Tips on Organizing the Kids' Closets to Reduce Back-to-School Stress

Tips on Organizing the Kids' Closets to Reduce Back-to-School Stress

Starting the new school year can be a stressful time for your children. Even before school starts, your kids may be fretting about whether they have the right clothes, which of their friends (and frenemies) will be in their classroom with them, and who they will each lunch with, among other concerns. You can eliminate one stressor by organizing your kids’ closets to make getting ready for school easier for them. Read on for some suggestions on how to do just that.

Talk With Your Kids

No matter how great your ideas are — color coding, labels, day-of-the-week underwear, etc. — nothing will come of them if your kids don’t buy-in. So, before you start your organizing frenzy, sit down with your children and discuss how they want to organize their closets. Then, brainstorm some ideas on how to make it happen. Closet organizing will go much more smoothly when you directly involve your child in the process.

For example, if you and your child decide to color-code outfits to make it easier to choose clothing in the morning, consider how you will do that. Will you hang different coordinated separates on colored hangers? Maybe your child would rather place removable colored sticker dots on items that can be worn together. Perhaps your children would like to keep school uniforms in one section of the closet and casual clothing in another section. Or maybe they would like to pick out a week’s worth of clothing on Sunday night then keep each day’s outfit in its own drawer or bin.

Gather Your Organizing Supplies

Organizing your child’s closet won’t do much good if you don’t have the materials needed to do so successfully. After you and your child have decided how to organize the closet, you’ll need to purchase any containers you plan on using, such as canvas storage bins. Make sure you have tape on hand if you plan on using a label maker. If you don’t have one, no worries. Further engage your child in the closet reorganization process by having the letter and/or decorate removable packing labels you can slap onto containers, boxes, or drawers as needed. Don’t forget hangers and, if the closet has a dresser or drawer system, liner paper. Again, let your child choose the hanger colors or liner paper design. The more your child gets to be a part of the organization process, the easier it will likely go.

Remember to add a couple of laundry hampers. When it comes to sorting clothing, younger children won’t understand the nuances of white versus light or dark versus bright, and teens likely won’t care. (Consider yourself lucky if your teen even picks up clothes off the floor!) Therefore, two hampers should suffice; one for light clothing and one for dark clothing. Then, whoever does laundry can further sort when it’s time to wash clothes.

Plan Out Any Modifications in Advance

Realize that to successfully organize your child’s closet, you may need to make some changes to the layout. If, for example, the hanging rods are at adult height, your young child may not be able to reach the clothing. In that case, you may want to add an additional rod lower down. You can always remove it. Similarly, if all the shelves are too high, add some lower shelving and use those for current items, and save the higher shelves for things that are out of season.

Take an Inventory

Before you can begin to organize your child’s closet, you’ll need to know just what’s in there. So, with your child, take inventory of the contents. While older children might be able to go through everything in one fell swoop, younger kids will likely lack the attention span to do so. If that’s the case, set aside some time each day until the inventory is complete.

As part of your inventory, go through all the contents — clothes, shoes, accessories, toys, and anything else — and sort everything into three piles or storage baskets: keep, give away, and toss. With respect to wearables, have your child try on clothes or shoes to see if they still fit. Keep items that are in good condition, and that still fit your child. Give away items that are still useable but either no longer fit or are now unwanted. Toss items that are damaged or not repairable. Be sure to take your child’s opinion into account. If your child is not ready to part with that too-small shirt, for example, don’t force the issue; instead, let your child hang onto it for now. Remember, the point of organizing is to reduce your child’s stress, not add to it.

Have a Place for Everything

After you and your child have completed your inventory, you’ll need to put away all the items you’re keeping. Make sure your child helps with this; organizing will have accomplished nothing if your child doesn’t know where to find their belongings. Once everything is in its place, wait a week or so, then take another look at the newly organized closet. Talk with your child to determine if the way things are organized is working. Do you need to switch a few things around? Do you need to add anything, such as a hook or two for hanging kids' belts? Don’t be afraid to make tweaks periodically.

One final tip: when you are working with your child to organize their closet, don’t forget snack breaks, and do your best to make the job fun rather than stressful. Have sorting races, play old sock trash can basketball, or create code words to use instead of keep, give away, or toss. Having an organized closet before the school year begins will help your kids mentally get into back-to-school mode while eliminating the stress a messy closet can cause.

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