Now that all the wet and muck of winter have arrived in earnest, you might be confronting that perennial organization problem: how to store all your gear. It can be surprisingly difficult to keep those hats, mittens, and boots sorted, especially if you have a small place or have more than a couple people in your family.
The good news is that there are creative solutions, even for homes without dedicated mudrooms or voluminous coat closets. To figure out how to tackle your own gear dilemma, first take stock of what spaces you’ll need. Usually this will include spots for:
- drying damp gear;
- keeping boots;
- hanging coats and jackets, both big and small;
- stowing small things like hats and gloves; and
- storing dry stuff and extra items.
Keeping things straight can be easiest if each person in the family has a dedicated space for his or her stuff. This could be the drawer of a dresser, a shelf, a shoebox, a plastic bin, a hook, or any other suitable receptacle.
If you have kids, consider placing a closet bar or a series of hooks below those used by the adults, to allow for more efficient use of space and better accessibility by ankle-biters. Boots can be stored beneath the coats, and there are a multitude of options for hats, gloves, and the like.
For example, use an over the door shoe organizer in the coat closet or hang hooks on the back of the closet door to hold small items.
Alternately, string a clothesline across the inside of the closet door or along a wall-mounted coat rack with clothes pins attached for mittens and gloves. You could also forgo the clothesline and glue the clothespins right on the door.
Other ideas are to hang tote bags on hooks to collects the hats and gloves, and to place milk crates in the bottom of the coat closet for extras.
For those who don’t have a roomy coat closet, use a bookshelf of a chest of drawers in the hall to store small things. You can put kids’ stuff on the lower shelves or drawers for easy grabbing.
If you’re in the position to renovate your laundry room, make it a mudroom too by adding full-size lockers, one for each person. But even if you can’t have a mudroom of your own, don’t forget to think about the mud . . . a cheap, washable rug in the entry area might be just the ticket.
How do you organize your winter stuff?
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