The Family Closet

This weekend I have been coping with weird feelings. Nesting feelings, if you will. Without the whole fetus mess, obviously.

I can make that statement confidentially because I bought one of those at-home doppler things my last pregnancy, and I use it occasionally when I think I have a tapeworm.

Last Friday I had a sudden urge to tackle my dumpster of a closet, so I pulled it out. No heartbeat, only the sound of wine sloshing around.


My closet is a pit, and Andy has been on me for months to go through it. As fate would have it, I recently stumbled across a concept called the family closet, which is essentially one giant closet that you put everyone’s shit in. At first, that sounded a little too compound sister wifey.

And here’s our family closet, that shelf over there is all our homemade denim pants, this rack over here holds our swimming dresses and worship bonnets…

But then, I actually thought about it. I have a two story house, and right now the upstairs is sweltering, so much so, that our kids often camp out on our floor or in our downstairs guest room. I could tell you that the low point of my day is hiking my ass up there to get clothes for them, but that would be assuming I put clothes away, and not, say, leave them in a giant laundry pile on my bed.

Suddenly, the concept of having one closet that I can just stand in the middle of and put everyone’s crap away sounded pretty awesome. I thought Andy would be all, that’s weird, but then I remembered he gets ready in the dark and doesn’t even know how to work the washing machine. You don’t get a say, Andy.

Now, part of me really likes having my own big closet. I remember our first walk through of the house, I squealed seeing how large our walk in closet was, because I’m a girl, and Sex in the City still exists on TBS, so this is all supposed to be a very big deal. Three years later and it’s less a showcase of my belongings, and more the place I shift the giant pile of laundry to when I need to sleep on my bed or have people coming over, and since it’s also the only other non-bathroom room downstairs that locks, I have sex in there sometimes, as well.

Our closet basically consisted of one long bar on each side, one for Andy and one for me. I also shoved a dresser in there, because I was running out of room in our bedroom dressers. This is because I’m a firm believer that the top two drawers of a dresser aren’t for clothes, but rather, one for sex toys, and the other for knick knacks.  We use our closet dresser, which is just a short cheap one we picked up on clearance at Target, for our under things and swim suits.  So yeah, two bars, one shoddy dresser, and piles of clean clothes that I may or may not have had intercourse on, not exactly a dream closet.

I went to Lowes to get closet stuff, which they had a whole aisle of, and I actually had to make two trips because the first time I went without Andy, and basically just bought stuff that looked cute, not items based on, say, measurements or the ability to physically attach things to the wall.

It was really important to me to tackle this by myself. I have absolutely no idea why… ok no wait I do.

The jeans.

I’m usually really, really good about purging.  I do it with kid’s toys, Andy’s college furniture, bills I’m tired of looking at, and overall, my clothes. But, I have this one pair of jeans, I’ve had them since college. They are Old Navy flare jeans, size 16, but that was back in 2000 when they weren’t spandex’ing the fuck out of pants, and sizing was totally different, so really, they would be like a size 8 in today sizes.

I haven’t been able to wear these jeans since before I got married, and if we’re being honest, they are a really light stonewash that goes against everything I currently believe in, but I am emotionally attached to these pants because I remember being really happy in them. I wore these jeans to every concert I saw the summer of 2000, from Harry Connick Jr. to Lynryd Skynyrd, and in my head, I looked sexy as hell in them. I was in love in them. I was young in them. I was drunk often in them, but not slopping drunk, adorable girl drunk.

Every so often, I pull the jeans from the pile, lock the bathroom door and try to put them on. They get about to my knees, I get depressed, and then spend the rest of the day moping around, eating like I’m ovulating 8 eggs at a time. Andy knows when I try them on, because I’m crying intermittently and the bag of Trader Joe’s Chocolate Covered Potato Chips are gone.

It’s been over a year since I have tried to put those jeans on, and I needed to grow the fuck up and part with them, I just had to psych myself up first. I spent a few hours throwing Andy’s old Hollister shirts in a trash bag, until I felt ready to tackle my side.

I have a flabby stomach and fat thighs, these jeans will never fit me again, and if I have to choose between being skinny and wearing those pants, or riddled with stretchmarks making a family closet, I choose family closet. I choose stretchy pants and tacos and kids and tacos and all the squishy parts Andy has no qualms grabbing onto.

You have no power here, jeans.

Boom, in the bag.

I spent two days making my version of the family closet. Hanging shelves and rods and using things like drills and levels and stud finders, which, might I add, never got less funny when I pointed it at Andy’s crotch and made it beep, actually, the fact that our lawyer was here doing our will made it even funnier.

I pulled all the clothes my kids wear on the daily and put them in the closet, leaving their non-everyday wear upstairs in their rooms. I hung their shirts and dresses, and put their shorts, pj’s and underwear in a laundry basket on the floor for easy access.

It’s not finished yet, I have a few cute baskets to attach, and that dumb pile of laundry on my bed to put away, but we finally have our very own 8×7 foot creepy family closet. Everything I need to function is now available at my air conditioned finger tips.

The downside being I basically have no more excuses for not putting away their laundry. Except for this here hangnail. It totally hurts, you guys.

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    • Brittany says

      When we get together and do Glamour Shots, we’ll wear matching worship bonnets. BECAUSE WHY WOULDN’T WE!?

  1. Amy says

    I have those same jeans, also circa 2000, that I wore everywhere until my butt just wouldn’t squeeze them any longer. Mine are a 16 long though, and they’re still in a closet here somewhere. Maybe someday I’ll be able to purge them, but they aren’t THAT far away from buttoning. And yes, they probably are like an 8 today. :)

    • Brittany says

      Well that is amazing, I could NEVER get back into them, I need the 2012 size 16 these days, so short of getting one of my hips removed….I do miss jeans without stretch though. They get SO saggy now.

  2. Liz H. says

    Here’s a life-changing closet transformation for you: I succumbed to a capsule wardrobe. 15 items (plus lingerie, sleepwear, work-out clothes and shoes) plus accessories that can be mixed and matched. I have to do laundry more regularly, but damnit if my closet isn’t always tidy! Plus it is crazy easy to get dressed in the morning.
    I have: 5 jersey dresses, one floral sheath dress (for weddings and graduations), one pair of secretly-stretchy slim pants, one pair of bermuda shorts, three flattering tops (plus layering camisoles–those don’t count towards my 15), three cardigans, two stretchy blazers. It’s amazing!

    • Brittany says

      Holy. Crap. If I were to sit and think about it, I probably wear the same thing over and over and could do this, but I have all these weird unnecessary emotional attachments to cloths. I need to stop doing this. But you? Are awesome!

    • Jeanne says

      That is an incredible idea! Maybe I will purge my closet this weekend.

      We also have pantry flies. They are these creepy little moth-things that infest your pantry. We need to purge that as well.

  3. says

    I had those Old Navy jeans. AND I got them on clearance. So that made them doubly awesome. Does “doubly” actually have an e in it and I’m misspelling it???

    Anyway, I wrote those jeans like nobody’s business. One day the pocket started to tear off. No biggie. Next time I went home to visit my parents, I had my mom patch them back up and BOOM. The magic jeans were back baby! Except when I got back to Atlanta, I put the magic jeans on again, zipped them up (ahh, soooo comfortable), and when I sat down on the couch, the seam split straight down the ass. NOOOOOOooooo!!! There was no fixing that. The magic jeans were dead.

    So I consoled myself by going out for fish & chips and ice cream.

    • says

      I had a pair of Levi’s like that and once while in Tel Aviv, some dude actually offered to BUY my 501’s right off my ass for $150. Of course, I was all….”and then what? I walk home in my underwear?”
      Two hours later I was playing pool at the Marine House (guards for the American Embassy) and reached across the table to make my shot and ripped the ass out of my jeans. I SOOO should have walked home in my underwear.
      Brittany, your closet looks great. I’m jealous. We only have wardrobes here. No one has built in closets in the Middle East. It sucks.

  4. Adrianna says

    Love the family closet! My husband gets up a ridiculous time to go to work and I see no need for him to wake me up by fumbling all over the place getting dressed. So I made it super easy for him to get ready, I shoved all his clothes on a shelf in the laundry room…. welcome babe! :)

  5. Teapot says

    I also have the pair of jeans that I can’t get rid of. Except I NEVER actually fit into them… Because they were my boyfriend’s jeans… Who is now married to someone else and has a child….

    Jesus. I need therapy.

  6. amy says

    I am so glad I am not the only one who has had sex in their walk in closet. But to be honest, it was kind of impromptu-hot-n-dirty-hubby-going-on-a-road-trip-better-do-it-now sex. But good to know I’m not alone.

  7. Johanna says

    I am so impressed… I wish I could do this (though it would just be a husband and wife closet). However, my house is 100 years old and the closets are small. Maybe, I will just make the guest bedroom into a closet.

    • Brittany says

      Our last house had NO closets. Like NONE. The house was 100 year sold. I had to buy wardrobes. I basically laid down in this one big closet and did snow angels.

  8. says

    I had those jeans too. My god they were tight. I wore them during the year I was bartender. I made a lot of tips. I think they permanently smelled like beer.

  9. erica says

    This is pretty damn brilliant *AND* it would keep my almost three year old from taking all of the clothes off her hangers and putting them back to “help” me. Mind you she doesn’t get them back on the hanger correctly and of course they are never put back in color/weather order. Three isn’t too young to teach organization to right? right?

    • Brittany says

      This was part of my motivation. Gigi was going upstairs and trashing her closet while she changed 80 times a day. WHO TEACHES THEM THIS!?

  10. Carly says

    Oh, I love your blog! Great closet, too! I like you even more now that I’ve seen your closet and know we have similar style :)

  11. Mali says

    You are my hero! My creepy family closet consists of a box for mutual overworn everyday shoes, the vacuum, a box of toys for the living room, everyone’s jackets in the winter, a shelf for my husband because the kids have taken over the house, and another shelf to put stuff on that we don’t want them touching.

  12. says

    Two years ago when we moved to our new home I purged the high school jeans that I had been keeping (size 9… no spandex) because they were from another era and I wouldn’t trade my flabby, stretch-marked muffin top and family to fit back in those jeans neither!

    Love the idea of a family closet… but it sounds like too much work for me 😛 It is summer, time for relaxing… not organizing. Grad a cold drink and sit by a pool girl!


    • Brittany says

      Dude, don’t let this act of organization confuse you, the motivation is pure laziness. Sure, I had to do some work NOW, but this means I don’t have to walk up stairs with laundry anymore!

  13. Heidi says

    I have a big walk in closet which mostly houses a bunch of crap. This idea is genius. Especially considering the kids sleep on our bedroom floor, and never actually go into their own rooms.

  14. Jessica says

    I did this 2 years ago and I still love it! We have an extra perk though. My laundry room is off of our master closet. My girls sleep upstairs, but they shower in my bathroom. It has saved me lots of time not having to walk up and down the stairs just to get them dressed. We basically all get ready in my room and bathroom. I’m sure this will change when they become teenagers, but for now it’s wonderful!

  15. says

    Congrats to you – gorgeous closet and total envy here for ALL you have in in 😉
    The parting of the beloved jeans? Nope, not happening here. Those jeans, the memories, the adorableness that I used to be… can’t let go. Trader Joe’s chips (or just chocolate in my house) be damned. Good thing they are buried so deep I can only reach them if desperate for a spring cleaning. Maybe I’ll find them next year!

  16. Cheri says

    We have had a family closet for about 3 years now. I put it in the laundry room because a) I thought it would make me do laundry and put laundry away and b) Our rooms are small and it was nice to get the dressers out for more activities.

    Seriously, my mind was blown by all the activities we could do.

    I still don’t fold and put laundry away more than once a month. But we do all have our very own clean basket in the laundry room. It makes digging for clean clothes so much easier. :)

    • Brittany says

      They actually go across the top of the whole left side of the closet as well. And also some on Andy’s side. It’s a problem.

  17. says

    I have a pair of Calvin Klein size 8 jeans from the early 90’s in my closet. They have NEVER been worn, and for some reason I can’t get rid of them. I clearly have issues.

  18. says

    I just started to tackle my closet. I came across my when-I-was-skinny-jeans. They are 11/12s. Although they look more like an 8. I’ve held onto them for 6 years. Time to toss. If Brittany can do it, so can I!

    Also, am I the only one a freak about their hangers? I just went Mommy Dearest on mine….

  19. says

    I have jeans like that too. And a deep blue crushed velvet shirt I wore when I was 25 to a holiday party. Who cares that my boobs were three sizes smaller then and it was 15 years ago. I might still wear it…..

  20. Petra says

    I just accidently ran across your Blog tonight while being totally bored. You are freaking hilarious!!! I have laughed my ass off with every post!
    Your closet is a fantastic idea! I use all of our closets as a stash place for everything…just shut the damn door & everyone will think our house is clean..LOL…except when you go to open a closet door & you get a black eye from the boxes falling out or snagged by a fishing pole.
    As for the old jeans…I too have a pair of jeans I just CAN”T part with…Bongo stonewashed aka damn near white…size 11 (which too would be equivalent to about a size 7 now adays)…about once a year or 2 I will try to squeeze my fat ass into…and yep nope they won’t budge past slightly above my chunky knee caps…but mark my word someday I will fit them!! :)

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