Tips for Organizing Your Front Hall
By Catalogs Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
What is the first thing you see when you open your front door? Is it chaos, with piles of backpacks, two weeks worth of junk mail and more jackets and shoes than one family should have? Or is the craziness further into your house, like on the kitchen counter or dining room table? Trust me, I know.
We’re all so busy with kids and jobs and pets and the houses. And then there are the mountains of paper that just magically appear everywhere. Magazines show us perfect front halls with perfectly organized cubbies and cabinets, but who has the time (or money!) to buy all that specialized furniture? You need advice for real people with real lives, right? I get it. So here are some simple tips for organizing your front hall this weekend.
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10. The wonder of hooks
It doesn’t matter if you need to organize coats, purses or dog leashes, wall-mounted hooks are one of the best tools ever made. You can choose individual hooks, or a decorative board with hooks already attached.
Make sure the hooks you choose are strong enough for everything you need to hang. Then use heavy duty mounting hardware to install them onto your wall…you don’t want your entire coat collection falling off the wall some winter day!
9. Give backpacks a home
It doesn’t matter if it’s a shelf in a cabinet, a set of hooks or a plastic bin. Just make sure there is a specific spot for each child’s backpack. Use name tags or pictures to identify who’s pack goes in which spot, then help your kids remember. Not only will your hall look better, it will make school mornings less stressful. No more searching for missing backpacks!
8. Add a shelf anywhere
If you don’t have the money or space to add enough furniture surfaces to your front hall, consider using an inexpensive wall-mount shelf instead. It makes a great spot for a key basket, the outgoing mail and your cell phone.
7. Hang a reusable calendar
A big wall calendar is one of the best ways to reduce stress in your life … and reduce clutter in your front hall, too. Pick a modern chalkboard calendar, an easy-to-hang wall decal calendar or a traditional wood framed calendar. Then get in the habit of using it every day to write down all those details on the papers you’re “saving” for later.
If you have kids with busy schedules, consider hanging a calendar for each member of the family. That way, you’ll have to the room to record the details, then toss the papers.
6. Take care of the shoes
If you have room in your front hall for a cabinet, consider using something that will work to store shoes and boots. You can buy a nifty shoe cabinet designed for exactly that, or just re-purpose a cabinet with doors and shelves. Both solutions will not only clear away clutter underfoot (yes, I am sorry. I couldn’t resist the pun!), they’ll add useful horizontal space for other organizing goodies like phone chargers.
5. Find it, charge it, sort it
Speaking of phone chargers… adding an all-in-one charging station to your front hall is another great way to tame clutter and reduce the amount of time you spend searching for that missing phone or cord. If everyone gets in the habit of plugging in their phones as soon as they get home, the dreaded “low battery” beep will never be a problem when it’s time to leave for school or work.
Double up your efficiency by making or selecting a charging station with slots for mail (incoming or outgoing), and you’ll be able to tackle another challenge at the same time.
4. Toss the trash
Tell me what happens when you open the mail or reach into those overstuffed backpacks. If you’re like most people, you end up with piles of paper, a lot of which you don’t need. A simple wastepaper basket in the front hall can take care of that once and for all.
As you open mail, toss unneeded envelopes right into the basket. And those ads you don’t need? They go in, too. School notices you’ve recorded on the calendar? Resist the urge to save them “just in case,” and toss them.
If you’re a recycling family, use two small baskets so trash goes into one and paper for recycling into the other. (Or you can try my route, and have one for trash and one for paper crafts. Colorful ads make great additions to paper making projects!)
3. Sort it, file it
Once you have the mail and other papers sorted into keep or toss, take the keep pile and deal with them right away. Field trip form needs a signature? Sign it, put the date and time on your wall calendar, then put the paper right back into the backpack. Deal with what you can, and then file the rest immediately into a wall or tabletop file bin.
Stick with simple categories like To Pay, Restaurants/Menus, Coupons and To Do, then make it a practice to look through the files every few days to make sure nothing gets overlooked.
2. Keep coats under control
Okay, enough tips for the paper. What about the big stuff that fills up a front hall, like coats and jackets. If you live where it’s cold or rainy, you know how quickly your foyer can start to look like an outerwear store (who knew we had THAT many parkas??) Solve this by making it a family policy that no more than one or two jackets/coats per person can be kept on the hooks or coat racks in the entrance. All the rest must be hung in the hall or bedroom closets.
This one might take a bit of reminding on your part, but the cleaner foyer will be oh so worth a bit of prodding for a week or two.
1. Let there be light
Lighting might sound like an odd piece in an article on organizing your front hall. But a hall that’s too dim will be much harder to keep clean and organized. Either everything will be dropped because it’s too hard to sort or use a calendar or the clutter will migrate to brighter spots in the kitchen or on the dining room table.
Move lamps in, change light bulbs, or install new overhead lighting to make this a warm and welcoming space.
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That messy, disorganized front hall you see today can be a serene, functional space by next weekend.
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