9 Tips for Organizing a Functional Coat Closet

9 steps to completely organize a coat closet from start to finish to make it beautiful and functional + free printable labels.

Oh my stars! I can BREATHE again!

The coat closet is organized and finally functional!

I have just two moods in January:

1. I literally want to do nothing but hibernate in my pjs until spring or…

2. Organize all the things.

But I absolutely couldn’t hibernate until THIS monstrosity was fixed:

coat closet before

It stresses me out just looking at it.

But now… ahhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!

coat closet organization

It’s a sight to behold, I tell ya. And I honestly can’t believe it took me this long.

If you’ve been in the same boat on the coat closet battle front, I thought I’d give ya a few tips that might help maximize your space.

(Affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)

9 Tips to Organize a Functional Coat Closet


That’s probably a total Captain Obvious tip, but even if you plan on keeping some of the existing items in the closet, pull them out anyway and start with a blank slate so you can work from scratch.

2. Give it a fresh paint job

Yeah, it’s a total pain, but it helps so much with that “fresh start” mindset. And if it’s a musty closet, it needs it for the smell factor anyway.

We just used leftover paint we had from our master bedroom. (Yay for free leftovers!) I love how the black makes everything else pop.

coat closet with gift wrap storage

 3. Be real with yourself about what you really need

If you haven’t used an item in that closet in the last year, get rid of it. Into the donate pile it goes. Because chances are, you’re not going to miss it.

4. Take an inventory of what you will be keeping and put them into categories

I made piles with the items I planned on keeping for hats, gloves, scarves, coats, shoes, workout equipment, gift wrap, and Robert’s chiropractic items he occasionally uses for a bad neck/back problem.

By putting items in categories, you’ll know exactly how many bins and baskets you’ll need.

coat closet labels

5. Measure your closet

Get out the tape measure and determine the height, width, and depth of your closet and keep those measurements in the notepad on your phone.

While you’re out shopping for baskets, bins, and shelves, you’ll know exactly what will fit and what won’t without any trial and error.

6. Invest in pretty baskets and bins that are the right dimensions

Choosing things that are “pretty” will encourage you to keep the space looking beautiful.

coat closet organization with shoe storage

7. Labels are your best friend

That way there’s no question where anything goes. My trick is to use these cheap ID/luggage tags. I whipped up some coat closet labels for them that you can download and print yourself.

If you’re currently a Bless’er House email subscriber, the printables are already in my Printable Library. Just access them from the link at the bottom of every email I send or from here (password in your email).

If you want to get access to the printable label set, just click here to subscribe and get the labels in your inbox (it’s free).

coat closet organization baskets and labels

8. Use matching hangers

I really like these velvet hangers to keep slippery jackets from sliding off. It’s amazing how much a pack of matching hangers can do for a closet.

coat closet organization with winter gear bins

9. Utilize vertical storage space on your closet’s side walls

Put all of the walls in your closet to work by installing cubby shelves and wall baskets. These baskets were perfect for storing our rolls of gift wrap, gift bags, and tissue paper.

coat closet organization with gift wrap storage

That’s it! Totally worth every second, and really most of the job was knocked out in just a day while sporadically chasing the kiddos around the house.

If you want to know about any of the sources I used, you can find them all here:

Now, I’m off to hibernate until spring. Juuuuuust kidding. We still have plenty of cabinets, drawers, and closets (plus an entire office and garage) that need major help.

But progress is progress!

coat closet organization

And now I have a place where guests can hang their coats without me cringing in complete embarrassment. Woot!

I’ll be sharing a few more organization posts this month too, but I’m curious what YOU are currently in need organizing. Let me know in the comments!

I think next stop for us on this organization train is the kitchen. And I’m already afraid.

If you want more organizing ideas and tips, you can see more here.

And if you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

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  1. I completed a closet project earlier this year and I think painting it was a huge success factor. Once I had this clean, beautiful closet, I didn’t want anything unworthy to go back in there! 😂 Bonus…it actually has room for guest items now!

  2. Simple and sweet, tags look good. Do you think closets ever stay looking good? I think they usually need a “makeover” every year or two! Good job

    1. Surprisingly, our linen closet in our bathroom still looks amazing and it’s been two years now. I think making it “pretty” in the first place is key to keeping it that way.

    1. I used them on the inside side wall for storing rolls of wrapping paper and gift bags. They’re hard to see from the outside of the closet.

  3. The shoe cubbies are a really great vertical space saving idea.
    I got hefty wood hangers for my coat closet, but my kids still throw their coats on the hall bench when they come to visit. Whatcha gonna do!