Inside: learn how to organize the nursery closet step-by-step plus the best closet organization ideas and tips for a beautiful yet functional space
A nursery closet is one of the most important spaces in a baby’s room. It’s where you’ll store all of their clothes, diapers, and other baby essentials. If it’s not organized correctly, it can quickly become cluttered and chaotic and will drive you bonkers! There’s always so much to do once baby has arrived, the last thing you want to do is be hunting down xyz with one hand, fussy baby in the other. Here, I will share 25 nursery closet organization ideas and tips that will help keep your baby’s nursery neat and tidy while looking good too. I’ll also provide a step-by-step guide on how to organize your nursery closet like a pro – this is the exact method I used to organize my baby’s closet and I think the results speak for themselves, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.
Happy closet organizing!
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What are the challenges of storing baby clothes & all that baby gear?
The short answer is that there are a lot of baby clothes that need storing and they’re all very small. If you’ve had a baby shower you may already be inundated with a ton of tiny clothes and if you have friends or family with babies already, they’re likely enjoying offloading baby clothes onto you, left right and centre.
For several months I had baby clothes coming out of my ears, I had so many. With boy-girl twins on the way, and an older mom (yes I’m passed 40 now!) lots of my friends were done with having babies and were so keen to gift stuff onto me. Not that I’m complaining, but the clothes mountains were a challenge to navigate for quite a while.
However, now I’ve organized my baby’s closet, or should I say the ‘babies’ closet, since there are 2 of them, in their nursery, things are back under control. There are pictures further on, to illustrate some of the nursery closet organization ideas.
It’s not only the sheer volume – but you may not know exactly which baby clothes you need and how often you will need different items. Frequency of use can help determine exactly where and how to store the different baby paraphanalia, which we will get on to.
How to organize baby’s closet step-by-step
Before you start organizing baby’s closet, it’s worth taking the time to answer each of the following questions, so you know what needs to be stored in the closet, what existing storage you have that can be used and what you need to buy.
STEP 1: List all the baby clothes that need organizing in the nursery closet.
Onesies, sleepers and bodysuits are the most commonly used items for newborns and will likely make up the majority of your baby’s wardrobe in those early months. So a standard “outfit” will probably consist of a bodysuit/onesie (short-sleeved vest with no legs) with a sleepsuit/one-piece (long-sleeved with legs) over the top.
How many outfits does a newborn baby need? The answer to this question depends on your baby, as well as how often you do laundry. If your baby spits up a lot or has reflux, you might go through as many as 6 outfits a day, that was my first daughter the first few months of her life. This came as quite a shock as her older brother could easily go the whole day in the same outfit. So I used far fewer clothes for him. My twins were somewhere in between, probably averaging 2 or 3 outfits a day.
Of course, you’re not going to know this until your little one arrives. So as a rule of thumb, assuming you do laundry every 2-3 days, 10 outfits should do it. So 10 onesies and 10 sleepsuits.
Then there are mittens, and hats (a few of each, since they fall off and get lost easily), plus outfits for special occasions like meeting family members for the first time, Christenings or holiday parties. Here, we’re talking about that cute flowery dress and cardigan set and those adorable red corduroy trousers with matching shirt and waistcoat. Cute, but not practical and probably not all that comfortable for a newborn either.
You’ll also need swaddle sacks and/or swaddle blankets for sleeping in and finally, outerwear: pramsuits with inbuilt mittens should cover it for a newborn.
To sum it up, here’s are all the different baby clothes that you’ll need as a minimum for a newborn:
- 10 onesies
- 10 sleepsuits
- 3-5 pairs of mittens
- 3-5 hats
- 5+ bibs
- 10+ burp cloths
- cute outfits for special occasions and photos
- 3-4 swaddle sacks and/or swaddle blankets
- 1-2 pramsuits
As baby getes older you’ll likely need the following, which are a consideration when you come to organize baby’s closet:
- sleeping bags (loose blankets can put baby at risk of SIDS)
- baby shoes
Safe sleep guidelines recommend that babies sleep on a firm flat mattress, in a clear cot free of loose blankets pillows, toys, bumpers and sleep positioners. So if you thought you needed to buy any of those things for baby, you don’t.
STEP 2: Decide up to what age baby clothes will you be storing in the closet?
If you have a lot of hand-me-downs and have lots of older baby clothes you need to decide how many of these i.e. up to what age, will be stored in the nursery closet. This will depend on how much space you have in the nursery closet.
If you don’t have a lot of space, then you may only want to store clothes up to, say, 6 months in the closet. You can store older baby clothes elsewhere in the house e.g. attic, guest bedroom etc. This will make it easier to manage and organise baby’s closet and keep it tidy.
STEP 3: Decide which clothes you will hang in baby’s closet?
Baby clothes look so cute, of course you’re going to want to hang some up. But I’d recommend storing some clothes in some kind of drawer unit or on shelves for a few reasons:
- It’s a much better use of space than hanging clothes on a hanging rail.
- Hanging baby clothes can be a bit of a pain, since they’re so tiny! It can be fiddly trying to get those little hangers into the sleeves.
- When you’re in a hurry, packing away endless amounts of laundry, you can simply shove the clothes in the drawer and shut it, you can skip folding or neatly rolling them all, and no one’s any the wiser. (Yup, this is the only way I put baby clothes away lately!)
I’d recommend hanging the special occasion/impractical but cute outfits that you’re going to use a handful of times. All other clothes get packed away into drawers or other boxes etc.
STEP 4: Check what other baby gear you have that needs organizing into the closet
Besides clothes, the list of baby gear that you already have or plan to get could be pretty endless. Here are the essentials that you’ll need to find a home for, potentially in baby’s closet:
- diapers and diaper cream
- thermometer and medicines
- sheets and towels
- books and toys
- breast pump, storage bags etc
- bottles and bottle sterilization equipment
- pacifiers and teethers
- baby wrap/sling/carrier
- bows and headbands for baby girls
STEP 5: Check what other storage you have or can make available in baby’s nursery?
If you have a dresser in the nursery already, then this can be used for all sorts of baby things, freeing up space in the closet. However, if space is at a premium in your nursery and you don’t have another dresser, panic not. Here are some ideas for other storage solutions in the nursery:
- storage boxes or baskets for under baby’s cot
- hanging closet organisers for the wall or back of the door
- shelves or shelf units with storage boxes or baskets
- wall hooks with hanging baskets
STEP 6: Decide which baby items are better stored elsewhere in the house?
It will be more practical to keep some of your baby things elsewhere in the house, for example, pram suits, anything you need for the buggy, and your baby sling or wrap. These are better off near your front door, close to hand for when you’re going out.
STEP 7: Check whether baby’s nursery will change uses in the near future
Do you want to make permanent changes to the nursery closet, by adding built-in shelves and extra hanging rails? Or perhaps you’re living in a rental property or know that in a year you’ll be moving baby in with their sibling and the nursery will become a guest room. So then you want to avoid any permanent changes.
STEP 8: See what existing furniture or storage solutions will fit into baby’s closet?
Do you have any furniture elsewhere that’s not being fully utilized? The centerpiece of the twins’ nursery closet is a small dresser with tiny drawers – totally impractical for adult clothes, perfect for baby clothes. It’s the perfect addition to the nursery closet. A bedside table with drawers could also work well in a nursery closet.
The best nursery closet organization ideas
Now that you’ve had a think about the answers to these questions, here are some great nursery closet organization ideas that will help you keep your baby’s nursery neat and tidy while still looking cute. (Because this post is all about organization, I’ve even organized the ideas into different categories… Well actually, I’m an organizer by nature, I can’t help it! )
Nursery closet organisation ideas for PRACTICALITY
#1 Keep baby’s everyday clothes and other stuff you need on a daily basis within easiest access
That means onesies and sleepsuits should be the most accessible, preferably in a drawer unit that’s easily opened with one hand, for the times when you are holding baby in the other.
All your diaper stuff will be at your changing table or diaper station, so unless that’s in your closet, we’re not including those things.
Other frequently used items for a newborn are hats, bibs and mittens so these need to be in easy reach.
#2 Sort and label any next size up clothes and store out the way
If you’ve been gifted older baby clothes, sort and store them by size, clearly labeling each container.
#3 Have an easily accessible storage box/basket for outgrown clothes
When an item of clothing has been outgrown, once it’s back from the laundry put it straight into this storage box/basket. Try to avoid letting outgrown clothes mix in with baby’s current clothes as you’ll find yourself trying to put too small clothes on your baby again. Dressing baby’s isn’t fun, you don’t ever want to have to repeat the excercise.
Once baby has started wearing the next size up and has outgrown all the newborn clothes, you can simply remove them all from this box and either gift on immediately or store elsewhere, e.g. attic, for a future baby.
#4 Have an easily accessible “keepsake box” for memorable baby items
A cute idea is to have a special box or basket just for special keepsake items in the nursery closet. You might want to keep their hospital wristbands in there, as well as some of their tiny baby clothes that you’re particularly fond of.
#5 Have a sensor light inside the closet
In case of a middle-of-the-night blowout, or to avoid turning on lights in the nursery when you’re trying to settle baby, a discreet sensor light is a worthy investment. These are relatively inexpensive and will make your life so much easier! I like these ones that are magnetic and rechargeable – simply put on a shelf in the nursery.
#6 Use closet dividers
If you have lots of baby clothes that you want to hang, closet dividers will help keep baby clothes organized by size, making it much easier to find the right outfit when you’re in a hurry. You can buy closet dividers here or make some – here’s a tutorial for DIY nursery closet dividers.
#7 Use bow and headband organisers
This cute baby bow and headband organiser will make it easy to organize your baby girls bows and headbands and will look cute too.
#8 Use self-adhesive index card pockets on storage units to hold labels
These self-adhesive label holders are all about practicality, simply peel and stick to any plastic closet storage boxes and slip the label in. When you come to change the contents of the box, you can easily switch out the old label for a new one.
#9 Add extra shelves to make storage units more easily accessible
Open shelves are ideal for storage boxes and baskets but once stacked are tricky to access; when you want something from the bottom unit you’re going to have to remove the ones stacked on top. So if those units are going to store baby items that you need regularly, install extra shelves to make them easy to access.
Closet organization ideas that make it look CUTE
Just because it’s a closet, you still want to make it look pretty and, if possible, fit the decor of the nursery.
#10 Personalize your baby’s closet with their name or initials
Adding baby’s name or initials inside the nursery closet is a really sweet way of personalizing it and adding some lovely decoration too. You could try some bunting, a wooden letter or how these resin flower letters
#11 Label drawers and storage boxes with pretty labels
Pretty nursery-themed labels are a quick way of adding some personality and style to necessary practicality in your nursery closet. You can buy these, or make your own with some pretty paper, as I did.
#12 Hang special occasion outfits on hangers
These are the cute ones that look good but aren’t particularly practical. Have these on show to add to the decor.
#13 Put baby booties and other cute items out on display
If you have enough space in the closet, you could dedicate a shelf to pretty baby things, like first booties, scan photos or something of sentimental value, like these old fashioned trucks and vehicles from when my dad was a kid.
#14 Get a set of matching hangers
Most baby clothes come with a hanger, but for a neater look, you could invest in a set of matching hangers like these.
#15 Add some nursery themed wallpaper
A quick and easy way to add personality and style to the nursery closet is by using some nursery-themed wallpaper on one of the walls. This is only worth doing if you have some bare wall space or open shelves where the wall is clearly visible. If the nursery closet is going to be full to the brim with storage boxes, obviously you won’t see the wallpaper.
#16 Choose nursery storage units, shelves & hooks that coordinate with the nursery decor
Whichever nursery theme you’ve gone for, you should be able to find storage boxes, baskets and wall hooks that fit with that look. I found these adorable brass bear hooks on Ebay and they fit so well with the vintage decor.
Nursery closet ideas to INCREASE STORAGE
Is your nursery closet the size of a broom cupboard? My twin’s closet is! So here are some nursery closet storage ideas for the smallest closets. However, whatever size you’re dealing with, I’d recommend using every inch of space in the nursery closet now. The older your baby gets, the more they will end up needing – their stuff just seems to multiply on a monthly basis! So you may as well get ahead; don’t leave any space unused.
#17 Install wall hooks or rails with hanging baskets or bins
There’s normally an abundance of unused wall space in the closet, particularly on the inside of the sidewalls. You need to use this vertical space, particularly in small closets. Install wall hooks or, if enough width, a rail. Then you can hang baskets and bins, for small items, like hats, mittens, teethers and so on. Once baby is older, simply remove the baskets and use the hooks for bigger items of clothing like coats and dressing gowns. Or if you want to display headbands or ribbons, you can simply hang them from the rail with multiple hooks for a cute and super organized look.
#18 Invest in a storage unit/organizer for the back of the closet door
These come in all shapes and sizes these days. There are ones with multiple pockets, designed for storing adult shoes – good for small baby items – and ones with fewer, much larger pockets – good for books, toys, or cloth diapers.
#19 Use shallow storage containers or trays under the bottom shelf or dresser
If you have a dresser with legs inside your nursery closet, or shelves, be sure to try and use the space underneath.
#20 Install a second closet rail for more hanging space
Drawers are the most practical way to store baby clothes, but if you have a lot of clothes you want to display and enough room to install another rail, then it’s not a big job. What about a temporary closet rail? Remember, baby clothes are small and light and take up very little vertical space so you could hang a second rail from the first one.
Here’s one you can buy, or how about a DIY solution? When organizing my twins’ nursery closet, I made a second, temporary rail with a wooden pole as you can see in the photo above. My husband drilled a hole through each end and through this I threaded some pretty ribbon. I then hung this rail from the permanent closet rail. Cute and simple!
BUDGET nursery closet organization ideas
#21 Repurpose & reuse
If you’re after storage boxes see what you already have at home that you can use. If you’re going for the vintage look and/or are keen on upcycling and reusing, the following are great for storage
- Large hat or gift boxes
- Sturdy vintage suitcases
- Old wicker baskets and hampers
- Old wooden tea chests or wine or fruit crates
- Large decorative biscuit & cake tins
- Old tissue boxes or coffee cans – perfect for all the little things
#22 Check out your local dollar store
They offer great storage solutions such as drawer organizers and clear storage bins in all different sizes, as well as pretty accessories like bunting You just never know what you might be able to pick up for just a few dollars.
All the best ideas for nursery closet STORAGE SOLUTIONS
#23 Invest in a closet organizer for the nursery
Even if you manage to recycle and repurpose, you’re likely to need to invest in one or two different types of storage solution when organizing baby’s closet. These will also help maximize space in the closet, so are great baby clothes storage ideas for small spaces. A number of these storage solutions have been
If not, below are a selection of the best closet organizers for the nursery – some have been mentioned before in conjunction with
- Hanging closet organizer: these come in different shapes and sizes, to hang on the back of the door, on a hook on the wall or on the closet rail. So first decide where it’s going to hang and then what you want to store in it.
- Wicker baskets: these are ideal for storing baby items in the nursery closet as they look lovely and natural, plus they’re easily accessible. You can even line them with pretty fabric to match your nursery decor.
- Wire baskets: for a vintage industrial look, wire baskets might be exactly what you’re looking for. They’re also fairly practical as you can easily see what’s inside.
- Clear plastic boxes: are sturdier and more practical than wicker baskets. If you buy a set, they’re normally stackable which is great for the top closet shelf as you can stack and pack away boxes with items you don’t regularly access, like next size up clothes. Boxes containing items you need daily are better off unstacked, for easy access.
- Foldable collapsible fabric boxes with lids: these fold away flat when not in use and have lids so you can stack if necessary.
- Closet drawer organizers: if you have a dresser in the nursery closet with large drawers, you may want to divide the drawers up to make them easier to organize.
- Stackable shelving unit: this is a great way to use vertical space in the nursery closet and can be rearranged as and when needed.
- Closet rail dividers: for when you have different ages of clothing hanging up, closet dividers help you easily organize and navigate the closet.
- Ikea sunnersta rail plus hooks and/or plastic bins: these make good use of any spare wall space in the closet. Install the rail and attach hooks to hang hairbands, burp cloths etc, or for bigger items attach plastic bins.
Nursery closet organization FAQs:
When should you organize baby’s nursery and closet?
Most parents like to start organizing and planning baby’s nursery around the 20-week mark but if you’re not feeling ready to nest just yet, there’s no need to worry. Baby’s don’t need very much at first and although it’s nice to be super organized ahead of time, it’s by no means, essential. Although I love to organise, deciding what to put where and what to buy is where I fall down. So I only finished organizing the twins closet and nursery by the time they turned 3 months! Of course, as soon as they were born my time disappeared into a black hole so it was a slow process.
How do I organize a nursery closet on a budget?
There are plenty of ways to organize your nursery closet without spending a lot of money. One way is to use things you already have around the house, like old hat boxes, suitcases, baskets, and crates. Another way is to buy second-hand storage solutions and upcycle. Check the list of nursery closet organization ideas for inspiration.
Can you put the changing table in the nursery closet?
You can put the changing table in the nursery closet – it’s nice to tuck it away out of site. However, it will take up a lot of space. A better option might be to use a freestanding changing station that can be moved around as needed. Alternatively, you could consider using a chest of drawers or dresser and simply put your changing pad on the top. You can now get changing tables that clip onto the top of baby’s crib, freeing up valuable space in the nursery and closet.
What’s the best way to store baby clothes?
Folding or rolling and stacking into drawers is my preferred way to store baby clothes as it doesn’t take up a lot of space and if it’s a bit untidy no one will see! Folding and stacking on open shelves is also good as you can easily see what you need (but also see untidy folding!)
Hanging baby clothes takes up the most space and it the least practical but great for cute-looking clothes that look good on display.
Are you ready to organize your baby’s closet?
I hope you enjoyed all these nursery closet organization ideas and tips. And I’d love to hear what you think of my own efforts!