The entryway of your apartment or home is a perfect example of why an organized life is a happier one.  When you open the door to your home, if the first thing you see is an organized space that is calm and easy to bring things in and out of, well, you’re just going to be happier.  And that goes for your guests as well.  Part of the importance of an entryway is that it is the first impression of your home.  But that is just the superficial side.  What really matters is whether it makes your life easier in all your comings and goings.  Because let’s face it, life is hectic sometimes, there’s a lot to remember when you leave your home and there is a lot you bring into your home that needs a place.

When I come home, there is just nothing better than walking through the door and seeing a tidy entryway with space for me to deposit the groceries, my shoes, my coat, the dog leash, the key, you name it.  Here are some of the things to think about first when you’re doing an entryway makeover or moving into a new place. 

1. Choose your Entryway Style

What is the style of your home and how do you want to communicate that in your entryway?  This can help you narrow down what kind of  storage solutions you will need in the space.  Are you looking for something more traditional or more modern, do you have a beach cottage vibe going or is your space mid-century modern? 

I live in a 70’s Brady Bunch house that is close to the beach so my vibe is more modern with a touch of Pacific Northwest natural.  I like colors that are neutral but not dark and I don’t want a lot of clutter or knick-knacks.  We also don’t have a separate back entrance or mudroom so my entryway needs to do it all. 

What’s in your entryway dropzone?

2. Entryway ideas – make a list of the functions your must perform

Once you have a style in mind for your entryway décor, the next thing is to make a list of the functions your entryway must perform.  Do you have a mudroom in the back or does everything, including the groceries and all the shoes, backpacks, Amazon deliveries etc come through the front door along with your guests.  Do you want to have your what I like to call “command center” in your entryway where you keep the mail, leave notes for each other, post a calendar or meal plan? 

Once you have your list made, this will help you think about where in your entryway these different storage areas will live and what you need to make them work for you.  And by “work for you”, I mean that these areas stay organized and people in the house can find what they are looking for. 

3. Pick your color palette

Color plays a huge roll in creating an organized visual effect.

One thing that helps every space look more organized and put together is the use of color.  In order to visually declutter your space, choose a consistent color pallet and don’t mix and match too many colors.  Also, if your entryway is open to other rooms in your house, think about keeping the colors similar to what you already have in those other spaces.  This will add to the harmony of the entire house and make the entryway feel more put together. 

4. Entryway organization is all about what’s hidden or not

Everyone’s tastes are different (and change over time) so spend a moment to reflect on how “put away” or perfect your entryway needs to look.  Some people don’t mind shoes or mail in plain site as long as they are tidy and some people want it to all be hidden in a closet or a container.  As an example, I like having most of the coats hidden in the closet but I still have a coat rack that I see and can grab the coat I am mostly wearing every day.  Making this list of what you want to be visually available will help you decide what kind of storage containers you need. 

5. Shoe storage solutions – find yours

We are a family of five and we have a lot of shoes – especially me, if I’m honest.  But we are mostly only wearing 2-3 pairs on most days during a season. 

So I use a set of larger storage bins on the floor of my closet for shoes that we don’t use everyday and then another set of smaller storage bins – one for each member of the family – underneath a large console table that sits in our entryway.  The small storage bins are labelled with each person’s name and I exchange out shoes from these smaller bins when they are out of season or we simply stop wearing them everyday.  This way, it takes two seconds to throw the shoes that are sitting all over the floor into the bins underneath the table – like when the doorbell rings or I want to vacuum the entryway. 

Some other smart ideas that I have seen on Etsy and are relatively cheap include the brilliant use of wall mounted boards with coat pegs on them – you hang a shoe on each peg and you could put a bunch of these boards low on the walls freeing up your floor space in a small entryway.  Or try something more substantial – also found on Etsy- using pallet wood to create wall mounted hanging racks that are designed to store shoes.  Search for “floating wood wall mounted show rack.”  These could also be hung up high on the walls inside a closet if you have lots of vertical space.

The meori Small Foldable Box with 9/Bottle insert makes a great shoe storage box (when you aren’t storing wine in it. 🙂
Use Small or Medium Storage Bins to hold shoes you are currently using in a bench in the entryway. Choose a color for each member of the family or use rewritable labels to name them.

6.Alternatives to the classic entryway bench and coat rack

We all have seen many variations on the entryway bench with the coat rack hooks on the back and storage cubbies down below.  These can be beautiful pieces of furniture but also expensive or hard to find in exactly the size you want.  One way of creating this same functionality and look and feel is to put together a hack of this idea by buying a bench with space for storage cubes below and then simply buying coat hooks either separately or mounted on a board and installing that above the bench.  You can even add a shelf above the coat hooks like the ubiquitous shelf from IKEA.  This solution can be as inexpensive as $200 if you shop it out as opposed to $1000 for a customer-built piece of furniture that you might not even be able to take with you if you move. 

7. Here’s how to stop forgetting things when you leave the house

Make a list of the things you typically take out the house with you that if you forget them, it is super annoying!  Here’s my list:

  • Keys
  • Purse
  • Cell phone
  • Reusable Grocery Bags
  • Sunglasses
  • Jacket
  • Water bottle

Now that you have your list, create a space in your entryway for those items.  I use a retro free-standing coat rack that I painted a fun color (yellow) that holds tons of stuff – I have the dog leash, jackets, hats and my purse hanging from this.  I mentioned the console table in my entryway earlier.  I keep a storage bin on it that is filled with folded up reusable grocery bags, wine totes and water bottles so that I can just grab them when I leave.  And when I bring the groceries home and put them away, I make sure to put the grocery bags back into this box for the next time.  Finally, I have small storage bins mounted to the wall – one for keys and one for mail.  You could do one for each member of the family as well.    

Use one or more mini storage bin to hold keys, mail and more. You can mount them on the wall to save space and keep clutter to a minimum.
Use a coat rack to hang the things you don’t want to forget when you leave the house – like Reusable Grocery Bags.

8. Use your Vertical Space

If your entryway is small, but even if it’s not, use your vertical space as much as possible.  Especially in the closet, hang rows of hooks or use shelves to create cubbies for things that you want to keep organized but don’t necessarily need everyday.  Rows of wall hooks are a great way to create easy to organize and tidy up spaces for each member of the family.  Even if they don’t use them, when you go to tidy it all up, it’s easy to simply hang things up on those wall hooks. 

9. Family Command Centers

The last thing I want to touch on is the idea of a household command center and whether or not you want, or need, this to be in your entryway.  If you have a mudroom or large kitchen, then probably not.  But if your space is small or if you are a family that needs notes, schedules and other types of organizational items to be near the front door, then you might want to plan in that command center into your entryway. 

Acrylic “command centers” that can be mounted on the wall are customizable, attractive and a big help for families on the go. Look for them on Etsy.

The easiest way to do this and not take up tons of space, is to hang your “command center” on the wall so that it doesn’t take up too much space and everyone can see it when they come in the house.  I really like the clear acrylic versions of a command center that you can mount in modules directly on the wall.  Try searching for these on Etsy or Pinterest to find something affordable. Most come with a calendar, a meal planner (so very practical because you can take a photo of this on your way out the door when you go grocery shopping) a space for leaving notes for family member and an extra bin or two for mail and keys.  These acrylic wall mounted units are mostly customizable, don’t take up lots of space and are visually very calm and neutral. 

Looking for more ideas? Check out all our blog posts on home organization and storage here.

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