those of you, who are still living with thoughts that my entire life is organized down to the underwear drawers. It is not. The boys’ room has been a struggle for years. There are three boys living in a small room with enough legos to open a theme park. Throw in some dirty socks, smelly shoes, and a bucket full of stuffed animals and you have a perpetual disaster. I have tried everything, bribing, punishments, bagging up toys and taking them to goodwill, nothing seems to work. So for the past year or so I just close the door, walk away, and pray they will have loving and understanding wives.
When I entered the room last week to start swapping clothes this is what I found.
The clothing swap/ room clean out took the entire day and I am not exaggerating! It is really hard to have three boys in the same room and let them have any toys at all. The room is small (probably 10 x 11) and there isn’t much space for anything other than a bed and one dresser.
After the clean-up.
I had to come up with a system for their clothes as we were having too many occasions where one child would come down dressed for church in jeans with holes in the knees and a stained t-shirt. So, clothes that are hanging are for church and other outings. Clothes in the wire cubbies (pants) and dresser (t-shirts) are play clothes.
I am happy to say it has been an entire week since we cleaned and organized the boys room and it is still clean. As with most other things in life I have found that when I am diligent and stay on top of things, the boys are diligent as well. When I slack, they slack. It begins and ends with me.
Now, as for why I want to move to Hawaii (aside from beautiful beaches and endless pineapple)…
Our winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves… it took four large rubbermaid bins to pack all of it away. I would love to live a sock free sandals only life and leave our heavy coats in storage for a few years!
This is one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to living in the Caribbean. haha! (Had to rub it in.) I dislike the wardrobe swap, even though we don’t have kids…
Amy Ellen says
I am truly glad to see that your boys’ room is not a picture of perfection. It gives me a great sense of “I’m not alone” as I consider the delima I face in my son’s room. Give everything away? Perhaps only let him have three pairs of clothing? What?
True Confessions time… my four year olds room is so far gone even she doesnt want to go to sleep in there … she still does but it is making her batty … I gotta get in there and swap out clothes on top of it all too! Yikes! i just keep the door shut too!
Here’s another reason why you should move to Hawaii: SLIPPERS!! (known as “flipflops” on the mainland) It’s the shoe of choice here, if you even wear shoes. And the cheaper, the better!
I have to admit, it has been wonderful not having to swap clothes out twice a year too!
Melanie-Navy wife (friend of Stacey’s) living in Hawaii for the last 3 years.
Great job with the clean out! Now tease your boys for me…I liked the pink (what looks like a) radio on the floor in the first picture. Must have been “borrowed” from the girls? LOL!
You should look at my pics from last week’s Foto Friday! The theme was “messy”. Amen to not wanting to enter the boys’ bedroom!
Ashly Lowe says
amen sister!!! Those GTMO days are gone. I have two less than you and we are the same way. I now have a system, and can get the switching all done in about two days. My sister gave me the idea of the bags that you can suck the air out of them w/ a vaccum hose. They are water proff, and they can hold lots of items and take up a lot less room. You could put them under beds, in closets, etc…
I feel your pain! Even in FL where we don’t have much winter stuff to pack up & pull out, we don’t have enough room for all our stuff. In our house, it’s the girls that make the biggest messes. The boys (10 & 9) aren’t pristine, but tolerable, and do a decent job of picking up when told.
Ugh, we’re working on that too…I was just saying at care group the other day that I felt like I’m constantly maintaining our stuff…think how much serving we could do if we had less stuff. Anyway, your kids room looks a ton better than my kids and I only have half as many. I’ll keep taking lessons from you…maybe it won’t be twice as bad when our family is twice as big! Thanks for your honesty!! 😉
We did the swap a couple weeks ago, and sadly there wasn’t much to swap. There are only two kiddos – one girl and one boy = no hand me downs, so it was a little depressing to say the least.
Living in NY, I totally get the whole Hawaii thing!!!
I agree with the Hawaii idea…sounds like a good one! 🙂
Great job on the boys’ room! I love getting to experience seasons here in MD, but the transition times are definitely hard on clothing storage ~ my kids ask me every morning, “what kind of clothes today mom, warm or cold?” Last week it was shorts weather, today, not so much 🙂
great work! i love the pictures! Idid something similar today. You’ll have to stop by and see my pictures, too!
Moving to Hawaii (or really Florida would do) sounds great to me. 🙂 I cannot believe you have 20 bins of clothes. Hubby is angry with me about our 5. I will send him to read here soon. 🙂
The clothing set-up is exactly what we do in the boys room. Hang ups are for outings and church and the dresser holds their underclothes and play clothes. Makes my life (and theirs) so much easier! The room looks great!
Heidi @ ggip says
Great job on your organization and what a funny ending to the post. Yes, those coats do take up a lot of room!
Ha! I can totally relate to the messy rooms (though we don’t have very many “after” moments at our house!), the small rooms and lotsa winter clothes. We’re still hoping that this “warm spell” here in Detroit is gunna last!
Love your blog!
Nancy M. says
Ah, that’s a nice dream, living somewhere warm and just wearing shorts and flip flops. Sounds wonderful! My son’s room looks worse than your 3 put together, I avoid it at all costs too! It does look nice after you finished!
I have been procrastinating on doing the dreaded clothing swap. It seems like summer, let alone spring does not want to show up completely here in WA, so I have to keep the warm clothes out for now. It also, doesn’t help that we are moving in 6 weeks to warm and sunny VA and I will have to have my swap done before the movers arrive. Hmmm, you have given me motivation, I have 4 girls worth of clothes to go through, it may have to wait until later in the week.
I tackled the closets in my home this week. We don’t have a lot of storage either so all of the kids clothes (winter, summer, outgrown) are in their own closets. I think you do really well working with the space that you have.
Thank the Lord, I’m not the only one!! We have 3 boys in one small room too. It is a disaster at all times. You would think it would kill them to clean up a little. Their closet is a mess. Luckily, I just leave all the clothes in there, regardless of the season. Glad to see that my boys aren’t the only ones that keep a sloppy room. 😉
Katie @ 3 Blondes and a Redhead says
I LOVE the hanging clothes/folded clothes idea! I had seperate piles for play clothes and nicer outfits for my daughter, but now that she’s trying to dress herself, I was trying to figure out a new system. LOVE this idea. Thank you!!!
Is it bad that my room is WORSE than that?
But I’m the same way, when it’s clean I can keep it tidy, but when something happens to make it cluttered and messy I loose all motivation to fix it! Which is silly really, since it generally dosen’t take that long.
As for clothing swap-outs, here in australia generally you keep it all in one wardrobe and just wear the jumpers (sweaters?) and coats in winter and not in summer. Means needing an extra drawer or two but other than that, not too bad.
I have two boys (6 and 9) sharing a room and that’s bad enough. It used to make me really crazy to even walk past the door, so I did a few things about it that I thought I’d share, in case they are helpful:
1) I removed the closet doors becuase they were rarely closed anyway and took up valuable space in the room. Once I did that, I could install some shelves above the dresser. That was great!
2) I hung all their shirts and sweaters on kid-sized hangers, becuase they can’t fold anything anyway, and this prevents the shirts from getting rolled up in to balls and wearing clothes that have that “slept in” look. I did colour coded hangers for each boy at one point, but you could use them for good clothes vs. play clothes…
3) I removed the 3-drawer dresser they shared and found two 5-drawer dressers at a flea market, and painted them to match. With the closet doors off, I finally had space and this stores their socks, underwear, jammies, pants and shorts (in all seasons so I don’t have to switch it around).
4) I lowered the closet rod and installed shelf after shelf above it for games and at the very top, off season clothes. There is enough space at the bottom of the closet for their knex, dinkie car and dino bins.
5) I put all their lego in a long flat bin to slide under the bed. Not only does it tuck it out of the way, it is long and shallow so it makes it easier for them to find their littler pieces at the bottom, and it slides back in when they are done.
I’m telling you, I felt like a new woman (with lower blood pressure – ha ha) when I made these changes.
Somebody's Mimi says
I had a boy who now has an understanding wife… enough said.
we have had 3 girls and 3 boys in the same room before thanks so much for sharing
I too would like to move to Hawaii! I feel your pain! I have 2 teen boys in one room and most of the time it looks like 20 people must be living in their room. They are by far the family members that dirty the most clothes. Sometimes I think some of the clothes that they bring down to be washed is probably not dirty but there is always so much clothes on the floor of their room and closet that they rather put it in the dirty clothes basket to be washed rather than put it away. There is no way they could possibly wear all that clothes. I have to wash every single day just to keep up. One thing that I do do in all our closets is to color code the clothes. I find it makes it easier to find what you are looking for. Everyone does usually comply with this request when puting clothes away. If someone needs their white school shirt they know right where to look for it. I have never been one to pack away seasonal clothes except for jackets (we don’t really have coats, it rarely gets cold enough here). I put them in a spare closet, infact I put most of them up this past Sunday, only leaving a few light jackets for those late evening baseball games.
What an accomplishment!! I hate having to do the clothes swap!! Just popped over from 5minutes for mom. I love tackle it tuesday!! Forces me to finish my projects!!
have a younger brother & when we were living at home I refused to do his laundry unless he brought it to me out of hi room. I also refused to wash it if it came out of his car. Laundry was one of my chores but his clothes he could do. You see he played football, basketball, & baseball, went hunting & fishing & camping. The first time I came across deer blood that was it. I didn;t care if he went around necked. So you see…it could be worse. LOL.
Kris J @ NSQSA says
I think my girls are just as messy as your boys!
Great tackle, I did something similar.
We’ve just about got the last of our children raised. Now my wife has to start working on getting me to eat right.
Please move to Hawaii for a few years!!! My kids ask all the time when can we see you guys again… a sold couple years sounds perfect :o) We are here at least another 3!!
Loved the title as it is something i have always said about living here(hawaii) is that at least I only have to deal with basicly one season of clothes. Lack of storage here(for all the hand me downs) is a big issue as well but at least it is only for one season of clothes each!
Kudos for the great clean out!
I have 4 kids sharing 1 bedroom, so I relate completely!! As far as moving to Hawaii, I recommend ditching the idea! Do you know how expensive it is there? I shudder to imagine…. You should just move to California instead! =) There’s still some active military bases in this land of liberals! =) I’m in Long Beach, and I must say it’s BEAUTIFUL! I literally DO wear flip flops year around, even in the rain! We’re 30 minutes from downtown LA, 5 from the Beach, 1 hr from the mountains, 1 hr from the desert, 4 from Vegas (though I don’t recommend going there…) It’s great! Though I must admit, I’m slightly envious that being in Maryland you get 4 different seasons! We have 2… spring/fall Not ever too hot, not ever too cold…. just always the same. =) LOVE your blog by the way! It’s a tremendous inspiration to me a CSAHM homeschooling my 2 soon to be 4….. =)
I feel your pain mama! Yep, this is another good reason to move to Hawaii! 🙂 Let’s be neighbors when we finally move there! lol
I’d love to live in Hawaii or Florida or some southern place. Cold and I don’t work well together. LOL! Great tackle! The boys room looks awesome!
You need to invest in some space bags! LOOOVVEE those things!
you could always come to Jacksonville/ mayport the weather is pretty warm here most the time 😉