8 Questions to Ask If You Want an Organized Entryway

Stop messes at the door.

Organized entryway with light pink paint, mirror with bench, and wall hooks

Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Entryways and mudrooms frequently become a dumping ground—bags, shoes, keys, wallets, and any other miscellaneous items are often dropped just inside the door when we arrive. To help declutter the entryway, start by asking yourself these eight questions. Let them guide your entryway organizing and help you restructure your daily routine.

Ask Yourself...

What is my entry's capacity?

Calculate how much your entry can reasonably store, then set ruthless quotas for number of items per person to match. And yes, a family policy of one bag, one jacket, and two pairs of shoes per person is achievable when consistently enforced.

What's this hook for?

Designate a hook for every jacket and backpack (or other personal bag), taking care to hang hooks at heights kids can reach. While you’re at it, designate a few petite hooks for keys.

Where do I use this item?

How often you use something is important, but it may not be the most important consideration when organizing an entryway or mudroom. For example, your kiddo may use her field hockey equipment every day, but since it needs to air out, it’s better stored in the garage or on a porch or patio. Similarly, stash backpacks and briefcases near the table or desk where you go through them. Transport musical instruments to the spot where you practice. Worried you’ll forget an item when you leave? Affix a note to the door frame to jog your memory.

Can I negotiate my entryway with only one hand?

You’re likely carrying things as you exit and enter, so rely on hooks rather than hangers, shelves rather than cabinets with doors, and open baskets or bins rather than lidded boxes. Also, create one clear landing spot just inside the door for resting heavy items.

Can I dump more effectively?

Stop fighting your instinct to drop things the moment you come home. Set up shared catchalls (trays for keys, sunglasses, and electronics) as well as a basket or bin for each family member. Tidy quickly by tossing items into personal bins.

Can I block the junk?

Move a recycling bin near the front door so you can gather junk mail and noncreative kid papers the moment they enter your home. A small trash receptacle can collect wrappers and other pocket waste.

What's in season?

“At the end of each season, audit your entry,” says organizing expert Liana George. “Edit down or move out items you won’t use (flip-flops and sunscreen in fall; hats and scarves in spring). Move the essentials for the current season to prime spots so you can easily grab and go.”

Does it work?

Setting up new systems takes time. Try your new setup for a week and pinpoint what’s not working. Then create more landing spots as needed.

From the Pros:

“Think of your entry as your family’s launch zone. When your goal is to store only what you absolutely need to get out of the house on time in the morning, you’ll have an easier time establishing a rule, such as every family member can have only two or three pairs of shoes in this space.”
—Deborah Cabral, Professional Organizer

“To keep entry floors clean and dry, glue river rocks (using a permanent glue like Quick Grip) inside a black rubber tray and store soggy footwear here. Any water and loose debris gets trapped on the mat and can easily be hosed off when it’s time for a cleanup.”
—Jenn Lifford, Creator of the Clean and Scentsible Blog

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