Organizing a Coat Closet – The Prep Work

One of my goals for 2013 is to organize, revamp and restructure one area of our home each month, and I chose the one closest to the front door and causing me the biggest headache as my starting point – the Coat Closet.  {dun…dun…dun…}
I am extremely embarrassed to be showing you the messiest part of my home today.  This is the thorn in my side…  That one space that, every time I open the door, gives me the willies.  My friends and family who know me well know that I cannot handle clutter or mess.  So this closet has been causing night terrors and cold sweats for me and I’m finally doing something about it!

This is all the crap that came out of that mess of a coat closet (looks like I even lost one of my dogs in there!):

Let me give you a bit of history before I get too far into this project:
  • This is the first house that is actually ours, as in, we can do whatever we want to it because it belongs to us and no one else and we’re going to live here for a long, long time.
  • Because we are going to live here for a long, long time, I don’t want to just stick shelves in or buy cheap furniture to fill a space.  I want to take our time and make our house the home we’ve always wanted.
  • I have been told that I could be a professional organizer and honestly, if I had to pick a dream job, that would probably be it, so I’m super excited to work on our house throughout the year!  {The hubs….well, not so much.}
Ok, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, we can move on.


For most organizing projects, you can follow the same simple steps:
#1: Break your space into manageable chunks.
My best friend in the whole wide world has somehow managed to know me for 24 years and my organizational skills have yet to rub off on her.  But I love her anyway.  She called me a few months ago and said she has finally had enough!  She wants to get organized and needs my help.
{Insert choir of angels and rays of sunshine here.}
Yes, it was a momentous day for our beloved friendship.  And I will tell you exactly what I told her:
Start small.
Yep.  Seriously.  If you look around and see a house full of clutter and decide to tackle it all at once, you will lose focus and most likely will fail.  However, if you break it down into manageable chunks – both in chunks of space in your home and in time in your life – you have a much higher chance for success.
For our home, I made a list of spaces that I want to work on throughout 2013.  {Notice I am giving myself an entire year for the entire house – manageable.}  Once I had my list, I numbered each space by priority and the coat closet made the top of the list.  Your highest priority might be vastly different.  What area of your home gives you nightmares?  Or, what part of your home are you the most ashamed of when company comes to visit?  Start there.
#2: Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Now, don’t just dive in head first.  I’ll borrow a tip from one of my favorite people of all time, Becky Higgins: “Start with the end in mind.”  Meaning, make a plan.
Things to think about when making your plan should include:
  • How do you want to use this space going forward? (I’ll elaborate in a second.)
  • What is your budget for this project? (Budget your money and your time.)
  • If kids use this space, they do grow over time, so consider their current age, as well as their age and size in a few years and plan accordingly.
When thinking of your plan, do not allow yourself to define a space by the walls and doors surrounding it.  A “dining room” doesn’t have to remain a “dining room” simply because the floor plan calls it that, and that’s what you’ve always used it for.  NO!  If you eat most of your meals in the breakfast nook and rarely, if ever, use your big huge dining room, maybe you can finally make it into that craft room/office you’ve always wanted!  (Use a big enough table and it can double as a dining room when you have guests.)
For our coat closet, I knew that I wanted to leave some room for a few coats, but I didn’t need the space to be used solely for coats.  We live in the South, it’s hot about 9 months out of the year, and we hang beach towels up more often than we hang up coats.
I also knew that we moved out of a home in which my office had a closet, and our new home does not afford me such luxury, so I will need space for craft and office storage.
Finally, I wanted to create space to store our board games and puzzles so we will use them more often, as well as create a space for our furbaby’s essentials – leashes, treats, towels, etc. – to get them out of my pantry.
#3: Brainstorm…and use Pinterest.

Pinterest is such an awesome tool for anyone looking to gather ideas for revamping a space in your home.  Just don’t get overwhelmed and start to feel like it’s an impossible task.  It’s great for ideas, but Pinterest won’t come to your house and organize it for you, so at some point you have to get off the sofa and do the work.

When working on the plan for our closet, these pins really stood out to me the most.

I love this first image because of the different areas for storage while leaving space for coats to hang.  It looks so put-together, neat, and perfect for what we need in our own home.  The only downside is the coat hangers.  They get in the way and coats end up in a pile (did you see the “before” pictures??).
I bought some really cute knobs from Pick Your Plum over a year ago and at the time, I had no idea where to use them, but now I know exactly where they’ll go – in my coat closet!  Rather than installing a rod to hang coats on, we’ll be installing strips of knobs to hang our coats on…and my purse, and Marley’s backpack, etc.
Inspired yet?  Are the wheels turning in your head?  Work on those beginning steps for the space of your choice.  Come back next week to see the progress on our closet and find out how to move forward on your own organized space!
One more thing before we go.  Each week, I’ll share a Quick Tip for organizing or cleaning your home.  Sometimes they will be from me, sometimes I’ll have a guest.  This week, I’m happy to welcome Amanda from I’m A Mom, Too!
From Amanda:  “Sometimes simpler is better.  I have a very small house so I have to get creative with organizing.  When we first moved into our house I knew we needed some sort of hall tree to simulate the classic mudroom.  Our most used door is our back door and it is a tight squeeze right into our kitchen.  For the last 10 years we used a great big hall tree with a storage bench.”
“It became a clutter nightmare!  About two weeks ago I decided that an old stand alone hall tree needed to come out of storage for coats only.  Our family of four in the Midwest winter has eight coats in use right now (out of season coats go into a very inconvenient hallway coat closet).  The great thing about this hall tree in its new spot is that it is right smack in the middle of the house (about where coats land) and can be moved quickly to the bedroom if company is coming over.”
“And the better news is, coats actually land there!  The old hall tree will be housed in the basement for storage very soon and the whole kitchen is in the process of an organizational overhaul.”
Thanks so much to Amanda for sharing her Quick Tip!
If you have a Quick Tip to share, submit your information HERE.
So, what area of your home are you going to tackle first?  Let me know in the comments!

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I'm Kirsten & I'm happy you're here! Sweet Tea & Saving Grace supports women seeking to find balance in the busy, deepen their faith, and instill joy and love in their homes, lives, and blogs by providing encouraging and inspiring content and valuable resources. My prayer is for you to leave here better than when you came. Be blessed!