Organizing @ Home the Entry
– Assess & Reflect
– Sort & Purge
– How long will it take?
When you open your door to greet family and guests, they see what you see.
What do you see when you open your front door?
– Piles of mail and paper?
– Coats, purses, and shoes spilling onto the floor?
– Stacks of Amazon boxes?
– Shopping bags?
How would you like it to look?
Coats, purses, and backpacks hung neatly on hooks, shoes corralled in a tasteful manner, and the stacks of mail replaced with and a simple and stylish inbox?
It’s time to create the entry you and your guests will love!
Designed to be worked on in two work sessions, in this first session you will be clearing out and setting up your entry so it’s functional. You’ll remove what doesn’t belong, then bring in organizing supplies to make the space work as it should.
Assess and Reflect
The first step in clearing out your entryway is to assess the space to determine what belongs. Stand in your entry (or hall) and think through the answers to the following reflective questions, as well as any others you may think of that are unique to your situation. Use the worksheet and/or a journal to help find the answers.
– Is there anything that doesn’t belong in the entry?
– Is there a designated place for it? If so, why doesn’t it make it to its designated spot?
– If an item never makes it to its actual home, can you create a place for it in the entry?
– Do you have adequate shoe storage? Is this where you store shoes or does your bedroom closet need work?
– Are there too many shoes (here and/or your closet)? Is it time for a purge?
– Are you keeping things you no longer need? Sometimes things accumulate or we just keep things out of habit (“it’s always been there”) try to look at things with a new pair of eyes.
– What is needed to make this space more functional? What is missing?
– Think about how to support the routine that exists rather than try to change habits. What furniture, bins, shelving, and/or hooks would make this work?
After answering the reflective questions, you should have a better idea about what is happening in this space and what needs to be done.
Sort and Purge
Roll up your sleeves, grab a trash can and a box (or two), and start making decisions! It’s time to dive in!
As mentioned already, the easiest way I know to get started is to start with the trash. Even if you feel overwhelemed it’s easy to decide if that empty plastic bag or old receipt is trash. As you search for trash, you’ll have to pick up or move other items and as you do decide whether or not it’s trash. Remember your categories: KEEP/IN, KEEP/OUT, GO/AWAY, GO/TRASH. You should have a box, bag or tray to catch whatever is being sorted.
When sorting, it’s important to group like items (in categories) and place them in a box. Categories can be anything that makes sense to you, and multiple categories can occupy the same box.
Joe’s shoes, dirty laundry and Angie’s stuff can go in the same box because all belong upstairs.
Papers to look at and new printer cartridges can go in the same box because they belong in the office.
Backpacks, jackets and shoes that you want to stay, can stay put for the moment as you make decisions on the rest. You can group and categorize them too of course.
Continue to look at and make decisions on each item.
Try not to get hung up on “where will it go?”, this will only slow you down. Focus on the immediate task – sort and purge!
When Are You Done?
ONLY when you are done making decisions on all the various items in the hallway and entry that DO NOT belong there, can you leave the area and distribute items to their righful place. Everything that is earmarked to leave the house should be taken away so all that’s left is what actually stays in the entry. You
Is it trash? Go/Trash
Does it belong elsewhere in the house? Keep/Out box
Does it belong to a friend? Make arrangements to get it to them. Go/Away Box
Tip | Stay in the area you are working in until you are finished sorting and purging!
How long will it take?
The sorting and purging process takes about 1-2 hours, if you begin prepared and stay focused. Areas that have more than what’s shown in the photos below may take longer.
BEFORE & AFTER
This entry was sorted and purged in about 1 hour and took about 1.5 hours to set up, I also added cute bins on the stairs for stuff going upstairs.
Attitude Check | Focus on facts, not your emotions.Talk to yourself like you would a friend. You are doing something to fix the problem! You’re awesome. 🙂
What to do about the paper?
In the entry, paper can quickly take over a space when it’s not managed consistently. When organizing your entry, if you have a lot of paper gather it in a shallow box keeping important time sensitive papers separate from the rest, and plan to attack your paper project in your next work session.
Learn more about Paper and Mail Management here.
You can do this!Stay focused on the rewards (an organized space you'll be proud to have guests in) and make that your reason for sticking with it!
Part two of this space is about organizing it! You will utilize the resources you found in your home earlier this week.
Now that the unnecessary things are out of the space, what you are left with should be just what you want there. So, what’s missing?
– What kind of additional storage or organizational elements are needed to make this space work? It could be shoe storage, purse/backpack storage, key storage, etc.
– Can you fit a piece of furniture in this space?
– Do you have something that can be repurposed? A bookcase, cabinet, or dresser – think outside the box. If you like the piece don’t limit yourself on where you can put it in the house.
– What about hooks for jackets? Can you hang items on the back of the door using an over the door rack? Or hooks on the wall?
What about mail?
If mail is a problem in your home, you wouldn’t be alone. Often the main reason for a “mail problem” is there isn’t a consistent place to catch the mail. Sometimes it is left in the entry, other times it’s brought into the kitchen, living room, or dining room; then you have piles all over the house.
Finding a receptacle/place where you can consistently put the mail is vital. Even if someone else brings in the mail and it isn’t put there, you can move it, because now it has a place to go!
If you have a shallow basket that you enjoy, use it to collect the mail until you are ready to tend to it.
Something I always advise my clients is to sort the mail on the way into the house so that by the time you are at your door you have the junk mail ready for the trash, the most important letters at the front of the stack and you are ready to distribute the rest as needed. This cuts down on the volume of mail that accumulates.
tip | for mail collection, vertical beats horizontal!a magazine holder makes a great mailbox - one for each adult plus one for kids papers that need attention
How to Implement the Organizing Elements
In your entry you might have shoes, purses, backpacks, or laptop bags that need to come and go. Have you brought in the right elements for the job?
Shoe storage can be shelves or a decorative basket, or a bench to sit on and shoes go underneath.
Think about what you have had in the past and what about it worked? What didn’t work? Why?
Was it too far away to walk over and put the shoes in?
Was it too deep and your shoes got lost?
Was it too small for all the people in your family?
Use this information to find new ways to solve the problem.
Do you have/want hooks for purses and jackets?
Over-the-door hooks make excellent entry hooks. Alternatively you can buy hooks to hang on the wall. Look for hooks that are big enough to actually hold one or two things on each hook. If it has multiple hooks, be sure they are spaced apart at least 6 inches. If they are too close together it will reduce it’s effectiveness. More hooks is better than not enough hooks, and to big beats too small. When in doubt go for the bigger hook with more spots to hang things, just be sure to attach them to a stud or use toggle bolts.
What about cubbies for backpacks?
Cubbies for backpacks are probably a better option than hooks. I know hooks look neat, but for a kid to successfully hang their backpack – that’s a tall order! But not impossible. 🙂 (If you are going to hang it – then all is well!) Cubbies are easier for kids to negotiate. They are already going to drop it on the ground, why fight it? Let them do what they do and provide the right support to contain it. A cubby to tuck the backpack into, or even better is a bench to set it on. It may not look the most organized, but it will find it’s way home, and that is half the battle! Of course, it’s your home and you get to pick! Some battles are worth it. Just think about your habits and that of your family and try to work with the current habit. If you think that they are up for the new challenge of hanging backpacks, I say go for it! You know your family best!
The trick to organizing is when you bring in organizing elements, try them in different ways. Test out, rearrange, set it up again and interact with it on the spot. By that I mean, PRETEND. Go through the motions of putting away your shoes, purse or backpack. Ask yourself, “Is this easy enough that I, or someone else, will follow through?” If it’s not, then try something else. It doesn’t mean the whole solution is a bust, just a little fine tuning. Continue trying different solutions until the right solution appears.
In situations where I think it’s a struggle – ANY situation, even trying to come up with the right storage solution, I ask my higher power for a little help and by golly I get it. It’s amazing. So don’t be shy and think it’s too silly or insignificant – there is no such thing! Just ask.
Need some mortal help?
Are you stumped and left without ideas?Join us on our next zoom call and get some help! That's what it's there for to help you solve your organizing dilemmas!
You can always ask online in our Facebook Group. Ask questions, and post pictures. You are not alone!
Before setting out for the task of organizing and creating your space, stop and think about what you really want it to look like. Have you checked out Pinterest for ideas? Have you created a vision in your mind of what you are aiming for? Well, if you haven’t, that is your assignment. Before putting anything away come up with a vision. It doesn’t have to be super detailed – although that is great too. Just enough to point you in the right direction. And of course, ask your higher power for a little guidance.
If you have any questions, comments or thoughts, reach out on Facebook or join us on our bi-weekly ZOOM video conference calls! Join the Clutter to Clarity Club here!
Until next time…