What parent hasn’t sighed in frustration at a mess in their kids’ rooms? Clothes, toys, shoes and gear can quickly get disorganized and spread around the room, creating clutter in a hurry. To tame the mess, try improving the storage in your child’s closet. It’s easier to instill the habit of putting everything in its place when you actually have a place designated to put things. And keeping closets kid-friendly helps children keep themselves organized with less help from mom and dad. From infants to teens, here are some ideas to help you organize your children’s closets and all the clothes, baseball caps, ballet shoes and stuffed toys in them.
Create kid-sized storage
The standard builder’s closet with one high rod for hanging clothes isn’t very helpful to kids. Consider adding a lower rod that your young child can reach across all or part of the closet. But think ahead as well: Either plan to move the rail when your child grows, or install one at a medium height that could handle shirts or skirts later on. The height your child needs at 6 won’t do when he is 16.
Better Homes and Gardens takes it a step further, suggesting you install a closet shelving system with repositionable shelves and rods so you can change things up when your child gets older.
To keep frequently-used items at kid height, add hooks or pegs to the back of the closet door or back wall of the closet itself. They’re perfect for holding PJs, hats, jackets, hoodies and backpacks. You can also try nailing clothespins to the wall or door to organize lightweight items, like tights.
Don’t get rid of the high closet rod
To make use of the high rod yourself, hang dressy clothes, or sizes they haven’t grown into yet. You can even make dividers to separate clothes into different size categories, so you can grab what fits when you need it.
You can also buy hanging shelves made from fabric that can hang on the high rod. They’re perfect for folded clothes, shoes, toys, board games or books.
Make use of space above and below
Use that shelf at the top of the closet for storing things you don’t often need . The dollar store is a great place to find bins of all sizes and shapes, perfect for storing out-of-season or outgrown clothes. Try to choose see-through bins or label them with their contents.
Consider putting a shelving unit or small dresser in the lower part of your child’s closet. Open shelves are great for storing folded clothes, shoes, toys or books, and can be organized with smaller bins—perfect for socks, underwear, smaller toys and shoes—or bigger bins, for things like sports gear. Bonus: Your kids may find it easier to put things away on open shelves, since they can see where things go at a glance.
Be sure to add a laundry hamper to the closet too. Even toddlers can take their dirty laundry to the bin, to start the habit early. Martha Stewart suggests putting a laundry bag on the back of the closet door for older kids: It’s more fun to slam-dunk dirty socks into the laundry.
Put the closet door to good use
The back of the closet door is perfect for a hanging shoe organizer bag. This can be used to organize small items like hair brushes and accessories, jewellery, sunglasses, small toys, school supplies, scarves, makeup, Barbie dolls—even shoes.
Your tween or teen daughter might prefer to install spice racks on the back of the closet door to organize nail polish and makeup bottles and tubes. Or install some pegboard on the door with pegs to hold jewellery, belts, hats and purses. A short curtain rod or long towel bar can hold scarves neatly.
Repurpose everyday items as storage solutions
With a little creativity you can repurpose many ordinary items into handy hacks for tidying closets. For example, divided boxes, such as those for Christmas ornaments, make great organizers for baby clothes, pairs of baby or toddler shoes, or rolled belts or scarves for your teens. Magazine organizers are perfect for sorting flip-flops, for the tween with a large collection.
Or try these 3 ways to use the versatile and inexpensive shower curtain hook:
- S-shaped shower curtain hooks hung from a closet rod let your teens hang pants or shorts by a belt loop. It may not be the tidiest option, but it beats a pile of jeans on the bedroom floor.
- Shower curtain hooks can also hang purses, scarves and belts from a closet rod, or from a towel bar attached to the closet door.
- Loop-style shower curtain rings on a clothes hangar will corral a baseball cap collection: simply hang them by the strap at the back for a tidy solution.
Help kids learn to organize themselves
Whatever you do to organize your kids’ closets, follow a few basics to give them a better chance of staying organized on their own:
- Keep storage appropriately sized, so children can reach what they’re after
- Place frequently-used items front and centre where they can be grabbed quickly
- To keep things super-organized, label bins and drawers with their contents (use pictures for pre-readers)
- Use their favourite colours and designs to make the closet appealing
With a little bit of luck—and a whole lot of reminders—they might just put the toys and clothes away themselves.