The return of umbrellas and winter coats: storage solutions

The approach of autumn often means sitting around shivering while trying desperately not to reach for the central heating controls. After all, once it is on then that is you burning money until March at the very least. Autumn also means increased rainfall alongside the chills, so your home suddenly becomes a giant indoor drying rack for coats, hats and umbrellas.

red umbrella

The result of this is often coats on the backs of chairs, umbrellas hanging from door handles and scarves, hats and gloves seemingly covering every surface. What you need is organisation, and quick.

The humble coat stand or coat rack is often our go-to when the weather gets cold. For many of us, this is where we will find our winter coats anyway, hidden beneath a layer of lighter jackets, macs and cardigans. But the freestanding coat rack does have its limitations, especially for a family. It quickly becomes full, can fall over when top-heavy and makes it hard to grab a jacket and run when you are late for that meeting and it’s pouring down.

The solution, of course, is better storage. But most of us are not willing to sacrifice a large chunk of our living room, kitchen or dining room to keeping coats. So we need to think a little smarter. This may involve bespoke solutions and a little outlay, but the end results will be worth it.

The first thing to do is to think where you want your storage for coats, bags, umbrellas and the like, as well as just where you can actually fit this in. The obvious solution is to look at the hall, but if you live in a flat or a house that has an entry straight into the living room then this is not going to be for you.

yellow chairs

If you are lucky enough to have a hall then take a tape measure to it and examine it up and down. You can utilise this space to store items from floor to ceiling if you wish, although you will want to remember that this is also the entrance to your home. This is the first place you see when you get home and the first place that visitors see when they come to visit. So, be creative but don’t cram things in.

Staggered pegs or hangers that go up and across the wall can be great for families, as you can position these at different heights for different ages, from baby brother, to big sister to parents. The tallest family members get the highest pegs and you should not have to hunt to find your coat. You can even colour code pegs or areas of the wall for individual family members to give a bright look to your entrance way. Be sure to build in shelves or containers for the likes of keys, umbrellas, hats and even handy things such as torches, if you have the space.

workshop tools

If you want to keep things tidy, then having a tradesperson design a built-in solution for you is the best way to approach this storage problem. A good joiner or carpenter should be able to come up with something that won’t wilt after storing the odd damp and heavy winter coat and which also has good storage space for dripping umbrellas or waterproofs. Something with a latticed door can be attractive and practical here. If you have space then you can also add low tables or a tall-boy to store keys, hats or scarves.

If you don’t have a hallway to work with then you are more restricted. But this doesn’t mean you can’t do something for your coat storage. Carving out space beneath the staircase is a great solution in a house and you can even use the underside of the stairs to hang the coats from.

But if you live in a flat then you should try to have something built-in at a point that is not too prominent, such as a corner or next to a door. In this case you’ll want something with a door and with enough space to store umbrellas and other items above the coats. It’s worth looking at ways you can repurpose vintage items to make the hooks more interesting and it’s also worth looking in shop display supply shops for freestanding racks as they’ll be far sturdier than anything you can pick up in a furniture shop.

Need help creating the perfect storage solution to carry you through winter? Let us help you find a carpenter/joiner.

Iain Aitch

Iain is a London-based writer who works as a journalist for a number of newspapers and magazines. He has also written two books, one of which is a hilarious lexicon about Britishness – Iain is a Brit through and through!

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