Coat Closet Tips?

fivefootzeroJanuary 29, 2007

We have a front coat closet that I just can't keep organized. Coats, shoes (we take shoes off when coming in the house), vacuum, on the floor, top shelf has purses not being used, vacuum bags, dog leash, and other things I just can't see, literally. There is myself, 2 kids, husband and dog living in the home.

Any ideas on how to get this organized? It's on the small size, probably 3-4' wide x 3' deep at the most (standard no frills closet).

Thanks for any tips or advice.

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pockets on the inside of the door for hats, gloves, maybe even shoes.

You can buy some fabric "shoe pocket" type things that aren't actually intended for shoes, but have bigger pockets; those could hold vacuum cleaner bags if nec.

A hook on the inside of the door, or on the reverse of the door jamb (my preference, bcs I wouldn't want the dog leash swinging on the door all the time), for the dog leash. You can even use one of those 3M Command adhesive hooks for that.

Shoe cubbie on the floor, or standing on end beside the coats, for the shoes. Or, they make single-file vertical hanging shoe cubbies that can hang beside the coats.

If the shoes have a set of cubbies to go in, then theywon't be in the way of the vacuum cleaner, and you can get them to build up a little bit.

I set my vacuum cleaner up on top of a plastic bin in my closet (that bin holds the vacuum cleaner bags, attachments, etc.). And I stick the wand part into the corner behind it. I got one that's a bit taller than it is wide; it happens to be exactly the right size for my bags and my heavier floor attachment The bin keeps the stuff from falling everywhere, and since it set the vacuum on top of it, I don't spend any extra floor space for it.

Purses not being used should go out of your hosue. In fact, I think purses that ARE being used elsewhere should go in your bedroom; they're your personal property, and shouldn't be on family turf. (it's your house, of course; you can keep them there if you wish; perhaps it's easiest to change purses near where you stash your purse while you're in the house.)

Can yo move the shoes out of the closet? Into a cabinet int he entryway, or into a cabinet just around the corner in the living room? This link here has open cubbies, plus pieces of actual furniture-looking stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: shoe solutions at Stacks and Stacks

    Bookmark   January 29, 2007 at 6:08PM
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Tally Sue has some great ideas.

Is there room up top for an additional shelf? I've had many closets in the past that had a lot of wasted space where a half-depth shelf could be used for additional storage.

For the things on the shelf, I'd probably put it all in bins/baskets of some sort and have them labelled. It'd be worth looking for long skinny boxes to use that space that's too far back for you to reach. A box for spare lightbulbs, a box for vaccuum parts (we only have bags and a spare belt, attachments ride on the vaccuum itself), a box for spare purses (though I agree that these probably don't belong in the family domain, we do have spare canvas totes that live in the closet)

Is there wasted space in the closet depth? A coathanger doesn't take up 3' depth. We are considering putting in an extra rod to use all our space. Otherwise we will put shelves in the back for storage behind our coats.

What't the problem with shoes? They get lost in the space? They mulitply and take over the space?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2007 at 7:20PM
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Some great ideas...thank you. I don't think that there is any depth left after hanging the coats, at least not enough for another rod behind them. I do like the idea of hanging something on the inside of the door...we will be replacing the ugly dated hollow-core doors this year so that will definitely help.

The shoes do seem to either multiply or disappear in the closet. I'd actually like to lower the shelf (I'm only 5' tall and really can't see past the first few inches of it). But I do have some baskets I can put up there.

As far as the purses, I keep only 2-3 of them there that I rotate through. My purse lives on a chair near the closet so it's just easier to have them there...also where the kids can't reach them. Most others are in a bin in the basement for now (we just moved in 2 months ago).

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 9:00AM
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It'd be worth looking for long skinny boxes to use that space that's too far back for you to reach.

Like these easily-found Rubbermaid boxes intended for storing photos & videos--I use them in places where I need something skinny and deep. They could be really useful for you--if they stick out far enough so it's easy to grab them, and you can maybe even fit more stuff in there.

(I have been known to add handles to the very bottom of boxes stored up high--I use duct tape or packing tape, and make a loop or tab that sticks out in front--then I can grab hold of them without getting out the stepstool)

If you lower the shelf, you'd create room for a shelf above that might be useful for stuff DH can get, or that you need less often & would be willing to get a stepstool for.

I'm all for dropping the shelf! Will this mean lowering the rod, and therefore having a little less space (or less visibility) UNDER the coats?

And don't wait until you replace the doors--put some sort of pocket thing up NOW, so you can try it out; then when you *do* replace the doors, you'll know what would work best.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 11:22AM
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I just did our foyer closet. I emptied it out completely. DH went through his coats and I went through mine. We donated outdated/never worn items to charity. What stayed in there is all outerwear, our daily shoes, slippers, boots, small stick vac, emergency flashlights and small tool kit. I bought 20 slim wooden coat hangers ($9.99 Bed Bath & Beyond) and we have vowed not to own more than 15 coats between us. The shoe rack holds 15 shoes and the 2 drawer (one for each of us) elfa system holds gloves and knit hats.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 11:38AM
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Awesome tips. I do have the slim wooden them a few weeks ago. I'm also thinking of changing the rod from wood to metal...things slide easier on the rod.

As for the photo boxes, I actually have those and use them for my photos so I guess I'll get more. REally really great ideas.

Thanks so much. And I will get the thing for on the door...I think that'll clear out most of the shoe clutter, which I what I think drives me the most batty.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 12:19PM
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One thing I've learned is to not use the front closet for permanent storage. When we only had the one front closet, we rotated the coats and jackets by season. No winter coats there in the spring or fall. We had a back-up rack in the laundry room, but you could do that in the garage or someplace if you have other space.

Same with shoes. In the winter, only boots are allowed and other shoes are kept in the bedrooms. We obviously live in a winter climate, so that works. Summer is just the opposite with boots stored elsewhere.

That closet was the only place I had for my vac unless I wanted to haul it up and down stairs. I bought a very small, lightweight bagless Hoover. It did just as good of a job, but took up a third of the space.

We also removed the tradional bar. I'm 5'4", so I cannot reasonably use the shelf either. DH is very tall, so we always put a bar up very high for him, stagger one lower for me. We kept his full length dress coat in a different closet. Better he have to walk the stairs and grab it once a month, rather than the rest of us have to struggle daily.

When we have kept the tradional bar and shelf, I've kept things up there I rarely need. For me, that's the video camera, the silverware for holidays, Christmas wrapping paper, etc.

I also kept a free-standing coat tree right next to the door in the winter. I needed someplace the kid's snow gear could hang and dry without dripping all over stuff.


    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 8:40PM
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We have a shoe cubby like the one in Talley Sue's link, which fits along an inner wall. Under it is a two-drawer unit in which we keep gloves in one drawer and vac bags and belts in the other. Purses go on top of the cubbies.

It is frustrating when things like the dry cleaning get hung up and forgotten, but the culprits are getting a little better!

The closet is wide, so we also keep a basket for the recycling in there (to cut down on trips to the basement for my poor knees), and now we are keeping towels for dog bedding (she is 15 and has accidents), so it gets crowded fast.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 11:44AM
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I had just saved this article to read later --perhaps you will find some inspiration here :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Organizing Your Hall Closet

    Bookmark   February 2, 2007 at 11:55AM
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