This week's challenge is to work on entryway organization and also organizing your mudroom if you have one, to make all the entrances into your home both functional and inviting.
When you, your family members and guests walk into your home everyone typically has lots of stuff with them, from coats, hats, purses, book bags, today's mail, etc.
That means the entrance -- the first place your family and friends see when they come into your home -- can easily turn into a dumping ground for stuff and junk.
To make your home inviting, and functional all at once fortunately isn't too hard. It just takes some thought, creativity with storage for items, and some weekly maintenance to keep it looking great.
Are you new here? The Mudroom & Entryway Organization Challenge is part of the 52 Weeks To An Organized Home Challenge. (Click the link to learn how to join us for free for future and past challenges if you aren't already a regular reader).
Below are the steps for this challenge, but before we begin I just want to clarify the spaces we're working on this week.
Whether you have one entrance to your home, or multiple entrances, we're working on those entryways, the hall leading from the entrance to other rooms, and the mudroom, which is typically a back entrance in many homes.
In addition, if your home has stairs within sight of a foyer or other entrance, we'll work on it this week too.
Basically, everything you can see immediately upon entering is fair game.
As I mentioned before, when we come in the door each day we bring with us lots of stuff. When we don't have an organized system in place to hold and store these items we end up with a cluttered mess.
Then, clutter piles up on top of clutter as more people lay their stuff on top of everyone elses stuff, and you end up with a mess and perhaps a tripping hazard. That's not what you want greeting you each day as you come home, so we're cleaning it up this week.
The first step in the Mudroom & Entryway Organization Challenge is to really think about what people are bringing into the house (and carrying out if it), so you can identify what items you need to accomodate in these entrances and exits.
Here are common items many people bring in regularly into their homes, or take back out:
As you consider all these types of items begin to look at the space you have and consider where everything can go to make it easier to accomodate all this stuff.
In the Back To School Challenge we focused on these items a bit already, when helping kids get out the door each day for school with less stress.
The next step in the Mudroom & Entryway Organization Challenge is to declutter all the stuff from your foyer, entrance and/or mudroom that doesn't belong.
Take a good hard look at all the stuff that is just piled up on the floor or on flat surfaces, cluttering everything up. Some of this stuff doesn't belong there are all, but doesn't have a home elsewhere and so family members have just gotten in the habit of dumping it here when they come in.
Take the time to make a place for these out of place items in whatever room they go in. Get your family members involved in deciding where these items will go, since you'll want their cooperation in putting them there from now on.
One of the most common items that seem to clutter up an entryway are shoes. Here's my article on how to declutter shoes to help you with this task.
After decluttering all that should be left is the stuff which doesn't currently have a home, but that should be stored in the entryway or mudroom. This is the exact stuff you've got to get creative with, and figure out ways to organize and properly store it all for easy access in and out (which we're working on in step 3).
The next step in the Mudroom & Entryway Organization Challenge is to make a home for all that stuff that comes in and out of your home each day.
The entrances and exits of your home are not typically very large, but you've got to easily be able to store and access stuff quickly in them.
They are also very visible public areas in your home, so you want them to look nice and inviting.
Therefore, it is critical that the organizers and storage solutions you choose for this area be both beautiful and practical. Ideally all the furniture and other items will not only look pretty, but also serve some storage use at the same time.
Here are some entryway organizers and storage solutions that can serve these dual functions, and that you may want to consider using in your home.
Remember that the front entrance of your home is more formal, whereas the mudroom can have a more homy look to it, so some of these suggestions may be more appropriate in one area versus another.
Hall Tree & Storage Bench
[Click to buy similar
bench on Amazon]
It is nice in an entrance / exit area of your home to be able to sit down for a moment and deal with things, so having a storage bench can be very helpful if you have the room since it is both a place to sit and store items.
In addition, flat surfaces, such as a narrow table or bookcase can be a useful item. Ideally choose something that can accomodate some baskets or bowls on top (or underneath) so you can have a space for each person's individual stuff (see below for more details).
The types of entryway furniture you may want to consider include hall trees, storage benches, wood or bright cheery colored lockers, narrow tables, or narrow bookcases, and include the items shown below.
Further, one reader showed the narrow storage furniture she uses in her hallway to give her storage in a small space. Here's more examples:
If you've got a tight space that doesn't fit large pieces of furniture well, or even if you have ample space, don't foget to use wall space for storage.
Entryway Cubby Shelf
[Click here to purchase on Amazon]
It is great to use pegs and hooks for hanging up coat, purses, bookbags and more because as long as they're at a height kids can reach they can easily be trained to hang everything up. Then it's not on the floor for you to trip on!
Plus, if each family member is assigned their own hook they'll easily be able to find everything when its time to leave!
[Click to buy on Amazon]
Similarly, if you don't have room for a full bookshelf consider hanging a small shelf on the wall, such as the one on the left above, that also has several hooks underneath.
While we're trying to keep most things off the floor there are a couple of items that should be stored there.
For instance, use an umbrella stand so family members can stow their umbrellas easily when they get inside and grab one if its going to be a stormy day as they leave the house.
Boot or shoe tray
[Click to purchase on Amazon]
You may not want to keep all your family's shoes by the door, and I don't actually recommend it (we'll deal with shore storage in more detail in Week #42), but any shoes that come in from out in the weather with snow, mud, or soaking wet should be stored in a manner where they don't make a huge mess.
If this is a common issue in your home, invest in a boot or shoe tray, to place your shoes on. If you only need to hold a couple pairs of shoes, and weather is not an issue a small floor shoe organizer may work well for your needs.
Finally, once you've gotten storage space for the big items that come in each day, don't forget about all the smaller stuff.
Ideally, you'll have a small storage container for each family member, so their small stuff can all stay together and doesn't have to mingle and get mixed up with everyone else's stuff. Trust me, that makes it easier when each person leaves so they only grab and move around their own things.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to have a small basket or bowl for each family member on a flat surface, such as a narrow entryway table.
You may also want to have a common basket that everyone can use to store library books.
In addition, something that wasn't always needed but that can come in very handy now that we depend on mobile devices so much in our lives, is to have a charger station set up in the entryway so you can plug up your devices for recharging when you come in the door. (The link has quite a few ideas from readers about charging stations.)
Finally, make sure there is a secure place to put everyone's keys, be it hooks on the wall, in a bowl, or in a key cabinet.
You can get lots of key organizer ideas and solutions here, so you don't ever have to hunt for your keys again.
One word of caution -- if you've got little ones in the house keep your keys where they can't reach them to avoid them getting played with and lost somewhere in the house (or flushed down the toilet -- no joke!)
Finally, it is best for safety reasons not to store or place anything on the steps. This prevents people from tripping on items when ascending or descending the stairs.
However, if you're like my family try as I may there is almost inevitably something on my stairs, since something needs to come down that's up or vice versa. This isn't ideal, nor does it look good from my entryway where you can see my stairs.
Therefore, my next purchase will be a step basket, such as the ones shown below. I first saw one of these on Pinterest (follow me, by the way, I love it over there!) and when I pinned a picture of one several of you told me how wonderful they were, and I have to say I agree.
The basket is designed to fit onto two stairs, on the side of course, and helps contain all that little stuff that needs to get transported between floors.
The final step in the Mudroom & Entryway Organization Challenge is to begin a new habit to keep this area we've worked so hard to get organized stay that way.
Let's face it, we all lead busy and sometimes rushed lives.
With the rush we tend to sometimes let it slip about putting everything in the right place as we rush in or out the door, and our entrances take the brunt of that clutter explosion.
Along with making it as easy as possible to store things in an organized fashion, take a little time each week to tidy up your entranceways.
Especially look for "hidden clutter" -- such as the item that has been sitting on the hall bench for three days and you're starting not to notice it anymore.
Dealing with mudroom and entryway organization every week keeps clutter from building back up, and keeps things functional most of the time without lots of extra effort, so its well worth the small time investment.
I would love to know how this week's Mudroom & Entryway Organization Challenge is going. You can tell me your progress or give me more ideas for how you've organized this area in your home in the comments below.
I also love before and after pictures of your entrance halls, mudrooms and foyers, and would love to see some of yours. Submit your pictures (up to four per submission) and blog posts and get featured in the Creative Storage Solutions Hall of Fame. You've worked hard to get organized, so now here's your chance to show off!
We're working on our homes slowly, one area at a time, so don't get too distracted from the Mudroom & Entryway Organization Challenge this week.
However, I know some of you love to know what's coming next, so I'll tell you. Next week we'll be working on organizing our living and family rooms.
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