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Organizing in 10 Minute Blocks: Coat Closet

coat closet - before organizing

Coat closets, if you are lucky enough to have one, can become a dumping ground for items without an immediate home. You can shut the door and put it all out of sight – at least until you open it to hang a guest’s coat.

Since the closet is used for guests’ coats as well as your own stuff, it should be tidy, functional, and well organized.

My Coat Closet

My coat closet holds coats, jackets, sweaters, a couple of tablecloths, and a bag of bags on the rod. The shelf holds hats, gloves, lint cleaner, a flashlight, and a pair of dance shoes.

There is a grab and go bag on a hook.

The floor holds gift wrapping supplies, umbrellas, and walking sticks.

While ideally this closet should be tackled seasonally, I only clean and organize it once a year in the spring. My closet is small and by the end of the year it is really in need of help.

I have been dancing around this task for a couple of weeks. It just feels overwhelming, and it seems I never have enough time to really do it justice – so I just don’t do it at all.

In the past I have emptied the entire closet, sorted everything, given the closet a good clean, gotten rid of items I don’t want any longer and returned the items to the closet. This takes more than an hour.

Deck of Cards

This year I decided to try something different. Diane Quintana and I developed of card game – Organize Your Home 10 minutes at a Time. I pulled out my deck of cards and chose 3 cards. One card is for the floor of the closet, one card is for the coats, and the last card is for the shelf.  That almost covers the closet. I would still have a few items to deal with that are not covered here but not much.

Instead of pulling everything out, I just did one section at a time. Even tired I can handle 10 minutes.

The Floor

I started with the floor. First, I pulled out everything, swept the floor, and then wiped it clean with a damp rag. My wrapping paper supplies were in containers on the floor so as I pulled those containers out (a tall container for rolls of paper, a box for gift bags, and a container for bows and decorations) I discarded items that were obviously tired looking and grouped gift bags by categories. I hung up a sweater that had fallen and put the collapsible walking stick back into its travel bag. When I put everything back on the closet floor, I looked at my timer. I was surprised to see I still had a minute left.

Coat Rod

The next section I tackled in the coat closet was the coat rod. First, I removed all coats, jackets, sweaters, tablecloths, and the hanging bag of bags. Then I took a damp rag and wiped down the wooden rod. Finally I got rid of the excess hangers. There was one sweater put aside to donate and the rest of the items were returned to the rod along with a few good hangers for guests. Again, less than 10 minutes.

The Shelf

Another day I worked on the shelf. I followed the same pattern and took everything off the shelf. Then I wiped down the shelf. Since I already had the items containerized it was more a matter of going through the containers and purging what I no longer felt I needed. Those items were put in my donation box. I put everything back on the shelf. The time was less than 7 minutes.


What was left for me to do in order to say “done” was to clean the door and door frame of the coat closet and reorganize the grab and go bag. The door did not take long but the grab and go bag is still to be done. This is a job that will take a little more than 10 minutes and I have it scheduled to work on this week.

What seemed like an overwhelming task became quite manageable when broken down into small steps. This closet is not large and gets done every year. If your closet is larger or more crammed because it has not been done in many years, it will take you longer.

The point is that if you break down big jobs, like organizing a coat closet, into small parts it is not overwhelming, the job can be accomplished, and you will feel relieved that the job is done.

If you want help or just some accountability in working your organizational plan join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space For You clutter support group. Click here to read more blogs on this topic.


Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients tackle the toughest organizational issues. Jonda does hands on organizing, virtual organizing. For more of Jonda’s tips connect with her on Facebook.



One Comment

  • Julie Bestry says:

    I’m pretty darned organized (considering I’m a professional organizer), but the truth is that I have more space than I need, so I’m bad about reducing excess in areas where I almost never go. I probably only even OPEN my coat closet door half a dozen times a year, and yet I know there’s way more in there than needs to be. (If I’m not getting stuff out, then obviously that stuff isn’t necessary.) Your 10-Minutes-At-A-Time cards would be perfect to create some motivation in this area! Very nifty advice!

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