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At the moment we have four teen girls (okay, Avi is 11 but she is taller than me and has all the attitude of a teen) sharing one room and one closet. That’s a whole lot of hormones and a whole lot of clothing all crammed into one space.
Organizing a large family in an average size house was easy when my kids were younger. In fact, we used to have six girls in this very room! Back then I made 90% of the decisions about what clothing and toys they kept. I have always been a minimalist at heart and kept up with principles while our family expanded. The problem is, kids grow up and form their own opinions (who knew?) and this often leads to way too much stuff.
You guys…this photo, this closet makes me want to cry. And I make the kids clean their room every Saturday!
I mean, I could force my girls to only own 5 pairs of pants and five shirts (or some other reasonable but arbitrary number) but I’m not going to. They are old enough to be making their own decisions and learning to care for their own shared space.
But man, oh man, is it a process.
Despite the closet organizer they still have drawers/bins that look like this…and make my brain hurt.
Confession: I kind of hate shopping. I don’t enjoy going to the mall or shopping for new clothes. But there are a few stores that excite me. Yarn shops. Office supply stores…and the organization aisle in Lowes. I get almost giddy when I see all of the shelves and bins full of possibilities.
Earlier this week while at Lowes I grabbed these Ziploc® Flexible Totes and Ziploc® Space Bags®. I am not kidding you when I say I probably spent ten full minutes just staring at these and deciding which ones to buy…I wanted them all.
I was like a kid in a candy store. Or a minimalist in an empty room.
Once I got home it was time to get the girls on board. I have found that a threat to clean their room myself is usually enough motivation. Okay, not really. I actually have to nag and cajole, but they are always so happy when we are finished.
Tilly saw the Ziploc® Space Bag® 3 Bag Variety Pack and laid claim on those right away. She is moving to New Zealand in two months and knew these would be perfect to pack her things in. Not only do these have 3x’s the storage capacity as other storage containers* but they keep out moths, dirt and most importantly here, moisture! They have a double zipper and easy slider that make these a breeze.
Plus it is so much fun to suck the air out! I can almost promise you that once you pack your first Ziploc® Space Bag® you will be looking around your house for more things to pack up. It is almost magical watching your items shrink! The possibilities are endless. Sheets, blankets, clothing, camping gear…
I definitely plan on letting Tilly use these when she moves to New Zealand. But I am currently using them to store unused blankets. See those crocheted ones? My mom made a crocheted blanket for each one of my children…and a couple got chewed on by rodents. It made me so sad! Since my kids have currently outgrown them (but we want to save them) into the Ziploc® Space Bag® they go!
Tips for Organizing A Shared Closet for Teen Girls:
Step One: Assign Shelves
All four girls share the hanging space in the closet and Kalina and Avi have shelves (Tilly and Jubilee use dressers).
See this huge pile of clothing? It is all coming out of the closet!
Step Two: Examine Each and Every Item
My girls decided to part with a few items (why in the world do they keep clothing on their shelves that don’t fit?) and also made a sizeable pile of clothing that doesn’t need to be kept on their shelves.
You should have four piles: garbage, giveaway, keep and store. This step is fast for me…but takes forever with my girls.
Step Three: Put items away.
Here is the part I love. Garbage in the garbage, giveaway items in boxes or bags (put these in your vehicle right away..then you can’t possibly forget to drop them off), put the keepers back on the shelf and then the fun part (for me, anyway). Storage!
This Ziploc® Flexible Tote is perfect for storing clothing they aren’t currently wearing…but can’t bear to part with.
We have a pretty detailed clothing storage system that works well for our family, but my girls needed something a little more accessible. These Ziploc® Flexible Totes work perfectly. They have a huge capacity (22 gallons!)
They are flexible so they slide right underneath the bed. While we have used open bins before, I really love that these can be zipped up to keep dirt and dust (and cats) out. I think I am going to put a couple in our van with beach day supplies.
Step Four: Stand back and enjoy your progress.
Ah. Chaos into order. The girls definitely kept more than I would have but all of us enjoy the fruits of an organized closet. Our laundry room is right off of their bedroom and when their shelves are neat, it is easy for me to fold items and place them directly on their shelves. When their shelves are a mess? Nope. I won’t even attempt it.
Keeping clutter at bay and the closet under control. Totally worth an afternoon of effort.
Do your kids share a room? What are your best tips for organizing a shared closet space?
*compared to uncompressed storage volume