If there was a sport that challenged a player to pause 8 feet away from a coat tree and fliiiiing her fleece jacket high up in the air hoping it would land on it and stay there, our high schooler would be a top scorer.

That’s how good she is at this. Of course the jacket is bunched up with one sleeve turned inside out, and it’s splayed out in such a fashion that it covers everything else on the coat tree. But, as one friend pointed out, at least she hangs it up.

Barely, I said. And not always.

I purchased the coat tree more than 10 years ago to keep coats and jackets – primarily those belonging to kids – off chairs, railings, doorknobs and, sigh, the floor. Do we have a coat closet? Of course we do. Right there in the front hall. You can’t miss it.

But it involves opening a door, reaching for a hanger, placing the coat on the hanger, returning the hanger to the rod and closing the door again.

Whew, exhausting isn’t it?

So instead we have a coat tree, but that’s not to say that jackets – all but mine, by the way – end up in places they shouldn’t, including the backseat of the car.

And kids aren’t the only ones doing it.

“I still get yelled at for not hanging up my coat at my parents’ house,” admitted one friend, a professional in her late 20s.

Of course, the argument can – and will – be made that the jacket will soon be worn again.

Sorry, “soon” to me is not the next day – or Monday morning, and it’s Friday night.

Another friend recalls growing up with four siblings in a house where the kids’ coats hung on hooks in the back hall. The coat closet near the front door was for “nice coats” – and the Hoover upright vacuum cleaner.

Naughty or nice, coats need a place to go and, quite frankly, a coat closet as it exists may not always be the answer. The rod may be too high. Or too low. Space may be tight. Coats too bulky – or layered in twos on hangers. Pity the person looking for her lightweight anorak smothered by the quilted puffer on top of it.

Even the closet’s placement may be the problem. Maybe it’s located by the front door while family members routinely exit through the back door.

Or, if it’s located off the front hall near the half bath, house guests may keep opening the door to the coat closet thinking it’s the bathroom. Or vice versa.

Holidays and the social gatherings surrounding them bring up this and other coat issues. What does one do with them all? Said the friend with four siblings: “You know when someone offers to take your coat at a party? Then, when you want to leave, you can’t find your coat and have to ask the host?”


Or, you have to uncover your dark coat from a mountain of other dark coats piled on a bed in an upstairs room with dim lighting?

Oh, to be in kindergarten again with your own special coat hook, clearly and colorfully labeled with your name. One would think that this would be good training for coat care in the years to come. Apparently not.