This is the second post in our small space series. If you missed the first one, Small Space Big Challenges and Solutions , check it out as it talked all about purging to enjoy the space you have more. Today, we are going to go into how to handle all that winter gear when space is limited.
Every place we have lived in, we have had a small entry way. Not sure how that has happened but it is what it is. In our current house, our entry way is also our dinning area. I won’t say room because it is more of a corner in a walkway. We also do not have a closet. Seriously, no entry closet. Actually almost no closets at all. Just one in each bedroom and that is it. The one extra closet we do have, the previous owners put the furnace in. Maybe one day we can move it, but for now we deal with having a small open space to store our stuff.
It is hard enough in the summer when everyone is going in and out to keep an entry way clean, but when winter comes we have snow pants, hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, boots and sneakers, and of course all the extra winter coats. So how do we handle things when winter comes and we have so much extra to deal with on a daily basis? Smart, creative solutions is the answer. Let me dish out the details of HOW I make it all “disappear” while still having everything accessible in an open area.
The first thing I did was add two indoor/outdoor rugs to define the space, and help keep the dirt level down. The next thing was to add a coat rack that would work for a family of 5. You could buy one, but instead, it was a DIY project. I bought six double hooks and some flat-headed, stud screws in the hardware section of our local super store. We had some leftover wood in storage, 2×4, sanded it and stained it. Added the hooks, secured it to the wall and voilà, a six hook coat rack (Thank you Mommy Dearest for making this happen!). One hook for each of us, and an extra for a guest. This went from idea to finished in one day flat. We placed it low enough that even our littlest one can hang up his own coat. Above the coat rack. I hang cheap, cute, canvases that go with the seasons. I think having the picture up above the coat rack helps to make the wall seem larger and minimize the mess of hanging coats.
Next was to figure out what to do with all those shoes. First is, we have a bin in storage we rotate in and out for the various seasons. Whatever we aren’t going to wear for the current season, goes into storage. The rest, which can be quite a bit with a family of five, has to have a place. I stacked some milk crates and zip tied them together. Now everyone has a cubby to hold their shoes. I placed it in the little space at the bottom of our stairs, next to the door. There is enough space to still walk by and get up the stairs without a problem and they are kind of hidden. As for my dress shoes, those go in my bedroom closet because well us girls usually have a bunch of shoes, right. When I want to wear dress shoes, I know right where to get them. The winter boots however, are placed underneath each persons coat hook. Those are the most used and largest, so we leave them on the rug to dry. The hardest to store are my boots. I have dress winter boots, snow playing boots and shopping boots. They don’t fit in the cubbies, so just like my dress shoes, my extra boots are in my bedroom closet.
As for the mittens, hats, scarves, gloves, etc. I was lucky enough to be given some old orange crates (Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!). I placed 2 sets on top of the milk crates and added baskets to them. One holds gloves, one hats, one scarves, and one ski pants. I will say the ski pants basket is just about ready to explode, so the kids can’t put those away on their own. We tried hanging them on each persons coat hook but it made the entry way seem so cluttered. Not sure what YET, but pretty soon I will have to work on a new solution for those, since the kids keep growing and so do their ski pants, lol. On top of the orange crates I have a handled pot with snowman parts. I labeled all the baskets with cute little chalkboard signs, so everyone knows which basket to grab in a rush.
So there you go, how we store all our winter gear in a small, open area. Some days I still feel like it would be such a blessing to have a closet, usually when we are eating dinner and the entry hasn’t been cleaned up that day. However, I am so thankful that because of our small space, we are able to narrow down what we actually need and are forced to get rid of the rest. It helps keep the clutter down and gives us all less to clean up.
How do you store all your winter gear? Do you have a small space too? Comment below and maybe we all can learn some new ideas.