Kids closet organization: How to organize your child’s wardrobe

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  • Finding time to tidy the house is hard at the best of times but keeping on top of kids closet organization can be particularly challenging due to the rapid rate they grow out of clothes. 

    The key thing to easy kids closet organization is to make the most of the space you’ve got. Children’s clothes are small, so it’s important to invest in dividers, hanging storage and boxes to make sure there is no wasted space.

    “Like most things kids get their hands on, wardrobes can take a battering so make sure you use durable boxes and baskets when designing kids closet organization. Adding pops of colour not only keeps it aesthetically pleasing but will help kids learn how to sort their own stuff too. You can teach them to pop their shoes into the ‘red box’, for example, ” explains professional organizer Lizzie Grant, founder of Declutter on Demand.

    The neater your kids closet organization is, the easier it will be to dress them in the morning. Even better if they can dress themselves, so think about low rails and easily accessible baskets too.

    If you’re looking to control the clutter, we’ve consulted the experts to get their top kids closet organization ideas, tips for kids shoe storage, plus a few handy products that will help you and your kids closet organization.

    How to organize a kid’s closet

    The first job that needs to be done before you battle kids closet organization is to declutter and get rid of anything they have grown out of or you no longer want. Decluttering can be a big job in itself but there are a few simple steps to follow:

    1. Empty the closet completely

    It’s easier to start from scratch so firstly, take everything out of the closet and lay it all out where you can see it. This will then help you sort through all the items. Don’t forget the stuff in the laundry basket too! Having an empty wardrobe will also help you see all the space you have to work with so you can start planning what goes where.

    2. Sort items into categories

    Next, sort all the items into the following piles:

    • Wear now. This pile is for seasonally appropriate clothes that fit. Switching your kid’s closet between the seasons is a great way of keeping on top of organization as well as getting rid of any old clothes. So in the spring, pack away any heavy knits and coats and swap for warm-weather clothes. “This is helpful not only because it makes more room in their closets and drawers, but it also gives me a chance to take inventory of what no longer fits or needs to be replaced,” says Kaitlin Madden, interior design writer and editor from Real Homes. 
    • Store. Items that are too big (that they will grow into), too small (but you want to keep for future hand-me-downs) and seasonal pieces, can be stored away in vacuum pack bags or boxes – with similar items placed together and all clearly labelled.
    • Donate. This pile is for clothes you don’t want but are still in a decent condition. “Clothing that your child no longer uses or has outgrown or you aren’t keen on but is still in good condition can be given away. You can give these to a friend or family member, donate to a charity or baby bank, or sell them. There are lots of options for selling e.g. Facebook Marketplace, online mums groups, Next Door or Shpock,” explains Lizzie Grant.
    • Throw away. Items you no longer want that are too worn or beyond repair can be recycled. You can find your nearest textile recycling point on the Recycle Now website.

    Lakeland 10 Store & Protect Zip Seal Clothes Storage Bags | £5.99
    Perfect for storage, these clear zip bags take up little space and will keep clothes protected and moth free.

    View at Lakeland

    Ikea STUK Storage Case | £9
    Practical storage that can slide under the bed or at the top of a wardrobe.

    View at Ikea

    3. Optimise the hanging space

    Once you’ve sorted through all the clothes, you can move on to organising them back into the closet. Children’s clothes are a lot smaller than adults so it’s worth installing double rails to optimise the space as their clothes won’t take up much vertical room. Lower rails will also make it easier for children to reach for the clothes themselves.

    “Depending on age, think about how to make it as easy as possible for your kids to be able to start picking out and putting back clothes for themselves. Look at the wardrobe from your child’s perspective,” says Lizzie.

    You’ll also want to buy children’s sized hangers, otherwise the clothes will just fall off and form a messy pile on the floor.

    “Skinny velvet hangers are good for preventing clothes slipping off and wooden hangers are sturdier and more environmentally friendly. There are also plastic adjustable hangers which can be expanded as your child grows, giving them greater longevity. It really just depends on your preference,” adds Lizzie.

    Dunelm Pack of 6 White Wooden Kids Hangers | £3.50
    Simple and stylish, these wooden hangers will keep clothes looking neat and tidy

    View at Dunelm

    Closetmaid 244cm Clothes Storage System | £197.99
    Make the most of the space with this nifty organizer system. The lower rails and shelves are easy to reach for young children

    View at Wayfair

    Hema 6 Children’s Clothes Hangers – Pink Velvet | £5
    The small size makes them perfect for children’s clothes and the velvet layer prevents them from falling off.

    View at Hema

    Baby Hangers that grow into adult clip hangers | £23.99
    This pack contains 24 hangers and fits all tops, bottoms and outfits.

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    4. Hang kids clothes

    When you start to hang the clothes you want to group items by type and colour and separate with clothes dividers.

    “The best way to organize clothes on hangers is to group similar items together, for example, all party dresses together,” adds Lizzie.

    “Then organize clothes by colour within each section. For younger children, you might find it useful to have a small selection of pre-matched outfits at a height they can reach so that they can learn to dress themselves. You can use labelled clothes dividers to separate each category of clothes on the rails so your child can easily see where items belong.”

    Safari Animals Baby Clothes Dividers | From £6
    These super cute clothes dividers will keep their clothes separated and organized making it easy for you to find their outfits.

    View at Etsy

    Amazon DiriUK 16 Pack Large Closet Clothes Dividers | £11.99
    This 16 pack of dividers comes with 45 printed labels and 15 blank labels so you can sort the sections however you like them

    View at Amazon

    5. Add storage boxes

    Now it’s time to tackle items that cannot be hung, whether that’s toys or clothes.

    “Each box should ideally contain just one set of items or similar items e.g. pyjamas, leggings or t-shirts,” explains Lizzie.

    Try clear boxes or boxes without lids that can easily slide into a shelving unit to make it easier to see what’s inside.

    “Labelling storage boxes helps your child to find what they need. You can involve them in choosing the pattern or colour of the boxes and/or printing labels with them. If your child is younger, you may want to label boxes with both pictures and words to help them learn where clothing is kept,” adds Lizzie.

    Wayfair Basics Fabric Cube Set of 4 | £15.99
    These boxes are super versatile and come in an array of colours. Strong and durable they have carry handles and collapse down for easy storage.

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    Vertbaudet Set of 2 Storage Boxes | £14.50
    Available in pink and grey these boxes make it easy to see what’s inside. They can be folded away when not used.

    View at Vertbaudet

    How to organize kids clothes in drawers 

    As children’s clothes are a on the small size they can be tricky to keep neat in big drawers, due to the vast space. As with organising a kids closet, there are a few key steps you can take when organising kids clothes in drawers.

    1. Empty the drawers

    The first step with any organising task is to empty the space and see what you have and how much room you have to store everything. You can do this along with your closet organization, sorting into piles as before.

    2. Line the drawers

    This not only keeps everything clean but they also stop everything from sliding around the drawers. Scented liners will leave the drawers and clothes smelling fresh too. A good addition if you have older furniture.

    3. Add drawer dividers

    Drawer dividers will help keep their small clothes neat and organized. You can group items together by type and or colour – depending on how many items you have. Empty shoe boxes work really well for this or you can buy special drawer dividers.

    “Separate clothes within boxes in drawers to keep things organized. Put like items with like – tops together, separate from bottoms and so on. This means it’s quick and easy to locate items and to put laundry away,” says Hannah Ashwell-Dickinson, professional organizer and coach at Declutter with Hannah.

    4. Use clever folding techniques

    This folding technique, made famous by Marie Kondo (author The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying) will help you see all the clothes at once. It involves stacking clothes vertically, rather than on top of each other. Similar to a rolling technique, you can pull out an item without disturbing the rest.

    “If you find the process of decluttering and organising overwhelming, ask an expert for help. Professional organizers offer practical, non-judgmental support to get your home feeling calm and functional.” adds Hannah.

    Ikea SKUBB white, Box, set of 6 | £5
    The perfect solution to messy drawers these simple dividers makes it easy to store items separately, from kid’s clothes to socks.

    View at Ikea

    organize

    Scentorini Scented Drawer Liners |£8.99
    These scented drawer liners will keep clothes looking neat and smelling fresh.

    View at Amazon

    Ideas for kids’ shoe storage 

    Clothes aren’t the only items that need organising and if children are anything like us then they probably have a lot of shoes. From the best kids’ wellies to the best kids’ trainers, it’s important to organize their footwear too, rather than let it pile up in the hallway or at the bottom of a wardrobe. It also helps them to find and put on their shoes themselves, which makes our lives a lot easier too.

    “Simplicity is key here. Make it easy for your children to put their shoes away themselves. A basket or crate for each child to put their own shoes in makes it easy in the morning to locate their own pair and put them away at the end of the day,” says Hannah.

    “If you have more space, an open shoe rack is a good option,” adds Hannah. Having shoes on display makes them easier to find too – plus they look so cute!

    Aykasa Maxi Crate | £25
    Stylish and practical, these crates can be stacked and folded down easily. Available in four different colours.

    View at Kidly

    Habitat Kitt Bamboo 2 Shelf Shoe Rack | £25
    Kids will love this vibrant shoe rack, perfect for displaying all their footwear. Made from bamboo, it can be stacked up too if you wanted more than one.

    View at argos

    Dunelm Stackable Wire Basket | £6
    Save space and keep tiny shoes organized with this durable wire basket. Easy to wipe clean too.

    View at Dunelm

    Stackable baskets and boxes will help if you’re short on space. A hanging shoe rack that you can pop on the back of a door leaves more room for clothes inside the wardrobe too. 

    “A good use of space is to use a transparent over the door shoe organizer drawer so that you can easily find shoes.  Alternatively, use storage baskets (one per child and label them!) and limit how many shoes are out at once,” says Lizzie.

    “If you have space in a hallway, an Ikea Kallax unit on its side with storage boxes can double up as shoe storage and seating. Keep space functional by storing seasonal shoes away and having a dedicated space for sports or hobby shoes at the bottom of your kids’ wardrobe if these are used less frequently.”

    La Redoute Interieurs Hiba Stackable Metal Locker | £55
    Add a modern touch to their room with this cool storage box. There’s a label holder on the side and it can be stacked to save space too.

    View at La Redoute

    Ikea STUK Hanging Shoe Organizer | £5
    Simple and effective this hanging shoe organizer can be popped in their wardrobe or on a hook on the back of a door.

    View at Ikea

    Ikea Kallax Shelving Unit | £29
    Turn this shelving unit on it’s side and you’ve got a bench and storage space all-in-one. Ideal for hallways.

    View at Ikea

    How to maintain a tidy closet

    Keeping on top of your kids closet organization is the next challenge. Lizzie shares her top tips on managing the mess:

    • Have a hamper or laundry basket near to where they get changed for dirty clothes. A hamper or basket without a lid within easy reach means that clothes are less likely to end up on the floor.
    • Keep an easily accessible spare basket or box marked “too small” for items that your child outgrows. As soon as you see an item that your child has outgrown, immediately put it in here. Sort through the basket every few months to determine what can be donated or given to friends and family. Having a pre-assigned place for these items will prevent them from creeping back into your kids’ wardrobes.  
    • Stay on top of your “too big” bags. There may be items that your child has grown into that can be added to the clothing rotation. An easy way to remember is to put a diary reminder in your phone to check these bags. 
    • Take a few minutes each day to straighten up, and make sure everything is back in the appropriate place and ask your kids to help out with this so that they start learning to do it themselves.

    Kids Depot Mess/Stuff Storage Set | £38
    Braided from seagrass these baskets help manage the mess whilst looking stylish too

    View at Kidly

    H&M Patterned Storage Basket | £12.99
    A laundry basket without a lid makes it easily accessible for kids. They’ll love this fun animal design.

    View at H&M