Happy Friday and welcome to day 10 in our Clutter-Free Challenge.
For the rest of our time in this challenge we will work our way through the living areas of our homes. And we’ll start with the front entrance.
Your front entrance sets the mood and first impression of your home. Will it be one of peace and rest? Or should there be flashing red lights and signs reading “Danger”? Does your entry way convey confident authority or disordered anarchy? Your family and guests will immediately receive the unspoken message.
Without a plan, entryways can become a dumping ground. Family members kick off shoes, drop bags and toss keys. Most often that happens because there isn’t a place for those items. With a bit of rearranging, you can create a beautiful front entrance, one that offers a “Welcome home” for your loved ones and their possessions.
Before I start listing tips, I want to suggest a new way for you to look at your home. It’s amazing what I notice when I take this approach. And I think you’ll have great ideas for your own home.
Years ago I worked at a retirement center. Before any public event, like an open house, we took a “Do you see what I see?” walk. The marketing staff and I started at the street entrance, and walked through the entrance from the street. Our eyes scanned the parking lot, the building, windows and landscaping. We looked with fresh eyes to see what a visitor would see. It was always interesting how noticeable the chipped paint, cobwebs and dead bushes were from that viewpoint.
We walked past them every day, never noticing. On that day, with intentional eyes, we saw what needed changing. Often it didn’t take much to correct the problem. Armed with clipboards, paper and pens, we recorded every item needing attention and created a master to-do list.
Sensory adaptation is to blame for numbing us visually to things in our home as well. It’s a God-given gift to adapt to our surroundings. Otherwise, we might be overwhelmed with aromas and sounds. It also can mean we live with more mess, chaos and clutter than we should. Unless we perform our own “Do you see what I see?” walk, we’ll miss small areas of our home that could be de-cluttered with little effort.
So sometime this weekend, I’d like you to walk up to your front door as if you were a guest. Open the door and walk in. Let your eyes see what a guest would see. But don’t feel badly about piles of shoes and broken toys. Just determine to do a bit of de-cluttering.
Here are some tips for common clutter items that most of us have around our entryways.
Provide a key hooks or key racks within a few steps of the door. Make sure there are enough hooks for each member of your family. It’s a good idea to store extra sets of all keys someplace else. Invest in a key storage box and put it in your laundry room or hang hooks inside a cabinet. Don’t forget to label extra keys.
If you’ve got room at your front entrance, consider getting an attractive wall-mounted holder with hooks. This might be a shelf, which you could also use to hold small items such as a wallet, money clip or cell phone. Or it could be a letter holder with hooks at the bottom. This could hold incoming or outgoing mail, or small items to grab on the way out.
You might also consider a message board, and add hooks for keys. There are multiple possibilities for getting double duty out of a key holder, so don’t limit your imagination.
Purses, backpacks, bags
The goal is to get purses, backpacks and miscellaneous bags off the ground. To that end, position a coat tree or coat rack near the door. If you have little ones, include a child size’s coat rack, or a double row of hooks with one row low enough for little arms. A hall tree (a bench with storage, a back and hooks) is a great place to store items, plus provide a seat.
If you have an entry closet, make sure it’s not jam packed. Add shelving for purses, and hooks for bags.
For books, mittens, iPods or small bags, consider cubbyholes with baskets. Label a basket for each person in the family. This can serve many purposes, and it’s an excellent way for everyone to keep track of little items. A table or small chest by the front door can be multi-functional. Place a basket on top for keys and use the drawers to store those little items that easily get lost.
I know many people like to keep shoes by the front door. In case you do, some options include cubby holes or baskets, instead of having them loose on the floor. However, may I respectfully recommend discontinuing that habit? Dirty shoes can mar your guests’ first impressions – both visually and with a less-than-pleasant aroma. By providing adequate shoe storage in bedrooms, family members can remove shoes at the door, and take shoes directly to their closets.
Perhaps a good place to start with a hall or entry closet is to define your purpose. Would you like to use this as a place for guests’ coats? Do you use it every day for your own items? Sometimes this little gem is overlooked, and it becomes a haphazard storage place for that grab-and-dash cleaning some of us do right before company arrives.
With a bit of planning, your hall closet has great potential for being a one-stop organizing center for items that get brought in and taken out on a regular basis. For example, you could add additional shelves and store camera equipment. Hooks on the inside of the door could be used for purses and bags. Cubbies or stacked baskets on the floor could hold books, backpacks, shoes and gloves. Install hooks on the inside of the door for keys.
What is cluttering your entryway? I’m sure you can find some creative solutions to your clutter. I’d love to hear about them if you do. If you are reading this in an email, click on the comment button at the bottom to be taken to my blog to leave a comment.
Next week, we’ll make our way around our homes as we wrap up our 15-day Challenge. And thank you SO MUCH for all your kind and gracious comments to me personally these past few weeks. You have been such shining examples of God’s love.
Grace & Peace,
If you want more encouragement and tips on how to bring order to your mind, schedule and home, I hope you’ll consider purchasing my book, “I Used to Be So Organized.” It’s available through Proverbs 31 Ministries, Amazon, or wherever books are sold. Thank you.