A friend (who used to be a professional organizer) is helping me get my house organized. The first area we tackled was the coat/jacket/bag/purse storage. I found an old photo of the disorganized hall tree, but I wish I had thought to take before photos of the closet. (Of course, I probably would have been too embarrassed to post them!)
This is our "shoe bench." It used to be home to our jackets (5 people, 5 hooks, made sense to me!), purse, diaper bags, work bags, keys... Anything we needed when we walked out the door. Unfortunately, it also was usually a dumping ground for anything we came inside the door with.
Inside the shoe bench I used to have 5 boxes, one for each person, for hats, scarves, and gloves. The boxes were always overflowing, and it was hard to find matching things in them. Now the inside of the bench is home to our bags - music class, dance class, MOPS, extra pullups and clothes for the boys in case we are out for a long time, plus an extra-large diaper bag I can grab if we're taking a long outing, and a purse for me to use on the rare occasion I get to leave the house without the kids.
The top of the coat closet is mostly the same, but more organized. The plastic drawer that used to hold adult hats is gone. Left on top is our swim bag, beach towels, and couple of tall things (world map for next year's school and roll of drawing paper), because they fit nicely there and are protected from little fingers.
The inside of the closet looks vastly diffferent. Instead of being stuffed full of every adult-sized coat and jacket in the house, it now has room on the left for most-used adult jackets (limit 2 per person), and on the right side we have hooks so the kids can hang/retrieve their own jackets and backpacks. (Big deal when you have multiple kids, and are about to be the sole care provider for a newborn!)
Inside the door we hung a pocket organizer, which is the new home to all of our hats, gloves, and scarves. Each person has his/her own row. Including the baby. (And I have two. Because I'm special that way. ;) These things are so much easier to find/choose from now! I love this!