Unsure of how to store hats, gloves, scarves, and boots for a clutter-free winter? It’s challenging to find the perfect solution as it needs to accommodates wet and muddy items, and items in the process of drying out. It also has to be accessible and preferably not an eyesore. Jackets and boots are bulky, while loose hats, mittens, and scarves are always getting lost. My kids typically lose a mitten or a glove, which magically returns only after I’ve purchased a replacement pair. If you’re struggling with storage of winter outerwear, check out this handy three-step solution.
Sort and purge
The sort stage features several steps. First, separate items by owner. Last week I opened up the bench that serves as our off-season, out-of-sight storage for these items, and sorted everything into four piles: one per person. With that done, everyone examined their pile and identified what they wanted to keep. What didn’t fit was donated and items that were worn out were turned into rags or tossed.
It’s helpful to keep a running list of what’s needed. I like to have two of everything so if, for example, one hat is too wet to wear, there is a dry one waiting. Make a list of who needs new gear while you sort.
Next, sort by type. That is, gloves together, hats together, etc. Now when I need my work gloves vs. my snow-shoveling gloves, I can get right to them. The same applies to all family members.
Find a storage area
Once the keepers have been sorted, the unwanted has been trashed or donated, and any outstanding purchases have been made, it’s time to find a place for it all to live. This isn’t as simple as buying a few labeled bins. Like I said, many of these items will spend time dirty and/or wet. So carefully consider your storage system.
First, find a spot as close to the door as possible. You don’t want snow-covered kids trotting halfway across the house before disrobing. This prevents a large, snowy mess as well as the likelihood that something will get lost.
Next, get a boot tray(s) to keep wet boots together and off of the floor. You can even use these for wet gloves/mittens and hats. Just lay them flat to dry. Here’s a trick: buy a pool noodle, cut it in half and place it inside tall boots to keep them upright.
If you’ve got floor space a mitten-boot dryer is a helpful addition to an entryway. An over-the-door towel bar can also provide a place for wet items to dry without taking up floor space. These hanger clips makes it easy to pin mittens and hats to the towel bar.
It’s also nice to have a place to sit, as that makes it easier to remove bulky items. A folding stool is handy as it can easily slide inside a closet when not being used.
Set rules and stick to them
It takes time to form a new habit. If your family is used to plopping winter outerwear wherever, don’t expect them to adhere to the new system right away. Instead, label storage areas for a gentle but persistent reminder, and have people get into the habit of removing those items in the designated spot.
It’s getting cold outside but winter hasn’t officially arrived yet. Take this weekend to get your winter storage strategy in place and by the time the snow starts to fall, you’ll be ready.