5 Things To Think About When Organizing Your Entryway

I don’t know about you but if my entryway isn’t tidy and free of clutter it doesn't matter how clean the rest of the house is, it just feels messy.  Call it what you want, the vestibule, mudroom, foyer, it’s the first impression you have of a home and if you don’t have a good organizational system setup that works for you and your family you will constantly be fighting a losing battle.  

Much like any other room that needs organizing there are many factors that come into play that will help determine what is going to work for you.

Who are you organizing for?

Do you have an adult only home? A few small children? A very wide age-range of people living with you? Do you have visitors over often?  Really stop and think about the needs of the room and the people that pass through there.

Think Vertical

Using the vertical space in a given room is a great way to increase your storage space.  This is especially true in the entryway.  A row of hooks on the wall for extra jacket storage, a shelf to store baskets; both can really help you get the most out of your space.  Just be sure that your are factoring in the height of the people who live there.  Hooks at the right level for children can really help encourage them to hang up their coats on their own and  easily get them before leaving the house.  If you don’t have a lot of wall space, think about the vertical space you do have.  Look at the inside walls of the front closet. You may be able to put some hooks there.  You can also try using a closet doubler (basically a rod that hangs from your existing closet rod)  for increased coat storage.

Accessibility Based on Frequency of Use

You really want to try to make items that are used frequently as accessible as possible.  In the winter this means your hats, scarves, gloves.  In the warmer months those items will switch over to the sunhats, sunglasses and sunscreen.  You can store these items out of the way while not being used. While they are in high demand you can try open basketa or bins or even cute bags on wall hooks.

Have Defined Spaces

Try to think of defined spaces for your things in the same way that directions help us to get from point A to point B.  When a path is clear it is easy to follow.  This can be as simple as having a mat for shoes and boots, or labeling the storage containers.  It is hard to blame the members of your house for leaving stuff all over the floor when they come in if it isn’t clear where to put it.  For your older kids, whose school bags end up all over the house, having hooks with their names or open-concept lockers may do the trick.  Pinterest is my go-to website for inspiration. You can find all kinds of ideas depending on your decor and budget.

Don’t Forget Your Guests

When organizing your space don’t forget to have a bit of storage wiggle room for friends and family.  This can be as simple as extra hangers (and enough space for what you will be hanging) in your front closet. I’m a “no shoes in the house” person.  I blame it on my microbiology background and knowing how easily gross outdoor bacteria can get tracked inside and then directly into my children’s mouths as they drop their food on the floor and then eat it.  For that reason I keep a basket of slippers in the front closet in varying sizes for guests.  That way I have something to offer them when I kindly ask them to remove their shoes before coming in.

 

When it comes down to it, this high-traffic area is just like any other space in your home.  You want to try and think through how you are using it and what specific organizational issues you are having.  Try not to go against your natural tendencies.  Instead, find a way to work within them.  If junk mail ends up in a pile near the door, then perhaps that would be a good place for a wastepaper basket.  If your kids take off their socks as soon as they walk in, then consider having a small laundry bin handy.  Organizing is personal and unique to each space and family.  You just need to find what works for you and it will be nearly effortless to maintain.

Happy Organizing!

Going Digital With My Calendar Changed Everything

As featured in Huffington Post & The Suburban

Call me crazy but the thought of losing my paper agenda has literally woken me up in the middle of the night.  How will I know what I have to do the next day? Which client I’m supposed to see? What time should I be there?  The fact that I had so much valuable information in one irreplaceable place had to stop.  I couldn’t take it anymore-- I had to go digital.

 

I have long been made fun of because of my reluctance move away from a paper agenda and onto a digital one.  Family, friends and clients want to make plans and I would have to say “wait, let me go grab my agenda”.  I would open it up and there would be scribbled notes everywhere (I have terrible handwriting) and different colored post-it notes bursting from the pages. Every night my husband would ask what my plan was for the next day, or if we had something going on that weekend.  Every time I would have to get up, locate my purse and find my agenda.  In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t that big a deal, but life is only getting busier and I knew something had to change.  

When I voiced how reluctant I was to get rid of my beloved paper agenda people would suggest making a digital copy. Write down everything on-line AND in the agenda.  I had visions of me going back and forth, computer to paper, did I write that down properly? Did I put that in the computer? Wait, let me check again just to be sure.  Ugh. That was not going to be my solution.  I had to be all in.  I had to dive into the digital world and not look back.  So I did.

I didn’t plan it  but I found myself with a few hours one afternoon and I decided to bite the bullet.  I opened up Google Calendar on my computer, downloaded the app onto my phone and got started.  Day by day, week, by week I began to transcribe what was once on paper onto the computer.  I was able to assign different colors to different categories (orange for organizing, purple for personal, green for financial stuff).  This was fun, I love to color code! I could even add notifications to remind me of events! Then I realized I could start organizing my next year. . . the paper agenda I had (that I bought because it was pretty) stopped in December 2015, but online I can go forever! I felt unstoppable! Our Mexico vacation in January, spring break, end of the school year; all of it was now in my calendar.  AMAZING.

I called my husband and told him what I had done, I invited him to the calendar and told him under no circumstances was he to sync his work calendar with mine (he has way too many meetings that I don’t care about).  All of the sudden it was 4pm and I had to go pick up the kids.  My agenda was on my desk where I had been transferring all the info into the computer.  As per my routine, I went to grab it and throw it in my purse before I left the house. Not this time. I don’t need it.  It’s all on my phone (which lets face it, in this digital age comes EVERYWHERE with me).  So I put my paper agenda in a drawer and headed out.  I wish I could tell you it was easy.  It wasn’t.  The first few days post-conversion I had that naked feeling, you know the one when you think you’re forgetting something important? I kept reaching into my purse for it.  But like any routine it just took a few days of conditioning and remembering (and some breathing exercises!) to retrain my brain.

I am proud to say that I am now two months post-transfer and couldn’t be happier.  I love having my schedule at my fingertips. I love that it’s backed up. I love that it syncs with my google maps and sends me these cute little dings about what time I should leave to get to my appointment on time.

I never thought I would; never thought I COULD, but I did it.  I made the switch, and if I can, trust me, you can do it too.  I’m not big on resolutions, but this one had been on my “to-do” list for a few years now.

So maybe it’s not “going digital” that you need to tackle, maybe there has been another item that has haunted you for a while.  I know it’s easier to keep putting it off (I certainly did) but chances are once it’s done and you’ve crossed it off your mental list you won’t regret it!

Good Luck & Happy (digital) Organizing!