Seasonal Shift: Inspiring & Attainable Organized Coat Closets

One day this week I looked in my coat closet and realized it had become a mess. Knowing layering season is closing in on us East Coast-ers, I got to work organizing. Now my closet has a place for coats, warm accessories, and all the other things from shoes to brooms.

Coat closets typically are tiny, and you need to think strategically to create a spot for everything. With a few important things in mind, you can organize this storage area in an attainable, maintainable way. (Note that seven of these 10 examples are from real homes and not styled by a magazine's staff.)

Prioritize and know your needs and habits. I freed up a lot of space and made things easier for myself by moving my heavy vacuum to another spot, on the carpeted second floor. In its place I can store my big yoga backpack, which I put in and take out several times a week. I also removed other things that can easily live elsewhere, such as my husband's dress shoes. Knowing what things you really need room for behind those doors — from, say, multiple sizes of coats (Images 7 and 9) to a litter box (Image 2) — will help you stay organized longer.

Diversify your portfolio. Mix rods, shelves, hooks, and baskets; finding a combination suitable to your needs will help you maximize the available space.

Use the door. The inside of the closet door can be great for storing small items and collections. Purses, wrapping paper, you name it: they can find a home in a shoe organizer (Image 2) or on hooks or shelves (Image 7). It's also a smart spot for a mirror (Image 3) or memo board (Image 6).

Add color. Since you'll be opening that door pretty much every day, why not spruce things up? Try painting the walls or, for a quicker fix, adding colorful baskets or hangers (Image 8).

If you don't have a closet, you're not out of luck. Create your own coat rack (Image 10) or make good use of hooks. Check out our tips for dealing with a no-entryway entryway.

MORE COAT CLOSETS (AND ALTERNATIVES) ON APARTMENT THERAPY:
Setting Up Home: Making the Most of Closets
8 Organizing Ideas for the Coat Closet
Best Wall Mount Hooks & Coat Racks 2012
Small Space Solution: 10 Easy & Affordable Garment Racks to Buy or DIY

Images: 1. Better Homes and Gardens 2. Jason Loper for Apartment Therapy 3. Russet Street Reno 4. Chez Larsson 5. Under the Table and Dreaming 6. Better Homes and Gardens 7. The Chronicles of Home 8. Meet Me In Philadelphia 9. Real Simple 10. Design*Sponge

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