DIY Parents: How to Declutter the Entryway

You know what the most cluttered part of the house is? The entryway, where every member of the family dumps boots, bags, coats and more on their way in. How can you make order from the chaos? Read on!

By Gabrielle Stanley Blair

Shoe Storage Is Your Best Friend

The number of shoes in your house may be comical at this point—flip-flops, rain boots, sneakers, ballet shoes, soccer cleats, patent-leather Sunday-best Mary Janes. That’s why having a place for everything is critical, because scattered shoes are the best way to turn an entryway into an obstacle course. Happily, you have storage options—from shoe racks in the front closet to shoe shelves under a bench. But before you make a purchase or search out a DIY project to solve your shoe situation, decide which shoes are going to live where.

Determine what can stay in the bedroom and what has to be easily accessible in the entry, then figure out storage to match your needs. I only store  in the entryway shoes that we tend to grab on the way out the door. In the Oakland summer, it’s flip-flops or sandals. They don’t take up much space, so a small metal bin is all we need to hold them. For our Colorado winters, snow boots were lined up neatly on the floor, but Sunday shoes were kept in the bedroom closets.

Use Your Walls

Every child defaults to dropping stuff on the floor as she enters the house, but if the floor is crowded, the whole house feels chaotic. So guard your floor space whenever you can and find a better option for that pile of school things. Something easily accessible for fetching homework assignments when the after-school snacks are eaten, and near the entry so that everything is ready to go on mornings when everyone seems to be running behind.

Vertical solutions keep your floor zone clear, so that everything has its place without being underfoot. Lightweight preschool backpacks, for example, are perfect candidates to hang on wall hooks.

Since my family can practically fill a classroom, I’ve found that using school storage as a model has worked well for us. In one house, we used a set of vintage blue lockers—they were big enough to fit multiple jackets and parkas and sturdy enough for heavy, book-laden backpacks. School-inspired cubbies (think shelves with cubed compartments) have also done the trick.

A Place To Sit, If Only For A Minute Or Two

The seating inside the front door will welcome you home on even the craziest days. Use it to set down your bags or frowning toddler, or collapse there yourself. The only way it could get any better is if someone magically appeared to offer you a massage!

No matter how tiny your space may be, there should be a place to sit in your foyer. It’s a place to wait for the school bus while double-knotting laces, continue a neighborly conversation, or add a last-minute hair clip to your four-year-old’s curls

Excerpted from Design Mom: How to Live with Kids: A Room-by-Room Guide by Gabrielle Stanley Blair (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Peggy Saas, Kristen Loken, and Anna Naphtali, with stylists Sara Davis and Gabrielle Stanley Blair.