How to make sure you can find that dress from Grandma before your little girl outgrows it

By Real Simple
Updated September 18, 2007
| Credit: Frances Janisch

Children’s closets can be a challenge to conquer, particularly because the miniscule clothing size and bevy of toys and accessories can easily form a mountain that creates an avalanche whenever the door is opened. Here, how you can use simple tricks to transform any child’s closet into a tidy space (of course, getting them to keep it clean is another story).

Fold and Sort

Folded clothes go in twin painted-metal drawers; two shelves stash things for quick access; casters make it all mobile.

Detangle and arrange the little things — hats, scarves, gloves, and umbrellas. Stow gloves and scarves in bins, drawers, stacking boxes, or rolling baskets placed on the closet floor. Use a different color for each child.

A do-it-yourself solution for storing kids' shoes and backpacks in the closet: milk crates.

For sports equipment, books, and other miscellaneous items, use bins (made of anything from plastic to metal mesh), trunks, or repurposed apple crates.

Hang it Up

Hang a vinyl shoe bag: The pockets hold spare powder and lotion, as well as small things that get lost in a drawer. Hanging canvas shelves can store blankets and diapers, while toys can be stashed on the lower shelves, where children can reach them easily. A couple of Crunch Cans accommodate the rest.

A second closet pole that attaches to the existing one with metal hooks maximizes the vertical space. The upper bar, at mom height, should hold the child’s current clothing; the lower bar stores her future wardrobe, so you can remember what your child has. By the time your baby fits into the clothes on the lower bar, she'll be tall enough to reach them and old enough to dress herself.

For coats and jackets, get a standing coat rack, put up a peg rail (mounted at a child-friendly height of 28 inches), screw hooks onto the back of a door or a wall, or install cabinets.