Photography: James Ransom1 of 7
Easy Steps to Organize the Coat Closet
March comes in like a lion. And at this time of year, your coat closet can look like it needs as much taming. Try these systems for corralling coats and shepherding shoes -- and when the month goes out like a lamb, you’ll have a calm, serene storage solution to match.
- Use baskets for smaller or less-frequently used items. (Color code by contents with stripes of craft paint.)
- Keep towels or bath mats in the closet: When you or your kids come in wet or muddy, you can clean off.
- Screw hooks to the inside of the door at a height your kids can easily reach.
White hand towels (bottom shelf), by Martha Stewart Collection, $14 each, macys.com
Photography: James Ransom2 of 7
No More Wire Hangers
Invest in sturdy ones. “Good, strong hangers are the most important element,” says Elizabeth Botero, a professional organizer in New York City. (Flimsy dry-cleaner freebies often lead to coats on the floor.) Assign each family member a color for his or her hangers, Ecker says. Try using ribbon or paint.
Honey Can Do nonslip hangers, in Maple, $50 for 24, macys.com
Photography: James Ransom3 of 7
Use a Basket to Stash Small Seasonal Items
Give each person a little bin for such belongings as mittens, scarves, and sunglasses. “In spring, store away all the winter accessories and replace them with warm-weather stuff like kids’ caps, sidewalk chalk, and sunblock,” Ecker says. (Hang the baskets low, so kids have access.)
Rachael wall basket, from $8, worldmarket.com
Photography: James Ransom4 of 7
You Can Never Have Too Many Umbrellas
“This is the rare case where more is more. You should have three times as many as you think you need,” says Ecker, who recommends buying inexpensive umbrellas by the dozen so you can quickly grab one as you head out the door (and not waste time looking for your “favorite”).
Modern Weave Harvest basket, in White-Washed, from $39, westelm.com
Photography: James Ransom5 of 7
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.
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Photography: James Ransom6 of 7
Protect Off-Season Coats from Moths
Pack away jackets in breathable cotton garment bags, Botero 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).
Photography: James Ransom7 of 7
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.