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Montessori Toddler Wardrobe - IKEA Besta Hack

As a Montessori parent, I know that my children crave independence from a young age. Even as a young toddler, children seek independence in their everyday lives. As a Montessori parent, it is my role to prepare our environment to give my child as much independence as possible. As Maria Montessori said, "We must help the child to act for himself, will for himself, think for himself; this is the art of those who aspire to serve the spirit."

A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving

In an effort to help Gus become as independent as he wants to be, I have been thinking about the best way to make his clothes accessible to him. Prior to this, we have been using a baby dresser and presenting him with two options to choose from when he gets dressed. But, as he gets older he is ready for more. Hence -- the IKEA BESTA toddler wardrobe hack!

A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving

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Gus doesn’t have a large room and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money making something custom he would only used for a couple of years. I considered a Kallax hack, but even though we have minimized Gus’s wardrobe, I was afraid it just wasn’t going to be large enough. So, I turned to my favorite shelf - the IKEA Besta. I knew that IKEA had enough pieces to make it flexible for our needs and not break the bank.

A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving

Bonus, it was long enough to hold all of Gus’ clothes, and still allow for (poop) diaper changes on top. As he gets older, we can also add legs to the bottom of the shelf to help it grow with him. Win. Win. Win!

What You'll Need: 

OPTIONAL: there are also legs available at IKEA for the BESTA to make it a bit taller (we will add these as Gus gets older) or you can add a door {you'll need hinges and another face} to cover the shelf (something I probably won't do). The cute wooden kids hangers are also a nice touch!

A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving

Questions

I’m sure there will be some questions, so I’ll try to answer them as they come up. Here are some I have already gotten:

Is this Gus’s entire wardrobe? Yes, for the most part. A couple shirts and pants were in the laundry when I took these pictures, but we don’t have a bunch of extra everyday clothes in storage somewhere else. We are still hanging his pajamas for now, but as he gets older and able to have access to more choices we will move those down as well. The bonus of keep a wardrobe minimal is that we don't have an overwhelming number clothes so what we have is OK for him even at a young age.

A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving

Isn't that drawer too deep for him? No, he is at this moment able to reach all the way to the bottom of the drawer and reach his socks. I added some underwear for these pictures (he's not quite there yet) but eventually he will be. I got the deep version of the drawer in case we wanted to store bulkier clothes, like his snow suit in it as he got older. Since he can reach to the bottom now, I'm fine with it's depth.

A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving
A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving

Won't he just pull everything off? Maybe. Some exploration is likely especially at first. But, then that just opens up opportunities for putting things away. The independence this offers outweighs the risk of putting a couple pairs of pants back on a shelf for me. Plus, it's behind a set of closet doors so when he is alone for nap/night, this will be tucked away. 

Will he smash his fingers? No. These are push hinges, so the drawer cannot slam shut. He could shut it on his fingers, yes, but that's a pretty good natural consequence and he will learn fast.

A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving
A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving

If I get any more frequently asked questions, I will update the post and try to answer! If you try this let me know how it goes! 

A DIY Montessori toddler wardrobe made with IKEA BESTA shelving

Do you have a toddler wardrobe? What have you done to make clothes access independent for your toddler? 

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Comments

abcya said…
Interesting article! Thank you for sharing them! I hope you will continue to have similar posts to share with everyone!
AurĂ©lie said…
Thanks for this very interesting post. Do you think the hanging bar is absolutely necessary? Right now I only have drawers in my daughter's room (she is 14 months old). She doesn't pick her own clothes yet because she simply refuses to get dressed at all (I hope this will pass...), but I see everywhere toddler wardrobe with hangers and I wonder about setting one up or not. Is Gus getting dressed gladly in the morning? As I said, my daughter would (and does) rather stay naked all day and night...
Crystal Behlke said…
I just did an IKEA hack for a wardobe using the Trofast shelving, with drawers in one shelf and a dowel in the other shelf. I'm still in the process of setting it up but am excited to use it!

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