Before & After: Kid-Proof Closet Organization

We’re in the process of transitioning our two year old to a big-kid bed (which is just going to be her crib with a toddler rail). She’s a teeny tiny peanut so we’ve been able to avoid it so far, but now she’s getting close to being able to climb out of her crib so it’s time.

You’d think this would be as simple as swapping out the tall crib rail for a little don’t-fall-out-of-the-bed rail, like we did for her brother. HAHAHA NOPE. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in attitude. She tries to climb everything, destroy anything, and generally make mischief and mayhem wherever she goes. So this room needs to be SOLID. No dressers that can fall over, no books that she can shred (she’s destroyed oh-so-many books she’s been left alone with), no drawers that she can empty of clothes (30 seconds alone in her room, drawers are empty). We can’t even have a trashcan she can open (yes, I’ve learned that they do indeed sell locking trashcans).

Basically, she smashes every stereotype that little girls lack the energy and the tear-it-up impulses of toddler boys. Don’t worry, though, she makes up for this behavior in extreme cuteness and snuggles, so we’re cool.

She has two doors to her room, and one leads to very steep stairs. Step 1 was putting a lock on that door.

Step 2 was fixing the latch on the other door so that it actually latched when you closed it from both sides. Oh, the joys of old hardware!

Step 3 was moving her clothes, blankets, and crib sheets out of her dressers and changing table and into her closet, so we can move out said dressers and changing table. Which is what we’re exploring today.

My daughter’s room is in the old part of our house. Which is to say, it’s almost 300 years old. Once upon a time it must have had a fireplace, but no closet. American colonials and others of the era didn’t build closets into rooms, they just put furniture in for clothes storage.   However, miracle of miracles, instead of a fireplace, when they restored our home in the 1930s, someone decided it would be nice to have a closet in a bedroom, eliminated the fireplace there, and instead put in a closet. Given that we already have SEVEN fireplaces in our house, I’d like to give whoever made this decision a pat on the back.

Here is the closet before we moved in (not a totally fair photo since this was during our home inspection, but it’s the only fully ‘before’ photo I have):

When we moved in, we painted this room. Here’s the closet after it was painted, emptied out and ready for use.

I adore these paint colors together (Farrow & Ball Worsted and Peignoir). Here’s a close-up that shows the combo.

After having a boy first, there was no way my daughter wasn’t getting a pink room, but it’s such a complex pink, especially combined with the gray. Gorgeous at all times of day!

As always, the most difficult thing for me when organizing a room I didn’t fully design was the MEASUREMENTS. It can be incredibly difficult to find storage for shelves and a space that aren’t amenable to 11” or 13” cube bins. It also amazes me how many retailers don’t have the correct measurements on their web site or tags.

After searching and searching for storage, here is where we ended up:

Tons of storage, toddler appropriate, practical and not so bad looking!

I was super happy to come across these beautiful felt bins. The space for my shelves is 43” long. Since I went to elementary school, I was able to calculate that I’d have the perfect amount of room for three 14” bins to fit across. just kidding they arrived and are 15.5” long, because they are wider at the top than at the bottom. WHY are you so cruel, sellers? Measurements are the #1 thing that matters for organizational bins.

But, reader, I kept them. They perfectly complement the trim paint, they’re soft for a toddler, they have big handles that are nice for grownups and kids, and they fit much more stuff than I thought they would. Plus, the seller takes returns of the extra ones I bought with free shipping. All’s well that ends well.

For the top shelves, I found the white bins ABOVE from Target. They were on clearance because apparently they’re discontinuing this (extremely useful) size.

Because there’s only the one, very high, hanging rail, I searched out an extender that allowed for two more levels of hanging. Because the side poles are only 35″ long, it wouldn’t be particularly useful for adult clothes, but for kids it is ideal.

I broke out the labeler (not because labels look better, or more organized, but because otherwise I legit forget what is in which bin), then added a shoe rack and a cute stool, and … done!

My husband asked me why I purchased such a large shoe rack for our daughter, given that she doesn’t have that many shoes. I told him that she could use it for folded clothes, but the real answer is that she is my flesh and blood, and therefore within two years, minimum, this won’t be even NEAR enough room for her shoes.

One of the nicest features of this closet when it comes to a rambunctious toddler is that it has a very simple, very high, latch. She can’t get to it and destroy her closet just for giggles. Mama holds the keys to this castle… FOR NOW.

Get the look with these sources …

White bins, hanging extender, gray felt bins, shoe rack and elephant stool (similar).