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Tips from a professional organizer on how to set up the organized entryway you've always wanted whether you have a small wall space or an entire mudroom to work with.

Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life: Entryway Organization

 (photo by ...love Megan, text added by MPMK)
We’re continuing our month-long pursuit of a better 2014 with another Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life post and more design tips from our in-house professional organizer, Annie.  
Last week she shared her Principles of an Organized Playroom and today she’s divulging her three must-haves for entryway organization. (Don’t forget to check out the end of this post for links to all of this month’s helpful how-tos.)

The importance of a well-organized entry should not be under-valued. As the entrance into your home, it sets the tone for all the space that lays beyond.

There are three elements that should be in play in order to achieve and maintain an efficient entry:

  1. Having the right set up
  2. Allocating a space for each family member’s belongings
  3. Instituting & abiding by a limit

Step 1 – Having the right set up

Your entry, in whatever form it exists, should possess the following ingredients:

1. A landing spot (or spots) for things like wallets, keys, mail, phone, membership cards, etc.

2. A place to hang coats

3. A place to store seasonal accessories, such as winter hats and gloves

4. A place to put boots and shoes

5. A place to put school and work bags

If space allows, a seat of some kind is quite useful. You may also find it helpful to keep things such as dog leashes, umbrellas, reusable bags, and a few select cosmetics such as chapstick and hand cream in the winter, sunblock in the summer, and so forth.

However, careful consideration must be given to every item that resides in an entry. Only things that you truly need as you’re coming or going and that you use on a daily basis should be kept in the area. A safe rule is: if it can possibly go somewhere else, it should.

Step 2 – Making a Spot for Each Family Member

The surest way to maintain order in a shared space such as an entry is to give everyone in the household a distinct place for their things. While it may not feel generous to draw lines in the sand or, you know, floor – doing so is crucial to avoiding the accumulation of unidentified, unclaimed, and unmanaged belongings.

Having designated hooks, bins, or cubbies increases accountability, as each family member is clear on where they may put their things (and where they can’t!).

For those lacking a mudroom, don’t despair, as there are plenty of options for you. A storage bench can serve a dual purpose in a small entry, providing both a place to sit as well as a place to put baskets or bins for either shoes or winter gear. A console table with a bottom shelf can work similarly, giving you both a landing strip on top for keys, wallets, etc., as well as storage down below. A row of hooks can easily be installed for hanging coats and bags.

Step 3 – Instituting a Limit

Once you have your set up in place, one that ensures each family member has designated areas for his or her things, you’re ready to set the house-wide limits.

Some items, like shoes, are prone to entry-accumulation. Ensure the area doesn’t become overgrown by instituting a policy about how many pairs or items are allowed to remain by the door at any given time. Consider establishing a weekly ritual wherein everyone collects their things from the entry and takes them back to their private spaces.

Finally, make sure that everyone in the family is clear that they are to keep their things neat as a way to respect the others, and your shared home.

More Helpful MPMK How-Tos from this month:



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Annie Traurig is a professional organizer and the founder of Live Simply. She works with clients locally in Seattle, as well as worldwide through virtual services, teaching them to expel the extraneous and instill their lives with lightness, laughter, and ease. She believes complication is avoidable, the clarity of priorities is freeing, aesthetics are paramount, and humor is the ultimate necessity.