An Effective Entryway

Mudrooms & Entryways

Few spaces get as much use in a home as the entryway. We come and go through this space multiple times a day, dropping shoes, clothing, keys, gear and more each time we walk through. As a result, this space tends to be cluttered.

The change of seasons is a good time to clear out your entryway and get it ready for the months ahead. Here are a few guidelines to help you get this room under control:

EMPTY IT OUT
Take everything out and group it by category, e.g. shoes, activity bags, coats, hats, etc.

SORT FOR THE SEASON
Remove anything that will not be used during the upcoming season. For instance, as we head into fall, remove the swim goggles and sunscreen. If you have a large mudroom, you may be able to store out of season items in less accessible locations in this space. If not, now is the time to move them to another area of your home (e.g. an attic, crawlspace, garage) until they are needed next year.

LIMIT THE SHOES
Evaluate the shoes. I suggest families limit the number of shoes that are kept in the entry area to the footwear that is worn “every day.” This may be a pair of sneakers for children, or the daily shoes worn to work for an adult. If you have enough room, you might allow two or three pairs per person. The shoes that are seldom worn, such as dress shoes for Sunday, should live in the bedroom closet.

PLAN FOR DIRT
Designate a “dirty” zone. Wet boots, muddy cleats and snow boots will make a mess on the floor. Consider getting a tray where these items can be placed. If you have an attached garage, such a zone could be established in the garage, intercepting the mess before it can enter your home.

ESTABLISH 3 TYPES OF STORAGE
Ideally, you will have three different types of storage structures in this space.

  1. Hanging storage for coats, bags and umbrellas. Hooks are my first choice, as most people avoid hanging coats up on hangers. Set up a bag for each activity (e.g. sports, dance, music, clubs) and keep the associated supplies inside. In-season bags are hung on a hook, while out of season bags are removed into long-term storage. Remember that you can add a strap or string to items that do not have one in order to make them easier to hang up.
  1. Drawers or bins for accessories. These will vary by season, but include things such as hats, baseball caps, gloves, scarves, sunglasses and bug spray. In season activity and/or sports gear like shin guards or karate belts may also go in a bin. If you don’t have built-in drawers, baskets on a shelf can work just as well. You can also use an over-the-door storage rack or bag for small items.
  1. Racks or bins for shoes. You can place a large basket near the door, but be aware that this can be hard on the shoes and might lead family members to dump the whole bin to find the pair of shoes they want. Another option is horizontal shoe racks or even simply lining the shoes neatly along the floorboard or under a cubby. If your space is narrow, a product like this one from IKEA can be a good solution.

A few additional points to keep in mind…

~ You don’t need to have all of your supplies in one “room.” Not everyone has a large mudroom. You may hang your coat on hooks right inside the door, and then walk around the corner to hang your keys up, and then down the hall to remove your shoes and plug in your phone. What matters most is having a designated area for each and every belonging, and making sure family members put things in the appropriate places.

~ You may design varying solutions for different times of year. For example, in the summer you may decide to establish a “flip flop” bin just inside the back door or designate an area for wet towels to be hung. In the winter, you may set up a rack in the garage for snowy clothes to drip dry. During the school year, you may assign each child a location for his/her backpack.

~You don’t have to have built-ins. While built-in solutions can be lovely, there are a variety of freestanding options that work very well. Things such as a coat rack, a couple of shelves, a bench or a set of cubbies are versatile, affordable and flexible.

Every home is different, so don’t feel you need to create a photography-worthy space. Function and durability are the most important factors in your family’s primary entryway. Below are some photographs that might spark some ideas for how to best use your space.

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Regardless of how well you design your space, you will need to be diligent in maintaining it. A weekly effort to restore order will go a long way in keeping your entry working well.

What is your best tip for a well functioning entryway?

18 thoughts on “An Effective Entryway”

  1. I try my best with this, but admit that as well as it may start out now, I know as the colder weather season lingers here, I have to still reassess and declutter at least 2-3 times more in all honesty. But do appreciate the help and advice still, too 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…15 Day of the Dead Fun IdeasMy Profile

    1. Yes, it pretty much is a task you have to keep repeating. But the reason behind that is a good: there are new adventures ahead, changing seasons, items that show that life is being lived, etc. Heavy used spaces just need a lot of attention!

  2. I don’t have a mudroom so I like how you highlight that not everything has to be in one room. At our house our keys hang inside a utlity cabinet in the kitchen and then around the corner our shoes get put away in a closet. As long as there are homes for things staying organized is easier. I do think I need to get a boot tray for my husband’s work shoes though. Thanks for the reminder!

    1. To be honest, most homes don’t have a large/independent mudroom. These weren’t popular for a long time, so older homes rarely have them. It really is as you say… just make sure everything has a home, and then use it – wherever that home may be!

  3. It’s amazing how many shoes can overtake an entryway! You make some important points such as switching the entryway to reflect the season and NOT keeping all things and supplies there, but only the minimum of what’s needed. We’ve done several entryway redos over the years reflecting the changing needs of our family. While there are no longer hooks for the kids’ backpacks and coats, we have places for all the things my husband and I need spots for like coats, shoes, boots, gloves and essentials. It’s working.
    Linda Samuels recently posted…How to Get Great Mindfulness Help for Anxiety with ChangeMy Profile

    1. Heavily used spaces will naturally require adjustments and changes over time. It is so great that you were able to morph your space into one that accommodates how are you living now. This is so important in organizing any space: live in the now!

  4. I agree with you. It’s not important to have every single pair of shoes in this space. In the summer I moved the boots and other winter shoes to a bin and place it in the attach until we need them again. That reminds me that I need to pull them out soon. =) Thanks for sharing your tips.

    1. Boots take up so much space! That is a great little system you’ve got, Sabrina! And you could even use the same bin to hold the summer shoes that you won’t be needing for awhile.

  5. Seana,

    Your suggestions are always so helpful. I have learned a lot from you and have incorporated many of your ideas. There is still room for improvement however so I look forward to your next blog.

  6. That picture makes me gasp! That’s the dream! We have tried to work with what little we have but it’s hard. Shoe bins are a MUST. Also we all have our own hooks and I think there are never enough. Although Cassidy thinks we’ll just keep adding to our coat collection and never get rid of the old! He has a point..

    1. I always try and focus on someone who doesn’t have a coat to help motivate me to let go. I’m watching the horror unfold in Texas and thinking, “How can I help?” This might be a great time to shed some extra clothing…

  7. It’s these spaces that make family life functional. It’s the spot that attractively has access for what you need as you exit. I have seen a lot of creative uses to make this space work with not a lot of funds. A simple bench and baskets, with hooks above, can be a quick and inexpensive set up.

    1. Exactly, Ellen, you don’t need to invest or have a giant room. But it IS helpful to invest some time and energy to making whatever space(s) you have as functional as possible. I love seeing all the creative solutions people have designed:)

  8. I love the idea of changing the organizational needs to the season, but here in Florida we never have a chance to do this. No hooks for winter jackets or bins for boots. Ours is just a small bin for flip flops, a laundry basket for pool towels and a drawer for t-shirts and bathing suits, LOL.

    1. Sounds like you’ve got some great natural boundaries. The width of a shelf, the sides of a bin and the walls in a room can all be helpful in making sure we don’t keep too much!

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