We’ve had one snow this season. Just one snow. You guys, this is New England! One snow? I mean, I know I’ll be eating my words soon and cursing the snow, and salt trucks, and the cold, and the gloves and hats and boots and layers upon layers I’ll have to force my kids into, but for now, one snow? Come on.
Ok, let’s talk coat closets. Does anyone feel like your coat closet is super organized, and wonderfully functional? I mean, I do organizing for a living and I can’t even say that. For me, the coat closet is one of the more challenging spaces because we go into regularly, but it’s not an important place for us. It doesn’t store delicious food, or a fun outfit for the day, it’s just a boring, mundane coat closet. So I rarely care to take extra time to make it “pretty” or appealing.
However, when it comes to the morning rush, I don’t want to spend an extra second in there looking for shoes or a lone glove that’s somehow wandered off. A functional coat closet is key, especially when little hands are reaching into it, or even big grown up adult hands.
How to Make it Functional
Think about what you want in the space and how you regularly use the space. If you’re big into skiing but only go on the weekends, consider tucking those items up on a shelf so they’re easy to get to when needed but aren’t taking up prime real estate in your closet.
Sorting coats by length can help open up the closet floor space and allow for added storage. Baskets containing small items like hats and gloves make it easier to find and put them away.
One of James’ teachers emphasized during the first week of pre-school that parents should not carry the child’s bag or hang it up for them. Considering I was always carrying Noah, coffee, James’ water and my bag, I was 100% onboard with this, no questions asked. She went on to say that each child is capable of hanging up their items in the class, the teachers make sure it’s accessible for everyone, and it’s a great habit to get into.
Since that day, I have highly, highly encouraged James to do the same at home. And so far, it’s working about 75% of the time (which is amazing in my eyes!) Noah has even joined in, because now he’s “so taw” (omg stop child, you’re done growing now).
If your closet doesn’t already have lower hooks, use a Command hook to create great temporary storage. If you’ve read even one blog post of mine, you’ve seen how big of a fan I am of Command hooks. They are perfect for kids’ items because you can place them as low as you need, and remove as they grow up.
Shoes are so personal. As in, I cannot recommend one item to you because it is completely up to you as a person and what will work best in your home. For me, I love shoe cubbies. For Brit, giant shoe bin. The boys, baskets (although they showed a lot of interest in tip #4, so I may be switching it up).
Ask yourself, what are you most likely to do when you kick off your shoes? And how quickly will you need to grab them on your way out?
Here are my top three recommendations for on the ground shoe storage.
Shoe Shelf – If you just need to add a layer to your shoe storage these are a great purchase. They triple the shoes you can store in the space but you don’t have to take the extra effort to place shoes into a cubby
Shoe Bin – This is the contained way of kicking off your shoes. You don’t even have to bend over to put them away, just kick them straight into the bin.
Shoe Cubby – I love the clean look these provide and that you can use the top of them for additional storage.
Boots – Boots are a completely different story. I love using a boot tray, especially on soggy, rainy, and snowy days. However, not everyone has the extra floor space for one. This boot tray does fit on top of the 31in. shoe shelf, with a little overhang in the back. So if you’re looking to create more space for shoes, while also storing large rain/snow boots, this is a great option.
If you’re a little hesitant about buying shoe storage because you’re not sure how it will work out, or if you’d just rather not, consider using a large storage tote bin. Use the bin to toss shoes and the lid as a boot tray.
You guys, I am actually NOT going to recommend velvet hangers for a coat closet. I know, I know, it’s a crazy turn of events over here, but I’m feeling wild. Truth is, the velvet hangers are a-m-a-z-i-n-g for clothes. Not so much for coats. They can hold a blouse beautifully, but put a large snow coat on them, and they are likely to break before the season ends.
I am actually going to recommend a plastic hanger (gasp!). If you’re short on hanging space in your closet, these thin plastic hangers just may be the right solution. They have a no-slip, rubber side, they are super thin, but also very durable. You could easily create more space by switching out hangers with these, especially if your closet is full of large rounded hangers, or suit hangers.
Over the Door Organizer
This is the key storage item if your space is super small. The pockets are great for kids’ shoes, boots, hats, gloves, etc. And during the warmer months you can switch items out with sunscreen, bug spray, chalk, bubbles, etc. Placing umbrellas in the pockets is another great option.
Even if you have bi-fold doors, this could be hung on the inside wall or on the rack. There are various sizes and options to choose from, so find which one is best for you.
I like this clear one because you can easily see what’s inside each pocket. If you’re looking for something a bit more versatile, this one is great because the pocket sizes vary. Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond.
The last thing to keep in mind with a coat closet is each one is different and how each person uses them is different. Maybe you have a huge mudroom and two coat closets in your home, or maybe you have no coat closet and have to squeeze everything into your bedroom closet. Whatever the situation is, think about what will work best for your space and what will make it the most functional for you. Shoes on the top shelf? Sure, if that’s what works for you, have at it, Hoss.
Have a unique situation that you need help with? Comment below!
As always, thanks for reading and thanks for visiting!