Garderobe wherever you go.

Last week I took Theo for a check-up at the pediatrician. We got through the front door and got all checked in with insurance and I signed a bunch of forms and then we made our way to the waiting room. I took off my coat and hat and scarf and then Theo's coat and hat and looked around for somewhere to hang them up, but I didn't see anything to hang our coats. So I walked back toward the front desk and peeked around the corner into an adjoining room, and still nothing. No coat rack, no hooks, no hangers.

In Switzerland, everywhere you go there is always a Garderobe, or cloakroom, as pictured above so you don't have to schlep your coat and deal with the bulk of it during your visit. Restaurants, doctor's offices, anywhere you're going to stay for a while and need to be unencumbered, there will be a Garderobe. It's such a nice touch and so practical and makes everything more comfortable. The practice is so common that when I called to set up our insurance, the woman gave the example of having your coat (!!!) taken from a Garderobe as the example for itemizing something. ;) And it was actually really hard to find a photo of a Garderobe to use for this post because it's a given, not a special feature.

So at the pediatrician last week, I was sure I was just missing it and I asked the receptionist where we should hang our coats. She looked at me like I was from Mars and then laughed and shook her head and said there was no coat check. So I just ended up piling everything onto a chair next to me. Once we were in the exam room, I thought surely there would be hooks on the back of the door, but still nothing! So, in the end, our huge puffy coats just got shuffled from chair to chair and kept falling on the ground until it was time to go. How ridiculous!

Spokane has long, cold, snowy winters every year without fail, so I'm surprised this hasn't caught on yet! Do you have (or need) cloakrooms where you live? Would you use one?

(Photo via Zahnarztpraxis Dr. Freichel. Psst...Garderobe are also very much a thing in Germany;)

Comments

  1. If I had a nickel every time my MIL mentions how odd it is Americans don‘t have foyers and coat closets as much...it is odd now thinking of it. The majority of houses just open right up into the livong room or kitchen even if they do have a small closet. Nowhere to stash boots or winter items.

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    1. I'm with your MIL. Who designs a house without a foyer?! That is just WRONG! So impractical!!! ;) HAHAHAHA! I sound so Swiss. Next I'll be saying, "This is not possible" with zero irony. AAAAAHHHH!!!!

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  2. Maybe it depends on where you live. In New England, it's common for houses to have a 'mud room' or a space where you take off your gear before going in the rest of the house. Also, it can depend on the age of the house. My house was built in the 1880's and does not have a mud room. So we set up a set of hooks and boot trays for winter gear in our entryway. I have friends whose houses were built in the 30s and 40s, and they have both foyers and coat closets in the entrance.

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    1. I agree with you here! Newer houses seem to ignore all practicality, maybe because the assumption is that you'll just dash from your warm car to your warm house with no need? It is entirely possible. HA! We have been choosy and refused to live anywhere without these essentials. Now we just need to get everyone on board with taking their shoes or boots off inside!! Sigh.

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  3. My pediatrician's office has an area to hang coats! I remember seeing it and thinking how considerate it is - it was certainly something I noticed because it's not exactly ubiquitous in this area.

    The entryway to my house, by contrast, is horribly designed for this kind of thing. It's a narrow corridor about five feet long that leads to the open-plan dining/living area. The corridor, despite being short, has a door on each side of it - one to a bathroom, one to the laundry room. Between its short length and the doors, the whole entryway is too small to put a bench or even really a coatrack in without seriously crowding the area and making it cumbersome to get out the door. I have those wall-mount shoe bins from Ikea that I use to stuff toddler and baby coats/gloves/etc into, but it's just not really a convenient space, and I hate having to walk all the way into the house to a closet to hang my coat up.

    Back in my 20s when I lived alone, I installed a "pants hook" right next to my front door. I would come home from work and immediately take off my pants and switch into cozy pants, and hang up my work pants, so I could wear them another day but not actually have to fold them and put them away, haha. People were always kind of stunned, probably at my laziness ("I installed a hook so I don't have to put my pants away" is a special kind of confession) but at least you can't say I don't know myself!

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    1. Considerate is the perfect word!!!! And you won't believe this, but there is a hook that was already there when we moved in and which I have made my pants hook and I love it more than anything. Cheers to changing into comfy pants (with no need to fold;) first thing! I am SO WITH YOU on this one. :) :) :) xoxoxox

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  4. This bothers ne every time we're in the US!

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  5. I never noticed in the U.S. I lived in CA, so I didn't need it, and while visiting, hotels and restaurants always provide some hangers or hooks, but you're right, houses in areas with long winters need a mud room, and public places like doctors offices, too!

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  6. No hooks on the door even... that kills me. Reminds me of a youth hostel I stayed in Warsaw where the shared bathroom had not a single hook - W.T.a.F?

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  7. This is a huge pet peeve of mine, too! Maybe it is because I am originally from New England, where the entryway (or "mudroom") is a fact of life. But I am always disappointed when houses don't have this. It was a "must have" for me when I moved to California and wasn't that easy to find! Even if you don't live in a cold climate, it's nice to have a place near the door to store shoes, backpacks, purses, bags, and other "outside" items and layers.

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  8. Guess we are used to the summer season and neved had any use for a cloakroom, however, since moving to Switzerland, this is an absolute must with a minimum of 2-3 layers in the cold weather 60% of the year!

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  9. I love this aspect of Swiss life. We are moving to Switzerland in a couple of weeks and I'm not 100% sure our new apartment has a coat cupboard as my husband did the viewing, but looking at the floor plan I think it does - and I'm weirdly excited about :D

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  10. I love the Swiss system of Garderobe. In the Czech Republic, we don´t have anything like that and when I met some of my friends for a coffee, we just had to hang our coat on the chair - you can imagine, how the long coats swept the floor :(

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