One of my very first jobs when I started Reset Your Nest was to organize and style a front entryway. My client was on a tight budget, had 3 young kids at the time, a cube bookshelf full of toys and children’s books, and asked me to work my magic. So I did. In a couple of hours, I transformed the space into a child-safe, functional storage unit for all the kid things, but hung a mirror and styled the top in such a way that the entryway looked beautifully decorated and still functioned for the cute young family.
When I was hired, my clients’ plan was not to move, but a couple of weeks later, they ended up putting their home up for sale. There was an offer above the asking price within the first day which was unexpected for the area and size of the house at the time. The buyers told my client that hands down the way they felt in the house right as they entered the front door is what sealed the deal. My clients told me that the small changes I had made for them had a big impact that they believe led to the quick sale of their home.
Why First Impressions Matter
I’m all about first impressions. Not just for someone walking into a space for the first time, but what about the first time that day? The way my garage looks when I pull in my car after a long day of working totally affects my outlook on the rest of the day. The way my house looks when I walk through the door of said long day affects it even more.
When thinking about your entryway in your own home, I don’t want you to be concerned with first impressions of others. However, I do want you to identify the places you come home to and how they make you feel as well as how they function for your household. You get to decide how you want your home to look and feel and this is the first place to set up systems and routines that the whole family can get on board with.
Whatever your house looks like, I want you to focus on the areas where you are coming and going. Especially with back to school right around the corner, think about the first entry points of your home. For example, ask yourself questions like:
Where do you keep your coats, shoes, and purse?
Where do you keep your kids’ sporting equipment?
Where do you keep your mail and keys?
What do you grab every day in your morning routine?
If you are a stay-at-home parent or work from home, what does your routine look like as you are sending others off on their day and running errands?
When you come home, what does that look like?
Organizing Your Entryway, Mudroom, or Any Point of Entry
Step 1: Set the Intention of the Space
Identify coming and going routines for the household, think about how systems could be improved. Make a plan for how you want it to function. Decide ahead of time what types of items make sense to have in these areas, for example:
Seasonal and sports items
Keys and sunglasses
Grocery sacks and reusable bags
Step 2: Edit
Edit areas where items tend to pile up. You might have an entry, a coat closet, and a mudroom where things pile up. That’s fine. Think about what purpose each area serves and how it can function better. If it doesn’t fit in the categories that you originally designated for this space, could it go somewhere else?
For example, maybe it no longer makes sense to have batteries in the entry closet because they don't have anything to do with items needed for coming and going from the house. Just because something was there before, doesn’t mean it needs to stay there.
Step 3: Make a Plan
As you are editing the items that don’t add to the intention of the space, note all the items that pile up. Is there mail that should have been thrown away right when it was received, but instead got put in a pile? Make a plan for how you will handle mail moving forward. What about gum wrappers and receipts? Teach your family to get in the habit of throwing things away immediately.
Do shoes have a place to go and is it easy to maintain? If they tend to pile up by the front door, maybe a basket would be a good addition that could be placed by the door or under a nearby console table.
Do backpacks land on the floor every single day? Do they have a designated home? If this is a pain point, is there a place where you can add hooks to give them a place? This could be right on the wall of your entryway, in your coat closet, or even in the garage. I took out the rod from our coat closet in our entryway and added hooks on the walls because I knew hooks would be used more often for bags and coats than a hanger ever would.
Do you need a place for outgoing items? Returns? Library books? Do you find yourself in your car thinking, "shoot, I forgot ____" time and time again? Set yourself up for success and make your life work for you. Maybe library books should be kept in a basket by the garage door or in a console table drawer.
Step 4: Execute the plan
Usually, these types of spaces don’t need a lot of organizing products.
If you have built-in lockers and want baskets, getting the right size is important, so measuring first and shopping around for a bin that will fill the width and as much of depth as possible without hanging over is what you are looking for.
Hooks are my number one recommendation for these areas. I would use hooks for everything if I could. Bags, purses, coats, scarves, hats, everything. Here are some of my favorite hooks:
Step 5: Maintain
These are spaces that will need to be revisited with the changing seasons. Rotating beanies and gloves for sunscreen and beach towels, or whatever you choose to prioritize. When winter is over, is there somewhere else where bulky coats can live? Rotating seasonal items so prime real estate can be used for what is in season clears so much clutter.
If you use a basket with a bin clip for these items you can either label it ‘seasonal’ or label it what it is in the winter bin on one side of the card and what it is in the summer bin on the other side. Then, when seasons change, you simply flip the card around and still have a label.
Setting up a system that will last might take some continual tweaking, but the first step is trying something new to see if it works. If you try a hook for keys and find that your husband really doesn’t like that system, try a bowl on the console table. Don’t be afraid to adjust your systems through trial and error.
Jen is the founder of Reset Your Nest, a Professional Home Organizing Business in Utah (servicing Salt Lake City, Park City, Ogden, Alpine, Highland, Mapleton, and St. George). She loves creating order and systems out of chaos and is known for bringing a beautiful aesthetic as well as easy to maintain function to any space. She shares her tips and tricks on Instagram @reset_your_nest.