I don't feel that I'm influenced much by society--expectations and norms and such. I don't think I spend much time thinking about what I should do or say or wear or be-- but I might more than I realize. Because when my husband suggested we get rid of our dressers, I felt an unexpected and unpleasant lurch in my stomach.
Isn't everyone supposed to have dressers? Isn't that just what you do? What you have? The way you keep your clothes? I was downright offended when he suggested getting rid of the dressers and putting our clothes in bankers boxes. Bankers boxes! What are we, homeless? Paupers? Vagabonds? Hobos? I felt self-conscious about the idea of not having dressers and at the same time I felt dumb for feeling self-conscious about it. Blerg.
I couldn't deny the practicality. Dressers take up floor space. They allow for clutter build-up on the surface. They get banged into and drawn on by children. So I swallowed whatever it was that felt like my pride, and we got rid of our dressers.
I first tried using hot glue and fabric to make the boxes look nice. That took way too much time and didn't even look good. So I painted the boxes with interior house paint and a roller. I painted the boys' boxes blue and I painted our boxes white. The twins have four boxes for their clothes: two for shirts, one for pants, one for pajamas. In a separate little cubby they have socks and underwear. I'll be brutally honest here even though it makes me feel like a sub-par housewife: their clothes are not often folded. I am slowly teaching them how to fold clothes, so sometimes we fold them together and sometimes I fold them alone, but most of the time we separate out the clean laundry and they get a pile of theirs that they throw into the appropriate boxes and life goes on--albeit occasionally wrinkly.
The biggest reason I don't fold their clothes is that they go through them all the time looking for certain clothes and in the process unfold what I've folded. That leads to me getting mad at them. Leaving them unfolded is a stress-reducer all around. Maybe when they're a little older I'll make them fold laundry so my future daughters-in-law don't hate me for their lack of domestic skills.
Brian and I got rid of our big dresser as well, and we now keep our clothes in boxes on our big bookshelf that is empty of books. (Read book purge guidelines here). We do fold our clothes; we're not complete savages, after all.
Getting rid of our dresser gave us space to have a bigger bed in the room, and to be able to walk around the bed easily. If you have the means, getting cute baskets would make your room look much nicer than painted boxes. But we wanted a cheap, easy fix. It has worked now for several years.
Hopefully this can inspire you to think outside the proverbial box (and maybe into other boxes) a little when it comes to managing space. Don't keep something just because you think you're supposed to have it. Keep only what makes sense and don't be afraid to make changes even if they're unusual.
Have a nice, calm Thursday.
Here is the twins' bookshelf and dresser combo.