Challenge #15 – The Coat Closet

Coat Closet. There is no better time to have a look at the coat closet!

The cold weather is fully upon us today. There is no better time to have a look at the coat closet!


As time passes and our families grow, we often accumulate coats, jackets, mittens, hats and the like. Once a year or so, we need to take everything out and sort through it.

Gather a large bag or box for donations; coats and outerwear are terrific items to pass on! Now take everything out of your closet. Clear out whatever is on the floor as well, including shoes and boots. You may want to vacuum while the closet is empty.

Move everything onto a large, clear sorting surface, such as the dining room table or even the floor. Stack the coats/shoes/boots/scarves/mittens/etc. in piles by wearer. You may have some “easy hits” that you know right away are no longer needed, such as gloves without a match or anything that no longer fits. Put these in the donation bag.

If you aren’t sure if an item still fits a family member, set it aside with a name tag on the top and have the family member try it on when he/she gets home.

Perhaps you’ve come across items that don’t really belong in this closet. Put these in your “elsewhere” bin/box to be redistributed at the end of the task. Likewise, if your closet is small, consider moving out of season clothing (e.g. lightweight jackets, flip flops, etc.) to a long-term storage location, such as a bedroom closet, basement, or under-the-bed box.

Now consider the cost of what you are keeping. Having a “coat for every occasion” is wonderful — if you have sufficient space! But if you have limited space, keeping a coat you wear only once a year will likely cause you grief. There is a “carrying cost” for every item you own. Only keep what comfortably fits in your closet.

When reloading, remember to maximize the space you’ve got. Use hooks or a towel bar for scarves, umbrellas or hats.

Scarf holder
Wayside Sacraments

Another option is to add an  “over the door organizer” to hold small items like mittens and hats.

If you have shelves or cubbies, use bins or baskets to hold items either for each person (e.g. Mom, Dad, etc.) or type of supply (e.g. bug spray, sunscreen, etc.)

Add a tray, peg hooks, or a rack at the bottom for shoes.

When hanging coats, be sure to use sturdy hangers – not the wire ones from the dry cleaner.

Have you assembled a bag of items to donate? Move it now into your car and schedule a time in your calendar for dropping it off at a charity.

Were you able to let anything go? Did you free up some space?

*      *      *      *      *

If you are new to the challenge, here’s a review of the process we are using all month:


1. Gather your supplies: (you can reuse these same supplies each day)

  • Boxes or bags labeled with “Donate”, “Elsewhere” and “Store”
  • Trash can and recycle bin
  • Damp rag/wet wipe

2. Remove everything from the area (yes, everything) and wipe it clean with a damp rag.

3. Sort the items into these categories: (The Seana Method’s R.E.D.D.S. system)

  • R- Restore: these are the items going back in
  • E- Elsewhere: these are items to keep, but that don’t belong in this space
  • D- Donate
  • D- Dispose: trash or recycle
  • S- Store: items you want to keep for sentimental reasons, or perhaps for a long-term future use, but which you don’t regularly use. These items will eventually need to go into a bin/box in an attic, basement, or closet.

4. Keeping the “Restore” items out, and put all other items into the boxes/bags you prepared.

5. Move items to their final destination:

  • Put the “Restore” items back into your designated area.
  • Carry the “Elsewhere” box/bag around your house and redistribute its contents.
  • Move the “Donate” box/bag to the car to be donated.
  • Trash/recycle the “Dispose” items.
  • Put the “Store” items into a container and move it to a remote location for future access.

14 thoughts on “Challenge #15 – The Coat Closet”

  1. I actually did this as the cold weather was approaching and found a Michael Kors coat I bought a few years back and forgot about believe it or not. But besides that I was happy with the progress I made in that space, but now you gave me a few more ideas with the shoe rack and the over the door organizer, too. Thanks 😉
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Winter Dishing And Wonderful WednesdayMy Profile

    1. Wow, hard to believe you forgot about a Michael Kors coat. That is a great find… sort of like finding money in your pocket:) At the beginning of the season really is the perfect time, though, so good for you.

    1. I think you are right, Joanne. The same thing happens in my closet.. “clothing rabbits!” Thanks for reading.. gotta use every inch, right?

    1. Okay Gingi, so I said at the beginning. If the project is too large, push it off until the weekend. Or, break it up into smaller pieces, such as today only coats. Anyway, good luck!!!

    1. That is a huge step. My husband is still holding onto a jacket from high school. At least I convinced him to move it out of our prime closet and into a more “memorabilia” storage area. It can be tough to let go of beloved old clothing, but it takes up too much space to keep it around if you aren’t wearing it!

    1. Ah.. perhaps something lurking in the back? It’s amazing what can live on the floor or on a top shelf in the back of a closet. But sounds like you’ve got this one pretty much under control, Janet. That is a terrific feeling, right?

    1. Finding something in your coat closet that you are perfectly happy to relocate is sort of like finding $20 in your pocket – a quick win! I haven’t been camping, um, ever. I’m more of a hotel gal. And as for the coats, feels so good to give some away and know that they will be quickly put into use by someone with a true need:)

    1. Awesome, Sarah. I love that feeling – it’s the best!! And you’ve given yourself a gift to enjoy in the upcoming weeks:)

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