Organizing the Entry Hall Zone
Entry halls are often not the primary entrance, at least for guests, but they are often the ones the family uses when coming in from the garage or carport area.
This is where the family comes in with their umbrellas and raincoats, carrying the groceries or shopping. Or they come in from working in the yard with dirty shoes. Or maybe they are coming in from a long day of work, with briefcases and lunchboxes.
This area needs a place to park wet umbrellas, raincoats, outerwear, and dirty shoes.
The entry hall is also the exit for going to the car for shopping or to the mailbox to pick up or drop off mail. A table, shelf, or bench is helpful for staging the items that are going with you to the store or mailbox. This is the place to put on that outdoor wear or grab that umbrella.
This zone is really a workhorse but it is also the first place we see when we enter our homes so it should also be welcoming. The walk-through area should be free of obstacles so that you can easily walk with your bags of groceries, packages, or suitcases without fear of tripping or bumping into furniture.
How we organize this space depends on several factors.
· How will it be utilized?
As two adults we use our entry hall as a place to shed currently used jackets, hats, and umbrellas. We simply have a series of hooks on the wall. We have a coat closet for off season or rarely used outerwear. Our flooring is tile so if water drips on the floor, it is not a problem.
If your flooring can be damaged by water, you would want to consider having a bucket umbrella stand and/or a boot tray to hold wet items.
If you don’t want to use hooks, consider a coat tree to hang outerwear.
We have a bench that is handy to sit on to remove shoes or boots and is also used as a staging area for items to carry out to the car or mailbox. But since I want an uncluttered look, nothing tarries on that bench more than a day.
Families with children often use this space as a place to store backpacks along with outerwear. If there is room, they may have storage here for sports equipment or gym bags. They may have a container for sunscreen or bug spray to put on the children as they exit.
If there are pets, they may have their own hooks for leashes and their own bin for their outdoor supplies.
· How much space do you have?
Our hall is about twelve feet long but is only a little over four feet wide. The bench juts out about 16 inches which only leaves about a three-foot-wide walking space in front of the bench. The door can fully open and the walk to the kitchen is a straight shot. The hooks are a part of a decorative shelf that is about 3 inches deep. This is above the bench. There is room for a rug runner to catch some of the dirt that gets tracked in. This takes care of our needs.
A larger space could have built in cabinets with a built-in bench. Many shops have ready-made furniture with built-in spaces for baskets and hooks for hanging items.
· How much money do you have?
Our house already had the shelf with hooks. I already the bench in a previous office. So, our costs were minimal.
Built-ins look lovely if you have the space and the money for them.
Ready-made furniture comes in a wide range of costs.
I always suggest that you shop in your own home first. You may already have items that will fit your vision for this zone.
· How do you want to be welcomed?
My welcome to our entry hall starts outside the door where I have two planters in the carport. Once inside I have plants and a couple of pieces of small floor art. I have hung whimsical art here just for fun. This sets the mood for entering the home.
If you have a more formal home, you will want pieces that fit that vision.
Whatever welcome you want for your space, keep in mind that uncluttered is best.
Once you organize and set up your entry hall zone the way you like it, daily give it a clean sweep – both literally and figuratively. Look daily to see if anything needs to me removed. Then get out the broom and sweep up anything that might have been tracked in. Now this heavily used area is ready for another day.
If you are struggling with developing an organizational plan to declutter your space or just want some help or accountability in following through with a plan, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group.
Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.