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Kids Closet Organization and Hand-Me-Down Storage

Today, we’re navigating the world of kids closet organization and hand-me-down storage. From decluttering to storage solutions, I’m sharing practical tips to make the most of limited space. This is the best system I’ve figured out to keep things organized and functional while holding onto sentimental items. Get ready to conquer the chaos and transform your kids’ closets into functional spaces!

kids closet organization and hand me downs storage

It’s closet week around here as we get close to the start of the school year – the very first school year for us. Our oldest is SO excited. A little nervous as well, but mostly excited. I know it’s going to be great for him, but my mama heart is hurting. How did we get here so fast? Motherhood is the most bittersweet experience. Savoring each moment, wishing it could stay this way forever, and yet loving each new stage and each new moment. Isn’t that the way it goes? We guide and teach and love, all the while knowing they’ll grow up and move on. It’s beautiful and wonderful to see them grow into the person they’re meant to be, though a piece of us wants to hold onto that precious babe forever.

This is the first time he’ll have a life that’s somewhat separate from me. But this was the goal all along. I know. So I’m putting on my brave face and encouraging the excitement. I want to be happy for (and with) him and make it as easy on him as possible. I’ll save the sadness for myself. It’s only kindergarten. But I’m sure you moms and dads know what I mean. It feels like the end of an era and a very big milestone in growing up.

But anyways, I’d better stop thinking about it before I break down again. Back to the task at hand – kids closet organization and hand-me-downs storage.

Declutter & Sort

Before we jump into the first of many back-to-schools, I wanted to declutter, sort, and organize the kids’ closets. I typically try to declutter closets about twice a year, which lines up well with the changing seasons, as well as when they need different sizes. I do it more often with the babies since they change sizes so quickly, but once or twice a year has worked well once they’re about two years old.

Start with a good declutter. I don’t know about you, but our kids’ closets always end up with all sorts of random things – rocks, clumps of “pretty” dirt, mismatched and broken toys, arts and crafts, and just straight garbage. Clean all that junk out of the top shelf, side shelves, bottom shelves, floor, wherever it may be hiding. If there’s a special keepsake or piece of art they want to keep, I put them in their keepsake boxes (I have one for each kid that we keep in our crawlspace). I also remove any unused hangars and put them in a pile for when I add the new clothes back in.

I do keep some of the rocks in a small bin for their “secret” rock collection. My favorite part is that they think I don’t know about it because they set it up with dad. Too sweet.

kids closet organization

Then I tackle the clothes. I start with clothes on hangars – just take out anything that doesn’t fit anymore and add the newly empty hangar to the hangars pile. Next, I move to the dressers. Take out anything that doesn’t fit anymore and anything that isn’t supposed to be there. I swear, dressers have a way of collecting random pieces and parts that don’t belong. Add clothing that no longer fits to a “hand-me-downs” pile. We’ll get to that in a minute!



Once it’s all decluttered, I add in any new clothing for the season and/or new sizes. Start with the hanging items – I hang the kids pants, dresses, shirts, and sweatshirts. It saves me from folding a LOT of laundry and they’re easy to find. Put leftover extra hangars in the middle so they’re easy to see when putting things away.

kids closet organization

Pro-tip: while they’re little, hang two pairs of pants per hangar. It saves space and the hangars always hang straight!

Grab the most budget-friendly, simple kids hangars HERE. I mean, a $1.50 per pack … how can you go wrong?!


The dressers house their shorts, sweatpants, jammies, swimsuits, and undergarments. My goal here was to store all the small items that are difficult to hang, but keep it minimal because the kids inevitably empty these approximately 72 times per day. And, ok. want to know a secret? I feel like this is like my dirty little laundry secret haha but I don’t fold their jammies. I just put them in that middle drawer and call it a day. Works like a charm. Whenever they want to help fold laundry, I give them the jammies. They get to practice and help out, and it doesn’t have to be perfect since they just go in the drawer anyway. And it makes clean up a breeze when they do unload the dressers – just throw everything back in the correct drawer.

Everyone keeps their sanity. Especially mom.


Their dressers are in the closet for now, which works great for us, but the same setup works if the dresser is out in the room.

These dressers were a DIY – you can find that tutorial HERE.

Baskets & Bins

Baskets and bins are one of my favorite ways to maximize storage in a closet. We have these fabric storage bins [HERE] in all the closets in our house. They’re great for grouping items that make sense together and keeping the top shelf decluttered.

In the kids’ closet, I put sheets and extra bedding, craft supplies that we don’t use as often, and out of season shoes in the bins. In the nursery, I keep extra bedding, diapers, wipes, spit up blankets, and other miscellaneous baby items in them.

The older kid’s closet has a middle section of shelves that I also put baskets in. Depending on your storage needs, you could put more clothes, shoes, hats and gloves, etc. Again, use them for small things that can be grouped together! We currently use them for small toys – blocks, fake food, little cars.

kids closet organization

I grabbed these baskets when they were on sale at Target. I don’t think they carry them anymore, but there are a few similar options [HERE].

            Use that Extra Shelf Space

You know that side of the closet that is hard to reach and often goes unused? Yeah that one. We put some shallow shelves up in there for extra shelf space. I currently have more of the kids’ smaller toys (think Legos, Lincoln Logs, Magna Tiles, etc) in little bins that fit nicely on the shelves [HERE]. I’d love to add a bookcase out in the room so I could fit more bins and then use these closet shelves for extra shoes, but it works for now. Either way, add some little shelves in the sides of the closets to really optimize your space!

kids closet organization


Hooks are awesome as kind of a catch-all. I use them for hats, clothes the kids have just worn once and can wear again, flannels, sweaters, outfits for the next day, and those sorts of things. Not all at once of course, but they come in handy for lots of different things! I recommend adding a few if you can!

kids closet organization


Once you’ve got the closet looking good, it’s time to tackle that pile of hand-me-downs. Divide the pieces by size and type – long sleeve, short sleeve, sweatshirt, shorts, pants, pajamas, socks (if there are any survivors), and any other categories. Then I like to fold them into separate piles and move them into stackable boxes. I picked up my first set of boxes a few years ago and have really liked them.

kids hand me downs storage

I just picked up a few more for this declutter session! My organizing self would love all the same colors for boys clothes and girls clothes, but I couldn’t find the matching colors, dangit! So I have a couple blue varieties for the boys [HERE and HERE] and a couple pink varieties for the girl clothes [the only one I could find HERE]. But they’re all the same size so it still works!

They’re big enough to hold a good amount of clothing (we don’t have a ton of clothes for any of the kids since they grow so fast), but not too big to be able to move around, and they stack nicely. I label them with gender and size and keep them in the crawlspace. I used to put everything in vacuum seal bags and then into the bins, but I don’t use the vacuum seal bags anymore. I’ve found that they can be difficult to get into the bins since they’re so rigid once they’re sealed down. I can squish the clothes down well enough.

kids hand me downs storage

Garbage bags also work well. I used garbage bags for a long time, before we could afford the splurge for the bins, and they did just fine! But these bins are really nice for keeping the clothes clean and folded, they stack well in the crawlspace, and it’s easier to find what I’m looking for. I was really excited when I could pick a few up!  


We don’t hold onto a ton of stuff, but I do have a small bin for keepsakes for each kid [HERE]. I usually find a few sentimental things during each closet cleanout, so I just add them to the bins and keep them stacked in the crawlspace near the hand-me-downs. I keep their baptism candles, significant art projects, handprints, first kindergarten orientation name tags – things like that.

kids closet organization

Oofta – so glad I can check that task off the list. It only takes a couple hours and things just run so much better when the kids’ rooms are organized!

What are your favorite tips and tricks for organizing your kids closet? Any advice for wrangling the chaos?


DIY projects from this room:

|  Tylynn   |

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