If you attempt to open the closet in your child’s room and a nightmare ensues, with clothes strewn sloppily on hangers, toys scattered on the floor and shoes mismatched throughout, it may be time for a makeover. As a nanny or parent, you know that teaching children how to organize and keep their things tidy leads to less clutter, but they may need a creative push to motivate them to free the disorder and mess from their lives and their closets.
Designing and organizing a kid’s closet doesn’t have to be a pain, either. By considering the adjustability and accessibility of how you can creatively organize, the clutter will soon disappear.
A Design for All Ages
It’s natural to want your child to become self-sufficient by encouraging him to do things like dress himself and select his clothes and shoes for the day, but a disorganized closet that is not kid-friendly could significantly impair these efforts. Consider the design of the closet when launching your child’s closet makeover, says Alla Akimova, interior designer at Archives id in New York.
Since your child is growing, you should adjust the closet rods to the appropriate height and use adjustable shelves so he can access his clothing easily. Using adjustable shelves that can be moved as your child grows will save you time and money in the long run.
“For the small kids, a little step stool will help them to become independent,” says Akimova.
Don’t miss out on an opportunity to use the bottom of the closet either, an area that is often neglected, says Akimova. “By adding a bottom shelf, it makes it easier to clean and easier to keep track of items stored there,” she says. “Usually, I would suggest using it for the shoes or short boxes.”
The middle of the closet is the ideal space for shelves and rods to add more surface space for mixed size clothes to hang and to neatly store folded clothes. Utilize the top shelves for items that are seasonal or for extra shoe boxes your child will not need to access on a regular basis.
Many closets are often built deep. Use every inch for a perfectly organized kid’s closet. If you have enough space, Akimova recommends storing large scale flat objects and large toys that your child does not use regularly in the recesses of the closet. Put a rod closer to the front of the closet and hang clothes on it to conceal these large objects.
Even though your child’s closet door is typically closed, you want the space to be appealing and welcoming. Dress up the hardware to fit your child’s personality. Themed hardware inspired by your child’s favorite characters can be added to drawers and shelves. “I prefer to use single knobs opposite to a pull because it is easier to replace ‘Elmo’ knobs to a more age-appropriate hardware in the future,” says Akimova.
Finding durable hardware and construction materials to use in a closet will also help extend the shelf life. Sturdy compartment dividers offer a sense of order, dividing sweaters from jeans and tennis shoes from sandals. Durable plywood is also a much more cost-effective choice versus particle board, says Akimova.
Particle board is sensitive to water in case of spills and is not durable for the long-term, she says. Plywood, a sturdier material to construct shelves with, can be painted and even purchased pre-finished. “It will last a lot longer and has less off gas, thus making a child’s environment healthier,” says Akimova.
Safety plays a significant role in designing your child’s closet space. “Avoid using wire or clear plastic hangers, as they can snap if clothes are pulled down,” says Akimova. “It happens a lot and I’ve learned it the hard way.”
Falling hazards should also be a consideration. Akimova recommends against rod brackets where the bar could be lifted up and possibly fall on your child. Glass is a no-no, too. “Naturally, we would never use real glass anywhere in a small child’s room,” she says.
When constructing or installing drawers or shelves in a closet, you can safeguard your child by placing hidden magnetic locks on drawers that are too high or ones that you don’t want your child accessing. “It works better than the regular child guard, especially with the older kids,” says Akimova. “It can be easily disabled if the parent wants to let the child have access to the drawer again.”