I just read an article today about encouraging kids keep their rooms clean. And, I have a confession… I never close my kids’ closet doors! So, if their closet is messy and disorganized, the mess just starts bleeding into the rest of the room and actually discourages them from keeping their entire room clean!
So, the first place I look when its time to de-clutter their room is their closets. Helping kids’ keep their rooms organized and uncluttered is a great step towards getting your children to actually help you and want to keep a “conscious” closet.
And, as you can see, I don’t have beautiful, perfect built-in closets to show off. I don’t have walk-ins or large closets with a lot of space, so I make use of every nook and cranny with everyday helpers available at low cost.
I have used relatively consistent methods to stay organized through each stage of my girls’ growth: baby, toddler, preschool, and school-aged children (I even have a tween, now!).
Here’s a few things I do to keep clothing clutter in their closets under control (and their closet doors usually wide open!):
- Stacking Bins. I use handy stackable bins (like this) across the bottom of the entire closet. It’s a better use of space than hanging short things on the bottom rung. They are reachable by kids and encourage them to dress themselves. They also keep miscellaneous things from being thrown onto the closet floor. I designate a bin for each type of item, and teach the kids to respect the folded clothes.
- Drawers. This is the same concept as the bins, but are used for small things: Socks, underwear, leggings, etc.
- Small Bins & Organizers. These work wonders for collections of hair accessories, nail polish, collectibles (like my daughter’s latest obsession with Bath & Body Works “pocket bacs”)
- Hooks. I can’t afford to waste any space, so I use the 2-3 inches of space I have remaining to hang belts, small purses, scarves on hooks within easy reach from a hanger. The 3M Command Strips work great (and they’re available in a lot of fun colors).
- Hanging Organizers. Great for a variety of things, like jewelry and small things (a large portion of my daughter’s is dedicated to her Squinkies collection — seriously!). But, hanging organizers can be a life saver. Try the larger ones if you need more shelf space, have no place shoes, etc. And, they are fabulous if you like to lay out a week’s worth of clothes.
- Step Stool. Essential for kids who still can’t reach higher hanging items. Without a step stool, they will try anyway. This results in calling Mom for help all the time, or a mess at best (at worst, torn clothing).
- Shoe Storage. Again, squeaking out space here. I only keep slippers and dressy shoes in my girls’ closets. They fit perfectly under the the stacking bins.
- Too small, too big, rarely worn. At the rate kids’ grow, its inevitable there will be things that don’t fit to deal with. I keep them in the far reaches of the closet, out of site/reach and ready to be rotated soon (see Quarterly Review tip, below)
And a few general tips:
- Quarterly Review. Sort out the unworn, too small, and out-of-season clothing quarterly. Twice a year is not enough. I do Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall rotations. This keeps things manageable.
- Out of season – out of closet. I completely remove out of season clothing from their closets. How I sort and store is another post! If you don’t have this luxury, be sure it is pushed aside and not mixed in with in-season clothing (hanging dividers might help).
- Size Dividers – For young kids, size dividers work great since babies grow so fast, and you’ll usually have a collection of outfits on hand to grow into.
- Laundry System. Even toddlers can be taught to put their dirty clothes in the laundry hamper. I also do their laundry once a week, on the same day. I stumbled on this one, and learned as my children got older that a consistent laundry day helps them to feel organized by knowing when things are coming out of the hamper and back into their closets.
Need ideas for a really small closet? Check out this inspiring organization post from “Your Home, Only Better”, by Susan Jensen Smith.
How about you?
Are your kids’ closet doors open or closed all the time? What do you do to help keep them from getting out of control?