entryway organizing tips

Wall with jackets on hooks and bench for shoe storage.

Most clutter happens as kids come in from school, and adults arrive home from shopping or work.

We're tired, we're hungry. Sometimes we're cranky, too.

As a result, we all dump whatever we're carrying - books, mail, shoes, shopping bags, coats, papers for Mom to sign, soccer balls, briefcases, etc. - on the first solid surface inside the door (often the kitchen counter or table).

We're just happy to be home at last, where we can take a load off. 

The solution to coming-home clutter? Create convenient places to stash stuff on the way in (or out) the door. These entryway organizing ideas can help make order out of chaos.

Entryway Organizing Solutions

Establish a clutter-catchall loading and unloading zone outside the garage or kitchen door where you and the troops tromp in. (Yellow paint is not required.) Wherever your entry area is, it is essential to make it functional.

Start by considering what you do and what you're carrying (and dropping) as you enter your home, and then design a place for it. Here's how:

Whatever the season, we always need something. In the winter, it's gloves, hats, and scarves. In the summer, it's sunglasses, raincoats, and hats. Give each member of the family a small basket or bin to store the items that they always seem to need as they go out the door.

No more running back inside to track it down at the last minute.  

Corraling Coats and Backpacks

Backpacks: Those poor kids lug home monstrous backpacks, and, of course, they cannot possibly take them all the way to their bedrooms, now can they? If the answer is no, find a temporary holding place for the backpacks in the garage. They're in the way inside, anyway. Options include:

  • Bins:  Put big plastic bins of different colors near the door to capture backpacks. Assign one color for each kid.
  • Hooks:  Sturdy - very sturdy - hooks on the wall are another good alternative.
  • Shelves:  Keep them low and make sure they're deep enough to fit the whole massive backpack.

Coats: We all have one favorite coat that we wear day in and day out each season. This garment never sees the inside of the closet because it's always at the ready. 

Hang favorite coats and rain gear on hooks near the kitchen door, or where ever your usual departure spot is.

Entryway Organizing for Gear 

Busy families need lots of stuff: saxophones, tennis rackets, swim goggles, etc. And they need a place to stash it until they need it again.

Brick wall with bicycle and sports gear.

You do not want this stuff sitting by the back door for Grandma Ellie or little ones to trip over.

Ideally, the kids would walk over to the pegboard wall that's there just for this purpose and hang the tennis rackets on the appropriate peg; then they would walk over to the bin that's there just for balls and insert the soccer ball. And yes, that is something to strive for. 

But when they are going to be using the tennis racket again the next day, that might not happen. They're human.

Avoid conflict and crashes and give them each a bin or a space on the shelf that's just for their stuff. Consider making the space big enough for their backpacks, too.

Tell your kids that they have to empty the bin or shelf once a week. But they do have that week's grace period. And Mom won't even look to see what's there. 

Bikes are so big, and they tip over so easily they require extra thought. I have a rule that bikes always go in their prescribed "parking places."

A friend of mine actually marked parking lines on the floor of her garage, so her kids know exactly where to put their bikes. My friend never has to get out of her car just to move a bike an inch.  This is the perfect solution for occasional riders. 

Entryway Organizing Shoe Stop

Many families have a no-shoes-inside policy. Most families have a no-muddy-shoes inside policy. That means a lot of shoes piled beside the door. Here are some entryway organizing alternative places to put them.

The good news is they won't be piling up in your closet or sullying your carpet or rug.

Four-shelf shoe rack with shoes isolated.
  • Basket: If you have a small family and need a place for only a few shoes, have a basket by the door.
  • Shelving: If you have a lot of different kinds of shoes (especially athletic shoes with cleats or riding boots) of awkward sizes or a bigger family, designate certain shelves for shoes. Add a bench or chair so Grandma can sit down while she takes off her shoes, or so you can have a seat while you take of your little one's shoes.
  • Shoe cubby: If you have a lot of shoes, invest in a closet shoe cubby to organize and store them all. Or try a shoe rack.

Entryway organizing is essential if you want to eliminate coming-home clutter and make school-morning exits a snap. 

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