organized | taming the winter gear


Today is Ground Hog Day, and the prediction is that there are 6 more weeks of winter ahead. Though my backyard weather for the past several weeks has been extremely mild and not so “winter-like”, I realized that many (like my sister in Wisconsin) are tangoing with cold days and mounds of winter gear accumulating around the entryways. Last year I employed a few simple switches that have made all the difference in how our family operates without a coat closet in our home.

Since space is limited, you’ll notice I bought a simple and inexpensive¬† boot tray from Container Store (in the featured image), and I keep it just outside my front door on the porch. This way boots don’t bring in any mud or germs, and its easy on and off when coming or going.

I figure if we can manage the winter gear in a home with no closets to speak of, anyone can. So here’s my method. First off, we are very careful not to have too many of any one item, and try our best to keep track of the things we do keep around. I imagine if you were to pull out all your winter gear and spread it across your living room you’d find that there are more often single gloves and mittens than paired ones. Save yourself the headache of storing useless items by purging your stash of anything that doesn’t meet immediate needs. Each member of our family has their own pair of gloves, and one scarf. We keep around a few extra beanies, and only keep one coat, one jacket, and one sweater each. There isn’t really a need for more than that. And it makes keeping things ready for going out the door simple and quick. Storing these items is also much easier when the belongings are simplified.

shoe storage by the front door
Most of our success is due to baskets. I purchased the one pictured above from Target, available here, and cut down an over the door shoe storage canvas to line the inside of the basket. It didn’t take long to do, and it’s made the basket of shoes less chaotic.

over door shoe bag

empty shoe storage

Here is what the basket looks lined with the canvas shoe bag. I like this for a few reasons. It’s prompts neatness even in my smallest child. Since the basket is deep, it makes for easier retrieval at first-glance. I highly recommend taking this project on. It’s been such a great addition to our family routine. And it has definitely lessened the “where’s my shoes?” stress when getting ready to leave. I have come to make a habit of asking the boys to put their shoes in the basket whenever we enter the home. Oh, and PS, this is a handsome looking solution in a space with no entryway.

tie with twine

As mentioned in the how-to image above, I tied the shoe liner with twine. I chose twine so it would blend in with the weave of the basket without calling too much attention to the ties.

outer basket tie

Thread the ties through the weave, like in the photo, to secure the shoe bag to the walls of the basket. Once tied, I tucked the ends behind the pockets.

filled shoe basket

Fill it up! I use the middle space to layer larger shoes (like my husband’s). And for smaller or flatter shoes I’m able to fit one pair of shoes into one pocket. (Another space-saving option). Having the basket near the front door also makes it easier to make a habit of putting shoes where they belong right when you get in.

shoe storage 3

Because we don’t have a coat closet in our home, we installed a shelf and three hooks (from Ikea, they are great because they fold down when in use, but fold up when not in use). The shelf is perfect for storing a basket full of scarves, hats, gloves, and mittens.

coat and hat storage

hat and glove basket

When my oldest son first went to school, we found our family became ill with seasonal bugs ALL THE TIME. I call that time in our family’s life “the year of the kindergarten plague”. None of us were prepared for the onslaught of germs that circulated our home. And with this year’s extra concerning flu season, I decided it was time to implement a NO SHOE rule in our home. Shoes bring in a lot of germs and allergens, so, to make this change easier on visiting guests, I picked up several sets of slippers (in various sizes) from Dollar Tree. I paired them and store them in the other basket on our shelf.

slipper basket

Pairing the slippers for guests and labeling the bottom of the soles helps for picking out the right size. And after use, I can throw them in the washer.

labeling guest slippers

* How do you keep winter gear in line?


Photo Credits:  Shoe storage bag via Container Store //  All others, Ann Neslen via Dripping Paintbrush

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