Organizing toys and clothes for kids

Ruth (2)

On the weekend, I branch out from cooking-related posts and write about my family, answer reader questions, or just blog about what's on my mind! If you have a question or topic you'd like me to tackle, send it my way! :)

A number of people have asked me how I store and organize our children's clothing and toys. I don't know that my ways are anything special, but I'm happy to write about it! :)

We're currently a family of 6 living in a 2-bedroom (900 sq.ft.) apartment, although some time *soon* we're planning to move to a rental house with a yard! After 2 years in an apartment, I am completely 100% ready to not have carpet in the dining area and have more than a 4'x8' balcony for our "outside"! ;)

Kids' bedroom closet

I've written about about baby stuff in the past: Prepare for Baby Frugally: Money-Saving and Space-Saving Tips which shows photos of the kids' bedroom and what sort of things we have.

But, that post doesn't specifically address clothes and toys for older children. So, here are my methods:

Storing Clothes: I keep the clothes in dresser drawers, with 2-3 drawers per child. We had dressers from when we lived in Ohio, since the bedroom there had no closet. And dressers make it easy for kids to put away their own laundry, since closet hangers are so high!

Changing Seasons: Since we're in the Seattle area, we don't have extremely cold winters or very hot summers, so we just layer on an extra sweatshirt as needed, or wear socks/slippers if it's cold. Everything else is just shorts/pants and a t-shirt!

Dressy Clothes: Each child has 1-2 nice outfits, for church or special occasions. But we also wear nice (non-holey!) jeans or a nice (not-stained!) t-shirt for church, so we don't need lots of fancy clothes. :)

Shoes: Shoes are stored in a plastic drawer/dresser by the doorway. Each child has about 3 pairs.

Coats: Each child has 1 heavier winter coat and 1 sweatshirt/hooded jacket, 1 hat, 1 pair of gloves. These are stored in the closet (summer) or hanging on the end of the bunk beds (in winter, for more frequent use).

Storing Toys: Toys are in containers/boxes/bags in the closet, and we get out one or two things at a time. I have a bookshelf for children's books, which is also in the closet.

I took a quick video of the kids' bedroom, which will show more details and give you a glimpse of what we actually have in there! :)

Tereza asked how often I organize the children's bedroom, and the answer is both "all the time!" and "never"! :)

Since everything has a place, and the children are able to do the pick-up themselves, my involvement is mostly just getting things out of the closet or putting things back in. Kinda like checking books out of the library. :)

Every 3-6 months, I have to go through the clothing and pack away stuff that is too small or throw away stuff that is too worn out. I have two small-medium sized totes in the closet, which is where I store any clothes for the kids to grow into. If their wardrobe is lacking, I can usually find a few things at GoodWill to fill the needs. :)

KimC has a great series titled "Big Family, Small House" which has lots more storage and organization ideas! The main consensus? Have less stuff! With a big family, the amount of things needed and used on a regular basis will be greater, but minimization is still possible! :)


I had the kids clothes set up exactly like that until a few days ago...I now hang everything other than pajamas, undies and socks and swim suits on hangers. My kids had this nasty habit of pulling EVERYHTING out of their drawers to find that ONE thing they wanted and then I'd have clothes for 9 kids all over the floors. Since hanging them there are no clothes on the ground!!! For now this seems to work really well. Did you see the video about it on my blog?
I LOVE watching your videos. I always learn something and just plain enjoy it too!

I had the same problem with the drawers, so I started hanging everything too. Their beds have 4 SMALL drawers underneath which I use for socks, undies, pj;s and shorts/swimsuits. I hang all shirts even the tshirts and pants. It has helped immensely. My oldest has green hangers and is on the bottom rod ; my younger has blue hangers and is on the top rod. It has worked out so nicely.

We are of a family of 5. I am in a constant battle trying to get my kids to clean up their stuff. We have too much. I am slowly trying to weed things out. It is a slow process. My advice to any new parents would be less is better when it comes to toys.

I really enjoyed the video! I have never watched any of the videos you post, but it reminded me a lot of my family! We only have 2 children currently, but I grew up in a family with 5 children, so I tend to run my house the way I would if there were a bunch of us! - Amy

Wow...I really hope that you get into your new rental soon. :-) It will feel so huge to you at first... and be careful, the kids might get lost. Lol. I appreciate your organizational thoughts. It made me look at what I have right here in my room and wonder what I can do to make it a little more neat.

My family lives in a four bedroom (very small bedrooms, I might add :-)) house. I am the oldest of 11 children, ages 1 - 24. Last winter, two of my sisters, Ellie and Martha and I all slept in the living room. :-) In the past three years, I've moved 4 times. Two of those moves were nearly over 700 miles one way. My consensus from all of this is the same as listed: the less stuff the better.

I wonder some days if I'll ever stop living out of boxes...

This is a lovely video! Specialy your son, who wants your attention nów, is adorrable! We also have drawers from Ikea and I love them, they can take much more clothing than hanging cabins.
We have a four bedroom rental house with an attic...and that is lovely for keeping toys, clothes and a matras and so. But after we moved from our tiny appartment 10 years ago (back than with 3 children, now we have four), the attic was almost empty. And now....full of stuff! The problem is, when you have the space, you tend to keep things there wich you otherwise would have given away or so...
So, be care full, if you ever move into a larger place, just stay as organised as this!
Have a lovely day and greetings from the Netherlands, mama lieveheersbeestje.

Thanks for linking to my series, and thanks for sharing what you do. It's always fun to hear how others handle the same problems!
Making a video is a great idea. Maybe we should try that...I've never video-blogged before.
BTW, I don't comment often but you're one of my daily reads. Love your recipes and your food photos make it all look irresistible!

Hi Tammy,
I loved the video! What great organization for the children! What will you do when you finally move to a house ?LOL
Just wanted to say Hi and tell you I really enjoy your blog.

Hi tammy, i can't seem to get the video. Did you remove it?


I love how you properly use every inch of space in that room.
Everything is in an organized spot.
& your children, oh my gosh. They are gorgeous kids.
Lovely family :)
Happy Holidays

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