My husband and I had our son almost 4 years ago now. We waited 7 years into our marriage before having children and were working full time. When little B came along, things changed. The saying "a baby changes everything" was true for us. Being the organized person that I am, it drove me nuts that after a couple of months his closet was looking like this:
I had to take action! It was frustrating not to be able to find a piece of baby gear when I needed it for an outing. I was spending more time in the mornings putting his outfit together because I couldn't find things let alone pieces in the size I needed. I knew it was time for a complete revamp. Here's what I did:
1. I pulled everything out of the closet.
I tackled what I like to call the low-lying fruit immediately. This is the stuff you know doesn't belong there or has a home elsewhere. I found some of my maternity clothes, the humidifer that belonged in the kitchen and the heating pad that belonged in the linen closet. I also weeded through outgrown clothing, toys that he was no longer interested in, the diaper cream that irritated his skin, etc.
2. I made categories of items.
I sorted things by clothing, diapers, shoes, and gear. I decided to no longer fold the clothing but hang it all on the rod, with matching hangers. I used baskets and bins for shoes, diaper changing stuff, outerwear accessories and extra gear.
3. I labeled!
I used metal key tags to separate the hanging clothing. I hooked them through circular rings and used my label maker to mark the size of the clothing. This made it so much easier to see how many 12mo tops I had, if I needed to get more 18mo sweaters, etc. I also used small oaktag cut-outs which I again labeled and used safety pins to attach to the bins and baskets.
4. I cleared the floor.
It drove me nuts that I couldn't get all the way in the closet and sometimes had a hard time closing the door because of the stuff covering the floor space. All that's left on the floor now are the hamper and two bench seats which double as storage as their lids open up.
5. I relocated the bulkier baby gear.
The closet had clearly become a catchall and lots of items were front and center in the space when they didn't need to be. With a baby, they outgrow gear quickly- the Johnny jump-up, car seat, exersaucer, and much more. This is the kind of stuff you want to hold on to in case baby #2 comes along or you could pass it down to someone else. I posed this dilemma to my handy husband who stepped up and "found" some extra storage by opening up the wall under the eaves and creating this storage nook. So the gear is still in the closet, but I don't see it.
6. I removed the excess clothes.
Also falling under the category of things you want to keep for the baby, but aren't using currently are the larger size articles of clothing. Let's face it, you often times have clothing running from 3mo to 5T at any given time. Between gifts from relatives, doting grandmas or hand me downs, kid clothing can definitely take over a space! What I decided to do was to keep his current size plus one size bigger and one size smaller. It's also true with baby clothes that different brands and styles fit differently so a 3T shirt in one brand may be too big, but from another store, may be too small. I relocated the bigger sizes to the storage in the window seat in his room, which is another built-in my husband created. Trust me, I know how lucky I am to have a husband who can do all this stuff!
7. I assessed the space a few weeks later.
I even sought out feedback from my husband on how things were working. We agreed the revamp had been a success and to this day we continue to keep the closet organized and tidy.
Here is the after shot. The storage nook is off to the right inside the closet and the window bench is to the right, but outside the closet, just to give you your bearings. Since this shot was taken there have been some tweaks given my son has grown and has different interests, but the overall layout and systems still work for us.
I enjoyed sharing my son's closet transormation with you. This instance proves that transitions whether big or small can wreak havoc on organizational systems. Change is inevitable throughout life. In this instance I'm glad I waited a few months before diving right in and trying to organize the space as I had a clearer picture of my needs and priorities, so in a sense it was good that I was able to tolerate the mess for a bit!
What's your favorite part of the space?