After adjusting to having a new baby in the house, it was time for us to turn our attention to getting a toddler closet set-up for our eldest who had just turned 2.
Since learning to use the toilet by himself he began showing much interest in getting himself dressed and choosing his own clothes, so we knew it was time. What is a Montessori toddler closet you might ask?
A Montessori toddler closet is a closet set-up with a child’s clothes and accessories at their height, thus making it accessible for the child to get themselves dressed independently. The child has free access to their wardrobe, which usually is filled with a selected assortment of intentional clothing options for the child to select from.
When our eldest just turned 2 this was (above) our first toddler closet we set up for him.
We set our for him each evening before:
- 2 shirts
- 2 pants
- In a basket below a pair of socks & undies.
He would swap his pajamas for the outfit he picked, then hang up the pajamas where 2nd out fit had been.
The kids couch next to it is where he could sit to put on pants, and socks.
The limited options gave him independence to go and get his clothes himself and independently dress himself, but also allowed us to make sure he was dressed appropriately for the day’s activities/conditions.
For some reason in the middle of summer B would try and weather long sleeves and long pants during a 100F/40C day, which was suited. Thus, we learned quickly to put up much more limited options.
Sometimes it can be easy to get ahead of yourself in doing Montessori at home and giving your child freedom. They have to be ready for that freedom, and sometimes too many choices becomes overwhelming and allows for more strife than learning experience.
So, adjust accordingly when choosing to do a toddler closest yourself, observe and follow your child. Don’t copy what everyone else is doing on Instagram, remember to tune in to your family’s circumstances.
What did our child think of Toddler closet?
He LOVED having a toddler closet. Each morning he truly enjoyed going to his closet and picking his clothes off the hangers, then hanging his pajamas up on the hangers one at a time.
This morning routine never seemed to bring us any fuss, as he was free to select his own clothes. I just had to remember to put new options on the hangers each evening after he put his pajamas on.
There was a wardrobe next to this section where all the bulk of his clothes lived out of his reach. I picked from this and put the options in his toddler wardrobe.
Changes to Toddler Closet
Over time we looked into trying different toddler wardrobe set-ups so he didn’t have to hang the pants up.
This shelving unit we bought at Bunnings ( like Home Depot) for under $50. We planned to add hanging bar for hangers, but hadn’t yet when this photo was taken.
- Related Post: More about this shelf unit in Montessori Budget Shelves article.
For a short time we put this shelving unit in the place where his previous toddler closet set-up had been, but with a growing little brother we knew this wasn’t going to suit us long term.
Our home has no closets, all concrete walls, and limited storage. I knew as the boys grew we would need more versatility with storage, but I also wanted them to have independence to get their own clothes from a young age.
Ikea Pax for Kids Closet
After some research from other families (thank you reddit community) we decided to design an Ikea Pax kids closet.
The design part is free, and fun to play round with (I think I had too much fun with the design tool lol).
I finally settled on a design that I thought would work for their younger years all the way into their teens if need be (we only have 2 bedroom house).
At the moment the top looks empty, as I don’t have a need to hang anything for him right now. In summer his winter coat will probably hang up top.
Right now it’s all about the drawers. There are two of these set-ups side by side in their shared Montessori room now. For now though all of B’s clothes are in the left drawers and all of L’s clothes are in the right drawers. Their backpacks for Montessori house pre-school and nido are kept at the top.
That big drawer in the middle is sectioned for the extra undies, socks, hats, belts, and small items like that. If he wants to get to them he will get his stool and get them out if needed.
As you can see below these drawers are just the right height for him to access all the baskets. The see-through nature of the baskets also help him in seeing what is in which section.
This makes it easy for him to help me pack away items as well when doing practical life skills like laundry.
If you do have a bedroom with closet, you can still use the PAX system to organize the interior of it to be better suited for a child. Everything can be modified exactly to how you want it.
So have a play with ikea tool if it is something you are interested in. It tells you the price as you build it on their online tool, which I found a huge bonus and helped me decide if it was the best option for us ( tool must be used while on laptop, webpage won’t work on mobiles). The most expensive part was actually the damn doors! Ha ha!
Final Thoughts on Toddler Wardrobe
Setting up a Montessori toddler wardrobe is really quite easy, it just takes a weekend to complete and involvement with your child.
You probably will need to minimize your child’s wardrobe a bit, but honestly a bit of minimalism has saved my sanity many times in our parenting journey.
Just pick a set-up that you can achieve in your home, get it organized, and then offer selected options.
If you’re looking for tips on how to start this process, Ashley from the Hapa family explains beautifully how you can get started with teaching your child to dress themselves.