Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tips On How To Organize Your Kids Closet

In my previous post, I shared with you how ROUTINE and developing a TOLERANT ATTITUDE help me parent my kids with a SMILE on my face. Let me add that being ORGANIZED also counts a lot in developing a right balance.

In my family, one of the things that can keep our busy schedule flowing smoothly is having an organized wardrobe. We are five in the family so there are a LOT of clothes going around. And with three growing kids, putting up the clothes in the right closet is always one area where the kids and the househelp need some guidance. Each of the three kids have their own closet, with the fourth closet being shared by my two girls to keep their dresses and other fancier clothes.

Let me share with you some of the ways on how we keep our wardrobe organized:

Tips To Organize The Kids' Closet:

1. Organize the closet with your kids’ height in mind. 

Keeping in mind my kids’ height, I organized their clothes in a way that the most used clothes live on the lower shelves, in lower drawers, or on the wardrobe floor. Higher levels are designated for less-frequently used items and over-grown clothes.

This allows us to use the high space without interfering with the functional area of the closet. Take for instance R's closet (pictured below), his "pambahay" are on the lower shelves to allow for everyday, easy access. While the going-out clothes are located further up since he only uses these on weekends.

2. Place small plastic containers on the shelves for small accessories. 

A small set of plastic storage containers works well to organize smaller items, such as underwear, socks and other accessories.

3. Utilize a clothes bar

My girls share a double closet bar. Again, still using the principle of matching my kids’ height with the closet functionality, the younger one has the lower rod to allow her small arms to reach for dresses and skirts, while the older one owns the higher one

To achieve an neat appearance, I use a single color of inexpensive hangers.

4. Organize clothes by type of garment: 

My kids’ closets are organized in section - the t-shirts together, long- sleeve shirts together, jeans together, etc. The kids have similar arrangements in each of their closet so the kids and the help know exactly that the undergarments goes in on the first drawer, the swimsuits and jerseys on the second, the jackets and cardigans on the third and so on.

For my girls hanging wardrobe, the clothes are sorted by categories; dresses are grouped together, followed by skirts, then by jeans/pants, then the tops.

Since the hanging wardrobe is where the girls keep their “going-out clothes” the floor of this closet also serves as an organized fashion to keep their accessories/jewelry box. This helps give my girls more space in their wardrobe for their clothes and at the same time assures me the girly items they like to look at each day also gets used often since they are within easy reach when they get dressed for going out.

5. Label, label, label 

When I think of THE ONE organization solution that has kept my kids' closet organized for the long haul, I'd have to say labels saved my day! Mine are simply made from a computer printer; mass-printed and then handwritten as I go along. If you have younger children who cannot read that well yet, you can also label by making simple graphic labels for them. Pictures of socks, shirts, shorts can remind the child where these items belong.

6. Hook It!

Install a hook at an unobtrusive place like at the back of the closet door, or at one side of the bathroom wall to hang the school uniform for the following day. This routine keeps my mornings organized, simple and most important of all, quiet.

The hook system also works well for managing the kids’ swimming equipment. Right after training, they know that it is expected of them to pack away their own swimming bags. I have never had to remind them to do this, and they have never treated it like a chore because everything is within an arm's reach. It is a breeze because there is a right place for everything - and everything is always in its right place!

7. Manage the Mess 

Place a hamper on a very accessible area in the bathroom, if you have the extra space for it. My kids’ hamper is placed under their bathroom sink, so while it is very accessible to my kids, it also remains concealed. This encourages my kids to dump in their dirty clothes and not leave them lying around on the floor.

8. Sort through their clothes once a year

Go through your children's clothes and get rid of anything they haven’t worn in six months… it only means that it isn't likely to be used in the next six months. Save these items for a younger sibling or give these away to younger cousins, or better yet donate them.

9. Use "dots" for easy segregation of clothes
The beauty of the dot technique is that this is an organization solution that can grow with the family! Once a shirt no longer fits J, all I need to do is add another dot and they become B’s! This truly has already saved us time and anguish. There used to be arguments when my two girls would be fighting over the same shirt. The older one simply cannot let go of her favorite shirt - no matter if she has obviously outgrown it; and the younger one has ran out of patience waiting for her turn to finally fit into it. But with the dot system, it is plain for everyone to see who owns it.

I know a lot of moms simply label clothing with the kid's initial, but what do you do when you pass it on to a younger sibling who doesn't have the same initials? With the dot system, it simply means that I will just have to put in another dot, and it now says Personal Property of the "new owner".

This technique is also a life saver for organizing clothes in the closet. There are no mix-ups in this house because the kids and the house-help know exactly who owns what.

The same organization solution is also utilized to sort clothes of the same design but of different sizes. For instance, my kids' have similar club shirts that are worn during swim meets; to prevent confusion, each shirt is labeled with our family name and then the corresponding dots.

A closet with a strong organizational system, leaves me more time - it affords me to stay in bed a few minutes longer in the morning; it means that I can take my sweet time to "prettify" myself - even if it means just a dab of powder and a swipe of lip-gloss; it makes for peaceful Sunday mornings when we get to Church on time. Not only does is help me get the rest of the family out the door on time, it is also a very good exercise for my kids in the important trait of self-reliance.

Hope this helps you and your family, too!