A child’s closet is almost like another dimension. Unless you specifically monitor it at all times and maintain it yourself, odds are it looks considerably less than tidy — and definitely not anything close to organized. While helping kids stay organized is another discussion entirely, there are some steps the two of you can take together to clean up that disarrayed closet and make it a more functional and efficient space.
Tackling the mess of kids’ dresses, shirts, pants, and accessories strewn about is bound to be something of a challenge, but it’s not an impossible task. The key is to handle it all methodically instead of jumping into it with such gusto that you end up with an even greater mess that’s even more difficult to manage. What’s the secret? Teamwork is part of it, along with these steps to help you make better sense of that compact space.
If you glance in the closet and see the shirt they wore two weeks ago or the jersey they played football in over the weekend, you know they probably have a little habit of tossing their already-worn gear back inside with their freshly washed clothes. Deep breaths first — it’s a kid thing, it happens, and it’s easy enough to sort out.
Grab a laundry hamper and put the dirty garments directly inside. This is also a good opportunity to take a look around the rest of their room for similar offending pieces. You might find them piled on the back of their desk chair, tossed over the headboard, even stuffed under the bed. Explain to your young one the importance of keeping their clothes in the right place after they’ve worn them. Then move on to the next step.
Now it’s time to take a good, hard look at what’s really going on inside the closet. With the clutter carefully cleared away, you have a much better view of everything. If each piece is hung in somewhat haphazard fashion and items are folded without much organization in mind, this is the time to remedy that.
Pull everything out and place it carefully on the bed. Make piles of like items — kids’ jeans in one area, leggings in another, T-shirts in another, and so on. Don’t stop until everything is out and visible. Not only do you get a clearer view of what your child has, but you can also sort out items that they no longer wear or that are just outdated. Make a “donate” pile so you can quickly separate those from the rest.
With everything out in the open, you and your child can determine the best way to organize the closet. Some parents opt to arrange garments by color, so if your little one has a deep desire to wear something orange one day, you or they can reach right inside and grab the piece without spending too much time on it. If your kid is old enough to express a preference for that, go for it — odds are it will motivate them to keep the space organized and color-coded.
Another option is to sort items by usage. Place seasonal items, like scarves, swim trunks, tank tops, sweaters for boys and girls, and gloves, on top shelves or in storage containers at the top of the closet. Then just swap things out when it comes time to wear them again. Storage bins and baskets that slide into cubbies are useful if your child’s closet has a multi-functional layout.
It’s easy to overlook the situation on the floor when you’re so focused on what’s happening on the racks and drawers above. But if that area is covered in all kinds of clutter, you need to give it just as much energy to ensure that the closet truly looks its best from top to bottom — and so that your child is more encouraged to maintain a clean space. Make a point of explaining the purpose of this task. If they place their shoes inside but have a tendency to create little shoe mountains, make it a big priority.
What else is down there? Closets are typically just for wearable items, but many kids end up stuffing all sorts of items inside. You might find toys, for example, or books or even old snack wrappers. Keep a kids’ storage box nearby so you can toss in their play objects. Again, explain the concept of having a place for everything and everything in its place.
While they may not be terribly excited about tidying up the closet at first, chances are they’ll love the end result. They’ll also feel a lot better about their personal space, especially with some encouragement from you. Working together, you can transform even the most untidy closet into a work of art.