We all know that older homes were short on closets. However, many newer homes, though quite large, are designed poorly for the way families live. For example, open floor plans look impressively spacious but are difficult to get organized. There just doesn’t seem to be any place to put the things people use on a regular basis. Many homes have expensively outfitted kitchens with no convenient place to put trash and recycling bins. Some homes have been modified by homeowners without sufficient thought to the consequences of the placement of the new deck, sun room or garage. The result is an expensive, unused space. By far the most common challenge for homeowners that I see is in making the most of their entryway spaces. The front door is oftentimes equipped with a closet, tiled floor and space for transitioning into the home from outside. However, the back door (the one that gets the most use) often has little to no conveniences. And what makes matters worse is that people do not realize that this is the cause of clutter in the area.
Here are some ideas to consider. Whatever entry is most often used should have convenient drop off spots for groceries, backpacks, coats, shoes and purchases. The ideal house has a mudroom for this purpose that is located between the garage entry and the house proper. If your common entry lacks these organizational systems try to emulate them as best you can. The first thing to do is to be aware of the problem. You will be able to tell if shoes are in the way, coats have no place to be hung, bags are tripping hazards and it generally seems like extra effort to transition from outdoors to indoors.
If there is no closet, create a place where will you hang coats and put outdoor shoes. This need be only large enough to handle the most often used outdoor gear. Purchase a coat rack, wall hooks, shoe rack, and/or bookcase for coats and shoes respectively. Make space for a table, bench, cubbies, or hooks to temporarily deposit backpacks and purchases. You may need to take time to rearrange other furniture to make the area workable. Place function over aesthetics in designing this space. You, and your family, will appreciate the effort. By the way, this area is the key location to place reminders such as school papers, lunches, and store returns; to hang keys; and to display shopping lists so they are not forgotten. Make a place for these reminders by installing a bulletin board, shelf or hanging clipboard. Remember to include a large sturdy mat on the floor to keep dirt, water and debris from tracking into the house. With a little forethought this area will keep you organized, your house clean, and transitions efficient. Let us know how you solved entryway problems.