...because home doesn't happen overnight.

boys closet

Last year I created a series devoted to the closets in our home. In each post, I give a peek inside a particular closet and share its contents and how they’re organized. So far, I’ve shared the master bedroom closet, the mudroom wardrobes (here and here), the nursery closet and the linen closet at the end of the hallway. Today we’re taking a look at the closet in the boys’ room.

boys closet 1

Just as we did with the other bedroom closets, we removed the boys’ closet doors and replaced them with curtains. Originally, we hung curtains from a ceiling track mounted inside the door frame. But we quickly realized that setup didn’t allow us or the kids to fully access the closet contents. So we removed the track and hung a curtain rod high and wide outside the door frame. I hung four curtain panels from the rod and hemmed them so that they skim the floor. With the curtains hung higher and wider, we can easily slide them open to gain access to the entire closet. The rod and curtains are from Ikea.

boys closet 3

We designed and installed a ClosetMaid shelving system to utilize wall space. Baskets and modular bookcases keep things tidy. The woven baskets once lived on freestanding bookshelves in the room but I ended up selling the bookshelves to make room for a much needed dresser. (You can read more about why the bookshelf setup didn’t work for us here.) Luckily, I was able to reuse the baskets in the boys’ and Mabrey’s closets.

The top shelf holds a keepsakes tin, Beyblades and littleBits. The next two shelves hold costumes. The bottom shelf is actually two wire drawers. They hold the boys’ underwear and socks – one drawer for each boy. The basket and wire bin on top of the drawers hold the boys’ pajamas. The two bookcases on the floor hold books, blocks, Lincoln Logs, cars and a few miscellaneous toys like action figures and speed stacking cups.

boys closet 4

We also installed wire shelving in a recessed corner of the closet which provides even more storage. The shelves hold (from top to bottom) sleeping bags, a marble track and puzzles. A small rod gives the boys a place to hang a few items. (Obviously, most of their clothing is folded elsewhere in the room.) The basket on the floor is empty!

boys closet 5

Swoop bag holds Legos. I hung the bag at kid-height from a hook so the boys can get it down and hang it up on their own. The bag doubles as a Lego playmat and travels well. It’s been to our living room (haha), grandma & grandpa’s house and has even gone on vacation with us. I contemplated a color-coordinated organization system for the Legos but when I mentioned it to the boys they were all, “We don’t care if our Legos are all mixed up.” Well, then, I guess I don’t care either.

boys closet 2

The closet isn’t super tiny but, when you consider it is in a room shared by two kids and that the room doubles as a playroom for three kids, it fills up quickly. A few key elements that make the closet work for our family:

1) movable, organizational shelving to optimize wall space

2) two dressers elsewhere in the room for clothing storage

3) a carefully edited toy collection

4) bins and baskets for corralling like items

5) regular purging

Of course, my kids aren’t perfect. The closet doesn’t always look like this. It gets messy from time to time but having a designated place for everything makes cleanup quick and relatively painless.

What about you? How do you organize your child(ren)’s closet(s)? What works? What doesn’t?

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Nothing better than an organized closet! Staying on top of #5 is key. Sometimes you have to do it when the kids are gone and can’t see what you are purging lol I have not seen this swoop bag before and I have to say I am really excited. I will be purchasing one today lol


Looks amazing! You certainly have a talent for organizing closets. Quick question though: why did you decide to remove the doors on the closets in your house?


Dana I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant and the nesting bug is STRONG! This post was the nudge I needed to attack my closet. I like the idea of purging regularly. We accumulate SO much “stuff” throughout the year…. it can get a little crazy.


Looks great! It feels so great to get things off the floors and use the wall space. :)


We just finished our closet organization this weekend (along with a bathroom update). We used similar storage for our tiny closets as well. We bought ours from Lowes- rubbermaid brand. Reasonably priced, well built, and easy to install- can’t beat that.

I’ve been meaning to ask you- was your IKEA dishwasher door really tight and hard to open when you first bought it? This is our second IKEA kitchen but first time IKEA appliance purchase and the dishwasher was/is a huge hassle. The door front was hard to install and the door is really hard to open and keep open. Any thoughts?


The house came with sliding closet doors on tracks in the bedrooms – save for Mabrey’s room which just a had a regular hinged door.

In the two larger bedrooms (master, boys’ shared room) we would have never been able to access the entire closet at once. (i.e., one side of the closet would always be closed off.) In the master bedroom, Steve and I wanted to be able to stand side by side and access our personal halves of the closet at the same time. (One side of the closet is his. One side of the closet is mine.) In the boys’ bedroom, we wanted the same function and we didn’t want to worry about fingers getting smashed. In the nursery, the door to the room opened onto the closet door which made no sense. Accessing any of the bedroom closets felt cumbersome.

Losing the doors was an inexpensive solution. *BONUS* the doorless closets are quiet!


Oh I see. That’s a great idea – it’s definitely SO annoying not being able to see all your clothes at once. My last apartment had sliding closet doors and I smashed my fingers twice and I could always hear my upstairs neighbor opening and closing her closet doors! Replacing the doors with a curtain is a great solution.


I’ve been waiting for this post and you didn’t disappoint! I thought I was a pretty ruthless purger, but you’ve got me beat here. I’ve never seen the Swoop bag before, but I love it. As soon as my boys are home from school I’m going to show it to them and keep my fingers crossed it meets their Lego standards. I have some similar storage items for my boys, but they just don’t seem to be working quite as well as yours. I have to ask what you do about the “special” little bits of junk and trinkets that kids always seem to pick up all over the place? I have one kid that is great at throwing stuff away, but the other gets attached, and they both love their “collections.” That’s the stuff (along with the Legos) that just seems to take over in such a short period of time. Still, you’ve inspired me to give it another crack and see if I can make their room work better.


The tin I mentioned (on the top shelf in the closet) holds a lot of those trinkets. There are two more placed on one of the dressers (not shown) that serve the same purpose. I got them as a set from Ikea.


Hmmm…we don’t have any problems opening / closing our dishwasher – even with the cover panel. We did have an issue with the soap dispenser which had to be replaced shortly after we bought it but it’s been fine ever since. My only advice would be to check that the tab on the front of dishwasher (at the top where it latches onto the door) isn’t damaged. Sorry, I don’t really have any good guesses!


We use a similar system with adjustable shelving, but the bins are all lower and labelled. The labels helped my son learn to read, and return toys to the correct bin. Dress-up clothes and costumes are in a small hanging section. Hooks are for hats and zillion (ok, not quite) backpacks. Backpacks currently being used for school are hung elsewhere at our command center.


Since you asked what doesn’t work, I’ll tell you that color coordinating Legos is a big waste of time. Our Legos are stored together in 2 under-the-bed open bins, and we have a low-profile Lego table for building on. It’s a 3/4″ 2×4′ plywood with rounded edges and it’s on casters. It’s also great for puzzles, and it’s kept under the bed also. Lego sets that are built, that he wants to display and doesn’t want the littler ones to unassemble, are placed on a high shelf that is mounted above his dresser.


Where did you get the white bookcases from? I’m looking for something like this for my stepson’s bedroom. Because the room is small, I want to add more “zones” in the closet so he has room to hang clothes as well as folded stuff. Also need a little extra storage for misc toys and books.


[…] when I was brainstorming ideas for a blank sliver of wall next to the boys’ closet, a DIY mural of Calvin and Hobbes was the first thing that came to mind. Luckily, everyone else […]


Plus, you never feel like you can really access the center of the closet with sliding doors! I took them off all three of my kids’ closets and love them wide open (and decorated like part of the room)! Quick question – What did you do with all the doors? Mine are sitting in the basement which is weird and dumb. But I hate to put them in the trash, the ReStore is a HIKE, and I don’t love any project ideas with recycled doors – at least not junky hollow-core ones. So they sit…


We took them to our local ReStore along with a bunch of other reno stuff.


I bought those nearly a decade ago! They have followed us from house to house. I think I found them at Target.


So funny to see what some people consider a “small” closet. That space looks to be at least 8′ long, and 2-3′ deep (counting the recess). The closet’s organized beautifully, but it seems huge to this city dweller in an historic house!

Q: Is there a stool in there so the kids can reach the bins on the higher shelves? Or are the boys tall enough to reach up without help?


Ahh Target. My second home.


There is a footstool in the room (not shown) that the kids use to reach the higher shelves. Even Mabrey (two years old) can drag it over to the closet to get something she wants. The most used toys are placed within reach so climbing isn’t an everyday occurrence.


How do you handle toys on holidays and birthdays? My boys have quite a bit of toys & I try to purge often but it seems like what I get rid of just comes right back in another form. I won’t necessarily blame family for that, I am guilty of shopping too much for holidays also. I think every Christmas for the last 10 I’ve said we weren’t going to buy as much, & then I end up doing it. I’d love to pare our things down like you have.


Thanks for these tips, Dana. I’ve been working on my son’s closet, too. It seems like it’s always in flux as he’s growing, his needs are changing, and the toys he plays with are changing. Those bins where you can stash stuff at the bottom look like a great solution!


Hi! I’m loving your blog. We are in the process of renovating an older large home (a foreclosure that was torn apart) and I’ve gotten quite a few inspirations from you. My one battle to tackle is how to keep one of my sons from throwing his clothes all over his room. I have for the past 4 years kept his clothes in my closet. Any advice? Thanks for sharing your organizing tips. We aren’t done with the boys’ room yet (still gutted), but I can come back here and refresh my thoughts when it comes time to organize their stuff :)


Seeing as how my boys like to leave their clothes lying on the bedroom floor, I’m probably not the best person to answer your question. Ha! Sometimes I have to tell them more than once to put their dirty clothes in the hamper (located in a linen closet just outside their bedroom). I have them put away their own clean, folded clothes so they know where everything is *supposed* to go.


Hi there!

Where did you find the white cube bins on the floor of their closet? Been looking everywhere for ones that have the bottom like that with a lip for toys!



I think I found those at Target nearly a decade ago!