Organized Coat Storage for a Small Coat Closet

Tidy up a small coat closet by getting creative with organized coat storage! See how we created our mini mudroom in this post!

Bookbags and Coats in Mini Mudroom

When we moved into our house over six years ago, I put everything where it was “supposed” to go. I put the coats in the coat closet. I put my baking stuff and dry goods in the pantry. We packed the storage areas in our garage and basement with Rubbermaid containers full of all of our extra junk. I followed the “rules” of the house.

As we’ve lived here longer and longer though, I’ve realized that sometimes the function an area is assigned is not always the way it functions best, so we have changed things around, flip-flopped different areas, and tried different arrangements to try and make our not-so-big house work in the best possible way for us.

Never has this been more evident than when we started to renovate our kitchen. As we try to figure out the best arrangement for everything, we have found ourselves experiencing a little bit of a snowball effect. (Isn’t that always what happens with projects?!)

Rethinking Our Kitchen and Entry Space

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It first began with the pantry. When I couldn’t include the tall cabinet that I wanted to provide more storage space, we started to get more creative with the areas close to the kitchen, and the “kitchen reno” kind of became a revamp of the whole front of the house. Oops.

I showed this graphic when I shared our powder room refresh a few days ago, but just as a reminder, here’s the layout we’re working with:

diagram of our home layout

To create the pantry space we needed, we took the entry coat closet and turned it into our new pantry. That left a whole bunch of coats without a home and the old pantry (which is super tiny) completely empty.

I was fine with sacrificing coat storage in this space in favor of pantry storage, especially since we enter our house through the garage rather than the front door 99% of the time. We still had to do something with the coats though, so that’s where the creativity came in.

I wanted to make sure we had at least a little bit of coat storage on the main floor in case we’re running out the front door for some reason or if guests come over, so we decided to turn the old pantry into a little mini mudroom!

Turning a Small Pantry into a Mini Mudroom

Here’s how the old pantry started out waaaaaaaaay at the beginning of the kitchen reno:

our old pantry that has been organized

It was fairly organized (thanks to a hidden overflow area where we stashed the rest of our junk!). But the shelves were super shallow, and no matter how many times I organized and shifted things around, there was just no way it could meet our needs as the sole pantry space.

So we ripped out the existing shelves to make room for the coats. Donnie cut down some inexpensive MDF 1x4s to fit the space. And so that the transition between the wall and the MDF wasn’t so abrupt, he used a miter saw to cut the end of the boards at a 45 degree angle.

close up oof the MDF boards with hooks for the coats

He installed the 1x4s in two rows in the little nook using a brad nailer, added some hooks, and our tiny former pantry-turned-mini mudroom was ready for some coats!

the new coat storage area after removing the shelves and adding hooks

The size of this little nook actually ended up being perfect. The boys have hooks at their level so that they can hang their items with ease, and Donnie and I can store our stuff on the top row.

coats and backpacks hanging in the new coat storage space

I also added a little basket at the bottom to catch all of the shoes that we always seem to have floating around the entry area and living room. Little Caleb’s new favorite thing to do is run into the house, pull off his shoes, and throw them in the basket– it’s the little things! 🙂

basket underneath the hanging coats and backpacks

Supplemental Storage for Extra Coats

But what about the rest of our coats? Oooohhhhh, don’t worry. I had a plan for those too. 🙂 Right when we come into our basement from the garage, there is an under-the-stairs nook that just happened to be the perfect size for a coat rod!

Since this is the way we enter and exit the house most of the time any way, it made so much more sense to have the majority of our coats and boots in this area so that we could discard them without having to drag them through the main part of the house. I think it will save me a ton of snow cleanup this winter– yippee!!

winter jackets hanging on a rod under the stairs

Organizing a Small Coat Closet: Final Thoughts

I am totally kicking myself that it took me six years of living in this house to think of this solution! It makes so much more sense than the setup we had before, and it is already more functional for our family, too.  

This big closet swap really has helped open my eyes to see that just because a space is “supposed” to be used for one purpose doesn’t mean it functions best that way. I will definitely be thinking more outside the box when it comes to organizing our space moving forward!

Now that we have the pantry sorted out and the coats have a home again, there are just a few more details we need to finish up in the kitchen before it is complete!

Coat Storage Ideas: Frequently Asked Questions

Coat closets aren’t totally necessary if we can get creative with making the most out of our spaces.

If you don’t mind freestanding furniture, coat racks are fairly compact and can fit in hallways and foyers.

Over the door hooks can be helpful and do not require any floor space.

When it comes to storing coats away for the season, be sure to utilize under the bed storage in plastic totes or vacuum seal bags.

The best way to keep coats organized is by season or function. Keep heavy winter jackets packed away until they are needed.

Lightweight coats and rain jackets are usually handy throughout the year. They deserve a spot in your everyday clothes or coat closet.

As always, before organizing, we always go through and declutter items that are worn out or no longer fit. This will make a big difference in space when putting the jackets back where they belong.

Want to save this post to revisit later? Be sure to pin the image below so you can find it easily!

How to Organize a Small Coat Closet

[Psssstttt… Find our top 100 tips and tricks for organizing every room of your house here!]

Have you ever gotten creative with space in your home to make it more functional?

We’ll be back with more updates soon! Have a wonderful day!

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  1. Hi Abby! I just love your ideas. I like the hook and the rod idea under the stairs. Maximizing the space makes it more efficient. I’m sharing this to my friend who’s moving to their new home. She’s gonna love this!

  2. Sam // DIY Just Cuz says:

    Love this, Abby! I admire your creativity as you try to fit things into small spaces…and the fact of the matter is when you do this it really makes the spaces seem not so small after all. I like the storage because it’s out of the way but still easily accessible.

  3. On Hayden Lane says:

    What a great use of space! You have the best ideas for making the most of little spaces.

  4. Lauren Baxter says:

    Great use of space!! I think we all forget that we can use any space which ever way we want to rather than what we’re “supposed” to use it for. Nothing really “traditional” anymore and you have to make it functional for yourselves 🙂

    Great post

    Lauren Baxter | Lovely Decor

  5. Christine says:

    I love what you’ve done!!! But I have to ask – I love your purse that is hanging up in the photo – what brand and style is it?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Christine! Sorry, that post is an old one. My purse is from The Limited, which I don’t even think exists anymore. So sorry!

      ~Abby =)

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