3 Closet Organization Tips to Teach Independence

“What’s taking so long? Hurry up please, just grab a pair of socks! We need to go.”

Getting dressed independently seemed like an easy ask of my 4-year-old twin sons…or so I thought.

After a long pause and no response from either one of them, I grew frustrated and marched up to see what was taking so long.

To my surprise, my son, red in the face and weeping on the floor of his closet, because he could not pick out a pair of matching socks. In fact, he couldn’t even locate a PAIR of socks.

Their walk-in closet was a disaster.

closet organization for kids

Clothes covered every inch of that floor!

Clean clothes, dirty clothes, and even a tub of hand-me-downs that we hadn’t sifted through yet, all lay scattered about as if a tornado had blasted through their room.

With tears streaming down his cheeks, he looked at me and said,

“But I can’t even find any socks.”

As he looked at me, clearly upset, I knew that something so simple had been made complicated…by me.

I took full ownership of the disorganization and apologized right then and there. The closet organization, that was making it difficult for my twins to dress independently, was on my husband and I. We needed to create a better system.

In order to set our kids up for success, we needed to re-evaluate the way their clothes were organized in their closet. In order to teach them good habits, and allow them to get dressed independently, we had to provide a system that they could learn to manage.

And with that, we cleared the clutter and created a small yet manageable system so our 4-year-old twins could keep their closet organized and successfully get dressed independently.

closet organization for kids

Closet Organization Tips for Kids

Sort and Purge:

Closet organization systems that are manageable for young children to navigate require less stuff, meaning you will need to declutter. Start by pulling EVERYTHING out of the closet and sort into “Keep”, “Donate” and “Off-Season” piles. Doing this is an was easy to see what your kids actually have, what you need to get and what is too small, unnecessary or worn out.

One thing that we asked ourselves during the purge was, “How many shirts do they really need to make it through a week?” This was essential because there was no need to store more clothes than my kids could wear in a week! It is easy to collect an abundance of t-shirts and souvenir clothing that ends up taking up space. Save the favorites and the pieces that hold the memories in a box, donate the rest!

Limit the Options:

In order to keep the closet organization intact, where kids can pick out their clothes without feeling overwhelmed, limit what they have to choose from. I find that when my kids have less to choose from, the process of getting dressed independently is simpler, and well, the mess is minimal.

closet organization for kids

Keep Everything Within Their Reach:

I couldn’t expect my boys to grab a hoodie if it was hanging 2 feet above their reach. So we moved everything they would need to grab on their own within their reach. It takes some creativity to keep everything within a confined space. But giving your kids access to all of their clothing builds their independence.

closet organization for kids

Include Your Kids in the Laundry Routine:

Kids can begin helping with laundry at an early age. Long gone are the days where you are doing and putting away laundry ALONE. Including kids in your laundry routine helps them take ownership of their clothing.

When they decide to wear 3 outfits that day, they are creating more work for everyone in the family.

As soon as I started including my boys in the family laundry routine, it didn’t take long before they were saying things like,

“That’s a lot to put away. I don’t want to change my shirt.”

When my kids had to stop playing to fold and put away laundry, they became more accountable. They paid more attention to how much clothing they wore each day.

Side note: I try not to “redo” their folding or rolling of clothes. I want them to know that what they are doing is helpful and don’t want to undo their hard work. Over time, their folding will get neater!

Maintaining our new closet organization system is a work in progress for us. However, I find that if I focus on thinking with the “less is more” mentality, we are headed in the right direction…successfully getting dressed independently at 4 years old!

Do you have any favorite organizational tips for keeping kids’ clothes and closets manageable? I’d love to learn from you!