Kids clothes - no closets - dressers, or alternate methods?

homestylelisaJuly 14, 2010

Hello all!

I have three kids and am going crazy trying to organize their clothes in their bedrooms. None of them have closets, and they each have one dresser. Besides having too many clothes (working on that!) I can't seem to get a "system" with one dresser each that works. The dressers are always stuffed full and a frustrating mess every time I open them to put clothes away. Because there is no closet, I can't hang anything, so everything gets folded/rolled and stuffed in drawers and it really just doesn't seem to be working well.

I was wondering if I need another piece to go with each dresser (if so, what?) or if I should switch to more of an open shelf method and ditch the dressers, or maybe someone has a totally new suggestion? I am at my wits end.

It doesn't have to be matchy-matchy or photo-ready, I just would like it neat and orderly so that:

1. kids can easily find what they need,

2. I can put things away without getting angry and frustrated

3. kids can hopefully start putting their own clothes away (I haven't asked this of them yet because I figure if Mom can't seem to figure it out, how will they??)

I thank you in advance for your much needed advice!

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Do you have accessible under the bed space?
Have you already moved off season clothing to another area?
I'd start by putting socks and undies in bins and by picking out the weeks' clothes and putting them in the most accessible drawer, so that every drawer does not get rifled through every day or even multiple times a day.
You will also see pretty quickly what seldom gets worn or never gets worn, makig he giveaway pile more of a reality.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 1:59PM
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I do have some underbed space in each room, but it is shallow.

I haven't moved off season out - in our climate (Northeast) it seems like you may need shorts, long pants, sweater/sweatshirt, teeshirt practically on any given day year round... so I have never been in the practice of moving off season out. Maybe I should attempt it?
Is there a reason for socks/undies bins if there is a dedicated drawer for those? (all our dresses have one nice shallow drawer that we use for socks etc)

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 3:10PM
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Bins and shelves.

Have you considered building a hanging rod area for them?
A rod or two mounted between two bookcases or between a bookcase and the wall will solve a lot of the hassle.

That and thinning out the clothes to the bare minimum. Instead of keeping out ALL the chilly day stuff, just keep a couple of "off-season" things out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Build your own! An AMAZING blog.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 8:04PM
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No special reason for socks and undies in bins, if it is easier to do tee shirts, for example.
Are they really wearing wool sweaters and flannel shirts in July and shorts in November? I'd definitely use under the bed space or elesewhere for off season.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:02PM
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I like the idea of mounting a rod somewhere - would I need to cover it somehow for unsightliness and/or dust? I would love to put one between the dresser and wall, but would hate to cut into the dresser to install the rod. I'm sure I could have DH fashion something that could lay on top of the dresser and have one end of the rod in it.


Ok - so when you said file away seasonal clothes, I was picturing myself boxing up clothes and hauling them up to the attic. Under the bed makes lots of sense - and if I need to grab a sweater for a cookout or something, it wouldn't be a big deal. What sort of container do you need under a bed? Do you have to keep a lid on it if its under the bed? (will it still get dusty under there?)

Sorry if I'm being an annoying newbie.

Thanks for all the great ideas - keep them coming!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 1:58PM
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Under a bed - you get an underbed box - it's a bin that is shallow enough to slide under the bed. Usually as wide as a twin bed, or 1/2 a double.

You can get free-standing closets:

And rods:

I've seen similar items at Target and Lowes (Menards?) and Walmart.

You can hand a second rod lower down so the kids can hang up their own stuff.

Prices vary wildly, so shop around.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 2:59PM
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Ditto off season clothing--it's a pain in one way, but probably the only thing to do if you don't have closet.
Ditto too much clothes--I had a ready excuse for not having too much of one thing --"you'll outgrow stuff so fast, we just need (x pairs of pants, etc.)" I'm not trying to be preachy, but supportive--kids today are pressured to have all kinds of clothing and consumer-madness and one of the results is, they would need a walk-in closet to hold it all.

You have to be the one to decide how it affects laundry loads and how often you wash clothes, e.g., do you want 7 days of outfits for all kids vs. do mid-week laundry. So your routines and priorities are important.

Sizing the drawers right can help. I had a dresser from my childhood, with fairly shallow drawers, that worked great when kids were little, but before long, a single drawer would not hold several pairs of bigger-kid pants, or sweaters. That led to drawer-stuffing--you need the room for the clothes and some room left over since things can't be just perfectly folded all the time. A bigger drawer can be subdivided with bins or divides, but a too-small drawer is less useful.

Storage travel trunk or footlocker at end of beds? For bulky items. This can be sweaters, but also jeans.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 4:59PM
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Why is there no closet space? The best thing I ever found was at Menards were those brackets that you hung on the wall and then a board went over the top of them for shelves but also the front of the brackets had hooks on them and would support a dowel or a metal pipe that would allow you to hang all sorts of stuff. Also there are all sorts of college space saving things out here like bed risers and plastic storage drawers.

I am a single mom of 4 kids and the smartest thing I ever did was thin the Boys' wardrobe by half. They must've had 20 t shirts each!I am not kidding. I bagged half up and sent them to the kids's dad's house. Trust me. That and the great garage storage drawrs and cabinet for light weight easy storage.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 10:57PM
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If you don't have a closet in a room, then you need a wardrobe closet. Do you have an Ikea near you, or within a couple hours drive? It might be worth a day trip to see what they have. Take a look at the Elga wardrobe at Ikea. At 57 inches wide with double poles, that would give you over 100 inches of hanging space. Use the slim line huggable hangers and you maximize the amount of clothing.

Or go over to your local Home Depot and see what they have that you could convert to fit in your space. The clothing could be exposed, you don't need doors if you don't mind the visual clutter of seeing the clothing.

I don't know what your budget is for this, but the Elfa system at the Container Store would be perfect for you. They go on sale every January.

In my opinion, you will always struggle with this problem until you get some sort of hanging area.

Here is a link that might be useful: Free standing Elfa system

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:35AM
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Here is what I did about 6 months ago and it has worked great. I've been fighting with clothes for 3 kids for 14 years. I have a large laundry room in the basement - if you do too, this will work.

I got 3 sets of large, deep, heavy-duty snap-together shelves at Lowes on sale for $44 each. Each has 5 shelves that can hold 2 rectangular laundry baskets side by side - so each son has 10 baskets.

I made labels and stuck them on the shelf under each basket: socks, underwear, tshirts, shorts, jeans, sports uniforms, long sleeve shirts, and gym glothes (they do a lot of sports so they have lots of Underarmour shirts & nylon shorts). Everyone has the same locations = all the underwear baskets and socks baskets are on the 2nd shelf, etc. Each still has one unallocated basket - I usually put out of season items there like hoodies in the summer.

As clothes come out of the dryer, they go straight into each basket. The boys can choose to either leave everything in the basement and get dressed there, or take a weeks worth of outfits to their rooms. They do both depending on how motivated they are - my middle son is BO so he picks out a week of outfits and takes them to his dresser, the other 2 are more "dress in the basement" types.

This has totally eliminated all the arguments about putting their clothes away. Each has a dresser & a closet but there was never enough room.

It's also eliminated lost soccer uniforms, lost socks, etc. For sports that use the same uniform year to year, they know exactly where to find it when the season starts (their volleyball and swim teams use uniforms for 2 or 3 years).

I hope this makes sense - I don't know how to upload pictures or I would post pictures.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2010 at 7:54PM
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About off-season clothes in the Northeast:

I agree that under the bed would be fine. And I don't move it all, either. Just the bulk of it. So that there's a little more room. It's worth the effort.

Mommabird, I love that "your clothes go in this basket, and you can dress in the basement" idea. I wish I could do it!

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 9:47AM
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For suits, collared shirts, and dresses, there is no substitute for a closet.

For pants and sorts: Folded and stacked in a drawer.

For shirts: Folded the "Japanese" way (even a 7-y-o can do it--mine does) and then folded in half again so they can stand up in the drawer so that all can be seen at a glance. Separate them with drawer dividers. This was the only way to keep DH and DS from destroying their drawers searching for stuff.

For swimwear: Own section in a divided drawer, all rolled up.

For socks: bin in a drawer.

For undies: Same.

I also put boy's ties and girl's bows in drawers in their own bins. Stockings rolled up, too. I hang belts, but drawers would word, too. W/O a closet, you'd need a drawer for shoes, too.

Off season had its own place. I store stuff that's too small and keep stuff they might wear again.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 11:31AM
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