When I first walked you through Annabelle’s nursery, she was three months old and there was nothing Montessori about her closet. We’re renters, and had plans to move out of our current house a year later, before Annabelle would really develop any interest in getting her own clothes out or dressing herself. So, I decided not to make any major modifications to the closet itself. Now she has nearly reached the ripe old age of seventeen months and we’re still here which is a topic for another post, but means that it’s time to make some changes. This week, I have finally Montessori-ized her closet and I thought I’d share with you how it was done.
The closet itself has two sides with sliding doors, and one side is dedicated to storage. The other side has a rod for hanging clothes, but it is at adult height, of course. In order to make it toddler-accessible, I purchased a tension rod – the type designed to serve as a curtain rod in your shower – and placed it at Annabelle height, toward the front of the closet for easy access. It is adjustable and doesn’t require any hardware, so I haven’t made any lasting changes to the house that I’ll need to undo before we leave, and it only cost about ten dollars. Easy!
Because Annabelle’s closet is so narrow, the stall sized shower rod worked perfectly, but there are longer rods, made for full size showers, that would work for a larger closet. If you have the type of closet that extends for the entire length of a wall, however, you may have to get creative. One idea would be to place a heavy piece of furniture, say a bookshelf or cabinet, inside the closet and set up a tension rod between one closet wall and the edge of the furniture.
Annabelle was in the room when I set everything up, so she saw me hanging the clothes and immediately came over to try her hand. She hung one thing and signed “more” until I handed her something else. This continued until all of the clothes were put away. She loved it! I made sure to put only clothes that are suitable for everyday wear so that when we’re getting ready to go someplace and Annabelle chooses an outfit, I’ll never be tempted to veto her choice, because it will always be appropriate.
I placed baskets in the bottom of the closet for items that don’t go on hangers. On the far left are waterproof trainers for when we’re going out, then there is underwear for when we’re home (side note: I have discovered that bloomers are perfect infant/toddler underwear. Why didn’t I think of this sooner!?), then there are pants, and finally socks. In our house, shoes are near the front door, so they didn’t require any consideration here.
The only thing I’m trying to figure out now is how to utilize the storage space that is above toddler height. Good spots for storage and organization are hard to come by in this house, so I hate to see any closet space going to waste! If you have any ideas, let me know!
I have been busy transitioning just about every area of the house to accommodate Annabelle’s ever developing independence, so I should have a lot to share with you in the near future. I was caught a bit off guard, since I didn’t expect to be here in this stage of toddler-hood, but I have really enjoyed the challenge of finding ways to adjust and organize things to suit Annabelle’s changing needs.
Do you have any ideas or suggestions for creating a closet or other dressing space for a toddler or young child? How have you made changes to your living space to accommodate your children at various stages? I would love to hear from you!