With a new baby on the way, Miescisko Editor-in-Chief Sophie Donelson realized that while her family was growing, her New York City apartment wasn't getting any bigger. So, she called in the experts at California Closets and NEAT Method to reorganize the closet in her 4-year-old son's bedroom, that way the space could be shared with his future baby brother. What resulted was a busy-family hub that could evolve over time.
Donelson knew she was going to have to get organized fast if she was going to fit two young kids in one small bedroom. She had tried to DIY the closet in her son's room, but she ended up with a half-baked system that didn't work for her family.
Donelson chose California Closets designer Carolyn Musher to get her kids' closet in fighting shape. She also called in a professional organizer to make sure she was getting the most out of the entire space.
"Since this closet is being used for children, their needs are going to change," Musher said. Donelson added, "I was encouraged to go with a closet with peg-holes, which means you can change the placement of shelves and hang-bars in the future, and we picked a simple white color since we figured the bins would be plenty colorful."
Donelson wanted to maximize the amount of play space in the room, which meant having as little furniture as possible. Space for drawers and baskets in the new closet system was a top priority. "Smooth-gliding drawers was the element I was most excited for," Donelson said. "No freestanding dresser to clog precious floor space!"
Two pros from NEAT Method, Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer, worked with Donelson and Musher to tackle storage in the new closet. "We started by taking out and categorizing every item in the entire room," Murphy said. "This helped us understand what Sophie and her son already had, then strategize for what products would keep everything organized."
Socks, undies and pajamas are all where Teddy can get to them. "The biggest things to ask yourself with a kid's closet is what are they wearing now, what will they be wearing 3 months from now and are the most-used items the easiest to access? Any items that need to be accessed daily, need to be reachable," Murphy said.
The team turned to Pottery Barn Kids for the baskets and drawer organizers." Donelson added: "The lightweight bins from Pottery Barn Kids means Teddy can tug out the train set by himself. And, I like the white-washed wicker look that's up high. Those are just for me to touch, and, I like that they're a bit elegant."
Donelson had tried labeling Teddy's toys before, but got hung up on specifics. "There is such a thing as being too organized — keeping categories broad will help you maintain order," Murphy said. Another perk: It'll be easier for children to help with cleanup. "Kids are expected to put items back in their appropriately labeled bin at school, so why not request the same at home?"
"I had long written off the art of arranging books by spine color as a Pinterest phenomenon," Donelson said. "Then I told Teddy to look for his favorite book in the 'orange section,' and he found it right away." The Neat Method team backs her up: "Color-coding is aesthetically pleasing, but also something everyone can remember," Hagmeyer said.
"I don't think I'd be living as tidily today if the gals from NEAT and Cal Closets hadn't intervened when they did," Donelson said. Murphy added, "Keeping an organized home reduces a lot of stress and teaches your children great habits that they will thank you for one day!"