02 Feb Time for the kids’ wardrobe to get schooled
Make heading back to school easier with a fresher, better organised wardrobe
Mornings those first few weeks back at school are brutal for everyone in the family. Filled with “have you seen my … “, “I can’t find any … “, “I need a … “, “I don’t have anything to wear” and, of course, “eat your breakfast”, weekday mornings serve up a bounty of stress filled, high volume moments.
While we can’t convince your 7-year-old to eat her pancakes, Pivotech wardrobes can ease a bit of stress by helping organise all those sunhats, backpacks and school uniforms.
The basic rules for organising your closet apply to your kids’ (you may want to check out our tips on designing for style and storage before you get started), with just a few twists to meet their unique needs.
The first step to whipping a child’s wardrobe into shape is to remove everything currently in it. This may feel overwhelming, but it will sorting through it all much, much easier.
Sort everything into general categories. For example, put all the clothes on the bed, hats and belts on the dresser, and toys in the corner. After you see it all out, it will be easier to identify what actually shouldn’t be stored in your child’s wardrobe. We’ve all been guilty of stealing storage space for our petite family members – I mean, their stuff is small, they don’t need all that space – but, to make their storage space work for the kids, remove all your stuff.
After you eliminate what doesn’t really belong in your child’s wardrobe, do a second, more specific sort of everything. Create five piles:
- Now – items your child currently wears; the right size, relatively stain-free, the right season
- Future – any items too big for your child to wear now. They may be one size or even years too big for your child. Put each size into its own container, label it and put it on the top shelf of the closet with the label facing out. This will give you easy access for when your child reaches that size.
- Storage – this only applies if you plan on having more children or already have younger children. The items in this pile should all be too small for your child, but still in great condition. Again, further organize these items by size. Use smaller plastic tubs or empty diaper boxes, to store items of each size. Label them by size and pack them in deep storage (like in the attic or garage) until you need them in the future.
- Donate – These are items you have no current or future need for, but are still in good condition. These can go to a friend with a younger child or drop them off at your local charity shop.
- Toss – These items are beyond repair or use, whether clothes or toys, or obvious trash.
Most wardrobe systems are not designed with kids in mind. Many have a single rod, about 2.5 metres high, making them unusable for a 1.5 metre tall child.
Add more hanging space by purchasing a hanging rod to create a lower bar or buy some hanging canvas shelves with canvas drawers. These items are great for storing small items that don’t need to be hung, like pajamas, underwear, and play clothes.
The key to a usable wardrobe for a child, is keeping the most needed items most accessible. Now that your child is dressing himself, keep a small selection of tops, bottoms, and shoes for him to choose his own outfits at his level. In general, the more choices a child has, the tougher it can be to make a decision. Keep about five options available at a time and he will be able to make a much quicker decision.
Keep accessories, like sun hats, belts, hair bows and bracelets, sorted in small plastic bins. Keep shoes in a small bin or basket on the floor and have a small hamper for dirty items.
Once every item that belongs in your child’s closet has its home, label all the storage bins and boxes. Labels will
- help you and anyone else helping your child get ready know where to find things
- help make sure everything gets put away in the same spot as it was taken out from
Label bins with both a picture of the items inside and the word for the items. If your child is preschool-aged and learning to read, these labels can support their efforts.
Now the only thing left is to keep the wardrobe organised. Once your systems are set up, maintenance is the easy part.
As soon as you realize your child outgrows something, toss it into a Too Small bin. When the Too Small bin gets full, pull it down and go through the clothes to decide if you are going to store them or get rid of them.
The other important step is to be committed to putting everything back where it belongs. The labels will help, but establishing a routine of picking up the room at the end of each day will maintain an organized space throughout the week.
And a more organised closet, makes for smoother, more organised mornings.