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The preteen years are not for the faint of heart, y'all. Not only are hormones and attitudes all over the place...it's just an *interesting* time all together. This past weekend, we finally got to work on our preteen's closet. It's hard to properly store such a wild variety of items from his still-want-to-hang-on-to-them toys to his middle school band gear and weight sets (because...muscles). We found a great solution and are excited to share it today.
We're completely in the adolescent stage of life. It's such a tough stage and yet a good one, too. We are working on certain freedoms, but still trying to hold those reigns. We finally had a come-to-Jesus moment this past weekend regarding the closet situation that has snowballed on us the past few months. Check out how it worked out below.
I'm about to share a photo (below) that I would normally never share here. I mean, y'all...I wrote a book on organization (literally...it's coming out next month). And I'm about to reveal the worst kind of Monica-Gellar-over-the-top-packed secret closet. This has evolved from the day we moved in last March to the situation we just cleaned up. When we moved in, Ben (in the preteen years, we have *apparently* dropped the "-jamin" part from his name) asked to set up his room on his own...for the most part, and within reason. We helped him put his clothes away and then probably loosened the reigns a little too much. And we were faced with the below situation:
There. Are. No. Words.
Oh wait, there are. I mean whose parents let them keep their closet in this state of disarray? Um. That would be us. It got to where I just closed the closet doors and tried to ignore the situation. And truly, at this stage of life, he puts away all of his own clothes and keeps the rest of his room fairly tidy, so we weren't too overly worked up. But, here we are approaching the holidays...and having a houseful of guests at one time or another. What guest would want to hang their pretty clothes in this craziness? And what host would ever offer this kind of accommodation to a guest? If we have more than one couple staying at our home at a time, this room becomes the auxiliary guest quarters. Ben has a double bed, so instead of making our guests play the Ricky & Lucy game in our other son's room, this is where it's at. Ben knew it was getting a makeover. But, we *may* have made it a surprise since he was at a youth lock-in for the majority of the weekend...and we could work without a whole lot of "discussion" over errrrrrr-ything. A *few* trash bags may have quietly exited the room in Ben's absence, too (I mean...he still had fish food for a fish that died months ago). The time had come for a closet makeover (well, maybe the more appropriate verbiage here is closet takeover).
We turned to our friends at Rubbermaid to get us through this family crisis (wayyyy cheaper than therapy, you guys). We used the Rubbermaid® HomeFree Series™ series from Lowe's to reorganize the situation at hand. Above, I was able to plan Ben's closet online using the Rubbermaid Storage Planner. You can try it out here...it's a blast to play with. I've literally planned out all of our closets with this online tool now. Big reorganization plans for the holiday break, y'all!
Plan out your closet and then allow the tool to calculate all of your needs.
Then head to Lowe's with your list in hand. Bada bing. Bada boom.
The Rubbermaid® HomeFree Series™ is located with all of the closet organization items at Lowes.
We purchased the Rubbermaid® HomeFree Series™ 3-ft to 6-ft White Adjustable Mount Wire Shelving Kit. In addition, we grabbed the Rubbermaid® HomeFree Series™ White Wire Shoe Shelf Kit, the Rubbermaid® HomeFree Series™ White Wire Add-On 2-Shelf Kit, and the Rubbermaid® HomeFree Series™ White Wood 2-Drawer Unit. All mounting hardware is included.
We truly got a bit carried away with all of the organization fun...we ended up not utilizing the White Wood 2-Drawer Unit in Ben's closet, but will save it for a future organization product down the road. This is a lesson in "stick to the plan"! The list had already laid it out for us...not sure how we got so carried away.
Here's how we worked on organizing a closet for a preteen:
First, we started with a total clean out. I mean total.
We pared it down like crazy. So many of the items in here were either outgrown or not used. We found a shoe from fourth grade. Singular. We didn't even live here when he was in fourth grade. We probably gave about half of the items to a thrift store and many of the clothing items to younger brother.
We also patched and repainted everything after we removed the bar and shelf. These 1970's homes have great closets...with awful layouts. I mean, this closet is a great size and all, but it had one measly shelf and one bar.
Then we started by attaching the tracks from the White Adjustable Mount Wire Shelving Kit. These closet kits require no cutting and are easy to install.
The entire coordinating collection with its telescoping rods and expanding shelves allowed us to organize Ben's closet in a way that made sense to us. We can even reconfigure or expand the closet system through the teenage years that are just months away (someone, hold me). This kit truly changes to fit with anyone's needs. It works for both walk-in or reach-in closets (ours is honestly a combination of both walk-in and reach-in, but we used a reach-in design).
After the main track was in place came the fun part of putting all the components in place.
I think the Wire Shoe Shelf Kit is my favorite. I love that it's at a slight tilt...allowing you to see shoes easily.
After we had the entire system in place, we loaded in Ben's culled-down items.
Teaching kids to keep the closet clean over time is another challenge...I honestly learned all of these tips from my own mother when we organized my new closet when our family moved when I was 12 (we've got some crazy age similarities going on here).
Another concept that was important to me was keeping all clothes facing the same way...this may seem somewhat trivial, but it's truly a visual part of the organization process. Make sure hangers make a question mark in the way they face. This may not work with the direction of every closet out there, but at least have all of your hangers hold clothing in the same direction so all shirt fronts are going one way, etc.
Try to give the clothes a little space to "breathe". Nothing is worse than trying to sift through an over-stuffed rack of clothes. This is where our paring down really helped us out. We kept casual shirts that are worn the most in one spot and dressier slacks and shirts in another spot. I also switched him to all white hangers to match the closet system and give an even more organized look to the space.
Everything in its place.
I am stating the obvious here, but...so much better than before!
How do you organize your kids' closets?