I wonder who invented or designed the first closet. Maybe Mrs. Caveman got tired of tripping over Mr. Caveman’s club again and hid it behind a rock. Whatever the reason, closets can be either a black hole or a great tool for organizing. This month in celebration of Clean Out Your Closet Week, we are tackling the coat closet.
Pick the closet you use most often, it is usually closest to the door you use daily. First step of organizing is always sort. You can start with sorting the outerwear by season and/or owner. If possible take it out of the closet and sort it so you can actually see how much each person has. As the winter winds down you can see which coats and accessories still fit your child and which will not make it through another season. Decide which coats are regularly worn and which do not fit or are in poor condition. Donate those that you can and store the out of season ones. Do the same for the accessories such as, scarves, hats, gloves and shoes. Take everything else out of the closet and decide if it needs to be stored elsewhere or if it will remain in that closet. (If you do not have a closet near the door that you use most often, try to find a space to put up hooks for jackets and baskets for the other extras for each member of the family.)
Next, look at ways to utilize vertical space. Can you add another shelf? Often the top shelf leaves a lot of unused space up to the ceiling. Add another shelf there and although it will be harder to reach, it makes good use of that space near the ceiling for plastic (labeled) bins for seasonal or seldom used items. A basic shoe rack can double as a removable shelf and shelf dividers can keep things separated. Can you add another rod? Adding a rod off of the existing rod creates a lower rod for children to use at their height. Just remember to leave some space for full length items (if you have any). Sometimes closet space is actually hidden behind the wall of the closet and is difficult to use. If it is 10 inches or deeper, you might want to add some shelves or hooks for easy hang up.
If you like things to be “put away” then you may want to use part of this closet area as a “landing pad.” Use separate baskets, bins or shelves for each family member to store their accessories (hats, gloves, etc.) and backpacks. For young children make sure there are hooks or a rod low enough for them to hang up their own coat and a bin low enough for their mittens, ski pants, backpacks and hats. The fewer steps it takes children to put their things away, the more likely it is that they will do it. Walk them through what you want them to do as they come in the door and for younger children, also add a picture list of the steps to help them create the habit.
Now put everything back into the closet grouped in a way that works for your family whether it be by owner, type of jacket or color – the choice is yours. Make it functional and no one will ask – What’s in your closet?
Got questions? Leave them in the comments box….I’d love to hear from you.