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    Childrearing #5

    June 28, 2006 by Brandy Vencel

    Choose baskets on an open shelf rather than a chest of drawers.

    I thought it was darling when Pottery Barn debuted this style, and I was originally drawn to it purely for its cuteness. I loved the little wicker baskets with the colorful fabric liners, and it seemed cheery and playful when compared to the average chest of drawers. But I have since discovered that there are real, practical benefits to this when children are small.

    First, though, I will describe E.’s shelving {and make note that A.’s setup is similar–her changing table has two open shelves full of wicker baskets}. We wanted to make sure that he could easily reach everything. Target, at the time of purchase, was selling a low-cost white “bookcase” that was only two-shelves high, and quite wide. It was perfect for his room!

    We filled the bottom shelf with all of his books. This not only kept them within reach, but also weighed down the bottom to prevent tipping in the event of climbing or earthquakes. For the top shelf, we purchased three wicker baskets with cute liners that matched his bedding {two were blue and one was red}. One basket contains shorts {in the winter it contains pants}, one contains T-shirts, and one contains underwear. Since we bought this shelving cheaply, we make sure the lightest basket {the underwear basket} is in the middle to keep the shelf from swaying.

    E. has a bedside table that has two small drawers for his pajamas. These drawers have caused me a fair amount of grief because he will pull them all the way out {not purposely} and then he doesn’t have the coordination to get them back in. Sometimes, he also hurts himself in the process because the accident happens so fast. I am so glad that we do not have a chest of drawers for his clothes right now!

    The baskets allow for easy access. He can take them down and put them back without requiring any assistance. Shortly after we began this setup, we realized that this meant he was able to put away all his laundry himself, save what needed to be hung up. Now, he loves the independence, and doesn’t need to be asked. If I fold clothes at night, I just leave everything outside his door, and by the time I see him in the morning, everything is neatly put away in the appropriate baskets.

    In short, we have found that this style of shelving works well for our family. It allows the child to participate more with the laundry, as well as prevents accidents with the dreaded drawers.


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