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Enter at Your Own Risk March 10, 2013

Where you enter the home may be risky business.  Trip hazards of coats and shoes and sports equipment as well as mail and recycling litter the space.   You name it, it accumulates.

If you enter in one door and guests enter in another, you can truly make the guest entry simple and hazard free.  The other one, well this is an ever present challenge in most homes.  If it is one door fits all, then you truly have a challenge.  I honestly believe a successful mud room/entry area has to be at least the size of 2 walk-in closets to have enough room to manage a family (take note if you are building a home!).  I hardly ever see that amount of room so stuff is stuffed all over.

Like all other spaces, you must determine what the purpose is of the space.  What must be stored there to support those activities? The first step in organizing any space is to go through it all.  Weed out all those shoes and coats that are not being worn, trash, papers that weren’t processes, purchases not processed and so on.  Support the current season, not all of them.  As nice as it is to have all the coats and shoes plus together, unless you are a single person, space just doesn’t support that.

Here are some tips by type of item to set-up in your entryway:

  1.  Coats – current season only, take over a guest closet or get a free standing portable one for the basement to house off-season’s and give yourself a to-do when the switch must be done
  2. Shoes – again, current – being worn shoes should be here – not every shoe in the home.  Cubbies, baskets, behind the door racks work best.  Lining them up on the floor usually just takes up way too much room.  If you have a double closet, set the floor up with half having shoe shelves and half having open floor to line up the every day/larger shoes (make sure the doors can close.)
  3. Sports – with kids and even active adults, sport equipment items end up here.  The best solution is to line hooks up on one wall of the garage and establish totes to house each sport or each child’s items.  Larger items can be stood up or put on shelves under the hooks.  One gym bag could find a home in an entry way via a hook or over the door hook but multiple people’s bags or items is just too much.
  4. Drop zone items such as purse, keys, mail do end up here.  A wall cubby system works well if maintained daily/weekly.  Stackable trays or baskets on a narrow console table can be a good system too (you could also use the space under the table for shoes).  The key is to identify what you really need in that space and give everything a bin/home.
  5. Backpacks.  These take up a lot a room.  I find the easiest solution is a cubby system where they sit on a table of sorts above the shoes.  Or, another console table that they can rest on.  Hooks lower work well but stick out due to size so if a narrow spot, hanging backpacks there will create more trouble.
  6. Label…if you or family members have a hard time remembering what goes where, create labels even if you use the temporarily to create habits.

The nicer it looks; think nicer furniture, pretty wall color, art, real rug not just a mat, the more inclined you will be to keep it organized.  So, go through it all, determine what has to live there to function daily and then create homes for each of those items.  Then make it look nice and maintain it!  A pretty and organized entry is a safe and usable entry.

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