5 Things: Coat closet edition

Whenever I design a room for a client, I include any closets in that room in the design. After all, is a room really functional if the closet doesn’t work properly? No one likes a closet that is heaped with belongings, even if it is in a beautiful room. Organizing a closet can even be the finishing touch on a room that really makes the client feel like they have a fresh start in their new room.

How is your coat closet looking these days? Do your hangers come in and out easily? Can you find your gloves when you need them? Do you have to stand on your head to get something out of the dark corners in the back? These are the same questions I ask my clients, because so many people wrestle with this part of their home.

Image courtesy or realsimple.com/noah webb

With that in mind, I’m going to give you the top 5 things I like to put in clients’ coat closets. They are simple, very affordable things that can make your life and your closet space easier to manage. Home owners and renters alike should make full use of closet spaces in their home and these 5 things can upgrade your coat closet in just a day.


Most people don’t think of painting the insides of their closets, but it can make a huge different in how the closet space is used. When you look in your closet, the paint reminds you that this space is important, too, and that can inspire you, and your family, to keep it more organized on a daily basis. This really does work! Plus the closet then feels part of a finished room, not just the place you don’t want your guests to look when they are visiting.

I love this line of paints. Image courtesy of Benjamin Moore

The key to using paint is to choose a semi-gloss paint finish of a light color that you like. You can use leftover paint from another home project or choose a new color that picks up on a color in the larger room outside the closet. The semi-gloss paint is easy to wipe down when the walls get shoe/boot marks on them. The light color helps fight the darkness of far corners and the back of the floor.


I have lived in a lot of homes with oddly shaped closets. I seem to have a knack for living in older homes with closets featuring dark corners and dark floors. In my own quest for a practical light addition, I stumbled upon a great product. (You can click on the picture below to go directly to the Amazon retail page for this product.) Remember, I don’t get paid or perked for any product I mention or recommend on this blog.

Image courtesy of amazon.com

I have this LED light in my own home and install it in almost every client’s home that I work in. It is that good. It has four directional lights that you can focus to hit on areas where you need the most light. The light has a two levels of brightness. It mounts easily to the wall and runs on 2 batteries. Because it is an LED light, the batteries last for a long time. All of this for only $13.

Wooden hangers

Coats are heavier than most of the rest of our clothes, yet many people try to use rather lightweight hangers to store them. This can actually cause some bad wear on your coats in the shoulders. Using thinner hangers can also be less space compatible for moving coats in and out from other hanging coats. I always buy these hangers for my clients. (The picture below is linked.)

Image courtesy of ikea.com

I love these hangers because they are made out of sturdy wood and have a natural curve to mimic your shoulders, which helps keep any coat on the hanger. They are strong enough to hold long heavy coats, light enough to lift easily from the closet rod and are very difficult to tangle together. The 8-pack you see pictured above is only $4.

Over-the-door organizer

We all have little things we need to keep in our coat closets and it is often these little items that can drive us crazy when we are searching for them. Whether it is your child’s lost gloves, your car keys or any imaginable sports gear, when you need those items, you need them NOW. Ever been stared down by your dog while you do the digging for their leash? You know what I mean.

Image courtesy of containerstore.com

Enter the $13 solution (now on sale and linked to the above picture). This mesh fabric overdoor storage rack is designed to hold 24 pairs of shoes. But you and I can already see that it can also hold scarves, action figures, bike gloves, sunglasses, spare house keys, pet toys, flashlights, umbrellas… Well, I’m sure you can make your own list.

The fact that you can see into these pockets means less time digging into them individually. The mesh is easily washed and line-dried. You can also assign lower pockets to smaller children so they can…wait for it…practice putting away their own things. If that isn’t worth $13, I don’t know what is.

Storage cubes

This last item is something I use in conjunction with the overdoor hangers. Sometimes you need a good container to hold things together on a closet shelf or stack neatly on the closet floor. The plastic cubes (linked to the picture below) are great for off-season outdoor clothing and you can see through them easily to find what you are looking for when you need it.

Image courtesy of containerstore.com

I love that these cubes can be zipped closed to keep out dust and keep them from overflowing, spilling items onto the floor. They have great handles and a soft, flexible form, making them easy to pack. They come in 5 different sizes, and they start at just $8 each. Are they durable? I have had all of mine since the ’90’s and they are still going strong.

Could your closet use some of my favorite 5 things for a quick weekend make-over? What do you find you are tripping over when you open your coat closet door? What are other areas of the home you would like to see featured in this “5 Things” post series? Leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list of areas to cover in future posts.

Would you like to see more of my tips for organizing your home? You can see all of them so far by clicking right here.

Posted on October 17, 2011, in DIY, Organization. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I love the lamp. Very cool-looking and functional with the lights you can direct into dark corners. Who knew they may lamps like that? And cheap, too.

    I just ordered one.


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