We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

Even though our closets hold some of our most important possessions, we inevitably end up neglecting them. So we’re asking clever homeowners and renters to share their time-tested organizing methods that really (really!) work in our new series, Reclaim Your Closet.

My Brooklyn apartment came with sky-high ceilings, original picture frame molding, and a gorgeously renovated kitchen—but closets, not so much. Between my husband and I, we have two 3-by-3, single-door spaces for our clothes. All of them. In the summer, our winter jackets can go in our suitcases under the bed, but when the temperatures dip, it’s pure coat chaos in our household.

Before calling in the experts, my coats and bags hung on a door in our home office. Photography by Julie Vadnal.
Before, purses and hair accessories were on the back of my bedroom door. Photography by Julie Vadnal.

On any given day, there’s a fleece hanging off the back of a dining room chair, a long coat draped over the door to our bedroom, and a parka on the over-the-door rack in our home office. Without a dedicated spot for them to go, they just go anywhere—and that’s usually dependent on how hungry, busy, or tired we are when we get home.

Before, my biggest jacket would hang on the inside of my closet door, smushing up against the clothes when the door was closed. Photography by Julie Vadnal.

By this January, we needed to call in reinforcements. I shot off emails to a few experts, and a couple days later, I was FaceTiming with professional organizer Rachel Rosenthal of Rachel and Co., whom I walked through our space, apologizing for the clutter as I showed her all of our various drop zones for coats. I did the same with Shira Gill, author of Organized Living, who was kind but clearly shocked by our lack of organization. Thankfully, both gave me great advice on how to get our winter coats under control, even without an entryway closet. 

Make an Edit

Both Rosenthal and Gill agreed: I needed to cut back on the amount of jackets I own. “There’s only seven days in a week, and you’re probably repeating coats often,” Rosenthal says. She suggests I grab all my jackets from their current resting places and throw them into one big pile on the bed. This way, I can take inventory. Turns out, I own two fleeces that I hardly ever wear and a puffer that looks more Silicon Valley than Carroll Gardens. Those three went on my Poshmark immediately. Knowing that whatever I kept would have to be stored out in the open, Gill also mentions: “There’s no way to make a million coats look attractive.” She’s not wrong.

Find a Central Zone

With my current (dis)arrangement, the majority of my coats hang on the back of our office door—meaning I have to walk through the entire apartment before I can disrobe. Instead, Rosenthal suggests I move the purses and hair accessories from the back of my bedroom door and put coats there instead—cutting my travel time from the front door in half. Those bags and headbands, which get less everyday use, could then go on the back of the now-empty office door. Genius. 

Get Hooked

Gill is a huge fan of hooks—”Hooks solve everything,” she proclaims—and she emailed me an extensive list of her favorites right after our call. (Check out some of them below.) If you do two rows, all you need, she says, is 2 to 3 feet of horizontal space. We tried adding them to the sliver of wall when you walk into our apartment, but we kept knocking into our bulky outerwear. Now we hang keys and slim bags there, making it our official “drop zone” when we walk in the door.

Instead, my coats are corralled to the back of my bedroom door via over-the-door hooks—I’m partial to this option. To keep the system going when spring and summer roll around, Rosenthal suggests keeping lighter jackets there, too. One more reason I can’t wait for spring.

The Best Hooks for Organizing Coats