5 Essential Tips for an Organized Coat Closet

posted: 11/17/15
by: Blythe Copeland

It's easy to overlook your coat closet in the summer, when the most you might need to do is grab an extra layer on a cool night or a rain jacket in case of a sudden storm -- but as the weather turns colder, your entryway storage is about to become an integral part of your daily routine. Use these five ideas to keep the space organized and useful all winter long.

1. Empty it out.

Front hall closets almost always become a drop zone for all kinds of items that don't really belong there: Old school papers, extra shopping bags, items waiting to be mailed, and more. Before you try to include everything in your new system, weed out what doesn't belong. Move sports equipment to the garage, donate any extra coats, scarves, or gloves, and -- if you have space -- consider a wall-mounted shoe cabinet, like this one from IKEA, outside the closet to keep footwear off the floor (but still out of the way).

2. Look up

Most closets have a shelf already installed above the hanging bar, but look higher: You may be able to take advantage of even more vertical space. You can install additional shelves for storing out-of-season essentials, or invest in stacking boxes and bins (the ones below are from the Container Store) for all those items that you don't need often but can't live without. Open stacking baskets allow easy access all year long, while lidded versions let you cut down on visual clutter.

3. Involve the kids

Whether you hang a lower bar or install hooks at kid height, making it easy for the smallest members of your family to get their own coats (and hang them back up) will keep those jackets from becoming a pile on the floor of the closet. Use initial hooks (these are from Pottery Barn) to prevent arguments about which one belongs to which kid, or get a divider that allows you to secure a low bar for hanging rain gear, snow pants, and everyday coats.

4. Add low shelving

If everyone in your family can reach the upper bar, then maximize the lower space in your closet by adding shelves against the back wall. If the shelves are deep enough for storage bins or baskets (these are from the Container Store), then you can use them for organizing winter accessories, outdoor summer toys, or tote bags and purses; if they are shallower, use them for lining up sandals in the summer and boots in the winter.

5. Use the door

Still need a little extra space? Add storage to the inside of the closet door to keep small items at hand but out of sight. Wire pantry shelves (the ones below are from Target) can hold narrow items; a plastic shoe organizer is a flexible way to keep extra hats and mittens in view; a simple towel bar can be used to hang scarves and umbrellas; and small hooks hold favorite bags and backpacks.