Updated: Dec 18, 2020
When you organize and keep a closet tidy, it can bring joy to your everyday. One of the biggest benefits of having an organized closet is the ability to find what you need quickly. You no longer need to scurry around looking here, there and everywhere for your favorite shirt because when your closet is organized, you find it with ease. This is true for any organized closet - even a kid's closet.
When a parent teaches a child how to maintain a decluttered and organized closet, everyone reaps a few benefits such as children being self-sufficient in the morning (this is an obvious "win" for parents). It also greatly assists with routines in general as it lessens tension since with everything in its place (or close to it) rarely do things go missing. An organized kid's closet space also simplifies the decluttering process when it is time to go through items as they grow.
In this post, I'm going to share some Neat Little Nest tips to declutter + organize a kid's closet. Using systems that actually work for kids is the key to keeping a kid's closet tidy.
engage your child(ren) in the process even knowing that means the process may take longer
I recommend that all parents involve their kids in the decluttering and organizing process from the time they are very small. Even a 2-year old has the ability to decide what they would like to keep and what they no longer want to have in their space.
When you engage your children in the decluttering and organizing process, they learn how to do it themselves by modeling you and they can take that life skill with them when they are grown. Managing what you own is something everyone needs to do for their entire life, so consider it a gift to teach them how to do it when they are young.
teach your children different ways to let things go
There are a few ways to get items out of the home that no longer serve us and teaching children about those options helps them learn. One way children can let go of items they no longer need or want is to donate them to someone they know like a friend or a younger cousin or to a family in need. Sharing by giving to others is a wonderful life lesson.
Other kids might be more motivated to let something go if they are able to earn money toward something on their wish list. Help your children sell their things at a local kid's resale store or even online. Red Tricycle put together a great list of places you can sell your stuff online.
You know your child better than anyone, so simply be open to having those conversations and help them work through whatever decision works best for them. No matter what, let them own their decisions and respect them for that.
use every inch of space when organizing
When you have a small space, every inch of real estate counts, so optimize it! Use the doors, the walls and the full height of the closet. One way to maximize a small closet is to get an adjustable closet system so you can adjust the height of the hanging rod as the children (and their clothes) grow. The closet shown below is my son Owen's and it holds all of his clothes as he does not have a dresser in his room.
file fold to maximize space and simplify the process of putting laundry away
Folding clothes into drawers is a more efficient use of space than hanging clothes on hangers. For that reason, incorporating drawers into a closet is important, but also critical for a small closet. To learn more about how to file fold your clothes like we've shown below, check out Neat Little Nest's art of folding clothes blog post to see folding videos and other inspirations.
consider investing in a capsule wardrobe and teach your children the art of mix and match
A capsule wardrobe is a term coined by a London boutique owner named Susie Faux in the 1970s'. The term has come to refer to a collection of clothing that is composed of interchangeable items in order to maximize the number of outfits that can be created. This is a helpful strategy for kids to decrease the amount of clothes both you and your children need to manage and maintain.
If you're looking for more information on how to create a basic capsule wardrobe for kids, Denaye at Simple Families put one together here.
keep the space tidy with structured routines
Clothes don't magically get back into the closet by themselves, so the secret to keeping your clothes closet organized is to put items into their designated spot after you use them. While it really is that simple, it more often than not doesn't actually happen.
I recommend adding some structured routines into your days and weeks to help you keep your spaces looking great. The first routine I use and recommend is The Weekly Reset. To describe it simply, it is setting aside time each week to put everything back in its "home". Doing this small task each week can save you from ongoing clutter creep struggles. Be sure to engage kids in participating in the weekly reset both with their rooms/closets as well as family common areas.
The second routine I recommend using is what I call a Focused15. A Focused15 is setting a timer and focusing on a task (or set of tasks) for just 15 minutes. You would be amazed at how much you can accomplish. Again, have kids take part by giving them areas or tasks to clean up.
hold your kids accountable
As a mother of two, I know the challenges that come with having kids put their things back where they belong and that often we feel it is just easier (and certainly faster) if we do it ourselves instead of holding them accountable for doing it. Resist the urge. Holding your kids accountable teaches them valuable lessons they will carry with them into adulthood. The more accountability that is expected the more kids end up understanding their role early on which becomes second nature as they grow.
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