Ever since the pandemic hit, the entrance to our homes has become more important than ever. Because it’s not just how we feel when we set foot inside, it’s now an important threshold for crossing safely to the outside world too.
It’s a great time to re-adjust since we’re moving into winter. I like to take a look at this area as the season’s change, at least twice a year as we move into fall/winter and spring/summer.
Let’s give it some TLC, and imagine what our entry/exit areas can do for us and consider our current needs.
Take a look at the space and ask yourself:
1) Has my routine changed? Other member’s of the family routine different?
2) Are there items in this area that don’t get used anymore? If not, take them away.
3) Are there items that aren’t there, and need to be? Bring them to the area.
4) How do you want the area to feel? Purely utilitarian, or does the location require some design elements that flow in to the rest of your home?
Look at the items in the area and see what makes sense in the entryway now:
• Trash/Recycling: If you leave it here to go out is it in a bag or container that makes this easy?
• Donations/Returns: Are these organized so you can take them out easily? Are they prepared with return labels? If you want a donation receipt, do you have a list of the donations you are taking out?
• Pet Supplies: Can you place them in one or two baskets or bins? One for leash, harness, poop bags, wipes, brushes and the other for towels/jackets/footwear?
• Gardening supplies: Does it make sense to have them there? Now that it’s wintertime, can they be re-located to another location, or, might they be placed in a covered bin or on a higher shelf in a closet?
• Makeup/Hair Accessories: Do you put makeup on right before you leave? If so, what are the essentials that you absolutely need? Remember that these items are going on your face, so make sure they are protected in a case or zippered bag. Do you have a mirror in the area to put your makeup on and check your appearance before you head out?
• Mail: Do you have a dedicated spot to place this? If you’re sifting through mail at the door, consider putting a sorter nearby with people’s names on it. Also consider placing paper recycling right here as well for easy transfer out of your home.
• Sporting Gear: Take note of what’s being used and what isn’t. For instance, if outdoor games aren’t happening as the weather gets colder, move them to another location or invest in a trunk. Or, if you bike to work everyday, then your helmet, gloves, camelback, etc. might work really well here as you head out the door.
• Bags: What are you currently using on a regular basis? Bags that you used pre-pandemic may not be useful at the moment. Keep only the bags you use now in this area, as well as farmer’s market or grocery shopping bags that you can pop on your shoulder when you leave.
• Clothing & Accessories: What coats are you needing right now? Have them handy at the door if you can. A rack or cubby with often worn shoes is nice to organize, especially if you have a lot of people in your home. Pick a favorite hat, scarf, and gloves to have nearby for each person, and if you have more than one pair, alternate weekly or so to add flavor to your outdoor look! Items such as sunglasses, chargers, and headphones could be placed in the bag you use most to cut down on clutter.
• Umbrellas: Always good to have one or two at the ready! Small ones can be popped in a bag, and bigger ones can be placed in a stand or underneath a shoe rack.
...last but not least....
* Face Masks/Hand Sanitizer/Alcohol Wipes: Can each person in your home have their own face mask area? Or perhaps kept in baggies to ensure they are separate from each other? Are small bottles of sanitizer available to pop in a bag when you leave? Would you like alcohol wipes there to wipe down your door handle and items you've brought in from the outside?
Give yourself a starter time limit for addressing this area, say 15-20 minutes. If you don’t finish the entire task, keep going if you’re able. If not, keep scheduling 15-20 minute sessions in your schedule until your entryway works for you!
Entering and leaving your home can be a beautiful transition if you set up the space to do so.
Reach out to me if you’d like help organizing and purging items in this area!
Photo: Jon Tyson on Unsplash
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Paper piles strewn about; bills, advertisements, subscriptions, statements, coupons…they're building up and you don’t know where to begin addressing it.
Paper clutter is one of the most talked about issues in organization and for good reason. Paper can be as important as birth certificates, wills, or life insurance forms to as unimportant as the take-out menu to a restaurant you hate.
The key to keeping papers under control is to have a system where you know exactly where to dispose or keep them, and taking care of them swiftly.
Let’s start the paper arranging conversation with mail.
I recommend that you quickly open all of your mail once you’re home to see what it is. You’ll know immediately what’s junk to recycle or what to hold on to. Then, place the papers within one of these categories:
IF IT'S JUNK TO RECYCLE: Have a paper recycling bin handy so you can drop them in right away. A good place is in your kitchen or near your door. If you want to shred items with your name on them, great, otherwise tearing up in pieces is fine too.
IF IT'S MAGAZINES OR LITERATURE TO READ: Pick a spot in each room you read in, and have a receptacle where they always go. For example, a basket in the living room or your bedside table in the bedroom.
IF IT'S RECORDS FOR SAFE-KEEPING: These go immediately in your filing cabinet or accordion system. A fire-proof box can be useful for records of major importance that aren't easily replaced.
IF IT'S TO-DO'S: These should be placed anywhere you know you will see them and take action. Your workspace is a good choice for bills that need to be paid, appointment reminders that need to be scheduled, etc. Have a designated file folder, filing tray or cork board that you go to on a regular basis to place these. If they are time sensitive, writing a due date on them is really helpful.
IF IT'S BRIEF REMINDERS/SENTIMENTAL: These should be placed where you’ll see them and can be grabbed quickly as you’re going out the door, or displayed for the time being. This can be coupons, tickets or wedding invitations, as well as special letters from family or pictures. A nice place can be the refrigerator or nook in your kitchen, as well as a hanging white board or pin board.
If you’re just starting this process, go through your home and figure out where all of these categories will be. Then, start gathering papers that are lying around and place them in the spot for each category. Soon enough you’ll see how the system works for you and the great part is you can always course -correct and adjust as needed.
Mastering paper clutter can take some time and patience so don’t get frustrated with yourself! It's a habit that will take hold if you take the time everyday to sort it.
I’m always here to help you make decisions on how to do this best in your home. Reach out to me for a free 30 minutes consultation.
Photo: Sharon McCutcheon via
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