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Ask an Expert: Sarah in Potomac Yard asks, “How Can I Maximize Hall Closet Space?”

4 minute read, by Closet America, on Oct 13, 2016

Even in large homes, hall closets can become clutter magnets. Our expert offers some tips to one DC-area resident struggling to keep her entryway organized.

The closet experts at Closet America want everyone to find the perfect closet solution for their home. In our Ask a Closet Expert series, we answer questions from local DC-area residents about their storage issues, providing insight from our years in the industry.


Today, we answer a question from Sarah in Potomac Yard. She says:

“I recently moved into a townhome in the Potomac Yard area of DC, and while I know that I have plenty of storage, it feels like I’m always tripping over clutter by the front door. Can you give me tips on how to maximize hall closet space?”

That’s a great question, Sarah! Hall closets are tough since they tend to be used for a variety of functions. But since Potomac Yard has a lot of luxury development, most people do have plenty of space. As you’ve noted, it’s just a matter of getting organized.

Create a Separate Utility Storage Area

First, make sure your hall closet is being used just as a traditional coat closet and that utility items are being stored elsewhere. When you look inside, you should only see things you actually need when you’re leaving the house.

This might mean adding extra cabinets or shelving to your laundry room or upstairs closet for things like your vacuum, mop, or even sports equipment. Some people also install garage cabinets for items they don’t need to keep in the house.

Add Accessory Storage

Once you’ve committed to turning your hall closet into a designated coat closet, it makes perfect sense to store your outdoor accessories here. I’d 

suggest adding slide-out baskets for scarves, hats, and gloves. Something with a metal frame usually works best since you can see what’s inside at a glance without needing to root through the whole basket.

Just make sure you know what will go into the baskets before deciding how many and what size to install—if you add more than you need, or choose a size too big for its intended use, it’s a surefire way for your new storage system to become a bottomless pit for random household items that don’t have a home.

Hooks are another option for scarves and hats, although winter fabrics tend to slip off of shallow or single-pronged hooks. I’d recommend a heavy-duty, double-pronged option if you go this route.

Upgrade Your Lighting 

No matter how bright the light bulb, it seems like there is always a corner of every hall closet that you can’t quite see into. That’s why I often suggest LED accent lighting. This can usually be installed as recessed lighting so that it doesn’t take up any additional space, and it can actually open up more storage options—like a shelf above your hanging rod that you can actually see into.

It might not seem like a big deal now, but come wintertime when you’re trying to distinguish your navy blues from your blacks, you will definitely appreciate it.

Avoid Coat Clutter

I’m a big fan of double hanging rods, but when it comes to hall closets, I recommend that you store your coats on a single rod, with the weight evenly distributed. This way, you only have one section to look through when you’re in a rush to get to work. Having one rod will also force you to purge regularly to eliminate those unworn coats (which tend to take up a lot of space).

Install a Built-In Spot for Boots

Have you noticed that whenever you come in from the rain wearing rain boots, the first thing you want to do is get them off? Rain and snow boots rarely get returned to the bedroom closet, so rather than leaving them in the entryway, give them a permanent space in the hall.

I’d recommend built-in, adjustable shelving near the bottom of your closet for rain and snow boots. Once they’ve dried off in the entryway, they don’t have far to travel to return to their appropriate place, and when the weather warms up, you can adjust the shelves to hold hiking boots and sandals instead.

Hall closets are traditionally pretty small, so we tend to forget that these spaces can still be custom-designed. By making these small additions to your hall closet, Sarah, I think you’ll start to notice a difference (and hopefully stop tripping over coats and boots every time you step in the door). You’re also welcome to contact one of our designers for a free consultation if you want specific advice or have additional questions.

Lead image credit: Wikimedia user Ser Amantio di Nicolao (CC BY 3.0)

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