Sara Greene
About Author
January 10, 2020
Home Organizing

Organizing the Coat Closet

Why is it always one of the most visible closets in your home, the one all your guests see, is the messiest?  

The coat closet is notorious for being the messy catch-all of the home (right alongside the junk drawer). If you have ever been embarrassed to put your guest’s coat in your closet, if your husband throws his dirty sneakers on top of your Ugg boots every single night after the gym, or if your toddler can’t reach a hanger so the coat/gloves/hat/shoes go on the floor….this post is for you. Here are a few ways to make your coat closet more functional, so you aren’t frustrated every single time you open those doors.

Step 1: Clean it out (regularly)

At least 2x a year, you should be doing a clean out of your coat closet. I say 2x a year because it lines up nicely with seasons changing. Ideally you would do it 1x as winter is ending and 1x as summer is ending. For those who don’t have seasons like we do on the east coast, still try to do this 2x a year. Things you should be looking for when you clean out: 1) things that don’t fit (this applies to all family members) 2) things that are worn out/torn/ not fixable 3) things that you or a family member no longer like but are still in good shape and can be donated.  As you go through each of the categories, make sure you are putting things in either a 1) toss pile or 2) donate pile.  As you go along you should also make note of replacement items you need (I can help you with this area, just ask me about closet updates!). Often you can find great deals on items as a season is ending (i.e. ski coats in March-April).

Step 2: Put rarely used and/or seasonal items on the top

This definitely depends how large your coat closet is, but if you have room for some organizing bins on top of the hanging space, this is a definite to do. Don’t go skiing every day? Put those ski gloves at the top. Is it 25 degrees and snowing outside? Maybe those flipflops or pool bag should be put away. You can easily label boxes for kid use as well!

Storage box suggestions:

1.     Clear plastic small

2.     Clear plastic large

3.     Basic in fabric

4.     Basic in rattan

Step 3: Add accessible hooks

One of the problems I see with this space in many homes is that kids just can’t reach the hooks or hangers for their items. You can’t get annoyed about them not putting away their things when they can’t reach (….after they can reach you can get annoyed)! By adding a few hooks at a lower eye level, your kids will be able to help with putting away their things after school/sports etc. I recommend some removable command type hooks so that you aren’t drilling permanent holes into your walls (since your kids will grow). These are great hooks.

Step 4: Give your shoes a home

Smelly, yucky shoes thrown all over the bottom of your coat closet…sound familiar? I grew up with 3 brothers and a Father who acted like one of the boys, so this is a visceral memory for me. I would also be lying if I said it still didn’t happen when everyone is home for the holidays. How to prevent this? Give the shoes a home! The easiest to use options are 1) an over the door hanger or 2) shoe cubbies/benches lining the bottom of the closet. Depending on how much space you have, you could even do both. Just remember to purge shoes that no longer fit, put out of season shoes away, and leave empty slots or cubbies for visitors/new shoes/family members coming home to stay awhile. Lastly, keep the sports shoes in the garage or mud room! They do NOT need to be in the same space as your quilted Barbour or cashmere blend overcoat. Fabrics soak up smells and you don’t want to smell like a soccer field when you walk into work 😊.

A few shoe storage options:

1.     Over the door

2.     Low shoe cubbies that fit under hanging items

3.     Plastic bins for out of season shoes

Step 5:  Keep extra hangers handy for guests

Once your closet has been refreshed and organized, you will be proud to open the door in front of friends and family.  You just want to make sure you have extra hangers on hand for them! I recommend these hangers because they save the most space.

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