Closet organizing for small kid's closet - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 13 Old 01-14-2012, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We want to have a better organization system for my daughter's bedroom closet.  We'd love one of those modular closet organizers, with shelves and a hanging bar and drawers and all the fun things like that.  But there are some complications.

 

First of all, her closet is what I'd consider a "normal" sized bedroom closet.  Maybe about 5' wide, 2' deep or so.  Right now it's just the standard bar (too high for her to reach) with a single long shelf overhead.

 

But everywhere else we've lived with this size closet, has had double-door width entries.  Folding doors, sliding doors, whatever, but double, so you can access the whole width of the closet.

 

All the closets in this house have a single, swinging door.  Just a regular old door with a doorknob.  They're beautiful wooden doors with lots of eyes on them.  No complaints about the doors themselves.  But it DOES make it very hard to access the side areas of the closets!

 

Most closet organizers are designed with full frontal access in mind.  We have to be sure that we're not blocking access to the side areas.

 

Another complication... the access to the attic is in the ceiling of my daughter's closet.  Whatever we do, we need to be able to access this.  

 

And one side of her closet has the pipe for the air exchanger running up the wall, too.  

 

I've been googling for tips on organizing kids' closets, but they all seem to be based on these enormous, walk-in, open-concept (with NO doors, just a humungous arch) closets.  Seriously???

 

Otherwise, they give very generic tips.  "Use vertical shelves to maximize space."  "Have the rod at your child's level."  "Store less-frequently used items in containers on the top shelf."  OOOOHHH i would NEVER have thought of that, THANK YOU.  ARGH.

 

Any brilliant ideas?  How can we work around the air exchanger, attic access, and single door entry access, and still have a clean and functional and useful (and hopefully cute) system for her clothes???

 

 


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#2 of 13 Old 01-14-2012, 07:17 PM
 
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I don't know if this is helpful at all, but you could install a second shelf.  You can organize shirts, sweaters, etc. on the top and pants, dresses, etc. on the bottom.  Depending on what other things you need to store in her closet, you could purchase an over-the-door shoe organizer for shoes and purchase canvas boxes (or other storage boxes) for other items you may want to store just to give it a more polished, organized look.

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#3 of 13 Old 01-14-2012, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We do have an over-the-door thing already, it's got all her different dance shoes and various other doodads.  

 

Installing a second shelf -- the current one is the way-up-high type.  She can't reach it.  That area would be for the long-term storage.

 

Did you mean a second rod?  We do want to have a rod that's at her level, whether taking out the upper one or having 2 rods, whatever.  But that wouldn't solve everything...

 

Canvas boxes etc etc is definitely what we're aiming for - it's more the practical issue of how to divide up the space into something usable that we need help with.  Where exactly will we be putting those storage boxes, in other words.  Where to put shelves so that the side areas are useful.  Etc.  Things that do come to my mind end up restricting access to the attic entry.  


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#4 of 13 Old 01-14-2012, 07:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankgirl73 View Post

We do have an over-the-door thing already, it's got all her different dance shoes and various other doodads.  

 

Installing a second shelf -- the current one is the way-up-high type.  She can't reach it.  That area would be for the long-term storage.

 

Did you mean a second rod?  We do want to have a rod that's at her level, whether taking out the upper one or having 2 rods, whatever.  But that wouldn't solve everything...

 

Canvas boxes etc etc is definitely what we're aiming for - it's more the practical issue of how to divide up the space into something usable that we need help with.  Where exactly will we be putting those storage boxes, in other words.  Where to put shelves so that the side areas are useful.  Etc.  Things that do come to my mind end up restricting access to the attic entry.  

 

I'm wondering, since I can't picture your exact layout, could you install a long wire shelf under the rod or would it seem awkward with the rest of your look?  The rod could be used to hang shirts, sweaters, etc., and the shelf could be used for longer items - dresses, pants, etc.  A shelf, as opposed to a second rod would give you shelving for storage, but also gives you additional hanging space.  As for canvas boxes, could you then put them on the wire shelf?  Or, perhaps on the ground?  You could label them.  Again, it depends on the actual layout of the closet, but maybe some of these suggestions are useful to you.

 

Some additional thoughts that I can't seem to piece together into a paragraph:

 

  • Could you use an organizer like this for some things you don't want hung and/or things you just want to organize?  A 3-shelf organizer, like the one pictured, would also allow for a second rod or wire shelf.
  • If you could make a wire shelf work, these things are pretty useful for organization on the shelf.
  • Though not in the closet, is there anything in her closet you could purchase an under-the-bed storage container for? 

 

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#5 of 13 Old 01-14-2012, 09:08 PM
 
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Not a lot of advice, but I wanted to say that we have one of these. Dont let the picture fool you, those pockets arent big enough to hold my shoes (size 6 in womens). They are fantastic for kids shoes, mittens, earmufs, ect though. I use the inside storage space for receiving blankets and bedsheets right now, but when they are older I can see it making nice space for folded pants or other stuff. I love that it spins 360. Its perfect for our super tiny space.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Smart-Carousel-5-Shelf-Organizer/15579196?findingMethod=rr

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#6 of 13 Old 01-15-2012, 10:56 AM
 
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You could install runners on the sides of the closet so that shelves could pull out like drawers.

If the single door is in the middle of the closet, so that there was hard to reach spaces on both sides of the door, than you would need to make the shelves only as deep as the door is wide.

If the single door is to one side, so that only one larger side of the closet was hard to reach, than the selves would have to be longer.

 

Nothing could be blocking the way in front of the door, as the shelved would be sliding out to make the stuff on them accessible, and then sliding back into the harder to reach areas.

I would keep one rod, and hang stuff that she barely uses first and slide them along the rod to the harder to reach areas and keep things used regularily accessible.

 

You could always hang the rod lower to the ground and then put the sliding recessed shelving up above it. But I think It would need to be moved when she is older.

 


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#7 of 13 Old 01-15-2012, 04:25 PM
 
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What about a couple of plastic dresser carts with wheels? They would be completely accessible to her, could be easily pulled out of the closet or moved within it as needed, and you can put canvas baskets on top of them. You can also dress them up with scrapbook paper that matches the decor of her room. In the side that the least accessible, you could put two - one stacked on top of the other (both without wheels) facing sideways that remain stationary for things that don't need to be accessed often. Then put one or two on wheels in front that can be easily moved. 

 

On the upper shelf, utilize clear plastic totes so you can easily see what's in them without taking everything down when you need to get something. Put the lightest weight tote underneath the attic access so you can get up there easily without having to move a bunch of heavy boxes should you need to get up there quickly.  


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#8 of 13 Old 01-15-2012, 06:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the ideas.  I've contemplated things like this and keep coming up with road blocks.  For instance, having drawers or shelves along the sides that open up into the middle area:  love the idea, used to have a linen closet in our last house like that.  Problem: the large pipes in the corners would be in the way.  Also, if there's a rod of clothes above the drawers, it's very hard for me to get under there and access them (not as hard for DD).  

 

 

Quote:

 

  • Could you use an organizer like this for some things you don't want hung and/or things you just want to organize?  A 3-shelf organizer, like the one pictured, would also allow for a second rod or wire shelf.
  • If you could make a wire shelf work, these things are pretty useful for organization on the shelf.
  • Though not in the closet, is there anything in her closet you could purchase an under-the-bed storage container for? 

 

 

- We actually have a hanging sweater organizer thing currently.  The problem with it is that it blocks access to the side area beside it.  And hubby HATES it, though I don't think he has any rational reason why.  

- I hate those wire shelves lol... I was in the Home Depot today looking at their closet organization stuff, looking for inspiration.  So much of it is those wire shelves.  It's hard to explain... stuff slips through the gaps, they're noisy, I just don't like them.  I do like those divider things though, that's a great idea.  If I *do* end up with wire shelves I'll probably use those.  We're also working on figuring out how to organize our laundry closet and a wire shelf like that is probably in the cards in there.

- Already have an under-the-bed container too.  :)  We have those in every room.  Like I said, we do already know about all the doodads and different types of storage thingamabobs.  And it's not that there's "too much stuff" in her closet that we need to declutter, either.  It's just really, really awkward to use, tons of wasted space, stuff ends up 'hiding' in the dead zones (found a rotten tomato in there once, believe it or not heh), and the drawers we have in there right now are falling apart.  So we're trying to make it better.

 

I do have an idea percolating.  I found wooden corner shelves at the Home Depot that go with some Martha Stewart closet collection or something.  They're not the triangle style, they're more of an L-shape, like you'd use to connect regular shelving on adjacent walls.  I checked the measurements, thinking that might be an option -- a huge shelf along the entire length of the closet that extends forward along the sides as far as the pipes.  But they were too wide, the pipes would be in the way.  After I got home, I had another idea -- turn them around.  So that the opening in the L goes around the pipes.  If my measurements are correct, they would fit perfectly that way.  They would fill the whole depth of the closet (they're basically 24" square, with a 9" cutout in one corner).  

 

Going from that as a starting idea, if I moved the rod to be about 40" off the ground (to give her a little growing room, and space for shoes or whatever on the floor), then put these corner shelves on both sides above that.  Then also have a (hopefully matching heh) shelf across the middle, either less deep or just as deep, whatever.  So effectively one large shelf all the way across.  Then I could put baskets on top of that for the stuff that's not hung, and it would still be easy enough reaching distance for her.  If I wanted something with lots of dividers or just plain old baskets, whatever, that can be determined later.

 

Another couple feet higher, repeat the shelves (without the rod) for storage of things like blankets, etc.

 

Another couple feet higher again, repeat the corner shelves, but maybe leave the middle free -- or at least make it non-fixed and easily removable - so the attic can be reached.

 

I *think* this would work.  I'm still mulling over it.  


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#9 of 13 Old 02-08-2012, 06:57 AM
 
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I have a small bathroom linen closet which houses the attic access. Due to numerous leaks (which I need to call about again) we needed fairly ready access. We ended up taking out all of the shelves and installing a tall skinny cart on wheels - with drawers to pull-out. 

 

It's kind of like the following - but mine is about 7 feet tall. When we need access we can just wheel the whole thing out. 

 

http://www.organizedliving.com/organization-necessities-drawer-systems.html

 

Would 2 small carts in the bottom of the closet be useful? They can be configured with different depths of drawers. 


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#10 of 13 Old 02-08-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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Also, the container store, where my stuff actually came from, has a little tool to let you design your own closet. Even if you don't buy from them, it might be useful. 

 

http://www.containerstore.com/elfa/designCenter/index.htm


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#11 of 13 Old 02-08-2012, 07:03 AM
 
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And finally, I love, love, love the articles on this site. It won't tell you anything you don't already know about your closet, but it will feed your righteous indignation about the poor design! 

 

http://starcraftcustombuilders.com/closet3.htm

 

 


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#12 of 13 Old 02-08-2012, 08:49 PM
 
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Honestly, if it were me, I'd just cut my losses and not even hassle with the closet... it sounds like quite a stressful, time consuming project.  Is there space in her room for just a small dresser to hold her clothes?  Not much probably really needs to be hung up other than a few dresses, and you could always put up a few decorative hooks or coat rack thing in the room, or just use one of those hanging closet rods as the only thing in the closet, and all you need to do is unhook it from the upper rod and lay it on the bed when you need to get up to the attic.  Maybe go through the clothes one more time.  Even if you think clothes and other belongings aren't out of control, it's always surprising how much you can really cut it down, and when you don't have as much stuff, there's no need to organize and store. 


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#13 of 13 Old 02-09-2012, 06:18 AM
 
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Any way you can post pictures? I'm having a really hard time envisioning your issues. All I can think of is put a bookcase in there -- on wheels -- that you can roll out of the closet to access the attic etc? Or maybe two small bookshelves? And replace one or two of the shelves in the bookshelf with a low rod for your DD to hang her stuff... You might still have a bit of wasted space but if the space you're not wasting is organized & usable, I'd just let it go, every square inch doesn't have to be filled and some of the nicest organizational systems I see do need to waste a bit of space to make them more functional.

Or, get an armoire for your DD's stuff, and use the closet for storing other household items if that would pose less of a challenge...

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