Keeping Your Kids' Closets Organized

It always amazes parents that the littlest people in our lives can often take up the most space. Kids’ closets can be a challenge to organize, but some simple strategies can make it a little easier. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind as you set up and maintain your children’s closets.

1. Keep the organizing flexible

The demands on an infant’s bedroom closet are very different from those of a teenager’s, so make sure your set up is flexible. Some closet organizer systems cannot be rearranged once installed, but a product like Rubbermaid’s Configurations closet systems will allow you to add/move shelves, rods and drawers as your children's needs change. If you are looking for a more inexpensive option, free-standing bookcases or shelving units that you may already have in your home can provide extra shelving in a builders' basic rod-and-shelf closet.

2. Keep the organizing easy

Putting clothes away on hangers can be a challenge for full-grown adults – forget kids! Hooks are a great way to help young children take some ownership of their closet organization. Robes, belts, and other items can be quickly and easily hung on a hook. I like the 3M options because the hooks can be moved as time goes on, without a lot of damage to walls.

Open bins on shelves make it easy for children to pop items into their closets. Socks, underwear, small toys, etc., can all be tucked away but are still super-accessible. Part of keeping it easy is keeping it identifiable. Labelling bins and shelves (using photos for your little ones, words for older ones) will help keep like with like.

3. Keep the items within reach

One of the best ways to get your child to participate in organizing their own closet is to make sure they can access it. Keep the day-to-day items down low and the less frequently required items higher up.

A rod extension (the one pictured below is from Bed, Bath &Beyond) can double a closet’s hanging space in a kid’s closet AND make it more manageable for some children to reach their clothes.

4. Keep track of the inventory

Kids outgrow their clothes so fast, it’s important to keep track of what fits and what does not. If you have the space, keep a donation basket or box in their closet so any too-small clothes can be moved out of the regular line up. If the clothes are being kept for a younger sibling, use a plastic storage bin and pre-mark the bin with a label to designate the sex, size and season of the clothes to come. For example, you might write “Girls/Summer/18 months to 24 months” on the label before moving the box to your storage room. It will make is super easy later to pull out the correct clothes at the correct time.


Leave a comment and let us know what kind organizing challenges you face!

Heather Cameron is an Ottawa organizer with Edited Interiors. Contact her to learn more about how you can benefit from her real-life organizing solutions for your home.

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Ottawa area attractions: Mont Cascades

by Amanda Our 2 year old has a new phrase these days. “Water slides. Go! Water Slides?”  We are frequent visitors to Mont Cascade. So frequent that we have purchased season passes again this year and our son recognizes when we get close because he says “Water Slides!!” Mont Cascade is located in Cantley, Quebec, approximately 25 minutes from downtown Ottawa.

Ticket prices are only $15 for adults or $35+tax for a season’s pass (2 and under are free!) making it is a very affordable option for some fun in the sun. The water being heated this year adds to even more enjoyment.  At $35 for a seasons pass we can justify only going for a few hours at a time. Sometimes with smaller children this is needed for those who still nap or just need to head home for some quiet time.

The kids area consists of a 3 smaller slides that end up in the beach like wading pool and 2 larger slides that bring you down to the bottom in their own little area. Check it out here. Our 2 year old loves going down the 3 smaller slides on his own but with the longer walk up to the top for the 2 larger slides, called Lemonade and Tangerine for their colours, he has an adult ride with him.

We have discovered that depending on what kind of bathing suit bottoms you wear will greatly impact your speed, or lack thereof.  My husband has his “water slide shorts” that offer speed! Even going on the slides with our son they catch some great speed and shoot out the bottom.  If you are wearing bathing suit bottoms that are made out of cotton you may find yourself pushing yourself down the slide more.  When we visit during the more busy times one adult generally stays at the top of the slide and the other at the bottom to do the catching as they come into the water. Our son does the small walk back up to the top by himself with us watching him. This is done more for the fact that he doesn’t understand the concept of not letting the older kids jump in front of him and to wait until the child before him is completely out of the way before it is his turn!  There is a height restriction in the childrens area but adult or older children are able to slide with the little ones at all times.

With many daycamps frequenting the park this summer I suggest trying to go on a Monday or Tuesday. Generally these are days where daycamps do not take day trips off site.  Plan to be there right for opening, 10am, or head later in the day around 3 when many people are leaving for the day to get home for dinner.  That being said we did meet some friends there on a Friday early afternoon and despite the parking lot being full the kid area was not overwhelming.

Bring a cooler and pack your lunch and snacks. There is a canteen available and a Subway restaurant. Prices can start to add up quickly. Just remember not to bring any glass bottles or containers, as they are not permitted.  If you get there early grab a picnic table with some shade and an umbrella.  There are also a few cabana’s to rent if you are going with a group but I do find them very awkwardly placed over by a smaller pool and not close to the children’s area and away from many of the main slides. This could be a draw for those with older children so the parents have a quiet place to sit but those with young children would not have easy access from the kids area to their cabana’s.

For older children there is “Splash Forest” with a few small tube slides, spraying water and buckets of fun.  We have only frequented a few of the “big slides” and have found that the line ups can get quite big in the mid day.  Expect a line up to wait for your tube or mat if they are required for your slide of choice and then a long walk up to the top of the slide. However, it would be a great way to tire out the kids for the drive home!

The lifeguard in me also feels the need to gently remind you to keep your eyes on your child at all times and to stay close.  From what I have seen over the past two years frequenting this water park is that the lifeguards are not always as vigilant as they could be.   Because they are a private waterpark and not a City pool they do not have to follow the same standards and the lifeguard to bather ratio is quite large.  We have noticed there are a few lifeguards who are fantastic with the children, encouraging high fives as they walk back up to the slides, gently reminding children to walk instead of run and responding to questions or needs of park users. Next time you want someplace to cool off why not head to Cascades? We’ll see you there!

Amanda is a mom to a 2 year old boy and 4 month old baby girl.  When she is not out having fun with the kids you can find her getting her yoga on at

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How to prepare for crowded events with your child

by Karen

It's just been a couple of days since Canadians across the country were gathered together to celebrate the 145th birthday of the nation. That means big crowds - and when you're in Ottawa, it means really, really big crowds!

I happened to be speaking with a friend today and she mentioned that she volunteers every Canada Day (and Winterlude) for the NCC/Girl Guides Lost Children Service. The Lost Children Service is volunteer-based and RCMP is on hand for cases where children are missing for more than an hour. The service does require paperwork to be filled out on each incident.

As she was telling us about the service and how it works, I grabbed my notebook and pen to take notes. She had a lots of excellent advice for parents who are in crowded places with their children, whether there is a lost children service or not. And, since festival season is still long from being over, here are some tips!

  1. Label your child. Even if you've taught your son/daughter your names, numbers, address, what you're wearing, etc., the stress and fright of realizing they are separated from you may render that information temporarily lost - sometimes regardless of age. Some parents mark on their children's back with permanent marker. Others may put a sticker on the inside of the back of their shirt. If you choose a sticker - go with something tough and sticky. (These wristbands are a great idea too!) You don't want that info getting lost.
  2. Take a picture. Do you have a camera in your phone? Take a picture of your child(ren) in the clothes they're wearing (then you don't have to remember for a description) and in a spot with some frame of reference for height. That can be sent to someone in authority if you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of having to track down a lost child.
  3. Take another picture! This one should be one of you. If your child has a device they carry with them, make sure your picture is on it. It's not unusual for the search to go both ways.
  4. Make a plan. It's easy to get separated in a crowded place with lots of distractions. Before getting too far in, check out the lay of the land and decide on a place to meet. Is there an information table? A ticket stand? A security desk? Figure out what makes sense for the situation you're in and communicate the plan to everyone in your party.
  5. Ask permission first. This probably goes without saying, but it never hurts to repeat to your children the importance of asking permission before they wander away.
  6. Share the load. In your group, buddy up. Pairs or trios are easier to manage. Get the kids involved with helping to look out for each other.
  7. Pack the necessities. And nothing more. If you're weighed down with tons of stuff that doesn't leave you a free hand to hold on to a little one, assess what's really needed and leave some things behind.

Above all, once you've done all these things and still get separated, don't panic. Remember the plan and act on it before assuming the worst.

These are just a few tips I put together from the discussion with my friend and ideas I had from my own past experiences. Let me know if you have more ideas to add in the comments!


Karen Wilson is a wife to Matt and mom to Brandon (4), who blogs about her life at Karen’s Chronicles. She can be found at Wellman Wilson, helping businesses use social media more effectively. Lately, she’s also busy planning a little conference and doing her part to keep the coffee industry alive.

My son has special needs, but I'm not sure what they are...yet.

by Karen I've recently begun writing about our experiences going through the system to get our son assessed.  It all started last summer when we were having communication difficulties around potty training. Eventually, we decided to talk to our doctor about motor skills as well. We've since added emotional development and behavior to the list.

That's a heavy load on our minds as parents, but in the grand scheme of things we are very blessed. We simply have challenges that may be considered by some to be outside of the "norm". And yet, life is just like that.

"Normal" is Relative

I have three family members who are on the autism spectrum so I've always known it was possible that Brandon could be as well since there's a strong genetic link. One family member was diagnosed as an adult and it explained so much about this individual. Resources and knowledge are far different now than they were when I was a child.

It can feel like such a punch in the gut to hear someone you trust tell you that you should think about getting your child assessed, but it's worth it to be proactive.

My experience so far has been so positive - friends are quick to offer support, helpful advice. The specialists we're seeing are incredibly compassionate professionals who take Brandon as he is and work with him. The waiting feels like it will never end, but we're finally seeing results after nearly 11 months.

The Testing Begins

It can be intimidating to go for an assessment, but the specialists we've encountered have been outstanding. They play with Brandon and work hard to engage him in ways that he will enjoy and respond to. When it's clear he's had enough, they generally don't push him too much further.

We've had two assessments so far. There are more to come.

The Goal

This is all part of a grand plan I have to give my son the very best life he can have. These assessments will put us on the right track. I want to know what makes Brandon tick. I want to know how to help him understand me better and vice versa.

Unexpected Inspiration

When I attended a conference recently, I got to see Jason Goldsmith - of The Big Blue Hug - speak about his son Ellis, who is autistic. Check out this video excerpt of the session:

Hearing Jason talk reinforced beliefs I've had all along:

  • Nothing is "wrong" with my son. He is exactly right just the way he is.
  • Assessments are just a jargony way of saying you have to be creatively vigilant and diligent to learn how to reach a child in the way that works for them.
  • I will do whatever it takes to help my son, because just as I get to share my stories in a way that works for me, I want him to find a way to share his.

I'm going to write about this from time to time as we go through this process. My hope is that I can help parents who may have fears about this process by sharing my story.

Do you have a child with special needs? What is the one piece of advice you'd give other parents?


Karen Wilson is a wife to Matt and mom to Brandon (4), who blogs about her life at Karen’s Chronicles. She can be found at Wellman Wilson, helping businesses use social media more effectively. Lately, she’s also busy planning a little conference and doing her part to keep the coffee industry alive.

A Hoppin' Good Time

by Carly The Little Man will turn six in August, but because it can be hard to get school friends together in the summer, we decided to have a small party  to celebrate the momentous occasion before classes ended.

We recently won a birthday party package from Tiny Hoppers and  while we hadn't done anything like that before now, we figured this would be a great time to take advantage of our winnings.

I was actually a little hesitant at first because after visiting their East End location it was clear they catered more to toddlers and preschoolers than school aged children.  So we talked it over at length with Jake and he decided he wanted to go for it.

Tiny Hoppers Standard Birthday Party Package Includes:

* Up to 16 children * Ages 1-10 * 1.5 hours in length * 45 minutes of structured activities with the children * 45 minutes of free play, time for cake, snacks and presents * Various themes available * Balloons for each child * Set up and clean up * FREE Class Passes * $150

We arrived  about 15 minutes before the party was due to start, to put out Jake's cake and speak with the staff on hand.  The two women who facilitated the party were lovely and accommodating.

The kids spent only about 30 minutes (instead of the 45 minutes indicated in the party package) doing "structured" activities.  They used different musical instruments, hopper balls and ribbons to sing and dance around to different songs.  The facilitators were really enthusiastic and animated, and all the kids enjoyed themselves.  They wrapped up that part with some parachute games and we followed that up with some free play, cake, and the gift opening.

Overall I was really happy with the staff and their willingness to help and support our needs.  The songs were silly and fun and the kids really enjoyed the ribbons, drums, hopper balls and the slide.

I do think the party would have been better geared toward younger children and I was happy that only six children in total could make it to our party because the space was really small for children of that age.  As it was, our guests were bumping into one another a fair bit and there were a few scraped knees and backs from climbing through the small-ish tunnels and slides.

The structured activities were great, but with a smaller and older group (less chaos, more listening to instruction) they took less time than anticipated and I do wish the staff had allowed for that by planning some additional games or songs.  In the end I stepped in and led the kids in a few rounds of musical chairs when I saw their enthusiasm for the free play lagging.

Because the space was small, the parachute couldn't be fully opened (though the kids had a blast anyway) and the floors were pretty dirty, both the surface of the foam mats that covered the floor and underneath them), as evidenced by the black feet the kids had by the end of the party.  Everything else was spotless and it was handy to have bathrooms with nice low sinks and the like for the kids to wash up in.

From a customer service perspective, it was a wonderful experience and I'd certainly go back for another party.  The East End location is primarily used to accommodate a full time daycare and the space is set up as such, so I'd definitely recommend their party package for children 3 or 4 years of age and under.

In the end, Jake had a blast, which is really all that matters.  I was really pleased that their facility was strictly peanut/tree nut free and whole egg free as the Little Man is allergic to both..

What are some of your favourite places to have birthday parties?


Carly has red hair and occasionally the temper to match.  She loves potatoes, rainy nights, photography, her husband and her 4 year old son, Jacob.  Probably in reverse order.   She also blogs.