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Not everyone has a dedicated mudroom for storing their coats, shoes, backpacks and other paraphernalia. However, even the smallest coat closet can be made into an effective and organized space. Many people like to keep the coat closet relatively empty for guests. Unless you're entertaining daily, reclaim your coat closet and instead get a coat tree for your front hall for hanging guests coats.

Reclaim your coat closet in these three easy steps:

Step One: Remove. Pull everything out of the closet. Yes, every single thing. As you pull the items out, segregate them into piles. Kids' coats, grown-up coats, hats, kids shoes, etc

Step Two: Assess. Decide what actually needs to live inside the closet. Can your vacuum cleaner move to a different location? What about all of your dress coats? I have many and realized one day that they don't all have to be in the front hall closet when I have a walk-in closet in my master bedroom. Move any of these items to their new home.

Step Three: Purge. Go through your items and get rid of anything that you don't need, like coats that no longer fit, mismatched gloves and mittens, scarves you never actually wear, and boots that are too small. Donate whatever is still usable to a shelter and throw away the rest.

Now you are left with the things that you have decided actually belong in your closet. It's time to organize.

Consider how you live and use your things. For example, if you live somewhere rainy, you don't want your umbrellas stored in a basket on high shelf out of reach. This system will just frustrate you and cause you not to use it.

Try hanging the rod higher than normal. This will give you room underneath the rod to either hang another rod, install some shelving, or even use some drawers to store the kids' socks and mittens. Remember if the kids can't reach it themselves, they aren't going to be able to put it away. One of the best things that you can do for them, and yourself, is to teach them to be self sufficient.

Think outside the box. An over-the-door shoe organizer doesn't have to be for shoes. Use it for scarves, mittens, and hats. It can also be a great place to store a pen and some note cards for those last-minute notes you need to send off to school.

Think like a child. They do not like to put stuff away. Make it easy for them. Instead of a second lower clothing rod, try some coat hooks. They can hang up their coats and backpacks themselves.

Alternately, hooks on the back of the door are perfect for hanging backpacks and purses. A set of hooks down low for the children and another set up high for the grown-ups.





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