Coat closets are often overlooked in a home organization plan. But what would it be like to have a coat closet that actually has room to store coats? Imagine having dinner guests and being able to fit their coats into the ‘coat’ closet without having stuff them in with all the sundry things hiding in there. Of course, many homes just aren’t big enough for the luxury of a dedicated coat closet, but with a bit of work, you can create a tidier, more organized space.
Be sure to remember the following:
- Every space has a purpose.
- Clutter is not your friend.
- Categorization is key.
- Everything has its place.
First, let’s take a look at the purpose of the closet. It’s a coat closet – not a catch-all, even though you might need to store other items inside. Make sure the space is functional by allowing room for the major items stored there, and by getting rid of clutter.
To repeat: get rid of clutter! Clutter is the number one enemy of home organization. Get rid of coats that are torn, stained, or damaged beyond repair. Donate outgrown coats, and perfectly good coats that just don’t get worn for one reason or another.
A coat closet should not be the equivalent of a junk drawer. It’s easy to quickly toss things in the coat closet when company is coming, and then later forget about it. Or sometimes you just don’t want to see one more thing on the living room floor, so you toss it in and just don’t know what to do with it. The bottom line: take the time to remove what doesn’t belong and store it somewhere else.
Figure out what ought to reside in the coat closet. Some good things to keep here are vacuum cleaners, family board games, coats (of course), and other types of outerwear or all-weather gear (umbrellas, ponchos, etc.). Create a space for each of these items.
If your coat closet has a tall ceiling, think vertical. Store items that are rarely used on high shelves, and keep other items within easy reach. If you need more shelf space, consider installing shelves and a shorter closet rod. The elfa closet organizer system available at the Container Store is a great closet organizer for all kinds of closets, and can help you better organize your coat closet. Hooks, either on the closet wall or the back of the door can be great for hanging hats, scarves, umbrellas, and other wet or winter-weather gear. There is no need to put away off-season coats; you can plan to store all your coats in this closet both winter and spring.
Good entryway organization can also help in your quest to keep an organized coat closet. Many items that haphazardly end up in a coat closet – like shoes, backpacks, and sweaters – can stay neatly organized in entryway cubbies, shelving, or hooks, making them less likely to end up in a pile in the coat closet.
Once you eliminate clutter and find a place for the miscellany that used to live in the coat closet, you’ll have a much easier time with coat closet organization. Remember to follow these easy steps: define the purpose of the space; get rid of clutter; sort; and assign a place for everything.
Samantha Buck is a Professional Organizer and Editor of Life Organize It, where you can find solutions to life’s organizing dilemmas. Subscribe to the free organizing magazine “Organize It Mom!” at www.lifeorganizeit.com/free-e-zine.html for super easy tips and techniques to get yourself organized. Not just for moms, this free organizing magazine will help anyone get organized!