Lately this has come up in more than one conversation. One of the biggest questions I get asked is “why don’t your kids have dressers?” Maybe it’s asked because in some of my before photos there ARE dressers, and now there are not. Or maybe its because it’s a little out of the ordinary to not have dresser for kids. I’m not really sure.
But to start off, you are correct. My kids DID have dressers. Both of them had dressers before we moved into the Dream Home and in some of our first Dream Home tour photos, you will notice they still have dressers. My daughter had a tall, slender dresser that housed her fish tank and all her “bottoms” (shorts, pants, underwear, socks, pjs). Her baby brother had a long horizontal style dresser that doubled as a change table.
The biggest reason for the change came from a lightbulb moment I guess. It drove me crazy that most of the time the kids’ closets were a mess, and mostly filled with junk. When I opened their closet doors, it was rarely filled with clothes and just seemed like such a waste of space.
The more I thought on the subject, the more I wanted to change it. When it comes to a kids’ room, let’s face it, most are small box shaped rooms. They are already short of square footage, and a dresser and bed pretty much take up 80% of the room. I felt like I was being cheated. I was wasting so much floor space that could be used for so many other things (a toy bench/box, a desk, a vanity, a reading corner, a doll house, you get the picture).
Now, a closet, you can’t really change. Even if you take the doors off, at the end of the day, it’s still a closet. You can’t really gain that sq footage back to the room itself. It will always be different. It felt like no matter what, I couldn’t change that divide of space. So my wheels started turning about ways that I could really cram as much as possible into that closet. That way, I could give my kids back their rooms and personal space. It felt like I was beating the system! Sticking it to the man, so to speak.
I started researching and pricing out new ideas. They had a tower/cube system installed in there when we moved in. Other than that it was a pretty blank canvas. I wanted to keep what was there but add to it to make it more efficient. I also decided to make the closets the exactly the same (but mirrored). This way it was fair, and easy for me to organize.
Let’s take a look at both, side by side. Sorry for the terrible photos (it was challenging to get a photo that showed both sides of the closet without getting crowded by the doors). I pushed the original tower system to one side (and kept their canvas cubes). I use this tower to store their seasonal things (they each have a “swimming” bucket, a “too big/too small” bucket, etc). Basically those are the bins I need access to, but don’t use regularly.
Each kid also has two closet rods for hanging. Let’s face it, kids do not hang bottoms, So this was pretty easy to organize. Tanks and t-shirts go on top. Dressers, sweaters and outerwear go on the bottom. As you can see, the rods were placed to allow lots of growth. I hung an adult size shirt on both of those rods before they were installed. Just wanting to make sure they grow with each kid.
Now, the only thing I had to buy to make this closet happen was a wider tower with drawers. This tower came with shelves and the drawers came in packs of two (sold separately). Each child got 4 drawers, although I did have drawer dividers that I used to provide even more options. The top drawers are for socks and underwear. The divider keeps them separated and organized. The bottom drawer is always pajama’s. The middle has a drawer for shorts, leggings and jeans. The kids are a bit different in that sense, but basically both have two middle drawers for their “bottoms” for going to school/daycare.
Now the shelves look a little different for each child as well. My sons contains the extra bedding for his crib, extra baby blankets, a shelf for his diapers and wipes and the top shelf holds two plastic buckets (I picked up from the Dollarama) which contain anything else I might happen to need room for. (Most of the time it’s clothes I’ve bought that are in the next size up).
My daughters’ on the other hand looks quite different. She is five, so there was no need for diapers, wipes and crib bedding to be placed on her shelves. Instead, her bucket contains mismatched socks, new clothing sets for spares at school and daycare, her middle shelf holds her duffel bag (which is now being used for her summer soccer stuff). And the bottom shelf we leave empty so that we can lay out her outfits for the next few days. I normally lay out 2-3. And let her choose which outfit she would like to wear each morning. It helps her express herself, but also allows me to make sure she is wearing the appropriate size, and that everything matches and is appropriate for the weather.
Now, I understand that these drawers may not scream “long term” to some. They are shallow and will only hold a few pairs of adult jeans for example. But when their clothes do start to get bigger, these drawers will convert to full “personal” drawers. Housing things like bras, underwear, bathing suits, and socks. The shelves above will then be used for folded stacks of jeans, shorts, or leggings. (The canvas cubes could also easily be removed to create space for pants as well if needed.)
Eventually hooks could be added above the entire unit for ball caps or school bags. Or a shelf could be added across the top for addition storage (suitcases and out of season footwear).
Having everything in one spot has made our lives so much easier (the kids’ included). They are learning where their clothes go away and can be taken out from. When putting away laundry, it’s a one stop shop to get everything organized and away. It has given them more privacy, to be able to close their closet doors on their personal things. And they have both gained so much extra room! They now each have a deacon’s bench filled with stuffed toys, a cube tower for their family pictures, piggy banks, and keepsakes. And overall it’s helped eliminate all the clutter that would previous gravitate towards the tops of their dressers. One of the best decisions we ever made. Oh, and in case I forgot to mention, I was able to makeover both closets for about $100 each. Good luck finding a decent dresser for $100!