Trouble Spots: Kid Closets

In each of our kids’ closets, I have something that I call the “Outgrown Bins”, which are bins that clothes are thrown into once they become too small for said child.  My daughter has been wearing 4T since last summer, which means that, for the first time, we have four seasons worth of clothes in one size.  Which also means that her “Outgrown Bin” had reached capacity.  Actually, it was over capacity.  And there was a cardboard box overflowing with hand-me-down shoes that are currently too big for her in the bottom corner of the closet.  It was mayhem.  I broke down last weekend and pulled the bins and the cardboard box out in an attempt to reel in the mess.

Once I sorted through the bins and shoes, I was inspired to tackle the rest of her closet.

All of our bedroom closets came with built-in shelving that is not easily adjustable.  Translation: I have to work with what I have.

In my ideal world, I would tear out the wire shelving to create a custom solution.  Nothing fancy, but something simple that incorporates drawers and maximizes the space.  I’m drooling over these closets.

How to organize a toddler closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

Financially, neither of those awesome closets were options for us, so I made the best of what we had.

The shelving in my daughter’s closet isn’t that bad.  I love the idea of drawers/shelves through the middle of the closet, and the shelving configuration in her room lends itself to that with the addition of some baskets.

In addition to the overflowing bins and boxes, her closet was also storing stuff that it shouldn’t (an extra euro pillow, bedrail and window covering).  We order our kids’ diapers from The Honest Company in bundles and I never had a good system for storing the multiple packages of diapers that come in each bundle.

*I took these before pictures after I had already removed the full bins and box of shoes, so I drew them in order to help you envision the mess*

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

Most of her clothes are folded and kept in her plastic drawers.  The only clothes of hers that are hung are dresses and jackets/outerwear, so we don’t need a ton of hanging space.

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

The laundry hampers that we have fit perfectly between the shelving posts and for that, I am very thankful.  That makes a big difference.

In addition to the diapers, there were a few other items, such as her hat, scarves and backpack, floating around her closet that didn’t have a home.

My goals for her closet were:

  1. Contain the diapers
  2. Find a home for the random items
  3. Get rid of items that don’t need to be stored in her closet

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

I was so excited when I was able to empty her entire top shelf.  There will be a time when we will need that space, and now it’s available.  The y-weave baskets from Target are, once again, the star of this re-organization.  The 11″ basket fit perfectly in the middle column of shelves, which then serve the same purpose as drawers – just not as pretty or slick.  The more shallow 11″ basket was the perfect way to contain extra bedding (because I’ve never perfected the folding of a fitted sheet) and the taller 6″ baskets were perfect for containing the random accessories that didn’t have a home.  One basket now has “seasonal wear”, which is swimsuits and scarves, and the other has her accessories, which include her fedora and jewelry.  These baskets are deeper than the basket that we had holding the open package of diapers, which meant that we could get an entire package in a basket, so no more partially opened packages that needed to be stored.  The OCD part of me really wants to fill the gap with a fourth basket, but I have nothing that needs to go in there – yet.  When I do, I will gladly fill that void with a matching basket to complete the set.  I currently have an old diaper bag and her LL Bean tote in the large 13″ basket, but because those are the only things in that basket right now, I’m reconsidering putting hooks on the wall for those bags.

I sorted all of the shoes that we have that are currently too big by size.  They are labeled in my favorite, clear shoebox containers and can easily be accessed when her feet decide to grow.

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler girl's closet - maximizingdaysblog.com

My organization adrenaline was pumping when I was done with my daughter’s closet which was all the motivation that I needed to walk upstairs and tackle the mess in my son’s closet.

His shelving is a lot more haphazard and there are more unusable and awkward spaces in his closet.  I’ve been frustrated by this closet since we moved in, so I knew that when I had the desire to do something about it, I needed to take advantage of that. Otherwise, it would be a hot mess at least until he starts kindergarten.

In addition to the awkward spaces, my son’s closet is also the place for my overflow/out-of-season clothes.  I’m realizing as I type this that as a result of my new capsule wardrobe, I think I have some extra space in my closet, so maybe I could move that overflow back into our closets.  I’ll keep you posted.

My daughter is potty-trained and only wears diapers when she sleeps.  My son, however, is still in diapers, and in addition to our Honest Company bundle, I also stock up on them when they’re on sale at Target.  So, my son’s closet could also be called the “Diaper Storage Area”.  He also had his fair share of random items floating around that didn’t have a home.  All of this in addition to containers of paint supplies and play-doh because I decided to take them out of our coat closet, but haven’t yet found a better spot for them.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

The issues with this closet weren’t all that different from my daughter’s.  Contain diapers & wipes and find spot for the random stuff that just gets shoved in there.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

The boxes of diapers got moved up to the top shelf (that is above my hanging clothes where you can’t see it).  The bags of diapers and wipes each got put in a shallow basket that holds them neatly, but also makes it easy to grab a package whenever I need them.  The painting supplies and play-doh got put back in the coat closet where they belong.  Swim diapers got put in the dresser with swim trunks since they are always grabbed together anyway.  His hat sits on a low shelf so that he can grab it when he wants to wear it, along with his backpack, which is hung on the same shelf.  We keep a laundry basket of extra blankets on a high shelf.  We need extra blankets occasionally, so need to be able to access them, but don’t need them often, so that high shelf is the perfect spot.  The y-weave basket next to it contains other items that we need occasionally, but don’t need to be on a low shelf to be accessed often.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

Again, I was left with some empty shelf space, and I love that.  I’m a firm believer in not filling a space to capacity when you organize it because you have to account for growth and accumulation that will occur.  Now, there is a great spot for that growth.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

We don’t hang a lot of my son’s clothes, but this space is the only one that really works well for hanging his clothes.  But, there is room for growth there as well, which I’m perfectly happy with.

How to organize a toddler boy's closet - maxmizingdaysblog.com

What do find is the hardest part about keeping your kids’ closets organized?  What else besides clothes, diapers and bedding do you keep in their closets?

While this is certainly not my ideal solution, I feel good about it’s functionality and it’s longevity.  I’m especially happy with the extra space this organization opened up.  That might be my biggest win in this whole process.

How to organize a toddler closet when you can't adjust shelving - maximizingdaysblog.com

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