Second installment of Ask The Organizer, from my friend Victoria, via Facebook:
“How about the “cool weather drop and go”? Where everyone who walks in the door takes of their layers and drops them on the floor or as they walk, in little piles all over the place radiating from the doorway? Hats, shoes, coats, bags, whatever is in their hands…etc.” I love that image!
The regular chaos at our back door drives my husband and me crazy, too. It is a nice space, but with everyone coming and going and dumping and loading, it clutters quickly. If your entry way clutters quickly too, here are three key components to consider when improving the “Cool Weather Drop and Go”?
#1: Maximize Your Vertical Storage.
Climb the walls, hang on the doors, install shelves, and use under-furniture storage. Look around your entry way. If there is empty wall space or door surfaces, use them! Make the most of this high-traffic area.
Did you know? A door is not just a door. It is a willing holder for an over-the-door coat rack or shoe holder. A door right next to our back door holds both. The OTD coat rack, with the highest hooks in the room, holds the adults’ coats and bags. On the other side of the door is a plastic OTD shoe holder that holds shoes plus cleats, shin guards, volleyball knee pads and baseball caps.
There are two other coat racks mounted on walls near the back door, at varying heights for my sons’ bags and coats. And we even use low storage: There’s a canvas storage bags under my couch for rarely used cold weather items like scarves and boots. Shelves, hooks, baskets, maybe even a snazzy and sturdy shoe tree like this one we just bought from the Container Store. You name it – utilize your vertical space. Climb the walls, hang on the doors, and go low. Get Creative!
#2: Horizontal Staging Space
Every entry way needs flat space nearby, for lining up backpacks and other items to leave, and for unpacking bags as people come home. The last thing I do when I leave is make sure the flat space is empty. If it’s not, someone probably forgot to take something with them. The flat space should be empty 90% of the time, waiting for folks to come or go. Don’t clutter it with stagnant stuff; keep things moving in and out.
#3 Habits: Habits and Routines maintain systems.
The Habit of Entry: We have both a front and back door to our home, but I encourage my boys to get in the habit of always using the back door. The garage is in the back, all the storage solutions like the coat racks and shoe holders are at the back door, and for safety sake I don’t want strangers driving by to see my sons using a key to get in the front door of an empty house.
The Habit of Stop and Drop: A client suggests a stop sign right inside the door, for the kids to pause and take care of their stuff before going any further into the home.
The Habit of Daily Maintenance: When I call the boys to set the table for dinner, I also require them to clean up and hang up their stuff. Homework goes back into backpacks upon completion. Sports uniforms and band instruments get lined up the night before. Total number of coats or shoes at the door per person is 2 coats or 2 pair. Any more than 2 get put away in closets.
The Habit of Regular or Seasonal Purging. Last week, I went through hats and mittens with a client, purging all the itchy or unmatched hats and gloves. Always purge clutter at the end of a season, and put the rest away. Soccer season ended last week, so we put away the cleats and shin guards until next time. And the little guy’s cleats will not live to see another year, so they are in the donate bag already. With colder weather on its way, I also went through summer hats, purged a few and put most away, and stocked the accessory basket with hats and gloves.
So, this week, how can you use Vertical Space, Horizontal Staging Space and better Habits to make your entry way more organized and efficient? Well, Let’s Go!