Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond, but the experiences and opinions written in relation to the products are my own.
We all make New Year’s resolutions, and maybe half of us actually follow through with them, right? This year, I went from being in the group of people who don’t follow-through to being in the group of people who do. How? I made it my prerogative to organize my newborn’s closet in an intentional way that would grow with him and last over the years. I’m going to share my thought process and some photos—and I’ll link to my sources—here!
I think it’s important to first disclose that I gave birth to our first child, our baby boy we named Joseph George (we’re calling him Joe), on December 30, 2018. We spent New Year’s Eve and day in the hospital because mama here had a pretty rough delivery and needed to recover from having a blood transfusion. While I had finished decorating the nursery back in the fall, I was starting to feel some anxiety thinking about how much stuff was all over the floor—a plethora of plush toys, hand-me-down boy clothes from generous neighbors, gifted clothes I hadn’t washed yet from our baby showers, blankets and quilts tossed over the side of the crib, burp rags tossed inside the crib… the list goes on and on. There was hardly any room to walk in this adorable, freshly decorated nursery because I hadn’t taken any time to organize it. Therefore, I made it a goal when I was laying in the hospital bed to organize Joe’s room (mostly his closet) as soon as I felt well again.
I found the perfect little closet system made especially for babies that is intended to change as the baby grows into a movin’ and shakin’ little boy, and later (OMG) a teenager. It’s called the ClosetMaid SuiteSymphony 16-Inch Tower Starter Kit, and it creates up to 75″ of shelf space and 144″ of hanging space. It also fits all standard closets (6′ to 9′ wide), and is super easy to assemble (ask my husband)!
It doesn’t look like much at first, but you can customize it with add-ons that are made for this particular system! I chose to add on two drawers. The drawers (which are sold separately) and hanging rods (these come with the closet system) can be moved higher as the child becomes taller, which is clutch for us because my husband is 6’3″, meaning if our little Joe takes after his dad, he’ll have some pretty long suits to hang. He’ll need all the vertical closet space he can get! If you’re not a fan of drawers, you could also customize the shelf cubbies with cabinet doors.
Inevitably, Joe is going to have big shoes that will need to fit in this closet. Heck, his feet were over the line on the little hospital card they give you with the “tiny” stamped footprints, so they’re already quite large! For this reason, I planned ahead. To add storage for shoes next to the tower kit, I ordered a ClosetMaid shoe organizer with eight cubbies, and I stood it on its side to create more vertical storage. As of right now, our little Joe has the sweetest little shoe collection (he takes after his dad with his knack for having all the most stylish little shoes), but down the road when his shoes are a little bigger, these cubbies will definitely come in handy!
While these ClosetMaid organizers do come with a clean, streamlined aesthetic, I will admit that I’m really not into silvery finishes. So when I saw that the drawers for the ClosetMaid Tower came with silvery pulls, I ordered some inexpensive leather pulls online, and voila! Now there’s a whole new look, and it’s one that’ll fit into my home’s aesthetic. Check out the difference this small, inexpensive update makes!
I also added a wood dowel for the space above the ClosetMaid shoe organizer because I couldn’t fit a traditional closet rod in that narrow of a space. On the other side, that means we have the benefit of adding two rods for Joe’s clothes to hang from, which will be beneficial when he has more (and bigger) clothes that need to be hung.
Use Concealed Storage
As I mentioned before, we’ve had such generous neighbors who have given us a ton of hand-me-down boys’ clothes (up to four-years-old!). It would be a shame if I didn’t save any of these for the near future when Joe grows out of all of his adorable newborn outfits, wouldn’t it? We don’t have a lot of storage in our dresser for these items (I’ll get to the dresser in a minute), so I’ve hidden them away in the upper storage bins. To save money, I used storage bins I already had in my home, but if I could’ve purchased new ones, I totally would’ve bought these UGG® Easy-Stripe Large Canvas Tote in Grey from Bed Bath & Beyond. Aren’t they so cute?! Here’s a buying tip: the Large option will fit PERFECTLY in the cubbies.
The best part about using concealed storage rather than those adorable wire baskets or clear acrylic bins is that you don’t have to keep the things being stored neat and tidy. When I sifted through the bags and boxes of clothing from our neighbors, I unfolded each piece to determine which ones I wanted to keep and which ones I’d likely not dress my son in. Do you think I took the time to fold everything back up? Nope. Everything is sitting in those bins, messy and rattled on the inside, but polished and neat on the outside. These bins are also great for storing the many burp rags we have. We go through them so quickly (this baby is a puker!) that it’s nice to have a dedicated bin where we know we can find clean ones at a moment’s notice.
Keep Your Drawers Clean
I’m not talking about your undies…
I’m talking about the dresser drawers. My teacher friends (I used to teach seventh grade English) threw me the most genius type of baby shower: a diaper shower! I’ve never heard of people doing this, but boy, am I glad they did! Now we are stocked with diapers for the entire first year of Joe’s life, and so far, we’ve only had to buy more newborn diapers when we were on the road and didn’t pack enough for the trip. With this plethora of diapers comes a need to keep them somewhere, but where? A ha! Joe’s thrifted antique dresser also serves as his changing table, so we figured for ease of access, why not store the next few months’ worth of diapers in the large drawer in the bottom of the dresser? We’d then keep the smaller top drawer on the left stocked with whatever size diaper Joe is currently wearing, and use the smaller top drawer on the right to store Joe’s onesies and bodysuits.
It’s the Little Things
You’ll never know until you’ve tried it… Wow, what a difference having matching hangers in the closet makes! I ordered this set of 30 Real Simple Flocked Children’s Hangers in grey for only $20, and now that I’ve done away with all those clunky plastic hangers, this space already looks 100 times more uniform and tidy. They are so cute and little for all of Joe’s tiny human clothes! Who would’ve thought tiny hangers could melt one’s heart?
After hanging Joe’s teeny tiny clothes on these pretty little hangers, I arranged them from smallest in size to largest, and separated them by age (newborn to three months, three to six months, six to nine months, and so on) so that I can easily find the size I’ll need when I need it. This is also helpful because once Joe grows out of certain sizes, I can remove those outfits from his closet and store them in one of those concealed bins for baby number two someday (if it’s a boy), or pay it forward by donating them to another person who will need them.
Accessorize with Toys
…while you still can (before baby is old enough to make a mess of his bedroom and closet)! :)