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Coats & boots


Cooped up indoors most of the week, we’re all a little stir-crazy by the weekend. At which time, weather permitting, we seize the chance to blow away the cobwebs with a bracing country walk. Romanced by the hedgerow fruits and autumn colours, we thoroughly enjoy the excursion and happily tired, head home, pockets bulging with nature’s treasures – beech nuts, cob nuts, acorns, conkers in their spiky jackets, sweet chestnuts in their prickly ones. That’s when it all gets messy.

Everyone disrobes. A coat, hat and scarf, a pair of gloves and a pair of boots per person plus the dog lead and the muddy dog towel. And that’s on a dry day. Add rain and it all makes for an almighty mess that runs unchecked through the house from the front door to the nearest tables and chairs. Pockets are emptied and their contents left spilled and forgotten on any surface en route to the kitchen.

That’s when having a designated ‘space’ for all this ‘stuff’ comes into its ownOver the winter months, commandeer a back porch, utility room or even conservatory to manage this mess. Because mounds of coats and piles of muddy boots call for clever storage solutions. And life feels so much easier – and country walks more enjoyable – when on returning home everything is organised and put away – even if it’s only temporarily.

So what do we need?

Wonderfully helpful Suffolk Coat Rack
The most important item is a peg rail aka a peg shelf or a Suffolk coat rack as we call it. In 3ft (90cm; 5 pegs), 4ft (120cm; 7 pegs) or 6ft (180cm; 11 pegs), always choose the longest that will fit the space comfortably. Even if you think you don’t need it, once installed, you’ll discover more and more things that can now be hung up out of the way. Always keep a few robust wooden coathangers hanging up for coats with no neck loop or to give very wet coats a better chance to dry. As well as a rail for adults, think about placing another much lower down that little ones can reach to hang up their own things. Suffolk also has a 16cm-deep over-shelf too – really useful for extra storage…

Lovely, strong Somerton Natural Willow Baskets
Sit our tall flared rectangular baskets (46x28x28cm) on Suffolk’s shelf as a home for hats, gloves and scarves (the 3ft shelf takes three of them). Just add luggage labels to remind you what goes into which. If there’s not room to leave all the muddy boots neatly lined up, one of our large Somerton baskets (round or rectangular) will be perfect for the job. If there is, why not position our long, skinny shallow Somerton (86x28x28cm) beneath the peg rail into which boots can be lined up toe-to heel. Now the whole area looks relatively tidy and organised, while the items themselves are still easily visible and within reach. And the beauty of willow versus any fabric storage alternative is that any mud simply dries and flakes off.

Pembroke Fitted Shelves
These are brilliant for making the most of all available space be it small or even tiny. Beautiful and simple, Pembroke comes in four unit widths which combine to fit almost any space. Clever zig-zag ‘brackets’ make shelves totally adjustable, and very strong – perfect for books, wine or boots. In a larger room, top boxes offer even more storage while leaving space below to hang coats.

Stratton Step Stool
A cute little multi-tasker, this is perfect to reach higher-level storage, and as somewhere to perch while lacing up walking boots or fighting to extricate yourself from muddy wellies (tip: get a friend to help).

And all those foraged-for treasures? Our lovely white-washed-rattan Ashcroft tray in medium (L64cm) or small (L55cm) is the perfect place to let them all dry out. Then after a few days, turn them out into the Hanbury salad bowl, Littleton zinc-lined basket or even the Belmont large glass jar to create your own seasonal still life.