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How to makeover your child's closet to encourage dress-up play but keep everyday clothes organized - super clever product recommendations, definitely getting #1, 2 and 8!

Creating a Dress-Up Play Closet {The Forever Home Project}

A dress-up closet is such a great creativity tool for kids.  Unfortunately, not many of us have the space to create one in our homes.  

Today Julee is sharing her tips for maximizing your kids’ closet space to create a hybrid dress-up/regular clothes closet and I’m totally smitten with the results.

We just removed the doors from S’s closet and replaced them with curtains to free up some space in her room and give her better accessibility.  I think our next move will be to incorporate some of Julee’s ideas as S is really starting to get into dress-up (currently wearing her Christmas dress just about every day of the week)…

Playing dress-up is one of my daughter’s favorite activities. While I love the creativity and imagination it fosters, I don’t always love the cache of wings, scarves, tutus and tiara such an activity brings.

Since Jenna’s closet has more space in our new house, I decided to optimize the area to accommodate both dress-up play and storage needs.

I started by dividing her closet into zones:

How to create a child's closet space that encourages dress-up and imaginative play while keeping everyday clothes organized.

The highest level shelves are designated for storage; the mid-level hanging area is the spot for everyday clothes; and the easily accessed bottom hanging area and floor are for play clothes and accessories.

Once I had the spaces defined, I started thinking about how I could make her play clothes accessible while still remaining organized and relatively uncluttered. I also wanted to update the look of her closet and make it more girly and playful. The following pieces were super helpful in achieving these goals:
Creating a dress-up closet for your child: top products for organizing dress-up play clothes

  1. Belt/Tie Hanger:  This is obviously intended for a different category of accessories, but it works just as well for feather boas, butterfly wings, capes and glittery purses. And a single hanger holds A LOT in a very small space.
  2. Clear Boxes for Jewelry: Instead of traditional jewelry boxes, I opted for clear boxes to contain necklaces, rings, hair clips, etc. This way, she can see – and be inspired by – the colorful bling in her collection.
  3. Wood Hangers: Part of my plan is to keep things looking nice. Though pricier than plastic, wood hangers will serve as my reminder that this space is as much about the display as the functionality.
  4. Large Storage Bin: Jenna has a lot of stuffed animals, many of which are incorporated into her dress-up play. This oversized bin is perfect for containing her ever-growing collection. (Note: Both the storage bin and the wall decals were generously provided by The Land of Nod to easily up the style factor in this space.)
  5. Dot Wall Decals: While not essential to storage, I wanted to give the space a fun feel so that it becomes less of a closet and more of an extension of her room. These dots are perfect for adding a stylish touch without a lot of effort.
  6. Stacking Suitcase SetWhether it’s a stacking suitcase set or bins at the top of the closet, having a system for rotating items in and out of play will help keep her interest and help keep the clutter in check.
  7. Tall Mirror: A mirror is an essential part of dress-up play. We’ve had this mirror for years, and as part of Jenna’s closet makeover, I decided to do a little DIY and update it with a scalloped border for a girlier look.
  8. Shoe Organizer: If I could only choose one thing for her dress-up closet, this would be it. A cubby with shoe-size compartments is perfect for holding the essential odds and ends of dress-up play: gloves, hats, sunglasses, jewelry containers, tiaras, etc.

How to makeover your child's closet to encourage dress-up play while keeping everyday clothes organized.

Now that her closet makeover is complete, I’m totally claiming success on this one. Not only does she play dress-up almost daily, she’s even got her super-hero brother in on her games.

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Julee is a designer and mother of two young children. On her blog, Warm Hot Chocolate, she writes about her family, photography, home decor and life in Texas.

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