Friday, August 26, 2011

Organizing with a Friend: Toddler Closet Project

 My friend and have come up with a plan to help one another work on organizing projects. Both of us have areas in our homes that make us feel too overwhelmed to tackle by ourselves, so we're teaming up to support each other and get things done more efficiently. (As an added bonus, our children are doing a great job distracting one another so that they interrupt us less!)

This week was Bedroom Week: in addition to working on my daughter's bedroom, which had become completely out of control, we tackled her son's closet and clothes supply.
Storage space is not an issue here, as my friend has a roomy closet and TWO dressers!
First off, we set some goals for the project:
  • Sort through her son's wardrobe, remove too small/too big/too worn clothing
  • Identify how much clothing she has in the next size up to determine what, if anything she needs to purchase for this fall.
  • Store the clothing in an accessible way for her 3-year-old to reach himself. She wants to limit what he can reach, yet give him choices on what he wants to wear, because he is in that endearing yet time-consuming phase of wanting to dress himself. My friend is worried that they will never make it to preschool on time between his slow eating and the clothing battles that they have been having!
  • Reorganize the closet and dresser storage using a few new storage pieces so that the space is used more effectively.
I didn't realize it at the time, but my friend had a huge mental block on this project. One of her cats likes to chew cardboard, and had a cardboard-chewing party in the bottom of the closet, and had also pulled out some insulation. The thought of dealing with the mess felt overwhelming, yet she couldn't even close the closet door, because a hanging organizer was preventing the closet from closing even partially. Most of her son's clothes weren't hanging in the closet probably because it was just stressing her out to even go near it!

Here's what we did:
  • Mental Block Removal: We swept up the cardboard situation, and recycled the cardboard shoeboxes and box of diapers (no longer needed!) and determined that the organizer hanging on the back of the door was a) not currently needed b) lacking the right hooks to work with the doors in the house and c) better utilized in the mud room, so we removed it and stored it until my friend can get better-working hanger hooks. Now the closet door closes so that kitty access is blocked!

  • Clothing Sort:We gathered her son's entire wardrobe (don't forget the clean laundry pile) and sorted the clothes into 4 categories: CurrentSmallBig, and Worn. Too Small clothes went into storage in a hamper in another closet. Too Big clothes (fewer than my friend expected) were hung on hangers and hung at the back of the closet, and too Worn clothes were thrown out.

Now my friend knows that she has enough clothes in the current size, but needs to start looking for clothes in the next size up. She likes to purchase second-hand lots either locally or through Ebay, so having advance notice of her needs is important so that she can be on the lookout for what she needs.
  • Clothing Storage: Pants, swimwear, underwear and socks were stored in dresser drawers, shirts were hung on hangers, and pajamas were stored in a hanging organizer in the closet.

  • Easy Access: We installed a lower closet bar in the closet that my friend's son can reach himself. She can hand a week's worth of clothes on the bar, and then let her son pick which ones he wants to wear and dress himself. In season pajamas are stored near the bottom of the hanging rack, two per slot. The clothes in the dresser were moved to lower drawers that he can access easily. Higher dresser drawers are used for toiletries, towels, and bedding.

  • Limited Access: Anything that my friend doesn't want her son to have access to we stored in higher dresser drawers and in the top and back of the closet.
  • General Cleanup: My friend was so energized by our progress that we ended up cleaning up the entire room!

Find more organizing inspiration at 52 Weeks of Organizing!


Anonymous said...

That is so great you and a friend helped out one another. I am sure it helped it to be much more fun!

emkaywhy said...

I'm the friend in question here and can only express gratitude for the relief I feel after tackling this project. As for getting ourselves dressed in the morning with greater ease, it's definitely working. The only hiccup is that Alex selected a pajama top (astronaut long nightshirt from his grandparents) to wear today along with long pants. But, I will take a picture and make it part of his toddler lore as he grows up. Thanks, Michelle!

Laura said...

You have no idea how happy this post makes me...I love to see two friends working together to help each other out. This is so so awesome!!

Mark Anthony Morales said...

I love the before and after pictures!

Just goes to show what a little elbow grease can do!