Declutter and Organize Kid's Closets

Declutter and Organize Kid's Closets
Closets tend to be one of those places where we stuff everything we don’t want to deal with. But they are really a useful space, allowing items to be stored here, rather than out in the open. The more space we can keep in our closet the easier it is for kids to keep their room clean. It’s easier to see where things belong, and to know there is actually room for it.
We need to clear the top shelf so you can store seasonal clothing items, or if you implement a toy rotation system, you can put those toys here. Keep seasonal clothing and footwear. If a lot of miscellaneous items are stored here, think hard on the “why” of keeping them. Get rid of as much as you can, and find another home for anything that does not belong in your child’s bedroom.
I recommend working from the top down. If you just have time for one section of the closet and it’s plumb full, just do the top shelf today and go for the middle tomorrow and then the floor the following day.
For the shelf:

  1. Remove everything from the shelf.
  2. Clean the shelf.
  3. Use boxes or baskets and label them and organize everything you need to store on the shelf.
  4. Replace only what belongs there: seasonal clothing and shoes.
  5. Toss garbage and put donation items in a donate box.
  6. If there are miscellaneous items that don’t belong here, put them where they belong. If they don’t belong anywhere; ask yourself: Do I even need them? If they are important, make a place for them. If not- get rid of them.

Children don’t need a huge amount of clothing. You can choose here, which method works best for your family:
Minimal: 4 days worth of clothing. If you wash every day, and your outside temperature is fairly consistent, this is plenty of clothing!
Average: 7 days worth of clothing. This will allow you to do laundry once a week and have enough variety for every form of outside weather.
Let go of any clothing that you think your child should wear, but they refuse. It doesn’t matter where it came from, if it’s not getting used, let someone else use it: pass it on.

The average American child has at least 2 weeks worth of clothing. Don’t do this to yourself! Having that much laundry is so overwhelming and it just ends up spread out all over the rooms or over flowing in the laundry area. When you limit the amount available, choosing what to wear is easier, cleaning the room is easier, doing laundry is easier. Yes, it may have to be done more frequently, doing laundry a couple days a week (depending on how many people live in your home; with 7 of us, we do a load of laundry every day) rather than a couple times a month.

For the clothes:

  1. Remove all your clothing from the closet.
  2. Sort in 3 bags or boxes: Trash, donate, keep.
  3. Look at your keep box.
  4. Match up outfits, if tops and bottoms can be mixed and matched this is best.
  5. Go through each clothing item before hanging it back in the closet. Do your kids like this outfit? Will they wear it? Does it fit them?
  6. Give yourself an outfit limit and stick to it.

I personally prefer to keep very little hanging in the closet, the majority of our children’s clothes are in their dresser and the closet is fairly empty. Here is a perfect way to organize clothes in the dressers to simplify mornings.

Don’t keep children’s clothing that requires special care. Kids are kids- they’re messy, they play hard and they are hard on clothing. Purchase good quality clothing that can be washed and dried with everything else. Say no to dry cleaning, hang dry or anything that needs to be ironed. (Ain’t nobody got time for that.)

For the floor of the closet:

  1. Remove everything off the floor. Evaluate if you want to keep it or not: does it get used? If you don’t have room, get them out of there.
  2. Sweep and mop or vacuum the floor.
  3. Replace items that you need here.

And finally:

  • Take out the trash.
  • Take the donate box to your vehicle.

This walkthrough came from Practical Simplicity: Declutter De-stress
Did you tackle your child’s closet? Inquiring minds want to know!
Leave a comment and tell us what you kept in the closet:

  • How many outfits did you keep?
  • Do you have a toy rotation?
  • Do you use a dresser for all clothing, or get rid of the dresser and only use a closet?


About Rachel Jones

Hi there! I’m Rachel Jones, and I founded Nourishing Minimalism in 2012 at the beginning of my minimalist journey. If you're looking for encouragement in your journey, I created a FREE Facebook Group - feel free to join me there: Nourishing Minimalism Facebook Group and I share videos each week on YouTube


  1. Bethany on 09/24/2014 at 6:46 pm

    Love it! One suggestion I would make: if you have a boy aged 4-6, you might consider keeping an extra couple outfits. (Or any child who is particularly messy or learning to potty train.) I have really valued not having to do an additional load of laundry for my messier kids – well worth the slight bit of extra space! (Little kids have small clothes, anyway.)

  2. Rebecca on 09/26/2014 at 9:59 am

    Thank you! I have not tackled the closet yet, but you can bet this weekend it’s happening!

  3. Verity on 09/26/2014 at 3:57 pm

    All four of my young kids share a 10X10 room so I minimized the kids’ outfits down a couple years ago.
    Each child has 5 mix and match outfits (mostly 5 play shirts and 5 jeans) plus dress clothes and hoodies.
    With pairing down outfits, it’s essential to have mix and match clothing – that way you really have 25 outfits. We also all have ‘core colors’ that never change from season to season so it is always easy to match clothing the next season or year.
    (My girls’ core colors are black, pink, purple and teal)
    (My son’s core colors are black, blue and gold)
    We also have a toy rotation.
    Each child has their own identical toy basket. They can keep 10 – 20 toys in that (depending on how responsible they are to put them away.) They can trade their toys for toys from storage at any time.
    All of their outfits are in the closet are identical. (They each have their own basket which is light-weight and easy for them to access)
    We kept the 3 drawer dresser because the top acts as the changing table.
    The top drawer holds diapers and creams, the middle drawer holds everyone’s socks and underwear and the bottom drawer holds everyone’s pajamas.

  4. Sadie @allnaturalme on 09/27/2014 at 5:20 pm

    Living in western Pennsylvania with four very different seasons – this can be a tricky thing for us!! We do love a tidy looking closet though so thank you for inspiring as always 🙂

  5. Cindy on 09/27/2014 at 5:24 pm

    This area is SO hard for me. It’s easy to pare down what my 10-yr-old wears. He would wear the same outfit until it fell off if I let him. He still has more than he needs, but he probably has roughly 6 shirts, 3 pants, 3 shorts.
    My daughter, on the other hand, is a different story. I bought her 5 outfits for fall. What I didn’t realize was that I bought dark pants and light shirts, and specific outfits. So not much mix and match, and both darks and lights need to be clean for her to be able to wear them. Ugh.
    I accepted WAY too many hand-me-downs for the baby, and now I’m trying to sift through those as he outgrows them.
    We keep all clothes for myself and the children in baskets on wire shelving across from the bathroom. This works great for keeping rooms clean!!! My husband currently fills our walk-in closet to the brim with his clothing. My minimalist journey is a rough and rocky road, folks.

  6. Karen T. on 10/01/2014 at 8:51 am

    Oh my goodness, who saves up all of their laundry to do it only twice a month! What a chore. I do laundry on Tuesday and Friday unless there’s some sort of catastrophe that requires an extra load (there are 4 of us).
    My daughters always wear jeans, so they each have 3-4 pair. Any of their shirts will pair with whatever jeans are clean. I make sure they each have 6-7 shirts. 2-3 dresses each are rotated for church, parties, etc. In winter (we live in northern California, so some freezing weather, but rarely snowy) they have a couple of zip-up hoodies and 1 heavier jacket. You’re so right that having fewer clothes means it’s easier for the girls to keep their drawers and closet neat.

  7. Cathy on 10/28/2014 at 12:32 pm

    I’m finding this a bit harder now that we’re not homeschooling. The kids wear uniforms to school, so they each have three sets of those. But our weather is currently chilly in the morning (40’s to 50’s) but can get to the 80’s (and sometimes even 90’s) in the afternoon. So they now need both cool and warm weather uniforms, cool and warm weather clothing for weekends, evenings, and days off, plus church clothing. Sometimes we camp for 4-5 days, so they need at least enough clothing for a time period that long without washing. It was so much easier before they went to school to get the outfits down to about 7 each. :/ I keep working at it, though.

  8. Kathy on 04/25/2015 at 3:47 pm

    Do you think the same number of outfits 4-7 days worth would work for adults too?

  9. Linda on 05/31/2015 at 10:27 am

    I’m just curious about the average amount of laundry a family generates. We have four adults living in our house. Between work, leisure and work-out clothes, plus linens changed once every 2 weeks, I wash at least 2 loads a day. Is that typical?

    • Katie on 09/07/2015 at 2:48 pm

      Linda, We are a family of (almost 8) and we have 3-4 loads of laundry a day. I could probably get away with 2, but there is always an accident, illness, or something that backs it up and makes the average 3-4.

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