Your entry is the gateway between the outside world and the haven you call home. It’s the last thing you see on your way out and the first to greet you when you return. It has the potential to send you out into the world eager and prepared, and to welcome you back inside with serenity and joy as you prepare to unload your things and, more importantly, yourself from the day.
An entryway has the tall order of needing to be efficient and practical, while also fostering the more nebulous sense of what it feels like to be home. Here are the top six ways to help it become all it’s meant to be:
1. Have a Place to Put Mail
Paper clutter is not only unsightly, it’s insidious. One small pile of mail you don’t want to deal with right away attracts more and more—until you have a small collection of to-dos weighing you down and looking messy. This is not what you want seeing you out the door or greeting you right when you come through it at day’s end.
It’s unrealistic to think you’ll be able to address every piece of mail right when you bring it in, but putting a recycling bin nearby for tossing junk mail into will reduce your mail clutter significantly. For what’s left, decide whether you’d prefer a nice-looking receptacle by the door or whether you’ll make a deal with yourself to never set it down anywhere but your desk (I vote for the latter).
2. Designate a Home for Your Keys
It seems like every time I’m trying to get out the door, I’ve misplaced my sunglasses, phone, keys, purse, and water bottle. Most of those are a result of me not putting things where they belong. But having to scramble to find keys doesn’t just affect me; it stresses out the whole family if we’re trying to get out the door. Having a spot in the entryway where your keys live helps ensure that they get put there while they’re still in your hand when you come home. This way, they’re right where they need to be when you leave. In the past we’ve used hooks for our keys, but now we use a drawer. A pretty bowl or dish is another option.
We used to have an open shoe rack by our front door that sometimes had shoes actually put on it. Most of the time, however, there was a jumble of shoes next to the rack or scattered at the entryway (we don’t wear shoes in the house). As I was reading about feng shui and entryways, I realized that the untidy shoes were affecting our energy every time we came home or left. Avoiding tripping over shoes that weren’t put away or even just seeing shoes that were askew created a subtle unsettled feeling, a mildly chaotic vibe. I decided that the best solution for our family was this shoe cabinet, which everyone uses. Our entryway feels much more peaceful with shoes out of sight. Pick a solution that works for your household to keep shoes contained and orderly.
4. Decide What’s Allowed
Whether your entryway is a mudroom bench with plenty of cubby holes or a wall with some hooks on it, decide what is acceptable to keep in the entryway and, by extension, what stays out. For instance, will you keep all your shoes in the entryway, or only the shoes you’re wearing on any given day? Will you hang your purse on the hooks or your purse along with your face mask and reusable shopping bags. Being selective about what can be placed in the entryway keeps it from becoming a storage space. Remember, your entryway isn’t a secondary place to keep outerwear, footwear, and returns (stick those in the car). It should facilitate smooth transitions going out and coming home.
5. Clean it Out Once a Week
Even with the best intentions and a dedicated effort to keep what’s in the entryway to a minimum, you’ll probably have to put in a bit of maintenance to keep the area zen. Add picking up the entryway to your weekly chores to make sure you regularly tend to this hard-working space, not only cleaning it and cleaning it out, but examining the things that are working and addressing any trouble spots that crop up.
Don’t forget to personalize your entryway. Do something to it that uplifts you when you leave and comforts you when you return. I put a faux plant on the top of the shoe cabinet and decked it out with twinkle lights. You could add a favorite photograph, a framed quote, or a just something that makes you happy.