Thursday, November 19, 2015

12 UHeart Organizing: Organizing with Kids - Creating a Playful Closet

I always say, “Start them young”. When the kiddos are involved with the actual process of making decisions and organizing their spaces, they will learn to take pride in them, and fingers crossed, will be more excited to maintain those spaces.

Cassie and I are currently hanging out together (today on the blog and in person on a boat), and we were talking about how fun it is to involve our children in the process of working on their spaces. Asking them what they would do. Seeing how their choices reflect things we have done as their parents, and also seeing their wild imaginations shine through. Cassie blogs over at Hi Sugarplum, and has been working on creating a comfortable room for her daughter that is reflective of her personality. And when it came time to organize her closet, she was involved in the entire process. I have a feeling that her new closet will bring her daughter all sorts of joy moving forward, and that I will be throwing out “Y’all” left and right after spending a week with my darling Texan friend. Here she is now.

Hi friends! I’m thrilled to be back on Jen’s inspiring blog, sharing our latest, and long-overdue, organizing project! It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are upon us. And if you have young kids, you know that means the Santa's lists are being written, and getting longer by the day!

Every year before the kids can receive any new gifts, we insist they help clean out the their closets, and take stock of all their toys and clothes. We’re always shocked by just how much has been accumulated, and outgrown, during the year.

I figured since we just moved earlier this year, the closet situation would be pretty well under control… after all, how bad can it get in a few short months, right!? Yeah, um, wrong. In the hustle and exhaustion of moving, we’d never properly set-up and organized my daughter’s closet. Sure we pulled out the essentials, but the rest was simply dumped from boxes, and shoved behind closed doors.

It was so bad, even my daughter was begging for an overhaul! Let’s start with the embarrassing befores. #nojudgement #wereallfriendshereright #holdme

Okay, maybe not the worst ever, but definitely not user-friendly for my creative, imaginative, budding artist! The best thing this closet’s future had going for it, was my daughter’s desire to have it organized, and her excitement to turn it into a space she could both play in, and keep all her favorite things within reach.

I realized if I let her make decisions based on what she wanted, then it would be a space she’d likely treasure, and maintain! #goals So I sidelined my desires to make it a ‘blogworthy’ space, and let her steer the project…. only piping in with suggestions of how to efficiently utilize the full space.

First step was to empty the closets, and sort into Keep, Donate and Trash piles. You can tell by her body language that she was a little overwhelmed at that point. But I gently reminded her organizing projects always get worse before they get better, and cranked up the dance music.

Fashion isn’t high on her list of priorities, so she only needs a small area to actually store her clothes. We decided to take advantage of the wide door openings, and split the closet into storage and play space, but without changing the structure so it could easily transition as she grows, and her needs for the closet change.

She’s been a blogger’s daughter long enough, so of course her first idea was to cover the back wall of the ‘play side’ with a graphic paper. No surprise she went with flamingos (it was a reader favorite when I shared my organized gift wrap and craft station!).

Then I helped her hang the elements from her previous Art Center on the back wall, and Voila! New secret Art Center!

Next, she set up all her baby doll gear in the empty floor space. She's able to play with them in the closet, or pull them out when she wants to use the Art Station. And I can close the doors when it gets a little tossled!

We put her books in the lower shelves so she can reach them easily, and stored lesser-used toys in striped bins.

We keep the small and paperback books in a colorful tub so they're easier to see and access.

Moving on to the right side of the closet...which is dedicated to clothes and more storage.

We slid an Elfa drawer system (unused from another part of the house), and she chose what she wanted stored in each drawer... even labeling them.

She said she wrote the labels in pencil just in case she wanted to switch them up! Which is music to this mama's ears, because that means she plans on using the system!

And there you have organized closet that she's both proud of, and excited about! Of course we had a small pile of toys she wasn't ready to part with, even though I know she no longer plays with them. Those we stored on the very top shelf (which is near-impossible to access... why do builders do that?!?), and agreed if she didn't ask for any of them in the next six months, we'd donate them.

Hi Sugarplum | Organized Play Closet

I'd do anything to see this smile! #myheart

I know over time, there will be fewer toys and more clothes, so I'm savoring the moments I find her playing in this closet! Thanks so much for letting me share! You can see more of our Little Miss's room here, and other organizing projects here.  Happy organizing, lovebugs!

"Hi, I'm Cassie, a DIY and design-obsessed Texas girl, and lover of travel, fashion, sarcasm and Mexican food. When I'm not hanging with my sweet and funny family, you can find me kicking the '80s out of our home, one budget project at a time, on my blog Hi Sugarplum!


  1. So nice to see that childrens are taking over! :)

  2. I love when the kiddos use the closet as a play space! We did the same thing for my daughter and turned it into a reading nook/dress-up area for her. And I do love that flamingo wrapping paper you shared! Such a cute and easy way to change up a space.

  3. Great timing for me on this post I just moved my daughters into a smaller room and the closet is half this size but I gotta make it work. Thanks for all the tips!

  4. what a beautiful space you created! I am inspired to involve my grandson to organize his closet too :-)

  5. Love her bed!!! Where did you find it and what color did you paint it? Thanks leah

    1. Hi Leah! I believe Cassie found the bed on Craigslist. She may have the color sourced on her blog. :) xo!

  6. Very nice! I followed a few links from this article but couldn't find a source for the hanging rail and pink buckets. Where are those from?

    1. Hi Janet,

      The hanging rail and buckets are from IKEA:


  7. This is so cute. I love how excited she is to make this space her own, and she did a great job!

  8. Def agree with the ownership of their own space. My boys have expedit cubes for their clothes and while it took me a few weeks (months!) to get used to their clothes not being neatly folded, the fact that they put away their own laundry at the ages of 18m and 4y is def worth it. Also, it's scary how fast they accumulate stuff even when you think you're being watchful! A proper clear out is always the way to go, esp before Xmas/birthdays. Hope you girls have a fun trip x

  9. What a great project and I love how you let your daughter take the reigns. That teaches her so much and really appreciates the space that much more to use :)

    Great turnout!! Great job guys :) LOVE that flamingo paper.

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  10. My kids room is a mess. This post is really help.
    Thank Cassie and Jennifer !


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