Several years ago, before I had decluttered my stuff and organized my space, I had quite the embarrassing morning. I was working in a school at the time, about a half hour away from where I lived, and as I was trying to get out the door, I realized that I couldn't find my keys to save my life.
Until that morning, it was normal for me to shuffle around for 5-7 minutes longer than I thought I'd need, gathering all of my stuff as I headed out the door. My keys were always floating around somewhere, and I'd have to look around to find them, and most days I did.
That morning, however, I turned the house upside down looking for these keys for about 15 minutes before I realized that I needed to call the school and let them know I was going to be late. It must have been 45 minutes before I finally found my keys, and the experience taught me a life lesson: designate one spot for your keys.
Many people need their keys to leave the house and get to work. Other things can, and do, get left behind if it takes too long to find them.
What if it didn't have to be like that?
What if it didn't have to be a struggle to collect yourself as you head out for the day?
The entryway is one of the hardest working areas of the home, and it has one (critical) job: getting people in and out of the house. While it's easy to overlook it, it can cause a lot of stress if it's not functioning. Aside from assigning your keys a home, here are five more tips for decluttering and organizing your entryway.
Find the right spot(s).
Often there are practical challenges in setting up a useful entryway. Some homes have a mudroom or a closet that are obvious places for everyday essentials. In other homes, you need to get a little more creative.
For example, in my house, we mounted a coat rack and set up a shoe rack in the garage, where we often come in and out of the house because we park our cars in there. Our garage door enters into our kitchen, where we happen to have a counter off to the side that can hold things that are coming in and out, like mail or library books.
Remove items that aren't entryway-related.
Whether you have a visible spot for organizing your entryway essentials or have to make do like I did, it's essential to keep your entryway focused on its job. That means that unless you have a compelling reason to store something that is unrelated to getting in and out of the house (one client's entryway was the most logical spot to store their AC), find it another home.
Streamline your storage.
Space is of the essence in an entryway, and it's crucial to get a lot of value for your real estate. In my entryway, we have our coats, a few pairs of shoes (usually weather shoes like snow boots), weather-related accessories (right now it's hats, gloves, and scarves), and dog walking supplies.
What's not in my entryway? In addition to most of my shoes, I store my bags and sunglasses in my closet as well. It just makes more sense for me to have them on hand at the stage where I am getting dressed in front of the full-length mirror near my closet.
Keep it seasonal.
Of course, the details of how this plays out is going to depend on where you live and the climate there. Here in New England, we have four distinct seasons, and a variety of outdoor gear comes along with that. That said, we don't need to store it all in the same place at once.
As I write this, it's March. There is snow on the ground and the temperature still regularly dips below freezing. Our winter gear - coats, boots, accessories - will stay in our entryway for at least another month before we clean and store them until the beginning of next winter.
Have a system for your active paper.
Mail and other "active" papers can often overwhelm people and jam up the entryway. I've found that it works well to have a system that will catch those papers for you, and get into a habit of addressing these papers regularly, whether that means recycling them right away or making time to tackle it in batches before it builds up. I like to use a two-pocket folder for this because it contains the visual clutter of papers.
As you can see, while the entryway is often a small area in the home, a lot is happening there. Decluttering and organizing your entryway can make a big difference in your daily life and your routine.
Do you struggle with your entryway? Are you currently using, or plan to use any of these tips? Let me know in the comments below!
With Love & Gratitude,