Our 1922 house has never had a coat closet. You enter into the front living room/dining room/LARGE room, and there is no place for coats... other than the chairs at the dining table which evolved into ON TOP of the dining table.
What we did have was a hall linen closet that was unusually deep... like 4 feet deep which me (my short little self) would have to get a step stool to reach anything that had been inadvertently shoved to the back. Usually those things remained forgotten.
Children are for scale...
You can see in this shot with the drawer out how deep it is. And that there is wasted space beyond the back of the drawer. You did not, under ANY circumstances, want to pull one of these extremely large drawers out all the way. You could not hold them and, as you let go, would hope to high heaven that you could get your toes out of the way in time.
So we ripped everything out. Used some of the unfinished fir to put in the floor... there was no flooring on the closet floor that matched the fir in the hall... Now there is. And primed and painted... and then added shelves up the back.
In front of the shelves is a coat rod, so the coats hang in front of the shelves. There is plenty of space for both things, and we cleaned out tons of stuff from the closet that we didn't need or could have been stored in a more appropriate place. Read as: stored somewhere that we would remember and be able to find the item at a later date.
There is always one box of stuff leftover...
I'm still trying to figure out where to put these things.