How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets

How to Organize and Maintain Kids Closets via Clean Mama

If you have children and they have a closet and/or a dresser and clothing, chances are there are some issues regarding clothes, organization, and laundry.  While teaching kids to be tidy might be important to you, it’s probably not on their radar.  Instead, doing a couple things to set them up for success is probably a better idea.  So today I’m going to share some ideas for quickly organizing kids’ closets and dressers in ways that make it easy for them to maintain themselves.  What better time than fall and back to school season to give a little thought to the organization in their closets and drawers.

How to Organize Kids Closets via Clean Mama

First things first, a couple ideas to keep in mind when organizing for and with children:

  • Keep things easily accessible – hang items at their level so they can take them out and put them away easily.
  • Group like items together – the key to keeping things organized works SO well for kids.  Group everything and it will be so much easier.  Label if needed with words or pictures, whatever works for your kids.
  • Keep often used items in plain sight so they are easy to find and put away.  Storage without lids is great so they can simply see where the item belongs and put it there.
  • Stay on top of outgrown clothing.  Have a system for storage of outgrown clothing is key.  I keep a bin in each child’s closet for anything that’s outgrown.  Once it’s filled up it’s either passed down to a younger sibling or cousin or it’s donated.  If you have younger children, keep only what you need and know your next child will use.  Put the clothing in storage bins and clearly label them so it’s easy to find the clothing when they are needed.  I find it really helpful to either have one large bin of clothing for a specific age OR to have one bin for fall/winter and one for spring/summer clothing.
  • Teach your kids to de-clutter clothing and toys together so they understand this process.  I find that it’s also especially helpful for kids to see how quickly they become disinterested with toys and clothing so they are more selective about new toys and clothing.

Step One:

Empty the closet and any drawers completely.  This is always my method when cleaning and organizing ANY space.  Once you have emptied the entire space clean and wipe down any shelves and drawers.  Vacuum if necessary.

Step Two:

Sort Quickly through Clothes via Clean Mama

Sort through clothing quickly – what fits, keep.  What doesn’t fit put in one of 3 categories: pack away, toss, donate/sell.  Use this simple method for all clothing sorting and organization – it works!  If there are outfits or clothing that your child no longer likes or never liked but it still fits, either pack it away or donate/sell it.  It isn’t worth taking up space if it isn’t an outfit or piece of clothing that will get worn.

Step Three:

Clothes Close-Up via Clean Mama

Group like items together – long sleeve shirts, short sleeve shirts, pants, shorts, pajamas, undies, socks, etc.  Keeping everything grouped together makes it SO much easier to put away and to find certain articles of clothing in a hurry.

Group Like Items Together via Clean Mama

Step Four:

Hang or fold (almost) everything.  Here’s the thing.  If you want to get your kids involved with doing their own laundry or some part of the folding and putting away process and you want to start at a young-ish age (like 3+), having everything hung, folded, and put away neatly may or may not work.  When I am doing little ones laundry and they aren’t helping, everything gets folded and put away standing up.

Folded Clothes in Drawers via Clean Mama

I’ve done this for years for my own clothes and for the kids and it works great for limited storage plus you can easily see everything at a glance.  My oldest can keep up with this but my younger two cannot and I don’t expect it from them.  I am just happy that one can fold his own clothes and put them away and the younger one can choose his own clothes and get dressed by himself.  Point being, don’t expect perfect and figure out ways to let the kids take some responsibility.  For example, kids’ socks and undies go in small bins in their dresser drawers unfolded.

Keep Socks and Undies in Containers in Drawers via Clean Mama

If needed, use the door for storage – I put an over-the-door storage hanger over the back of the door for my daughter’s doll clothes – it’s a great way to keep them accessible for her and they’re also easy to put away.

Use the Door for Storage via Clean Mama

Now for maintenance. Keeping a closet neat and tidy will need some supervision, but start with an accessible laundry hamper and making sure clothes are folded and put away where they belong is key.  If the location of the clothing makes sense to your child and it’s easy for them to access, then they will have success!  We do a big closet clean out in the spring and fall and this seems to be all that’s necessary.

What’s your best tip for organizing and maintaining kids closets?

Schedule Reset + Planner Bundle 2 via Clean Mama


  1. Great tips here! Closets are always a challenge for me – I mean, it’s a place meant to put a lot of stuff in a tiny space! Thanks for sharing how to get the kids’ closets under control.

  2. Love this post! Could you please share where you found the bibs for the dresser and the closet and the hangers please? Thanks!

  3. Love this post! Could you please share where you found the bins for the dresser and the closet and the hangers please? Thanks!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I find that plastic hangers are much more functional than velvet. The velvet looks chic, but clothes don’t slide on as easily as they do with plastic. All my kids clothes are hung, including shorts and tanks, no more diving through and messing up drawers. One small chest for underear, p.j.s, other small items. Keeping clothes hung and in a closed closet also minimizes dust mites.

  5. What store did the hangers and storage bins and containers come from???

  6. Thank you for this.

  7. Great tips! What color blue is that ? My daughter wants something like that and that looks perfect, not too over the top and pretty, neon. Lol

  8. Jodie Johnson says:

    I only have boys and clothes aren’t important to them. I have a clothing limit. 12 shorts/overalls (7 durable, 3 semi-nice, 2 nice), 12 Shirts (7 durable, 3 semi-nice, 2 nice). In winter its the same, 12 pants (7 track pants, 3 jeans, 2 slacks) 12 long sleeve shirts of the same. 3 durable jumpers 1 nice one and a coat. It’s much easier to keep tidy if you don’t have twice as much as you need. I have a drawer in the wardrobe with the ‘new’ items (usually the next size up). So as one wears out or gets too small, I replace it with a new one, but never have more than a dozen hanging up. I have another drawer in the wardrobe for donation. So the old item either goes in the rag bucket in the laundry or in the donation drawer.

    Only takes 5 mins to straighten when there isn’t twice as much as you need in there.

  9. i went from an apartment with a big walk in closet to a closet that is maybe 5 foot long and 20 inches deep. I am having trouble culling out clothes. i work in sales and need variety in my clothing. how do i downsize and still keep my stylish clothes

  10. Any ideas how to keep my 3yr old shoes organized in a stand up closet/armour? My daughter has a lot of shoes (given to her by family, haha) and we organize them together so she knows its to stay organized but before you know it its messy again. She says, ” ugh my shoes look ugly again”.

  11. Your closets look beautiful! It’s inspired me to dive into my kids’ closets this weekend. 🙂

  12. Our family of 8 is moving to a big historical home all bedrooms upstairs but very small closets. We have 6 girls and some are sharing rooms. Here’s my question FAMILY CLOSET!!??? The home has a Full basement with area for a laundry room and family closet I don’t want to haul clean and dirty laundry up 2 flights of stairs!!! Any help, ideas, photos, advice. I know it’s an out of the box idea! But hey it works for the duggars??

  13. Jane Lindstrom says:

    With limited storage I have tried various ways in their closet, but I have found that there are always certain clothes that they always wear so for better rotation of clothes I have outfitted their clothes so they just grab and go the easier I make it the smoother our mornings..

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