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Coat Closet Alternatives

mud room coat closet alternative near back door

Tired of the mess of shoes and jackets by the back door? You know it's only going to get worse as the weather gets colder. Even if you don't have or want a traditional coat closet near the rear entry to your home, you can still get the clutter under control. Read on for coat closet alternatives and entryway organization ideas that work!

Back doors can get messy. It's not uncommon to find piles of shoes, boots, backpacks, jackets, and more left near the rear entry of the home. That's because this casual entrance is the door most people prefer to use. But it's less likely to have a traditional closet than the front door. The main front entrance is often left for formal occasions and usually features a guest coat closet. That leaves the rear entrance to become the "drop zone" for your family's everyday needs. Even though it receives frequent use by multiple family members, it doesn't have to be in a constant state of disarray. Control the mayhem surrounding your back door with alternative ideas to the coat closet. Not only will your home look better, but the whole family will reap the benefits of living a more organized life.

How to organize the back-door entrance area without a coat closet.

  1. Use Hooks for Jackets and Backpacks

    Cleat with hooks for jackets and backpackse.
    These hooks are screwed into a cleat as part of a mud room organization project with a built-in hall tree and bench for putting on shoes.

    Hooks have been around for hanging clothes longer than closets. And no matter what size constraints you must deal with near your back-door entrance, everyone has room to install some hooks for jackets, purses, etc. The trick is to install them correctly so that they can hold a lot of weight without breaking or coming out of the wall. The best way to do this is by using a wooden cleat. A cleat is a board mounted to the wall. In this case, the cleat must be mounted to the wall studs with screws. There is no set size that a cleat must be, but thicker and wider is generally stronger. Plan on using a 1"W x 3"H board at a minimum. The length will be determined by the number of hooks you need and your space restrictions. The hooks should be evenly spaced across the board and secured with wood screws. You don't need to worry about drilling them into the wall studs, because the cleat is already secured to the studs and provides the necessary strength. But be sure to select good quality hooks that won't snap — even under the weight of a heavy backpack. A weight rating of 50 lbs. on the hooks should cover most needs.

    An added bonus to using hooks like these over hangers in your entrance hall is that even small children tend to hang up their things when a hook is provided. They will almost never use a hanger. Consider a second cleat with hooks positioned lower on the wall if you have little ones.

  2. Include a Shoe or Boot Organizer

    Back door with a 360 Organizer Shoe Spinner and coat tree.
    The 360 Organizer® Shoe Spinner is a rotating closet system for shoes that can hold up to 200 pairs of footwear in a relatively small 40" x 40" corner?

    Storage for footwear is essential if you want to have a neat and tidy back door. This is especially true if your family is in the habit of removing their shoes when entering the home. Without proper storage, the shoes pile up around the entrance. There are two ways to go about organizing this. You can insist that everyone keep their shoes in their bedroom closets and only allow the shoes being worn that day to be kept near the door. In this case, you only need a few shelves to store the shoes. Some families, however, feel it is better to keep all the shoes in the same place near the door. In this case, you need a complete shoe closet near your back door. Chances are, you don't have one of these or you wouldn't be reading this article. The 360 Organizer® Shoe Spinner provides a complete rotating storage system just for shoes. Retrofit it into any 40" x 40" corner. If a Shoe Spinner isn't going to work out for you, you can always install a set of shelves to hold all the shoes. They only need to be 12"-14" deep and can be covered by cabinet doors for a very polished and finished look that won't spoil your décor.

    Be sure to include a place to sit down near your shoe storage. It doesn't matter whether it's an odd chair placed near the door or an integrated bench/hall tree with shoe storage underneath and a place to hang your jacket above. It's just a whole lot easier to take your shoes off or on when you have a place to sit down.

  3. Use Drawers or Baskets for the Small Stuff

    Mudroom organizer with slide out baskets above shoe shelves.
    This mud room organizer includes pull-out baskets, an integrated bench, hooks for jackets, & shoe storage compartments. The wire baskets are on slides. This means they pull out like drawers. The open wire offers an advantage for families with small children because they can also function as a drying rack for wet mittens. However, the plain basket and decorative boxes can also work well to prevent hats, gloves and small items from getting mislaid.

    In addition to jackets and shoes, your rear entry needs organization for the smaller items your family carries with them every time they go out. this includes like gloves, scarves, and even keys. A drawer or basket near the jacket or shoe storage works well for these items. Canvas liners are available for the wire baskets if you're worried about things falling through the slats. One drawer or basket per family member is ideal. That way, everyone can keep track of their own stuff. Built-in drawers and baskets with slides are nice and extra convenient if you can swing that. However, a decorative box or basket that sits on a shelf can work just as well in a pinch.

  4. Install a Complete Mud Room Built-In Organizer

    Glossy wardrobe closet with hooks as a coat closet alternative.
    This mud room built-in is covered with shiny red doors. Not only does it keep the back-door area tidy and organized, but it creates a design statement and a splash of color that coordinates with the attached kitchen and breakfast room.

    If space permits, a complete mud room built-in organizer may keep your family a lot better than a traditional closet. Easy and convenient, mudroom built-ins, sometimes referred to as lockers, will probably see a lot more use than any hanger system. This coat closet alternative offers everything you need to keep your family organized and the back door neat and tidy. A typical system includes hooks, shelves for shoes, and an integrated bench where you can sit down. Baskets and drawers are optional.

    Based on the old-fashioned hall tree with boot box that was once an iconic back door accessory in early 20th century farmhouses, this type of organizer has a casual, convenient feel. Put one in and it's bound to see a lot of use. If you want to hide the collection of jackets, shoes, and other outerwear, cover it with cabinet doors. This makes it more like a traditional closet in outward appearance, but inside is all the convenience of hooks, baskets, and shelves typical in a mud room organizer system.

  5. Try these coat closet alternatives and entryway organization ideas that promise to get back door clutter under control!

    There's no need to stumble through a chaotic mess every time you come through the back-door. Your jackets and coats can stay organized even if you don't have a coat closet. Try one of these coat closet alternatives and let us know how it went. Or if you have more ideas on this subject, let us know. We'd love to hear from you in our comments section!