August 30, 2015

how to organize a kid’s closet, part one

Thank you so much for all of your kind words about the Better Homes and Gardens article! It was so much fun to see the photos in print and even more fun to hear from those of you who saw them. As promised, I’m back with tips for creating similar spaces in your own home. First up? Let’s talk about how to organize a shared closet for children.

Kids’ closets have a few challenges that grown-up closets don’t. Tops on the list? My boys’ shared closet tends to house at least a few different sizes — partly because my twins now wear different sizes and partly because there are always clothes waiting to be grown into.

I suppose I could just step away from the Nordstrom pre-season sales … but hey, what fun would that be?! Joking aside, it can be hard to gauge how much your children are going to grow and we all know that — if you don’t buy bathing suits or winter coats before the season starts — you are left with the dregs by the time your kids need those items.

California Closets Infant Closet SystemIn my boys’ closet, I used a California Closets system with adjustable shelves and rods. The California Closets system shown in the above photo is organized similarly to the one in my boys’ closet. No matter what closet system you use, however, the key is flexibility. Because children’s clothing is so much smaller, especially in the younger years, you can often create a “triple hang” instead of an adult-sized “double hang.” Hello, you’ve just increased your storage by 1/3. Cha-ching! Because the shelves and rods are adjustable, it’s a simple swap to a “double hang” as your kids grow. For a closet like ours, the “tipping point” is somewhere around a size 7/8 — right where my kiddos are now.  

Container Store Double Hang RodThe best non-permanent option — which makes it perfect for renters or college students — is a double-hanging closet rod. The weight of the clothes on the lower rod makes this solution much more stable than you might anticipate!

The next hurdle is how to figure out — at a glance — which size is which. Yes, of course, you can just check the tag … but that takes longer! Plus, what are the chances that your kiddos will look at the tags before they get dressed? Nada.

Etsy Custom Baby Closet DividersBecause babies grow out of clothes so quickly when they are young, I used size dividers for the first year or two. You can buy plain ones, of course, but goodness gracious, how adorable are these custom dividers by Watch Me Grow Stickers on Etsy?! I would have purchased those in a skinny minute.

As their sizes changed less frequently, and perhaps more importantly, as they began to dress themselves, the size dividers weren’t the best answer for us any longer. Do you remember that I color-code my twins? Because I already had a gazillion matching white plastic hangers, I simply tied different colored ribbons around the neck of each hanger to indicate to which twin the hanger belonged. Now it’s easy for my kiddos to grab the “right” clothes.

Target Blue Huggable Kids HangersI wish Huggable Hangers had been around when my kiddos were smaller, because I would have invested in different colored hangers to make color-coordinating their wardrobes even easier! Twin B would be delighted to have “his” blue, but poor Twin A would have to settle for white. Something tells me he wouldn’t be thrilled if I bought the pink. Ha!  

Of course, when the taller Twin B runs out of elastic waist pants — far preferable in his world to, egads, pants that zip and button — he doesn’t think twice about swiping the shorter Twin A’s elastic waist pants. And this, my friends, is what happens next.

Zeller Twin B at the DentistOh well. A mom can only do so much.

Photos, from top to bottom, via BHG, California Closets, The Container Store, BHG, Watch Me Grow Stickers on Etsy, Target and moi.  


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