Organizing Your Entryway, Hall or Mudroom

When I asked the question about the most messy areas of your homes, one runner up was a disorganized main entry hallway.

This is a commonly cluttered area because it’s the first place you walk into – it’s where you take off your coat and put down your things after you walk in the door – it’s where stuff tends to accumulate and get disorganized.  Everyone has different “drop zones” in the house (sometimes it’s the kitchen table,) but the entryway often contains a random array of things such as rain boots, pet supplies, mail, keys to unknown locks, clothes, handbags, shopping bags, and various other items that are on their way in or out of the home. Keeping an entryway organized is challenging especially if you have kids!

While entryways are often small spaces, they have high potential to increase your emotional clutter, because so many of the things we need on a daily basis get lost there.  And because we must pass through that area several times a day in order to go about our daily lives, it’s especially important that it’s organized.  Perfectionism and procrastination often play a part in a cluttered entry way, because we think, I’ll just put it here for now, as a means of putting off finding our items the right home.

Rethinking the way you approach this important area of your home can go a long way toward reducing your daily stress level.  I recommend reconceptualizing the space from one that you simply walk through and throw your stuff in, to treating it as a family “message center,” a space where family members can check in with one another and easily get the items they need to go about their day.

Here are ways to organize your entry way and cut down on clutter.

  • Install hooks.  Consider a hook for your keys so that they’re always in the same location each time you enter and leave the house.  Labeling or color coding keys can also make it easier to identify them on a daily basis.
  • Assign hooks for children’s jackets and bags: it can help your kids to create the good habit of hanging their items up as soon as they enter the house instead of dropping them “any where” in the home, and make them easy to “grab” in the morning rush.
  • Consider using hooks for other items you use daily, such as dog leashes, reusable shopping bags, sunglasses, and coats.  Or, if you have a coat closet using a necktie or belt hanger, or a multi-hook over the door rack if space is limited on the rail.
  • Create a family message center. Using an inexpensive cardboard vertical file and marking a slot for each family member.  Any mail or flyer or classroom permission slip that enters the house, any photograph that you want your husband to look at, and any note you want to pass along to your child goes into that person’s slot.
  • Keep a small, attractive trash bin near the family message center.  It should serve as a constant reminder that rash doesn’t need to come any farther into your home.  Flyers stuck under your door, receipts that were in your coat pocket, junk mail, and other unneeded items that can cause clutter go straight into the bin.

It may take a little while for you and your family to create new habits utilizing your new system, but if you create it and consistently use it, everyone will soon appreciate it and enjoy knowing where everything they need is when they are rushing to leave the house for school or work.  If your closet space is small you might also consider purchasing some additional organizing storage for the area, such as a coat rack or a bench with additional shoe storage, or installing a shelf to organize your message center.

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