Easy Fixes for a Messy Coat Closet

August 31, 2021

Simple and helpful tips for organizing a messy coat closet. 

Our coat closet has been a mess since we moved in (almost four years ago) but I haven't made the time to address this spot until now. 

It felt right tackling it now with school starting and our normal schedule beginning again. I always crave structure and the ease of organized spaces at this time of year, don't you? 

I was thrilled when Big Lots asked me to work with them this year! I was so thankful to be able to utilize a few of their organizational items to get this coat closet functioning well and looking good.

This spot feels like the final frontier as far as organized closets go in our house. Our linen closet looks great and the mud room cat litter and cleaning closet is my favorite ever. 😍 This one has been a pain for years and I was excited to get it looking good. 

Behind this door was a disaster that I've been stuffing things into for the past few months: 
blue and white pinstripe wallpaper foyer
See more about our pinstripe foyer here!

It looks so innocent, until you open it!

OK, it's not HORRIBLE. Well...maybe
messy coat closet before

I'll admit, the linen closet was way more of a "Monica" closet than this one. 

This hall closet doesn't even include most of our winter gear like gloves and hats -- those live above the built in cubbies in our mud room

We do keep coats, jackets, boots, beach towels, pool stuff, extra bags, all that jazz, in here. See how nice it looks stuffed onto the top shelf?: 
coat closet mess on shelf

When I start decluttering and organizing a space, my first step is to remove as much as I can so I can see what I'm dealing with: 
decluttering coat closet
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I sit on the floor and start sorting out items by category, and then decide what to keep and what to donate

The first items to tackle were the beach towels. I wanted to keep them up on top for easy access, so I used these awesome stacking sweater units for the top shelf: 
organizing towels in sweater bins

They come with a bracket so you can stack them, but we only needed the two.

I LOVE these things and can't wait to use them in my closet someday soon. They would be great for sweaters or sweatshirts!:
sweater stacking bins for towels

Notice how bright it is up there? Ahhh these motion sensor LED lights are the answer to a huge frustration for me. I so wish we would have added some kind of lighting in our closets! 

I stuck the sensor on the door frame and then ran the LED strip (it's sticky on the back) on the walls around the trim inside: 
LED motion sensor strip lights in closet

It works so well -- you can set how long you want it to stay on. I have ours set to 20 seconds. I got another strip to put in our linen closet as well. 

The rest of the random stuff was sorted into winter boots and gear, rain stuff like ponchos for when we travel and umbrellas, and then all the beach/pool items like sunscreen, beach toys and water gear. 

Once I got everything sorted, I realized we wouldn't need a ton of storage to get everything organized. Funny how when you're throwing stuff into the top of the closet it looks like a TON. 

I found these white cubby storage units and wanted to stack them on the side of the closet in the back. When I got them assembled and slid one in, I realized there wasn't enough room to pull the cubbies out with them on the side. 

SO I had an even better idea -- I wanted to stack them right in the middle instead. But this wire shelf bracket was in the way: 
wire shelves in coat closet

This was a super easy fix! I picked up a new bracket for a few bucks and then installed them both closer to the walls instead of in the middle, so that spot was now clear. 

Big Lots white storage units

You can see that I didn't install the wood feet on the bottom of the top unit so I could stack them.

I plan to replace the wire shelving with wood someday...but for now I'm working with it. :)

I drilled two holes into the bottom of the top cubby so I could attach the two together: 
Drilling pilot hole

They are made of melamine, which looks great and is super easy to clean, but they are slick! The top one would not have been secure without connecting them. 

The cubby units come with brackets you'll want to secure into the wall behind so they don't topple over -- especially if you choose to stack them like I did! 
I grabbed two sets of these storage bins for the units
neutral large cubby bins

I really like the neutral color and they are HUGE! I had to double check that they would fit inside the cubbies because they are so large. 

Colby loved the new storage, of course:
Stacking tall cubby storage

We went through our coats (I feel like we had a TON) and got rid of enough that the storage shelves fit perfectly in the middle without the coats feeling smushed. 

Our coats are hanging in the mud room all winter anyway -- we rarely need to grab them from here. The great part is we now have some space for additional coats when people come over! 

I don't think we've ever been able to hang our visitor's coats in our coat closets. ;) 

I LOVE all of the storage, but we needed to know what was in each bin. It would've taken four months of me pulling out three of the four before I'd remember what was in each one. 

I had some oval wood shapes from the craft store in my stash (I was going to make ornaments with them last year), so I drilled a hole on each end and then painted them with chalkboard spray paint: 
Chalkboard spray paint

Instead of words like "winter" and "summer," I did a little seasonal art instead.

After I drew all over them with chalk, I realized I didn't want them to wipe off, so I sprayed a clear coat on top of each one. And the chalk drawings disappeared right before my eyes. 


Thankfully I could still see a shadow of what I drew when the clear coat dried, so I was able to do it again, this time with a white Sharpie marker. 

I held them up and drilled into the cubbies: 
Drilling into fabric cubbies

And then attached them with long brads that went through the wood label and the cubby: 
Attaching labels to cubby bins

It worked great! 

Now we can see what seasonal gear we're reaching for -- winter boots or pool goggles?:
DIY chalkboard labels for coat closet

As my niece would say...adoyable! I love them. :) 

The cubbies hold a TON so that was all the storage we needed. 

Other than a few coats we donated, almost everything that we started with stayed. I moved a back pack up to our son's closet and the large umbrellas out to our garage where we can let them dry after using them. 

We also had some reusable bags that I moved to the mud room cabinet drawers so we can grab them on the way out. 

Now this closet is SO wonderfully organized and functional...you know how happy this makes me! I love that we still have plenty of floor space if needed:
coat closet cubbies and bins

Occasionally I open the door just to see the lights and great organization. ;) 

You know this is the best part -- the before and after: 
messy coat closet before

Organized coat closet cubbies

Ohhh yes...the best! 

Any coat closet organization tips you use and love? See the organization hacks I used for the winter gloves, hats and scarves in the coat closet at our old house!

This post sponsored by Big Lots but all opinions are my own. 
I only work with companies and products I know, love and would recommend to you. 

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  1. Love this!
    In our front hall closet (about the same size) we added 2 simple shelves to the bottom of the closet. Since we don't need long hanging in the front hall. The floor and first shelf hold shoes and the second holds tall winter boots. Still enough clearance for coats!


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