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How I organized my Coat Closet / Shoe Closet

Sometimes what seems like a large project ends up being a simple quick task. For a long time I've been bothered by my entryway coat/shoe closet. It was always cluttered and we could never find what we wanted quickly. It was also a blackhole for hats, gloves and other miscellaneous items.

But this past weekend I finally tackled the project. You're asking right now… what made you finally decide to organize this closet. The answer is I had finally hit my breaking point. It had snowed this weekend and my son couldn't find his gloves and hat. We looked all around the house and couldn't find them. I was convinced they had to be in the closet. So, without giving it much thought, I decided it was time to tackle this project. (BTW, His gloves were in his sister's jacket. We still can't find the hat.)

Using the organizing skills I've acquired over the past few years I knew exactly how to handle this project.  I started by removing everything in the closet and sorted it into piles of similar items.


I had a pile for hats, one for gloves and scarves, one for purses and bags, and then I sorted all of the shoes into matching pairs.

Once all of the contents of the closet were removed and sorted into piles I began the purging process. I created two additional piles. One for items I wanted to donate to Goodwill and one for items that needed to be thrown away (bent and broken hangers fell into this category). After the purging process was complete I had about 50% less stuff that had to go back into the closet than had been pulled out of the closet. NOTE: In my opinion getting rid of stuff you no longer need is the most important step in getting organized.


With the purging process complete I was almost ready to start putting everything back into the closet. Before I put anything back I took a minute or two to think about what wasn't working well in the closet and ended up coming up with four key things that needed improved.

  1. The closet was poorly lit
  2. Hats and gloves were not quickly accessible
  3. There were too many coats
  4. We still had too many shoes

I solved each of these problems very easily

  1. I went to Lowe's Home Improvement and purchased a $9 light and mounted it on the side wall using 2 screws.
  2. I decided to keep all of the hats and gloves in a bag that would hang on the inside of the door
  3. Coats that were not worn frequently got moved to a less used storage closet.
  4. Since it was winter I put summer shoes into a clear Clever Store tote and moved them into the garage.


Solving those four key issues were simple but very important to the long term success of keeping this closet organized.

Once the lighting was installed and the summer shoes stored away I put everything back into the closet, took a step back and smiled at my completely organized closet is less than 1 hour.



Once again, another area of the home that's been improved with just a little bit of effort.

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    Be sure to share photos when you’re done. We’d love to see them.

  30. Aimee B February 3, 2010 at 2:40 pm #

    I am organizing my closet and purging is the most important thing. Something that has to be done.

  31. Jim Deitzel February 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Julie, Thanks for the comments. It feels so good to get another area of the home organized. It’s amazing how small wins can make such a big difference. I’ll talk to you soon in ATL.

  32. Julie Bestry February 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm #

    Bravo, Jim! It warms my little professional organizer heart to read “NOTE: In my opinion getting rid of stuff you no longer need is the most important step in getting organized.” With that lesson under your belt, you’ve become a master at organization in no time. And I love that you inexpensively shed a little “light” on the subject at hand.
    I particularly like the fact that you recognize that some things didn’t need to be tossed, but they also didn’t need to live in the coat closet year-round. Personally, I generally don’t advise keeping shoes in a coat closet unless they are winter-weather boots; I’m a fan of each person in the family keeping his/her shoes (except for inclement weather) in his/her own closet (to match to particular outfits and allow for top-to-bottom dressing in one’s own bedroom). However, I know a lot of families prefer the communal shoe area, and you’ve illustrated the way to make sure they’re all accessible when needed. Great job.
    You’re going to run out of places to organize and you’ll have to become a professional organizer like your friends to feed your decluttering cravings. 🙂

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