Calm the Closet Chaos
One shoe lies wedged without a mate, a library book somehow found its way to the corner, and there are clothes and toys fighting for space on the floor. The mornings are rushed enough as it is without the hassle of my children’s closet chaos seeping into the routine. I have a strange need for closet calmness, and that begins with even my youngest of children. With closet space for all in their bedrooms and a shared “kids’ closet” in the front entryway, there is enough closet space to equal a fair sized bedroom (which can lead to lots of mess). I’ve developed a few tricks and discovered some pitfalls to avoid when it comes to designing and organizing closet space for kids.
Design Closets for Accessibility
As soon as my kids were old enough to want to dress themselves, I made sure that they could reach their own clothing – and help to put their clean laundry away. Typical closets aren’t designed for preschool arms and legs, so it can take a bit of adjusting.
- Hang your child’s closet rod where he or she can reach it – but makes sure to measure the longest clothing item that hangs so that your daughter’s dresses don’t end up dusting the floor.
- If you only have one or two extremely long garments (formal dresses or coats), use a single hook on the side of the closet for those items.
- If your child’s closet won’t accommodate adjusting the closet rod to a lower position, get a small stool he or she can use to reach the rod, or install a temporary lower rod for those younger years.
- Install shelving your child can reach, and use shelving they can’t reach for extra storage of mementos and seasonal clothing items.
Design Closets with Organization in Mind
Use baskets and plastic totes to store items, including winter sweaters, extra swimwear, or like-groups of toys. Make sure you measure your shelving space before you shop for storage containers, and give yourself a little bit of wiggle room. Generally the baskets can hang off of the shelf a few inches (which can actually make grabbing the baskets easier for kids).
- Label the baskets or plastic storage containers so your kids can read from the outside what is supposed to be on the inside. For little ones who aren’t reading yet, use words along with pictures for the labels. I’ve uses large sized mailing labels and printed clipart pictures along with the word to designate what belongs in each space.
- Hang an over the door shoe organizer over the inside of the closet door – but don’t feel like you need to use it for shoes. In the entryway closet each one of my four kids gets two rows of pockets of the shoe organizer (according to the child’s height). In the summer we use these pockets for goggles, water shoes, sunglasses, and deflated beach balls, but in the winter they serve as easy storage for mittens, scarves, and hats.
Years ago homes were built without closets for two important reasons. 1 – They generally didn’t have enough things to fill a closet. 2 – Closets were considered “rooms”, and therefor were taxable. I love my closets and am not sure the taxman could stop me from including them in my floor plan, but I’m always looking for ways to make the closets a little cleaner, and little more purposeful. My husband tells me to start by getting rid of some shoes, but I’m not going that far.
Article Submitted by Chris O.