Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Parenting shortcuts...Vol. 5

When I hit "publish" on these shortcut posts, I generally feel the tiniest bit douchy.  After all, you're probably a very intelligent adult who is perfectly capable of surviving this life without my uber-helpful, know-it-all 2 cents.  But, I see it like this.....why should any of us have to re-invent the wheel?  Know what I'm sayin'?  If I've banged my head into a wall long enough to come up with a spiffy shortcut that might save you some time or money or aggravation, why not share it with my oodles handful of adoring patient and tolerant fans friends and family who are humoring me???  Right?

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We live in a house that's large on character, charm, and cozy details but very short on closet space.  Near the front door, we have a coat closet that's the size of a coffin.  It's just about big enough to hold 3 coats, an umbrella, and 2 pairs of shoes.  I wish I were exaggerating.

So a problem arises when it's winter time and I have to stock this closet with enough hats, gloves, coats, scarves, boots and snow pants to outfit 6 people.  The second problem is accessibility.  I need everything available for my kids to help themselves.  In the morning, I want to be able to say, "Get out your hat, gloves, and coat."  The older boys can completely dress themselves AND help their little sisters whenever necessary.

My solution?  Check it out......

I tried using those plastic $9.99 shoe bags for the door, but my kids aren't exactly "gentle".  Those things were generally destroyed within a few months.  So I sewed my own with some scraps from my fabric stash.  Please don't ask me to give you specific measurements and instructions.  I'm a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of chick.....I make this stuff up as I go along.

Some of the pockets are smaller than others, which makes them perfect for holding a few pairs of tiny gloves.  At the top, there are 2 very large pockets for the adult hats and gloves and miscellaneous.

The bottom pockets are large enough to hold some less-frequently used shoes.  The shoes that get used on a daily basis are kept in a large wicker basket near the front door.  Snowboots are kept in the basement since they take up so much space.  I also keep the snow pants down there on a hanger so they can dry after a rousing romp in the snow.

As for the bulky coats....I built this insert, which takes up about half of the closet.  This isn't exactly the finest piece of furniture ever created (it's unlikely that Norm will be knocking on my door and asking for woodworking pointers), but I'm absolutely thrilled with it's function.  (Again, please don't ask me for the details.  I can't remember what I ate for breakfast yesterday, much less remember the dimensions and materials for a piece I built nearly a year ago.)  Each child has a cubby that they can easily reach, so each child can be responsible for putting their own coat away.  There are 2 spare cubbies....the bottom one holds shoes for Nick and me.  The top one holds baseball gloves or hats or my coat.  I put hooks on the side of the unit to hold backpacks and umbrellas.  There is enough room left in the closet for the grownup coats to hang on hangers.

Each cubby is labeled.

I don't care if the coats are crammed in and unfolded.  I especially don't care when it's 8:15am and OMG DO YOU HAVE LEAD IN YOUR UNDERWEAR?!  GET YOUR FRIGGIN' COAT ON ALREADY SO WE CAN LEAVE!

PS.......I found another problem that occurred every morning.  When I said, "Everyone get your stuff out and get ready to go!", there was a 15 minute traffic jam at the closet which normally ended with a fistfight, a black eye, and crying. 

So now I assign tasks.  "Nicholas, please get out the coats.  Alexa, please line up all the shoes.  Ben, when Nicholas is done, please get the gloves.  Rachel, after Ben is done, please get the hats."  Generally, this works pretty well....except when Alexa decides to be the Little Mommy and do everyone's job FOR THEM. 

That's when things get ugly.


  1. Seriously creative and crafty! I love that you have taken advantage of all the space available to you. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Mama Cas--Fun blog! Thanks for stopping by on mine the other day! :) We just moved somewhere warm where we don't need those coats/hats and I sure don't miss those days!! What a great solution!


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