Organize your child’s closet (and teach them how to keep it that way)
Posted on November 21 2018
If you have children and they have a closet and/or a dresser, chances are there are some issues regarding clothes, organization, and laundry.
While teaching kids to be tidy might be important to you, it’s probably not something that is on their radar. But that’s understandable: We have different priorities as adults than they do as children. Time feels different - we can certainly remember how busy we were finding animals in clouds, getting our hands dirty at the playground, baking imaginary pies in imaginary ovens, and engaging in all the other, important things that occupy a child’s time when we were their age.
Instead of yelling at our children every time they leave a shirt on the floor, we came up with a guide to help integrate these things into their daily routine (hopefully without much fuss). These quick, easy ideas for organizing kids’ closets and dressers so that they'll not only have an easier time getting to their favorite pair of spandex shorts, but will also make it easy for them to maintain, while learning valuable lessons for keeping a clean and tidy space. And, what better time than fall and back-to-school season to give a little thought to the organization in their closets and drawers.
Quick, Handy Organization Tips
1. Always keep clothes within reach: Hang clothing at child’s level to make access, when taking out and especially when putting away, an easier task.
2. Organize clothing so that similar items are grouped together. Label, if needed, with words or pictures, or whatever your child will respond to most (maybe even get excited about?).
3. Kids have their favorites, and cling to those favorites much more than we do; Keep the clothes they like to wear more than others near the front of the closet or dresser drawer so that they can be accessed more easily.
Pro-Tip: Use bins without lids so most-used clothing items are right there in front of them, and can be folded and returned just as easily.
4. We all know that kids grow like weeds. This means, as we’re sure you’re also aware, they grow out of their clothes fast. It's important to have a system of storage for outgrown clothing.
Try this: Designate a bin in each child’s closet for anything that they have outgrown. Once the bin is full, either pass it down to a younger sibling, cousin, etc. or donate it to a charity or clothing drive.
5. Sort, sort, sort: It's helpful to have one large bin of clothing for a specific age, or to have one bin for cold weather, fall/winter clothes, and one for warm weather, spring/summer clothes.
Okay! Let’s get the organization party started
Let’s start from scratch. A fresh start for organization. First, empty closet and dresser drawers of everything in them. Once you have emptied the entire space clean and wipe down any shelves and drawers (and vacuumed if needed), you’ll have a clean slate on which to create your organized masterpiece.
Once your space is clean and clear, sort through the clothing. If it fits? Keep it. If it doesn’t, do one of these 3 things: Store it, throw it, or donate/sell. If there are clothes that your child no longer wears (or never did), but still fit, either pack them away or donate/sell as well.
As mentioned in our tips above, it helps to start by grouping all similar articles of clothing together: All of the long sleeve shirts folded in one bin together, all of the shorts, etc. When your child knows where to look for a specific piece of clothing, it makes it much easier for them to find it without tearing through every drawer and rack in their closet and leaving everything else on the floor.
Remember this: While hangers are your (best) friend in creating organized closet space, some things do need only be folded. This is a great opportunity to get your kids involved, and teach them valuable life skills simultaneously. If you want to get your kids involved with doing their own laundry or some part of the folding and putting away process and you want to start at a young-ish age (like 3+) it's important to ask them to help you with the process - and make it fun! See who can fold the neatest shirt, or have them sort their clothes by color before hanging them or putting them away (folded) in drawers. Turn it into a game, or at the every least, let them know how much they're helping, and how much that helps means to you.
Not every kid, of course, will want to help, or be a good helper. But it never hurts to try. Start at a young age, say, around 4 years old, and see which part of the process interests them the most - or even a little. The folding? The sorting? The washing? The cleaning? Kids will very quickly take to things that bring them more joy than others.
Now for maintenance. Keeping your child's closet neat and tidy does need a bit of adult supervision, but you can start with a laundry hamper that can be reached easily (if it's just as easy to throw it in the hamper as it is to leave it on the floor, you'll have a much easier time keeping dirty clothes where they belong). For clean clothes, remember: They need also need to be easily accessible, and favorites are important. If you help your child understand the importance of a clean closet, simply by making their lives easier having one, you're sure to find success (or some version of it at least).
If ever it looks like things are getting out of control, get your kids together for a big closet clean-out (perhaps in the spring, before summer break, or in the fall when school starts again), and start from scratch.
And, if you haven’t already checked out our 2018 Guide to the Best Mom and Family Blogs for more tips and tricks and ideas for the perfect home, make sure to do so (after you finish reorganizing, of course).