My son recently turned 10 years old. And while the organizing systems I implemented when he was still a toddler were holding strong, I knew that his double-digit status warranted a closet upgrade. I am excited to share with you how we organized his big kid closet with a few simple tricks.
My first step in any organizing project is purging. That’s easy to do alone when your kids are little. But as they get older, it’s important to include them in the process. When I approached my son about this project, I was surprised that he was immediately on board. If your kid is less enthusiastic, there are a couple approaches you can follow:
My son and I often have different tastes, but when it comes to organizing style he’s pretty open-minded (read: he couldn't care less). His room is already decorated with a nautical theme, which we wanted to keep since it’s relatively ageless. So all I had to do was find bins that would complement the decor.
Choosing a theme is a super fun way to engage your child. You want to choose a theme that is classic and timeless, not a passing fad. My biggest tip for choosing a theme is to pick one that can evolve as they grow, so you don’t have to spend a lot of time or money redoing it.
One more tip: avoid TV-based themes. In my experience, while a child’s love of Paw Patrol or Frozen can hold strong for awhile, it doesn’t last forever. And as soon as they move on, they will beg you for a room makeover. Let the toys reflect their love of TV characters, and stick with more classic choices for furniture and storage bins.
For this project, I turned to my favorite resource, The Container Store. The storage options and styles are endless, and we knew we’d be able to transform his space with a few perfect products. As an organizer, my job is made so much easier when I use products that marry organizing with design.
My son wanted to continue with his nautical theme and add in a new color. The rest of his room if full of soft, deep blues and reds so we chose grays and tans to tie in with what was there.
We used the Grey Open Canvas Storage Bin with Labels to line the bottom of his bookshelf, just next to his closet door. Three fit across the bottom so we filled two with toys, and one for his “inside” (softer) balls. I love how it came out.
I was so excited when I spotted the small Grey & White Oslo bins. They perfectly coordinated with both his bedding and the grey canvas bins, and helped to organize all of his little treasures that he is too big to keep on display, but not yet ready to part with. These bins are casual and classic, and really pull together the room.
The Nova woven storage is another bin I fell in love with. I am currently using them to store shoes inside his closet that are too big for him. But once the shoes fit, I plan to pull them out of his closet and put the bins on display. They are far too pretty to be hidden behind closet doors.
Despite being double digits, my son still has a handful of toys he plays with. And while in general I’m not a fan of kids having a lot of toys in their rooms, I do think it can be helpful to have a curated amount on hand for those early morning wake ups. My kids are both notorious early risers; they are often up before the clock strikes 6am.
The Grey Montauk bin is the perfect product to keep all his toys, cards and (some of his) books in place. I love this product and have used it in several closets in my own home and for clients. Its sophisticated look elevates even the most simple space. And the large size, which I used in my son’s closet, easily fits a variety of items in his closet. We created a dedicated bin for his smaller blankets, one for his baseball and Pokemon cards, and one for some smaller toys. He loves the easy access, and I love how streamlined it all looks!
The easiest way to keep a space organized is to assign everything a home. Using two to three different types of bins can be a visual cue for what goes in each space. Once those bins are chosen and filled, do your best not to let them overflow. If they DO overflow, that’s a great signal that it’s time to purge again. Bins also serve as a way to encourage your child to pick up after him or herself. If your child struggles with picking up, and you’re finding that the bins aren’t being used, you can tell them that anything outside of the bins gets tossed. That should put those bins back into good use pronto!
Pretty labels aren’t just for aesthetics. They truly do serve as a roadmap for where to put your things away at the end of the day (see Trick 4 above). They also help with literacy by encouraging your child to try and read the label to see what goes inside. My son was thrilled at how easy we made this set up for him.
My son and I were so happy with how the closet turned out. I think we captured a more grown-up look without taking out the childhood charm. It is sleek and so easy to use.
Part of the reason I think it’s so important to bring design elements into organizing is because it is motivates us to keep it looking great. This is true for kids, too. I have seen how nicely my son now takes care of his belongings.
I can’t believe that my baby boy has lived in my house for more years than he has left to live in it (I’m not crying. You’re crying!). In eight more years, he’ll be off to a new adventure, and I’ll just have this beautiful closet to look at. In the meantime, I will cherish every single moment.
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I am a proud Container Store Ambassador and these products were gifted to me from the Container Store. The links provided are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you order through them. All opinions expressed are my own. I only share products that I genuinely use and love.
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