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How to Organize Children's Closets

There might not be a monster hiding in your child's closet, but that doesn't mean it isn't scary. Clothing seems to multiply in these dark recesses. Add books and toys and in no time you've got an overwhelming mess. A good organizational system may not entirely eliminate the chaos, but it's a good start. A clean closet is about more than just aesthetics. Both you and your child will feel a sense of peace when everything has its own place. Even the messiest child can come to appreciate the value of cleanliness.

Make It Kid-Friendly

Most closet systems aren't made with a child in mind. If your child can't comfortably reach hangers and bins, she's not going to put things away. Buy a system that can be customized instead. Hang most clothing and use metal roll-out bins for socks, accessories and underwear.

Sandra M. Einstein, CEO of Ad Lib Coaching, an organizational consulting service specializing in helping children and adults with ADHD, offers the following tips for kid-friendly organization: Lower the closet rods to your child's height. Use sturdy hangers so clothing doesn't fall off. Install coat racks for coats, backpacks and hats. Use a large box for shoes instead of a shoe organizer. Kids can toss shoes into the box and retrieve them quickly. Finally, organize clothing according to type. Hang all the shirts together in one place and pants in another.

RELATED: The Rules of Closet Organization

Cull Unnecessary Items

Because growing children need new clothes almost every season, the amount of clothing in their closets quickly becomes overwhelming. Go through closets at least twice each year to remove clothing that doesn't fit anymore. If you've got younger children, box the items and store them for later use. Otherwise, get rid of those clothes! Give them to a friend or donate them to charity.

Be careful about buying new things, as well, says Barbara Reich, a New York City organizational expert. "Access what you have for your child before you buy new things," advices Reich. "If you have multiple children and have hand me downs, go through all of those once a season to see what you can use." (ref. 2)

Involve Kids

Kids are more likely to maintain a clean closet if they help create it. Ask for your child's input when choosing an organizational system, suggests Washington D.C. professional organizer Rachel Strisik. "When kids help with the organization of their closet, they feel a part of the solution versus being told what to do," Strisik says.

Let your child pick a paint color for the closet and add colorful accessories. Children can label bins and sort and organize clothes. When the closet is organized, develop a system, such as a simple check-list for your child to follow. The checklist might include directions such as put dirty laundry in bin, hang coats on hooks, and put shoes in box.

RELATED: Cleaning With Your Kids

Set Realistic Expectations

You've spent several hours organizing your child's closet, and it looks perfect--straight out of a magazine. Enjoy it while it lasts. Kids are kids, and even the most efficiently organized closet won't stay that way long. Expect messes. Plan to spend a few minutes each week with your child, depending on his age, reorganizing and tidying up. If you regularly maintain the closet, it will stay reasonably clean if not picture perfect.

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