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Coat Closet Organizer

Martha Stewart Living, January 2006

Take storage to new levels with shelves below a row of jackets. Install shelves near the base of your closet, and you'll no longer have to rifle through items strewn across the floor. Here, each family member has his or her own bin for hats and scarves. The lower shelf is lined with shoes, and boxes tucked underneath hold dog toys, tennis balls, and the like. Leave a foot of space between shelves and the door frame, and you'll have room for boots and a metal bucket for umbrellas. Long hooks keep handbags neat. An acrylic organizer on the door ensures essentials, such as a wallet and sunglasses, are accessible; a mirror allows for a final once-over on the way out.

Comments (32)

  • GrammyTo2 6 Apr, 2011

    My husband and I have a mud room for shoes, and keep our jackets in our walk-in closet. We have a tall coat closet by the front door that has one nice shelf above the hangers. We're new to cold climates with jackets and coat closets, and would like to know if guests would ever open the coat closet (like to put their own jacket while visiting), or can we use it as storage? Thinking of hiring someone to add matching shelves above the one we currently have. Would appreciate help...

  • seasons 15 Jan, 2009

    This article inspired me to clean up my coat closet! I got different sized baskets all in different material, but all were square and in the same color tone. It turned the disorganized pile of dog toys, my husbands motorcycle gear and winter accessories into an easy to access, adorable space. I haven't closed the closet doors for a few days just to look at it whenever I walk by. :)

  • MarthaV 12 Jan, 2009

    I love how neat this closet looks and sounds however we don't have a coat closet. We desparately need a cost effective solution for this. I don't wish to spend $400 for an armoire that is particle board with laminate and that required high pollution of the environment to manufacture. Can anyone recommend a solution for an open floor plan home that desparately needs a coat closet?

  • Minnesota_E 12 Jan, 2009

    I have 2 shelves above the closet bar but they were so far apart, they weren't being used fully.Living in the north we have winter gear. I sat a ready made plastic shelf on the lowest shelf and now we have shallower spaces that are great for the hats and mittens and scarves without having to pull out a bin. They actually stay organized. The top shelf is better for bins, larger items. I roll the flag and stand it in the corner of the closet behind the coats.

  • jacsmama 11 Jan, 2009

    BINS!!! I have over 2' of wasted space above the shelves in all our closets. I used nice wicker baskets in the coat room, clear plastic bins in the spare room for seasonal decor, etc. and they stack! And I have bins like the yellow ones in my closet. It made all those good handy things not be clutter!

  • jacsmama 11 Jan, 2009

    BINS!!! The only way I could keep good things from being clutter was to use baskets for storing things in the coat room, clear plastic bins w/lids in the spare room closet for seasonal decor, etc. and they stack! There has to be over 2' of wasted space above the closet shelves. And in my bedroom I have bins like the yellow ones in the above photo.

  • breedpo 8 Jan, 2009

    This is THE best idea - I have struggled with clutter under-the-coats for years! This is at the top of my 'wish-list' for home improvement as of now. If you have any ideas for better use of the shelf space over the coats - bring 'em on. I have at least 18" of space from the over-shelf to the ceiling of the closet. I store umbrellas, snow pants, outdoor flags, and seasonal home accessories there and it's a mess.

  • breedpo 8 Jan, 2009

    This is THE best idea - I have struggled with clutter under-the-coats for years! This is at the top of my 'wish-list' for home improvement as of now. If you have any ideas for better use of the shelf space over the coats - bring 'em on. I have at least 18" of space from the over-shelf to the ceiling of the closet. I store umbrellas, snow pants, outdoor flags, and seasonal home accessories there and it's a mess.

  • kittyp 2 Jan, 2009

    Fortunately we live in a warm climate where coats aren't necessary. I keep a heavy woolen sweater in a cedar chest for any travels to cold climes. I recenly converted the coat closet to a craft closet, ripping out the wire shelf and putting in a 5-tier shelf. I then put my craft items in clear plastic containers on the shelves, added a bracket for the iron and ironing board, and now I can fit everything in place. No more wasted space for coats we don't need or have!

  • FredericKahler 1 Jan, 2009

    This is also a perfect time to donate extra coats to charity: you help others deal with the cold and free up space - great resolutions for the New Year! - Frederic Kahler

  • FredericKahler 1 Jan, 2009

    I should like to see tips for the RV motor home. We are forever lugging things from the bedroom to the front for space during the day.

    Frederic Kahler
    Asheville, NC (presently)

  • suebooker 23 Oct, 2008

    Up until now, we have always had the grandchildrens' toys strewn all over the floor in the bottom of the coat closet in our foyer. This is a great idea!

  • laurelsue 22 Oct, 2008

    Most coat closets have ample room for hooks just behind and above the level of the coats/hangers, just below the shelf. you can screw hooks in directly (make sure you hit the stud) or you can get boards with hooks already on them, and screw through the board. empty totes fit great!

  • brandibee 20 Oct, 2008

    We don't have a coat closet by the front door so kids keep their heavy coats in the hall closet and their jackets in their rooms. This might help clgafney. We also hang an over the door shoe organizer on the hollow door for gloves, hats, etc.

  • michellecug 20 Oct, 2008

    If you keep coats in your more narrow hall/coat closet, I'd recommend a double hanger. We have used one in our narrow coat closet and it instantly doubles the space and is really affordable ($10 at The Container Store). We also do the hooks on the back of the door for bags.

  • littleorphanannie 20 Oct, 2008

    I have a long narrow closet with sliding doors. Jammed with shoes and other things at the bottom. Any ideas?

  • clgafney 20 Oct, 2008

    Our closet too is jammed full of coats, sweaters and the like. There are five of us and a super small front closet. Also the door is hallow - anyone have ideas on how to cut the clutter?

  • pklagrange 20 Oct, 2008

    we put up a shoe holder with see through slots behind the door and have gotten rid of so much hall clutter: sunglasses, leashes, mittens

  • moonswings 20 Oct, 2008

    LOVE this idea - it's just what our front closet needs (even though, like another contributor, our space is also narrow and has sliding doors). I'm sure I can find a narrow shoe rack to add some storage space above the floor and below the coats, and I'm definitely going to try the clear hanging shoe organizer for the mittons, scarves

  • demj 20 Oct, 2008

    Our coat closet has a narrow and sloped floor due the basement stairs beneath it. I have found that stair baskets fit the space nicely on the floor to collect my children's hats and gloves. The notched basket balances well against the rear slope of the floor.

  • littleorphanannie 20 Oct, 2008

    I have a narrow closet that has sliding doors. Really would be a tight squeeze
    if it could be done at all.

  • BrendaValeria 20 Oct, 2008

    The shoe organizer idea is great. We have one on the inside of our coat closet door for sunglasses, sunscreen spray, mittens, hats, etc. Baseball caps are easily stored in these by curling the brim and inserting it in the pocket.

  • corgizmom 20 Oct, 2008

    What an easy solution

  • jenniferservello 27 Mar, 2008

    this is a fabulous idea, especially for shoes.

  • sml 26 Jan, 2008

    My closet is too dark. I had a light installed and it helps to see and keep things neat.

  • pistonnut 7 Jan, 2008

    I have two different heights for hanging long and short items. I have a smaller section for long coats and omit the shelf below it.

  • JSmall 5 Jan, 2008

    Louvered door on closet? Try a strip of lathe (wood about 1" wide by 1/4" thick) run vertically in the center of the door and attached where the door is solid top and bottom. Affix hooks (the new 3M removable style allows repositioning) or screw in hooks. For heavier loads, you can use 1"x 2" boards. Hope this idea helps.

  • SBWilkerson 5 Jan, 2008

    Our coats are also long so what's wrong with putting the shoes on the floor and baskets on the top shelf? I do like the idea of hooks on the door and the umbrella stand in the closet...perfect for me!

  • GailFriend 5 Jan, 2008

    It looks like the rod is hung higher than usual. Actually, I think the shelf and rod have changed places!

  • KaeruShisho 4 Jan, 2008

    All our coats are longer than those pictured and the doors are louvered with on way to attach hooks for totes-- an have we got totes! We have an overhead shelf to use but hats slip off. See-thru containers would be best, too. Ideas?

  • Fenny 4 Jan, 2008

    In my coat closet are coats - long ones. How would I organize such a closet?

  • lindaallen9 4 Jan, 2008

    The best organizational trick I ever learned was to hang a shoe organizer (the type with pockets) over the INSIDE of the coat closet door. Use this to store your hats, gloves, scarves and other items that tend to get lost. I prefer the type that has clear plastic pockets so you can easily see what is inside.