A coat for every outfit, for every person in your home, but only one closet in your entry to house them all. Or maybe you don’t even have a closet. Perhaps it’s a slew of hooks by the door. Or, even worse, a lumpy pile of down-filled puffer coats and pea coats scattered across the house. Guests can just hang their coats over the back of the couch, right?
Ideally, no. It’s time to get that coat fiasco under control.
Empty, Sort and Purge
If you have an entry closet that you’d like to use for coats, empty it out completely. That’s right – take everything out of the closet. Are you surprised by how much you’ve stuffed in there? You need to examine what kind of space you have available. Of course, if an entry closet is not available, than you’ll start with the sorting process.
Sort all of your coats and anything else you might want accessible in the same location (backpacks, hats, gloves, umbrellas, etc.). Now is the time to determine just how many of your stylish coats you actually wear on a regular basis. In examining the coat closet organization process for Samantha, a woman that owned more than 40 coats, Real Simple Magazine’s Jennifer Scruby said Samantha’s first step was to whittle down. “It’s a classic principle: If you want an organized place, you have to eliminate clutter. Samantha donated seldom-used tote bags, old books, and 30―yes, 30!―treasured coats, along with [her] mammoth vacuum cleaner, to charity.”
Determine what items can be relocated to another area in the home, such as board games, or even boxed up and placed in your storage unit until needed. For example, Christmas wrapping paper is only needed one month out of the year. Then decide what you really want in the coat closet and if you want to leave room for other things later, such as space to hang guests’ coats.
Maximize the Space You Have
Obviously not every home has a coat closet; you may be dealing with a small entry way or large open foyer without storage. Whatever the case, a place to keep your coats organized, rather than in a disheveled pile, is much more inviting to both your family and your guests.
If there is no closet, consider these alternatives for a decorative way to hang coats near the door and a means for extra storage:
- Hall Tree – This is going to give you the most bang for your buck. They are “more complete storage solutions and better for busy households with many adults, children, and regular visitors,” according to Good Housekeeping. A hall tree is basically a bench seat with a backboard attached to it that houses coat hooks. Generally the seat provides storage as well, either in the form of a chest under the seat, or under-bench cubbies.
- Coat Racks – This is a great solution for a closet-less entry, but it’s also a good idea to have one even if a coat closet is available if you often have company over. Put your family’s coats in the closet, and leave the coat rack open for guests to use more easily. If it’s your only coat storage option, and you have kids, be sure it has a mid-level set of hooks that they can reach.
- Coat Hooks – Hooks and pegs “give you the option of positioning hanging coat storage at eye level for the people in your household. Pegs are available in sets attached to a mounting base; buy individual hooks or hook sets as needed,” says Good Housekeeping. “Quick to install and inexpensive, these are especially handy for small children.” Make sure the hooks you buy are meant for coats and that you buy enough for family members and guests to use.
- Wardrobe/Armoire – If you’re dealing with a large entry space lacking storage, consider purchasing a cabinet that you can use as a closet. Though, since your entryway is the first impression of your home, you’ll want something that is both versatile and looks nice.
Making Your Coat Closet Useful
Before you put anything back in your coat closet, do what you can to maximize the space. If the coat closet has high ceilings, install a top hanging rack. If you have children, put the second rack low enough that they can hang their coats themselves. Utilize closet organizers to add more functional storage space for things like shoes, gloves, hats and umbrellas.
Put a shelf above the highest coat rack to store extra blankets for guests and items you often take along when you go somewhere, such as the camera bag. An over-the-door hook piece can be great for purses and backpacks.
The coat situation can get out of control quickly. The key is, once you get that storage issue organized, to always put everything away where it belongs so it stays organized. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself buried in fleece, down feathers and faux-fur all over again.