How to Organize the Entryway

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It’s the first day of a New Year and I’m kicking it off with a post about decluttering and organizing the entryway or foyer of our homes.

Why start there? Because it’s the first space people see when they visit, and usually the easiest to declutter. Plus, coming home to an organized, tidy entryway will help you stay motivated to do the rest of your home, too.

Organizing Your Home’s Entryway

Wood table and wall mirror in organized entryway

Before we get started organizing the entryway, let’s talk for a minute about what decluttering involves.

What Will You Do with Your Clutter?

Decluttering is not shifting stuff you never use from one room to the next. All that does is create clutter elsewhere that you’ll have to deal with sooner or later. Eventually, if you haven’t learned to actually get the clutter out of your home, you’ll just move it back to where it started.

So, before you begin organizing your entryway — or any other room of your house — figure out what you’re going to do with the things you’re purging. If you plan to donate your unwanted items, look up the address of a nearby charity before you begin decluttering.

Whenever possible, budget time at the end of your daily decluttering session to drop off your unwanted items at your chosen charity. That way, they won’t pile up in your car or garage where you’re likely to forget about them or, worse yet, bring them back into your home.

Have Your Supplies Ready

One of the biggest obstacles to decluttering and cleaning our homes is how easily we get distracted.

You’ve probably experienced this a few times: in the middle of sorting clutter and trash in a space, you realize something belongs in the bedroom, so you take it back there. Then you notice the pile of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor, so you take them to the laundry room. But the washing machine is full, so you go to switch the damp clothes to the dryer — only it’s full, too. Now you’ve got to fold things, switch loads, and the next thing you know it’s time to make dinner.

So much for that day’s organizing plan!

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Short-circuit those distractions by getting your decluttering supplies ready before you begin. That way, you don’t need to leave the entryway at all until you’ve finished today’s mission.

Gather your materials:

  • Bags for trash
  • Box for donations
  • Box for things that belong elsewhere
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Your favorite glass, furniture, and floor cleaners
  • Broom or vacuum
  • Mop

Steps to Organize the Entryway

Clutter-free foyer with hat rack, side table near the front door, and wood floor

Rehome Clutter

Rehoming clutter involves throwing out what’s useless to anyone, what you want to keep but not necessarily in this particular space, and what you no longer find useful but someone else might.

Things to Throw Away

  • Obvious trash
  • Store flyers
  • Old newspapers
  • Signed delivery receipts
  • Door hanger cards and sales brochures
  • Junk mail

While you’re at it, get rid of your Welcome Mat if it’s ratty. That’s one of the first things people see when they come to your home, so it’s a good idea to replace yours every time it starts to look worn.

Things that Belong Elsewhere

Quite often, we dump stuff by the front door hoping it will serve as a visual reminder — only, after a few days of it being there, we become blind to it. Then someone else adds to the pile, and before long the entryway is essentially doubling as a junk room.

So, take a hard look at the things in your entryway, and decide if they truly need to be there. If they belong in another room, add them to the box you’ll be using to carry things to other rooms at the end of today’s mission.

  • Shoes belong in bedroom closets
  • Backpacks belong in study areas
  • Coats, jackets, and scarves go in the coat closet
  • Things to return to the library or store belong in your car
  • Reusable grocery bags go in the car, so you actually use them

Things to Donate

As you’re adding items to the box of things that belong elsewhere, give some thought to just how long they’ve been sitting in your entryway. If it’s been several months and no one has noticed, chances are the item isn’t useful to your family anymore. Donate it!

  • Outdated decor you no longer enjoy
  • Sports gear or toys no one plays with anymore
  • Clothes, shoes, jackets, and coats that no longer fit
  • Items you meant to take back to the store but the refund window has closed

Organize What’s Left

When organizing your home’s entryway, focus on ways you can make arriving to and departing from your home less chaotic. This means having places to set things temporarily, as well as creating a fixed place for things you regularly use.

What to Keep in Your Entryway

Every home’s decor is different, but one thing all of our homes share is the need for convenient spots to stash stuff when we — or our guests — arrive.

  • A washable entry mat. Even if people are good about wiping their shoes on the Welcome Mat in front of your home, on rainy or snowy days it’s impossible to get shoes completely dry outside. Having a second mat inside the door helps. In many areas, guests habitually remove their shoes after stepping indoors, anyway, especially if you provide them a place to leave their footwear.
  • A table for purses and packages. Having a small, clutter-free table near the front door provides guests a spot to stash their handbags while visiting. It’s also the perfect perch for a hot pizza delivery box while you sign the receipt.
  • A space to sit. One of the best ways to reduce household dust, and to keep your carpeting clean, is removing your shoes at the door. Make this easy to do by providing a chair or bench. You need this spot in addition to a small table, though. Otherwise, people will just plop backpacks and purses on the chair and you’re back to everyone tracking mud through the house on dirty shoes.
  • A shelf or sorter. Install a small wall shelf or hanging sorter to hold temporary things like school permission slips and outgoing mail. Having a separate spot for such things keeps them from taking over your entryway table while keeping it small avoids having it become a regular dumping ground.
  • A wall mirror. Hanging a mirror in your entryway allows you to check your look before answering the door or heading out for the day. According to feng shui, placing one perpendicular to your door might even increase the good vibes in your home.
  • Spot’s leash. If your dog gets the zoomies every time you reach for the leash, stashing it in the entryway can get you both out the door faster. If you don’t want your doggo to stare at it the rest of the day, tuck his leash into a decorative box on the entry table between walkies.

Do NOT Store These in Your Entryway

For safety’s sake, there are some things you should not keep in your entryway or within view from the front door.

  • Photos of your family. Since not everyone who comes to your door is a friend, displaying photos of your kids or advertising that you’re a single mom can create safety issues. Move those to a less public area of your home.
  • Anything bearing family names. For the same reason described above, don’t make it easy for random people knocking on your door to figure out your last name or the names of any of your kids.
  • Valuable items or small electronics. Within reach from the front door is not the place to display the vintage Lalique figurine your grandmother left you. And, though you may ban cellphones and tables from bedrooms, the entryway is not the place for them, either. It’s too easy for unscrupulous door-to-door salespeople — or random criminals checking for unlocked front doors — to reach in and grab such things.

Clean the Space

Cleaning your entryway, inside and out, should be a weekly task. A lot of dirt gets tracked in through this room, so regular cleaning will help keep the rest of your home tidier, too.

  • Sweep the porch from top to bottom, including the ceiling and walls
  • Wash entry mats with a hose or in the washing machine
  • Clean the front door, inside and out
  • Polish light fixtures and replace bulbs if needed
  • Wipe the light switches
  • Polish glass sidelights and door handles
  • Sweep or vacuum the entryway floor
  • Mop

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  1. Really like the “rehoming” unwanted items….great phrase.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Thank you!