I am very happy about this.

Until a couple of months ago, this closet held Jonny’s clothes.  The second, and only other closet in our house, held mine.  I started wondering though if I might be able to squeeze Jonny’s clothes into my closet (it’s about the same size as the one in these pictures) and free up some space for some of the kids’ clothing.  Neither one of us has that much clothing, so, that’s what I did.

It’s really too bad that I didn’t take a real “before” shot of this closet.  The interior walls were constructed of multiple materials:  some drywall, some plywood, and some exterior siding.   It was a mess, even emptied of clothing.  In the first photo, Jonny had already begun to replace the wood with drywall.  After  installing drywall on the walls and the ceiling, and then of course taping and mudding, sanding and painting, he started working on the shelving.  After much discussion, he sketched out what I wanted and then began to work.  We debated between pine shelving and melamine (a particle board covered with an easy to clean white laminate surface) and ultimately decided on the melamine.  I think this is the first time we have ever chosen to use a particle board product for any project, and in this case I am very glad we did.  The closet looks clean and bright, and will be easy to maintain.

For years, the girls’ clothing has been stored in an armoire in our living area.  In fact this armoire stands about five feet from our front door.  It’s not the best place for their clothes, but it was the best we could do until now.  I have been constantly picking up clothes from the floor around it, and closing the drawers and doors for a very long time.  It’s not the sort of mess I wanted right next to the front entrance of our house.  I was extremely excited to move their clothes into the newly finished closet that is actually in the room where they sleep-so convenient!  Each girls has a large shelf at the bottom of the closet to hold her everyday clothing, and then a plastic drawer that holds undies and socks.  I didn’t purchase those drawers for this purpose, but have had them as long as I can remember.  The upper shelves along the right hold an assortment of things such as sweaters, some of Keats’ clothing, and the girls’ pajamas.  Wicker baskets holding some of those things would add a nice touch, but aren’t necessary.  We needed to make this project as inexpensive as possible, and only purchased the necessary building materials (in case you’re curious, we spent about $120 total.)

On the floor beneath the shelving there is a basket for dirty laundry, another plastic drawer for holding bathing suits and other odd things, and a stepping stool for reaching the dresses (Larkspur can reach them with the stool.  Beatrix cannot.  This was quite intentional.)  Yesterday Larkspur carried her basket of dirty laundry downstairs and Keats helped her start her first load of laundry.  She and Beatrix will be doing their own from here on out.  Right now there is a novelty to it so they are eager and happy to do it.  That won’t last, but I know they can do it, so when the complaints start, I won’t have to doubt whether I’ve given them too big a job for their age.  Typically kids are able to do far more than we expect as far as housework goes.  At least that’s been my experience.  It may not be perfect and done the way I would have, but they can do it.

So, welcome to my new life of only doing laundry for three (soon four.)  I am so very happy about this wonderful new development.

Thank you, Jonny.  I know I am a very ornery pregnant lady (possibly more so this time than typical) but I am very, very thankful for all your hard work.


  1. I had twins when my oldest 4 were 8, 6, 4, and 2. You would be amazed at how unbelievably capable my 8 year old son and 6 year old daughter became! David Farragut was an admiral at age 12. You are so right that kids can do so much. And I believe it is good for them to know they are contributing members of the family and not just doing “busy” work. My kids are now 26, 24, 22, and 20. All are out of our house and gainfully employed – except the 24 year old who is a new stay at home mom with a gainfully employed husband. :). I see no detrimental effects :). I think your kids will turn out great!

  2. Wendy Cordova says:

    This is exactly what I have needed in the homeschool closet. As of right now I have a rickety bookshelf that tends to sway. I have feeling this will be a mama and kiddos project, as daddy has enough to do on the farm 🙂
    Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  3. How exciting for you and the girls! I love when husbands are able to mark things off our lists even though they may to be on their own!:) Nother hint or two if you don’t mind- that shoe holder on the door, the empty pockets could be used for socks or undies as well. I’ve also seen people use the clear ones on the back of the door to bedrooms to store hair accessories, toys, clothing and well, shoes. I’ve used one of the canvas ones that hangs on the closet bar and is like cubes hanging down for our daughters clothing. Everything else is on hangers.

  4. It looks fantastic! Very clean and organised, and actually, cute too with those little baskets and the sweet toys in there.

  5. You have a very sweet husband.

  6. Lovely! I am sure the girls are happy to see their clothing and find it more easily. I noticed when things were hung, the kiddos didn’t throw as much on the floor. And love the “just out of reach” plan – mine would just tug on the clothes until they fell. And laundry…I have been thinking about turning that over to my children. Just trying to work it out logistically and practically.

  7. LOVE it! As owner of a very old house that has not a one…closet, that is….I fully appreciate the beauty of this. Oh, the organization (and hiding) possibilities! Wonderful! Enjoy!

  8. How lovely your girls’ closet is; I understand the excitement of having their clothes in their room, such a simple thing, but sure does make life easier! Wishing you a lovely day Ginny x

  9. Your daughters’ clothes are out-of-this-world exquisite. So much color! So many patterns! May I ask where you tend to look for clothes for them? (Nice closet remodel too!)

    • Mostly hand me downs, and handmades! I do watch for sales at Land’s End and Boden, and they have a couple of Hanna Andersson dresses as well.

  10. He did a great job! I’m sure you’re very happy to get those clothes out of the living room and the laundry chore into the hands of the laundry-dirtiers. 😉

  11. Oh what a smart idea this is! I wish we had done something like this when my kids were little!

  12. Love it!

  13. I am impressed! We also live in a very small house with lots of people and your closet solution has inspired me….and when my children have reached the age of 11, they have been perfectly capable of doing their own laundry. The only problem has been that we sometimes overlap in our need for the washing machine!

  14. I love purpose built spaces. They make me happy too!

  15. Ginny,
    The new closet space looks great! Great job Jonny!
    I always feel such a sigh of relief when we get one more space in our house a little more organized, what a great feeling.


  16. Great idea! well done! I need a shoes hung too 🙂

  17. jacquie says:

    great design

  18. That is one awesome closet!

  19. Nicely done Johnny! I pinned this to show to my husband. We’ve been trying to figure out how our little two can share their closet and this is just perfect! I totally agree with the melamine too. We used scrap bits and pieces of wood that we painted white in our old house…. I’m sure if it was just clothing in the closet it would work well…. but with kids getting their stuff in and out it sure looked dirty and got dinged up quick. I had to repaint it all when we put the house on the market…. melamine sounds perfect!
    And Ginny, yes to kids doing laundry! Mine have each taken over their own at age 12. However I truly think my 11 year old might be doing the same this fall. It’s amazing how much *less* clothing they go through in a day 😉

  20. I would be very happy about that, too! It looks wonderful!

  21. I think open shelving is definitely the way to go for younger kids clothing. I had my little boys’ dresser in our laundry room since their room was too small for another dresser (they share the room with their older brothers). But they kept leaving drawers open and disemboweling it every time they were looking for clothes. I got rid of the dresser and repurposed a large, shallow bookshelf/display shelf with many slots. Now they have a slot for everything and all they have to do is roll up their pants and shirts and put it in the proper slot. They can see something easily and take it out without making a big mess – which was the main problem. I have small, labeled bins for the unders and socks.

    Our house is 1,900 sqft and we have three closets, one in each bedroom. No broom closets or coat closets or linen closets (although their is a small linen cabinet). It’s really been a challenge to find storage for things like blankets and coats off-season. You can only have so many trunks in a house before you start bumping into them!

  22. that’s about what our house looks like these days as we work on eking out every square inch of space in my 3 boys’ closet, as one boy has to move from toddler bed to a twin and very tight quarters! I was also inspired a year or so ago with the shelves in your boys’ room, to display their collections and am trying to design something similar for us. The closet looks great! Enjoy the extra space near your front door!

  23. Really great job and such a great finish. Your girls are obviously delighted and yes as regards housework they are able to do far more than we give them credit for. My own large house works on everyone pulling together and doing their chores so even as young as 8 they do laundry and the smaller ones help the bigger ones so they learn, otherwise I’d be completely snowed under the everyday and not able to organise the fun things.

  24. The closet looks great! That would be so annoying to have to clean up clothes from right near the front door. How nice to have it in a new closet!

    I remember when I first learned how to do laundry-I was 11. I actually still LOVE doing laundry. It’s the matching of the socks that drives me over the edge!!

  25. I would be very happy about that too! We too live in an old house with hardly any closet space. I salivate when I go to a new house with huge closets. I don’t want the new house, just the huge closets.

    About the girls doing laundry, mine are old enough, but what do you do about things that need to be stain treated or things that should be hung to dry. Do you just pick those out and do them or do you just not worry about it?

    Can you send Johnny over here? LOL

    • Can you imagine having even just one big closet? That would be amazing.
      You bring up a good point with the stain treatment, although the girls don’t have anything that needs to be hung to dry. I think what I will need to do, because they do get stains on their clothes, is be the one to start loads with Larkspur and teach her how to stain treat in the process.

  26. Andrea G says:

    I am 66 and I still remember when my son started doing his own laundry. He was 8 and had mostly jeans and T shirts. It was great to have another person taking responsibility for himself. Some moms have to do everything in the house for some reason. I was surprised how few young people know how to cook the basics, wash or write a check!

  27. I love this. I’ve never even considered having my 5 year old do his laundry, but now you’ve got me thinking that it might be good for him to learn. I find this funny too since my husband never did laundry, even in his 20’s his mother still did his laundry then he moved out, we got married and now I do it all. Maybe I need to teach him before my son!

    • I had to teach Jonny how to do laundry! When we met in college, he was still driving his dirty laundry home to have his mom wash it!

  28. what a great job! so glad for the change! we work with what we got/what we are given and you are doing so well at figuring things out! Good job for your husband! Well done!

  29. I love how having small space makes you get creative with the space you have. And having a handy husband is great too!

  30. Wow, beautiful. I’m suddenly inspired to clean out the closets and send the kids down with a load of laundry! Thanks for the inspiration!

  31. it looks great! so white and clean. 🙂

  32. So awesome. I need to get my people involved in laundry doing. Having things organized the way you want makes things so much nicer!

  33. Nice!

  34. Ginny since we don’t have a dryer, I still do all of the laundry because on rainy days and in the winter, I have to be creative with the hanging.
    Mike and i also share a closet and a dresser. Two of the boys have a dresser they share in our bathroom – some of the drawers are used for science and toiletries. Then upstairs, the girls share a dresser in the hallway. We just keep very few clothes for everyone – keeps it simple and we also live in a smallish space for a family our size, although I think it is too big and want to downsize:)

  35. Love the new closet set up! Looks amazing! Great work!

  36. The closet looks great! Jonny is such a good husband. now I am daydreaming about redoing our closets too. But I am sure my darling husband would still make a mess out of them. He rifles through the dressers looking for clothes and then shoves everything back in and closes it up.

    In my house growing up the rule was, if you were tall enough to reach the buttons of the washer, you were responsible for washing your own clothes.

  37. Oh, this is SO great! Jonny did a great job with the building project. Yay for handy husbands! I love how functional your design is. And the girls doing their own laundry…such sweet icing on the cake! I’m so happy for you. It’s the little things. 🙂

  38. We just instituted a new laundry system this month in which the kids do their own laundry. I have paired up younger with older and assigned days based on room…sounds way more complicated and sophisticated than it actually is. Because sometimes the older girls “forget” to do their laundry and that’s not fair to the younger ones who can’t do their own, I will toss a younger child’s in with mine, my husband’s and the baby. So far so good…no, so far so great!

  39. Tonja Pizzo says:

    Oh, we homeschool as well, and a few weeks ago, we had a lesson on how to do laundry!! Now, my 7 and 9 year old are doing all of their own laundry from washing to putting away. They have a sense of accomplishment and I have half the laundry I used to have. Making a list of other chores they can do!!!

  40. Tonja Pizzo says:

    Awwwwww, super sweet husband. Mine is pretty sweet too–he built me a fence out of pallets to keep my hens from pooping on my porch. Gotta love those keepers. I’m sorry you’re having a tough time of things of late. Prayers and peace coming your way! Have a wonderful day.

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