Costume Storage

Tickle trunk or costume closet? How do you manage your costume collection?

Ever since Mr. Dressup, I have wanted my own tickle trunk. The red flower covered trunk was a magical thing, full of fun, launching on adventure after adventure.

So naturally, when I had children of my own I began collecting costumes.  Not just store bought but collected clothes. Pirates, cowboys, and dragons along with random hats, capes and belts were slowly added to our ever-growing pile. So what to do with it?

When it comes to dress ups, there are a few standard options each with their own benefits and limits. Let’s discuss some options.

Mr. Dressup’s Tickle Trunk, at the CBC Museum in Toronto. Photo by JeremyW.

Tickle Trunks

The simplest go to is the trunk. Whether you use old suitcases that slide under a bed, a storage basket, or a box – any container can hold your costumes.  While cleanup can be as fast as jamming everything in until you can close the lid, the downside is the difficulty of searching through the piles.

Coat Racks and Hooks

If your collection is small, or if there are some daily favourites a coat rack or clothing tree can be a great option. They don’t take much space, are cost-effective, can be used almost anywhere.  Having the options visible can encourage children to dive into creative play, and when the play is done clean up is pretty easy. Of course, unless you line your rooms with hooks or create a cloakroom of coat trees, they have their limits as to how many costumes they can hold.

Dress Up Centres

If you need more space a dress-up centre can be a great solution. These purpose-built systems have a combination of hanging storage and open shelving for smaller items, as well as a mirror, to see how awesome you look!

The space-saving Rotating Dress Up Storage has 2 oval mirrors and 5 storage compartments, making it great for accessories and finishing touches but not full-length costumes.

The Toddler Dress Up Island and the slightly larger Dress Up Centre feature a hanging rail or hook area for long costumes, as well as shelves for accessories and space for shoes or boots. These systems are a great option for medium-sized collections and have the same benefit of being able to see the play clothes.

Costume Closets

The largest of the options is a full Dress Up Cupboard.  Similar to a wardrobe these are great options for larger collections and spaces where seeing the costumes would be a distraction like in shared spaces. Larger than the dress-up centres, these can be a beautiful furniture addition to a room, while containing all the costumes it can hold. With a shatterproof mirror on the inside of the doors and hooks inside this closet, it has an additional low shelf to hold your variety of costume pieces.

Ryan Roth Bartel is a father of 2 boys (elementary and pre-kindergarten).

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