The entryway of your home sets the tone for your whole household and reflects the overall flow. If you feel that entering your living space from the front door communicates the wrong message or lacks excitement, here are a few tips for organizing and improving your entryway.
Get started by asking yourself the following:
- What do I need here?
- What are the household’s habits in this area? What are the needs of family members?
- Do I want my stuff hidden or easily accessible?
- Will seasonal and frequently used items be kept together? If so, where should I store coats, boots, hats, umbrellas, running shoes, gloves, and scarves when out of season?
- Step into Your Neighbor’s Shoes
Take a minute and look at your entryway as a guest would. Compare it to those you’ve admired in magazines or home shows. Figure out what appeals to you and how it’s achieved. Are you drawn to clean, sparely furnished spaces? Is there a way to achieve that look with all the modern conveniences for a family like yours? Or, perhaps you want a charming, quirky entryway that’s full of personality?
- Take a Break from Perfection
Be honest with yourself. Do you entertain on a regular basis? If not, is it important that your entryway is decorative or is it more important to create functional space? Are you trying too hard to make your space appropriate for a lifestyle that you aren’t living?
- Storage is Key
If you’re constantly on the go and need different items for different activities, the right storage will save time and help you keep your sanity. If possible, create order with personal storage spaces like bins, baskets, and hooks — one for each family member. Consider these ideas:
- Hooks keep coats, hats, totes, and backpacks neat and tidy and quickly accessible.
- A small table for keys and mail, with a single large woven basket underneath for shoes, creates storage for smaller households.
- A planter to hold umbrellas or walking sticks, an entry rug, and a small table and chair serve as functional decoration.
- A bar stool in the corner, or alongside a table, provides a spot to remove shoes.
- An entryway closet, if available, can be used to maximize space by adding hooks on the inside of both the door and the wall. Include a hanging organizer for shoes, bags, or hats. Seasonal items can fit nicely into vacuum bags until they’re needed.
- A designated key hook or small tray, box, or drawer near your front door will help you save time looking for keys — the most elusive necessity when you’re headed out the door.
- Create New Habits
If you can get everyone to take their shoes off as soon as they step in the door, you’ll have won half the battle. Encourage family members to put their items in their designated spaces so they will know where to find them later.
- Add Some Quirk
An entryway is a balancing act between functional and decorative. Stage an area where newcomers are introduced to your personal taste with these options:
- Use cute, funky garage-sale finds, or a secretary-style desk, for quick storage of mail, keys, and frequently used items. Top it with nostalgic reminders of your youth.
- Re-purpose an antique glass window into a dry-erase calendar with different colored markers for each household member’s schedule.
- An antique trunk, rustic chair, and a small refurbished table not only add a quaint cottage-appeal, but work double duty as storage containers.
- An old bench with custom pillows and seats provides a place to change out of muddy boots or dirty shoes.
- A salvaged church pew, or bench with a roll-out bin underneath, is a great idea if you have a house full of children. To continue the rustic cowboy look, mount antlers (real or faux) to function as a hat rack, and cast iron hooks for keys.
- Mount an antique birdcage for organizing books, mail, or office and school supplies.
- An old dresser with drawers designated for each family member can easily store shoes, bulky bags, or uniforms and practice jerseys.
If you can’t achieve perfection in how the entryway is kept, strive for a “good enough” attitude. Organizing doesn’t have to be overwhelming or tedious. Make it fun. Allow yourself the freedom to match your tastes and individuality.
For more tips on maintaining an organized home, take a look at “Decluttering Your Home: Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets“. Or ease into organizing with Tiny Tasks, 31 Days of Organizing Tips.