When it was just one kiddo in the room a simple small closet worked a charm, but once our second lad came along 23 months later we needed to think of something that would last long term and provide the same level of independence.
A shared kid’s closet organization was going to be needed and we didn’t want to keep changing it or rebuilding every year or so.
Here’s what we did…
The IKEA Pax became the perfect solution for designing a Montessori kids closet that would work for the toddler years and well into later childhood years.
A snapshot of one side of the closet.
While they are toddlers we realize they will only be able to access the bottom half, and for now that is what we need.
As they get older in years to come they can use more of the top half for hanging clothes.
This was before, we stored linen, toys, the extra clothes, and a few odd & ends on the left. The right shelves held extra books in fabric boxes in the upper shelves for rotation and the bottom two sections were used for Montessori toddler closet.
It worked for one child, but was not going to work for two and really we needed more storage space for toy rotation.
SO…off to IKEA’s website I went. I found their PAX Planner tool online and began playing around with different ideas in my head.
It was great because it tells you the total price while you play around with the different options.
This sold me, as a lot of the local options were going to be 3x the price and smaller with less customization choices. I usually love going local, but for a big item like this which was going to be a big purchase I needed it be exactly what we needed.
Quick Note: If you have a closet, you can use Ikea Pax System inside a closet as well!
Designing a Kids IKEA Pax Wardrobe
This is what the IKEA Pax planner tool looks like. You can drag and drop the different shelves, drawers, baskets, and more on to your design and move them where you want so you can visualize what your closet would look like.
It was AWESOME! I had a lot of fun playing around with different ideas and seeing how it impacted the price.
My first draft looked like this. I ended up swapping the middle section to the right side for door opening reasons (yay old window sills).
Organizing a Shared Kids Closet
Being an older 2 bedroom home our children have to share a bedroom.
Which is fine as there is plenty of room for beds and play space, but storage space was minimal.
We needed to create a shared kid’s closet that was able to be used now in the toddler years all the way through childhood.
IKEA Pax seemed to be the best option with the ability to customize the interior just how we wanted it. Allowing for toy rotation storage, keepsakes storage, kids linen, and kids clothes to be accessible at their height.
Building IKEA Pax Wardrobe
I was a bit concerned how it would go when the instructions had no words and was all pictures, but once we began it was no trouble at all.
Taking your time and looking at the graphics closely before putting each piece together was important.
It took us a total of 12 hours to assemble, but that was with a large break in the middle due to children and unexpected guest.
It’s a bit like lego for wardrobes, you collect all the pieces you need for each section then build it and fit the pieces in that you’ve selected.
The carcasses are the first part, which we started from right to left.
They are bit heavy to set upright, so I would definitely recommend 2 people be present for building the IKEA Pax wardrobes.
You also need to clear space on the floor to lay them down for initial set-up.
Getting to all 3 IKEA Pax frames set-up and upright took about 1-2 hours.
Wasn’t difficult, just big pieces that take a bit of shuffling to move around and get sorted.
Once the frames were up, then it was time to build the split frame for the drawer baskets.
I selected the baskets as they are a bit deeper than drawers and can fit more in them. Also, due to hinge locations for the doors the bottom ones have to be baskets instead of drawers.
The online planner tool alerts you to this and won’t let you place anything in the way of a hinge.
Next we installed the small toy storage area shelves. Fairly simple, put in the place holders and set shelf on top.
Then we placed the top shelves, big middle drawer, and then the basket drawers were installed.
How We Organized Shared Kids Closet
The big middle drawers I bought dividers for, but I forgot to buy enough for both big drawers (oops, bad math in a hurry while actually at IKEA).
The dividers make sections for undies, hats, belts, and other accessories.
Currently I use the big drawer without dividers for their bed sheets and linen.
Up top I bought the big soft storage containers at IKEA that for the children’s keepsakes. Baby book, a few baby items, and such. Nothing too heavy.
Then it was time for doors!
Doesn’t it look so sleek? I was so happy once we reached this point. A thought had become a reality and now everything was ready to be organized. We were pretty stoked by this point (it was 10pm).
Why We Chose Ikea Pax for Montessori Wardrobe
You see those cute little set-ups of Montessori closets and wardrobes all over social media.
They are a great way for a young child to have independence in dressing themselves which is wonderful, but for me the costs did not outweigh the time-frame used.
I dislike having to redo tasks over and over.
I prefer doing things that have longevity. It’s better worth our family time, better for the environment, and keeps things simple.
SO, we came to the conclusion that designing a wardrobe that will grow with our kids was a better idea.
The IKEA Pax was the best way to do that as it allowed us that design freedom.
With such minimal clothes at the moment with them both being 3 and under they are using the same section currently.
Everyone gets dressed together at the same time, so we open the same doors and all select clothes to get dressed in. (B is left & L is right)
There are 2 kids size soft couches to the left of this wardrobe that they sit on to assist getting dressed.
The 2 bags on the top are their backpacks for Montessori house care days. They are stored here during the rest of the week.
But the clothes hanging bar is so high?
Yep, it is. It is out of the kids reach til they are probably teens. Unless we change it, which it totally possible with this set-up at any time.
I use those high bars for dress clothes if needed. That’s about it, but that suits us for now.
At this point in life I decided drawers are our preferred method of clothes storage.
It’s the easiest for them to put away and take out independently.
Our Drawer Organization Top -> Bottom
- Jacket & Sweater
- PJ’s, Singlet, Socks/Undies for day
I refill the socks and undies from that big middle drawer when we go to put pajamas on at the end of the day.
It’s been over a month of using this set-up and it has worked well.
Though, here’s the great thing about IKEA Pax, if something different suits your family better you can design it that way!
Make it look like other Montessori Closets
If you wanted to replicate the common designs seen on social media here’s a way you could design it with the IKEA Pax (took 5 min of design time).
This sort of Montessori kid’s closet can grow with your child and have more longevity to it.
In years to come you could add a full sized hanging bar higher up, and that’s all you’d have to change.
You can use the above space for toy rotation storage or anything else you see that suits your family’s needs.
I would easily recommend this over a short-term use Montessori closet personally. It is more realistic and has better longevity to it.
Review of IKEA Pax
What do we think about the IKEA Pax system now that we have used it for a little while with kids. Is the IKEA Pax system durable? Good quality?
The IKEA Pax system has been very durable with our kids use and the quality of material is quite thick,sturdy compared to some of IKEA’s other items that are cheaper in price. It is a great wardrobe and we are confident that it will hold up with the test of time.
Compared to other units I have experienced from IKEA, the Pax system is heaps more sturdy and dense material. I believe with IKEA it’s a “you get what you pay for” situation.
The Pax is more pricey compared to some of their smaller & cheaper storage units, but the price is worth the better quality materials you are getting in my opinion.
Review of the IKEA Pax Planner Tool
It was SO EASY!
Just Drag and Drop. That was it.
Utilize the filter feature on top right and that will make it bit quicker finding the bits and pieces your looking for instead of scrolling through long list each time (i.e. shelves, drawers, hanging bars, etc.).
I had no troubles using the planner tool, but you MUST use it on a laptop/desktop. You cannot use it on mobile. I guess that’s the only con, but honestly it’s easier to see it all by doing it on bigger screen.
If you are using doors on your wardrobe then the planner tool prevents you from putting anything where hinges would be located which was awesome.
You can save your design and come back to it. You can save your design and get a QR code to take to the store to have staff help you with it and see/touch all your choices before picking them out in the warehouse section.
Or you can just click/collect once you have settled on a design.
For the cost there is nothing that even comes close to comparison with the customization the IKEA Pax gives you to modify a wardrobe exactly to your family’s needs. Which is why it is so great for Montessori at home intentions in my opinion.
Quick Re-cap of Ikea Pax Shared Kid’s Closet
The Ikea Pax has been a great option for a shared kids wardrobe or closet space.
You can customize it to your family’s wants and needs (for us that meant Montessori independence goals).
This was a BIG WIN for me, as nothing else came close to this amount of customization for the price point.
The materials were sturdy and I believe they will last many years, so don’t knock Ikea’s materials. As I said before, I think you get what you pay for. If you buy the cheaper items then you get cheaper materials and if you spend a bit more you get better quality.
We are very happy with our shared kid’s wardrobe made from Ikea Pax system and I would recommend it to any friend of mine.
Won’t lie I’ve shown it off in our house heaps of times since we built it…currently the kids have a better closet than us, Haha!
Hope this helps anyone else who has been curious about finding a solution to shared sibling closets or wanted to know more about what the Ikea Pax system is really like.