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Is your coat closet a mess this winter? Most people realize after the season starts that their closets need some serious help. This is generally because we end up adding to the closet as the season goes on. Styles change, we receive coats and winter accessories as Christmas gifts, kids outgrow older coats, and we acquire new winter boots. The closet never stood a chance! Use these tips for not only organizing your coat closet and winter accessories, but also for protecting the investment that you've made in your winter outdoor wear.

1. Tap into your charitable nature and give some older coats to needy families and charities. You may have a lot of coats that you like, but you prefer different ones. If you only wear a coat once a year or less, give it to someone who could really use it. Gather coats, gloves, hats and scarves that aren't your family's favorites and be charitable. I like to keep some items in my car to pass to the homeless when I see them at stop lights.


Get Your Coat Closet Organized and Get the Right Coat Hangers for the Whole Family

2. Some of your winter boots may not be the ones that you use all the time, but ones that you wear when it's wet, snowy, or muddy outside. Instead of keeping these in your closet where they can create moisture problems, keep them in a well ventilated decorative container on your porch or in the garage. I used an old wooden toy chest for mine. I cut sections out of the wooden bottom and installed a wire shelf. I put a towel in the bottom so that boots don't drip, and placed the whole thing over a heating vent by my front door. I absolutely love it!

3. When you get ready to organize the winter coats and accessories that you have left in the closet, you will need to invest in some good coat hangersWooden coat hangers and cedar coat hangers are the most popular. To ensure that expensive coats are well hung, measure them across the back from shoulder seam to shoulder seam. Check the kids' coats, too. Order the coat hangers that are the right size for each family member. Cedar hangers are wonderful because they absorb the moisture that is likely on your coats after being out in the snow and winter weather. Cedar closet accessories are also fabulous for this purpose.

4. Come up with a good system for keeping scarves, hats, and gloves organized. Hanging baskets are great. I actually used the over-the-door basket organizer that was meant for my pantry in the coat closet. It has adjustable baskets so I can hang the little kids' baskets down low and the adults' baskets up high. An over-the-door shoe organizer also works great.