I like the look of this functional coat closet from REAL SIMPLE. I think most of us struggle with keeping the coat closet tidy because during the cooler months that closet is in constant use. I think this week is a good time to purge the clutter and organize the useful.
1. Start with the top shelf. Take everything out and sort like items with like (hats with hats, gloves with gloves, etc.)
2. Go through each pile and remove items that are worn out, don't fit, or you don't like any more. Put any items that are still useful into a bag for the thrift store or homeless shelter.
3. Gather containers that you can use as a drawer/bin for each of the groups of items you have. I have one for gloves, one for hats and scarves, and one for tote bags.
4. Now, do steps 1 and 2 with the clothes that are hanging on the rod.
5. Place clothing back onto the rod according the person they belong to. For example, start with your smallest person. Hang up all of their coats on the left side of the bar. Then, go to the next tallest person. Hang up all of their coats to the right of the previous person's coats. Continue on to the tallest persons's coats. This will give you extra floor space to the left of your closet.
6. Next, gather everything from the floor of the closet and go through steps 1, 2, and 3. This would be a good time to vaccuum the floor and baseboards. Also, check for any mold that may have grown in the dark depths of the closet when you weren't looking (Ewwwww). Wipe it down with a bleach cleaner and let it dry thoroughly.
7. If you need to store shoes in the closet, place an extra door mat or a shoe tray on the floor to catch any dirt or rain/snow drips from the shoes.
8. If you're in the mood to make some improvements to the closet, you can add some hooks to the door or use an over-the-door hanger to hold an organizer. There are many to choose from. Here is one I like and here's another good idea.
I like the double rods in the picture above. It would work well if you only had shorter coats. Long coats would hand down over the bottom rod. I also like the rolling bin. It would be good for back packs and re-usable grocery bags.
When my children were little I used a series of tote bags for keeping everything organized and ready to go out the door. I had a different color bag for every activity we had (library, church, PTA, work, beach). When I came across something, like a library book needing to be returned, I simply placed it in the correct bag and it was ready to go.