Realistically, your child will probably be interested in his or her height well beyond the 3-foot range, even if he or she doesn’t “need” the clothing rack, so you might want to plan ahead. Consider buying a tape measure instead of a yardstick, cutting it off somewhere between 50 and 60 inches, and affix that to your vertical surface. Then, either mount multiple vertical bars for clothes or make it adjustable so that it can be moved upward as the child grows. As for marking height, you could simply mark on the vertical wood surface where the child is, along with the date (you could do this every couple months or so), or you could affix a plastic or wooden marker that can be slid up or down the length of the measure.
You could get more creative by mounting the measure to a surface that is shaped like a child or cartoon character rather than just a vertical board, which will look more attractive in a room than a simple rack of vertical and horizontal boards. But the basic concept is the same.
YOU AND ME
Make a life-size wood cutout of you (or the other parent). It’s easier than you think. Just set a large board up against a wall and have someone shine a light on the board, with you in between the light and the board. Have your partner or a friend draw around your body while you stand very still. Afterward, use a jigsaw to cut out your silhouette, mount it to a base, and attach some hooks to the front from which to hang clothes. To make things easier for holding clothes, it might be best if the cutout of your body has your arms straight out from the side of your body so that you can put hooks on the arms or hang clothes from the cutout’s hands.
Buy some “chalkboard paint” and paint the cutout with it. Now, instead of marking the height in terms of inches or centimeters, you can draw the child’s outline in chalk on top of the cutout of your body so that he or she can see the relative height and how much closer to adulthood he or she is. When it comes time for an update, erase the old outline, or do a new one in a new color. Make sure that the clothing hooks extend far enough out from the surface so that you don’t end up with chalk-covered clothes, or hang clothes far out from the central portion from the ends of your cutout’s arms. The disadvantage of this system is that a very small child may have trouble reaching clothes at the height of an adult’s shoulder. So, mount hooks at the cutout’s waist level or close to it in addition to higher ones.
Even when the child becomes old enough not to care about his or her height, the cutout could make a great combination coat rack/message board.
RACK UP THE DATA
If you don’t have much closet space in the house and your child has a large clothing rack out in the open in his or her room, mount a large, flat surface to one end of the rack and buy a ready-made growth chart. Many companies market growth charts with various patterns and hash marks for the measurements. Simply mount one in a style suitable to your child’s taste to the surface you just mounted to the clothing rack, and mark away as the years go on.