How to Declutter Your Coat Closet Like a Professional
A well-organized coat closet is a many-splendored thing. Not only does it offer a space to store (and grab) your favorite jackets when you're on-the-go, but a streamlined coat closet also allows you to keep all of your out-the-door essentials—like umbrellas and snow boots, too—in one easy-to-access place. But how exactly does one turn a small box of an area into a storage-savvy space? "Having a system is essential to a well-organized coat closet," says Jimmy Seifert, Closet Buyer for The Container Store. "If everything has a place, it will be easier to maintain."
However, in order to create said effective storage system for your own closet, you'll have to figure out what actually needs to be stashed in there. "I like to establish the amount of hanging that's needed first and then prioritize things like shoes, boots, scarves, gloves, and the dog leash," says Christopher Reynolds of California Closets. "A perfect coat closet will have a nice balance between coat storage and the other items and should never be overcrowded—or you won't find anything!"
This means that unless you have a super sparse wardrobe, you should only be storing seasonally relevant gear in here. "Take everything out of your coat closet and assess what is used and what will be used during the appropriate season," Reynolds says. "Remove the surplus and store in safe containers, another closet, or on a rolling rack." Looking for more ways to de-clutter and streamline your coat closet like a professional? We asked our experts for advice on how to effectively organize a coat closet—and here's what they had to say.
Organize Coats by Length
Since longer coats take up more closet space than shorter ones, Reynolds says you should organize them accordingly. "Most coat closets we see have one shelf and one pole which never maximizes the space," he says. "Most jackets and short coats can fit comfortably into a double-hang section, so we often try to give more real-estate to that section, leaving just 12" to 24 inches for the long coats. This way, you can store shoes and boots below the long hang."
Protect Off-Season Coats from Moths
Pack away jackets in breathable cotton garment bags, Elizabeth Botero, a professional organizer in New York City, says. Hang a cedar plank—a natural moth repellent—in each one. If a plank seems to be losing its scent, rub the surface with coarse sandpaper (outdoors or in a well-ventilated area).
Make Use of Your Door and Floor Space
Make no mistake about it: Every inch of your coat closet is rife with storage potential, including the inside of the door and floor space. "Adding an over-the door storage solution, like an Elfa Door and Wall Rack ($70.70, containerstore.com), is an easy way to gain more storage space in your closet," says Seifert. "Use it for hats, scarves, umbrellas, and touch-up items like a lint roller to easily grab and go on your way out the door. Also, placing a shoe rack on the floor of the closet maximizes vertical space to store outerwear shoes that may not be for everyday use, like rain boots and snow boots."
If your coat closet is lacking in the shelving department, Reynolds says to consider employing a short storage unit with drawers to organize small items. "Whenever possible, try to incorporate storage drawers—ideally with dividers—to stash seasonal accessories, such scarves, earmuffs, and gloves," he says.
Buy Baskets and Bins for Small Items—and Label Them
A good set of storage containers can be a game-changer for organizing smaller on-the-go items in a cramped coat closet. "If you don't have the room for drawers, use storage bins and baskets to corral umbrellas, mittens, and other small seasonal accessories," Reynolds says. "Make sure to label each container so you can teach children what goes where."
Wait Until Things Are Dry to Put Them Away
Let wet coats and shoes dry outside the closet—otherwise, you risk dirtying or dampening dry items. Botero recommends a simple binder clip at the top of wellies to keep them standing upright, rather than chew up valuable space with boot shapers.
Use Quality, Coordinating Hangers
No more wire hangers—our experts say to invest in sturdy (and complementary) ones instead. "Using matching hangers maximizes your rod space," Seifert says. "Cedar hangers, like our Basic Cedar Hangers (from $9.99, containerstore.com), are durable and also pest, mildew, and odor repellant. If you need a space-saving hanger, we recommend our Non-Slip Velvet Hangers (from $6.74, containerstore.com) because they have a slim profile but are incredibly durable and can hold heavier garments like coats."
Make Closet Space for Everyone
Every person in your family should have a sliver of space in your home's coat closet. "For larger families, create individual sections so each member has their own space for two to three coats, two pairs of shoes or boots and a bag or backpack," Reynolds says. If you're tight on space, give each person a little bin for stashing their small belongings.
Make Peace with the Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuum storage may not pertain to coming and going, but in many homes, this closet is the only place to store one. A wall-mounted organizer for the hose and attachments can keep you from feeling as if you're wrestling an elephant whenever you open the door.