Operation Organization: The Coat Closet {40×41}

I don’t know about y’all, but January usually rolls in with a frenzy of purging, cleaning and organizing around my house.  I love that the ladies at 11 Magnolia Lane put this great series together each and every year to inspire users on all sorts of organization projects.  In fact, if you are joining me from another stop in the series, welcome.  I’m delighted you’re here!  You can learn more about me and this little piece of the internet HERE.

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll know that I am in the final stretch of completing a 2 year bucket list that I put together to celebrate my 40th birthday.  Number 16 on said list, “Do something super useful with our coat closet (it is so underused that my type A+ personality is actually annoyed by it)” has just been marked complete and I’m excited to share the details.  First things first, here is a peek at what it has looked like for the last 8 years:

So, you see, it is really just your typical hall closet.  It’s located in the main entry way off of the front door and really is a nice space for coats.  Before starting this project, and any of our other home projects, we usually start by really thinking about how the space could best be used for our family.  On doing this, I realized that we don’t actually need a coat closet for a few reasons.  First, 90% of guests coming in to our home do so via the “friends” entry in the garage.  With the boys and dog, the door is usually just standing wide open :-)  Second, here in the south we very rarely have a whole bunch of people coming over with a whole bunch of coats that need to be hung up.  In 8 years, we have never once hung a coat in here.  With that realization, we started brainstorming what to do with the space.  As a blogger, I really wanted to knock this out of the park.  To come up with a super ingenious and lovely looking space that would go viral on pinterest.  Here’s how my top 3 went down:

1.A darling mudroom type space with a bench and hooks and stencilled walls BUT

  • we already have a mudroom AND space in the garage for hanging things
  • we don’t need a place for guests to hang coats re: above
  • I’d have to stage the space with all sorts of things I don’t need like umbrellas, cute hats and throw blankets

2. A mini library with tiny u-shaped shelves going the whole length, width and height of the closet with a darling glass door and new light BUT

  • that’s expensive and would require an electrician and custom door
  • we don’t currently have a plethora of books with no home
  • both of my boys AND Honey now all read e-books and I read library books so our collection of books won’t be growing tremendously over the years

3. A fancy dry bar area with fabulous glasses, a counter, custom wine rack, lighting and outstanding wallpaper BUT

  • that’s expensive
  • how many bars does one family need?  we already dismantled the one in the basement and turned the original one in the den into a banquette
  • my boys are little and balls and nerf darts are constantly in motion, do I really want nice glasses displayed on shelves right here?!
  • AND my boys are only getting older… and so are their friends… do I want to have free for all liquor hanging out in the middle of my home?!

So at the end of my “bright ideas”, I opened the closet up to suggestions from family.  My favorite came from Daddy-O via email, in order of perceived need:

1.Jail cell for the boys and dog (bwahahahahaha… although if Elsa were a bit smaller it would make a darling replacement for the crate with a cute dutch door)

2. Elevator – so I can get to my suite when the time comes for me to move in (wait, I thought y’all were moving in with Sister… ha!)

3. General storage

4. – 10. just blank… he had no ideas

11. Coat closet  (LOL…. right there with you)

So after I pulled myself off the floor from the hysterics of his list, I zeroed in on number 3.  Hellooooooo…. what you NEED is general storage.  Just look at the space now.  The one shelf is full of STUFF and the floor of the closet is full of STUFF.  So, I had to put my dreams of going viral with the new “best idea under the sun” to bed and just be a real life human being… I need a closet with some shelves and nothing else.  This is a real house where real people live.  :-)

With the help of Honey… he’s such a great guy that is super handy and ALWAYS up for my projects… we emptied out the closet and got to work.  We decided that the height of the existing shelf was at a good place for getting stuff up into the closet considering the height of the door.  Honey was able to leave the two wood pieces it was sitting on and just filled in the holes.

From there, we divided the rest of the space from there to the floor evenly to fit a total of 4 shelves.  He also made them deeper to use the full space of the closet.  He has done quite a few projects around here and had almost enough scrap wood to finish this whole project.

After this, he gave the whole space a new coat of paint from a can we had left over from other projects.  Sure, I considered doing a fun new pop of color, but I made myself remain practical…. no point in purchasing a $35 can of paint for a storage closet.  I barely recognize myself.  He went ahead and painted the ceiling in here the same color to keep things easy AND because I’m pretty sure it hadn’t been painted since the house was built in 1964.  He cut the shelves and painted them with left over trim paint from the rest of the house.  I dropped the ball on these progress pics.  While he did this work, I did the following:

  • went through the stuff that was originally in the closet and purged
  • took advantage of the 50% off sale at Michael’s for all baskets and storage containers and stocked up
  • realized that I now had much more space than I had stuff for and was able to clean out another cabinet in the mudroom, cull my camera equipment, and give it a new official home in the closet

I got up extra early to load the shelves up this morning before work and snap a few pics.  I have to say, I am REALLY happy with where we landed.  This closet was and continues to be home to a menagerie of things – decorative items that I frequently rotate through my dining tables; toys for my niece; and now ALL of my camera and video equipment!

The new baskets keep things looking tidy and neat.  Not to mention, I think I’ve never gotten the kindergarten mantra out of my brain “a place for everything and everything in its place.”  (I mean, Mother WAS a kindergarten teacher.)

It feels really good to have this done.  Not only did I make a practical, usable space, but I also emptied out a second cabinet in my mudroom AND got a good bit of stuff to donate AND checked another item off the 40×41 bucket list AND I didn’t spend more than $100.   Yippee!!!!

UPDATE 1/18:  After living with the basket situation for a whole week (ha!) I decided that, while cute, the two buckets and wire baskets didn’t maximize storage space on the shelves.  If you look closely, you will see that I didn’t cut the tags off in fear of this.  So, I returned those and bought more of the regular rectangular basket size.  Here’s the final look:

Also, MANY of you have asked about the castle!!  I bought it for CeeCee about a year ago to have to play with at my house.  I mean, I’ve been wanting a reason to buy it for years.  It is from Disney Store, but I believe this exact one is no longer offered.

I’d love to have you pop over and check out the rest of our home tour!!  To ensure you don’t miss a minute of the goings and doings at Dixie Delights, I’d be *delighted* if you signed up for my newsletter here:

Last but not least, be sure to hop over to some of my favorite bloggers to check out their best organizing ideas and inspiration!

Operation Organization





Have a fabulous long weekend!!



23 thoughts on “Operation Organization: The Coat Closet {40×41}

  1. You’ll enjoy having such a useful space – and everything is easy to access! And… one more item off that list! xo

  2. I have one of these by my front door also. The previous owner had put in shelves but they were so far apart, they weren’t really useful to me. I went in and put in a shelf between those so it would be more useful. Now (after many years) it is just time to clean that space out and just put things I need to keep on the shelves. I also have a little closet in the corner of my bedroom I did the same thing. I think it is just time for a good spring cleaning of closets at my house!

  3. Love this post’s backstory and the fact that you fought the temptation to make something that you really didn’t need. Your authenticity is one of the reasons your blog is one of the few I continue to follow year after year…ya keep it real girl & not many do anymore.
    Love it & enjoy the new space! Decluttering and simplifying does a house good.

  4. Am I the only one that wants to know what that precious castle is??? Is it Cinderella’s Castle or something different? It’s precious!! Is it for CeeCee to play with? I want it!! :-)

  5. Only you would have a princess castle in your storage closet! It was the first thing I zeroed in on. Adorable! I still love that Daddy-O! He’s the best and the elevator would have been perfect! ;-) My goal is to make MY guest closet look half as good as your “before”! Ha! You must be so excited! It looks great.

  6. Love it! Great post! I need to address our cost closet as well! Quick question: do you have another closet in your mud room where you store all your coats, hats, gloves, etc? Also – how do you manage shoe storage in your house?? We struggle with that despite many attempts at various systems! Thanks!!

    1. We don’t have a closet, we just hang them on hooks in the mudroom. We also have a set of hooks in the garage that is used for towels in the summer. We put coats there when they are wet or we have overflow. As far as shoes, those all stay outside in the garage. Everyone has a cubby. You can see our garage HERE!

  7. Here in Minnesota we need those entry closets?. But I love what you did to use your space efficiently.

    I too have been busy organizing, donating and shredding. Doesn’t it feel good.

    I will be finishing my kitchen cabinets and drawers today. We remodeled two years ago and I decided I would not start redoing how I put things away until I lived with it for a while. I must share
    The Container Store has these amazing heavy duty foam strips that fit in a utensil drawer to organize your spices. Everything lays flat…you can easily mix small jars with taller ones. LOVE IT and reasonable. $12 for the entire drawer.

    Keep the fun and great ideas coming.

    1. I bet you do!! Gosh, organizing feels so good. But as soon as I finish one project I feel like there are 100 more, you know?! Love the spice drawer idea too.

  8. What a great idea!! So smart to really consider the needs of your daily life before embarking on projects. I need to take that advice into this new year……

    I have a question regarding your light fixtures, especially bringing fixtures from a previous home to a new one. When showing the previous home to buyers, where those fixtures you wanted to take already removed, or were they shown with the home, stipulating that they would be removed? I have some fixtures I love and would like to take them when we move.

    Thanks for your help and great ideas :)

    1. We took them down before listing the house to avoid any issues. We saved all of the original builder fixtures because we knew this wasn’t our forever home so Honey put those back up before listing. Good luck!!

  9. YES! All about what’s useful. My husband retro-fitted our 6.5 ft tall tv armoire to become his golf closet. It now holds his entire golf bag and clubs, 10 pairs of golf shoes, baskets of golf balls and tees (we have over 10,000 – long story), and golf clothes.

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