Last week I talked about decluttering your home in order to make room/time/money for what’s important. The first area I wanted to declutter was my entryway for two reasons: (1) It’s the first thing people see when they walk into our house, and (2) It’s less overwhelming to me than the other areas.
If your family is like ours, much of what you bring into the house ends up staying in the entryway. So, this project isn’t just about clearing the junk but finding ways to keep the junk from piling up there again. That’s the tricky part! I’ve organized like crazy many times only to have it slowly return to the old way. Part of this is because I don’t live alone-haha!- and part of this is because I didn’t give enough thought to what realistically works for our family. Just like most things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to organization.
I like to do the decluttering part first and look for inspiration from others on how to make the best use of the space second. Here is what I did to clear out and re-purpose my entryway:
I removed anything from our entryway that didn’t serve a purpose or make sense in this area. When I was looking through everything in my entryway, I found a lot of things that I didn’t want to get rid of but also didn’t make sense for them to be there. I used two boxes to sort things that didn’t belong. One box was for items I was going to move to another location (ie. the kitchen or our master bedroom), and one box was for items I was going to sell or donate.
In my entryway closet, I found an apron that I decided should be moved to the kitchen (duh!) and a mop that I needed to move somewhere else (maybe the laundry room?). I also went through the kids’ shoes/outerwear and removed anything that no longer fit them. Since it’s not a large closet, I removed any of my or my husband’s shoes, deciding that there is more room for those in our master closet. This picture makes my closet look better than it was because I already did a lot of shoe and spring jacket removal the week before, AND my kids were at school when I took the picture. 😉
Our laundry room is (fortunately and unfortunately) RIGHT next to our entryway. It’s convenient for doing laundry to have it on the main floor, but it becomes an awkward extension of our entryway and sort of a mudroom. But, I’m all about working with what I’ve got, so instead of planning a renovation of this area (for now) I’m just going to define the area better.
I removed all of the stuff that gets placed on top of the dryer as we enter the house from the garage. My purse always gets set there–yes, I’m part of the problem–and I put everything there that needs to exit the house with me the next time I leave. You can see how quickly stuff can pile up if you don’t take care of unwanted items right away. There’s Tupperware I need to return to my mother-in-law, toys that were left here by friends, a shirt that needs to be brought to the dry cleaners, my reusable bags for the grocery store, and a bag of books I wanted to bring to Half Price Books to sell. This is only from one week of neglect!
Our entryway also has an awkwardly small wall that you see right when you walk in the door. The mirror was left here by the previous owners, and the chest was handcrafted and gifted to us by my father-in-law (thank you!). Unfortunately, this has also become a bit of a dumping ground. My husband leaves his wallet here, the mail gets dropped off here, and pretty much anything that the kids feel like letting go of lands here. (Oh wait, is that my Kindle?!). Again, I cleaned this area off recently, so it gets MUCH worse than this.
Next, I came up with a few solutions that should help keep the mess away. I looked on pinterest for a bit of inspiration, but I inevitably had to think of my own ideas that make sense for our family’s lifestyle and budget. I wasn’t going to go out and buy anything for this project, so I was making the best use of what I already had.
Here is one article (with pictures) that helped me decide what I was going to do with my space: Stylish Storage: 10 Best Ways to Organize Your Entryway
I knew I already had wall hooks that weren’t being used in our new house yet, so I hung one up inside the closet. (My husband will be proud of me….I EVEN found the stud.) Now I can hang my purse there, and it will still be conveniently by the door while being out of sight.
I also have a small hook rail by the door to the garage for our keys. Ever since we hung this, we never lose them! Gone are the days of searching the house for our keys. That is until the kids decide to play with them! I put a basket that wasn’t being used on top of the dryer for all of things that collect there. Now I can still put items there, since that is my habit, but it will look neater. The basket isn’t huge though, so I still need to be disciplined about taking care of stuff right away.
We were using the matching baskets in the closet to store the kids’ hats and mittens, but now they have the adults’ hats/gloves since we are the only people who can reach up there! I moved the kids hats and mittens to two of the drawers in the chest so they can easily access them by themselves. The top drawer has baseball-type hats, the middle drawer has winter hats and gloves/mittens, and the bottom drawer has our lunch boxes.
We also have a long hook rail behind the front door for the kids’ coats and backpacks. This way, they can hang up their own items when they come home from school instead of dropping them all over the floor.
Last, I redefined the small entryway wall. Since the mirror and chest are the first thing guests see when they come in, I wanted something there that would set the tone for the rest of the home. Also, putting something pretty there will also make it look less like a place to dump your things and more like a beautiful focal point. (Hopefully my kids and husband get this new message! Yeah, right. Obviously, I’ll have to tell them this.) I looked around the house for a decoration to put on top of the chest and found a pair of vases in our home’s primary accent color.
Here are the before and after pics! This isn’t a dramatic transformation by any means, but it looks much cleaner and I’m hopeful that I can keep up this look since I made a few small changes to handle the problem areas. (Sorry about the small before pics…I used my iPhone, and they aren’t very good!)