My top Tips for a calm and organized entryway
Entryways get clogged fast. Shoes, backpacks, keys, musical instruments, mail, pebbles (that had been stuck in our shoes), sporting equipment, coats...
Multiply that chaos by the number of entryways you have in your home and eeesh...that’s a whole lotta tangle.
But what can a busy gal do? I mean, if you live with other people isn’t the situation just beyond your control? You COULD spend your time picking up after everyone. You also COULD spend your time nagging and bribing your family (or housemates) to put their crap (I mean stuff) away. But how does THAT bring you happiness? It does not. There is an easier way. (breathe)
You need to look at (and be honest about) what YOU contribute to the mess.
What are you modeling for your family?
Do you kick your shoes off, dump mail, and drop your purse for everyone to trip over only to turn around and expect your kids to put their backpacks away? Again...be honest. Take a moment and really think about this.
This is big. I have found that when I am totally honest about my contribution to irritating situations that I had previously been reacting to with a victim mentality, the issue magically and instantly loses it’s power and, more importantly, I regain mine.
Children hear 5% of what you say.
But they SEE 95% of what you do.
Connect with how you want to feel when you walk through your door.
Make a list of how your want to FEEL when you walk through the entryway of your home.
Grab a piece of paper and write it down. It’s simple. Here’s mine:
When people (including me) walk into my house I want us to feel:
Mess is not welcoming. Nor is it relaxing. Never has been. Never will be. There is psychological research to back that up.
Now that you are clear on how you want to feel when you walk through your doorway, I want you to do this:
Go outside and walk through your doorway. As you do, tune into your feelings. How does walking through your doorway right now make you feel?
Write those feelings down on your piece of paper near your other words.
The purpose of this exercise is not to make you feel bad. The purpose of this exercise is for you to see the disconnect between what you WANT and what you are settling for.
Involve your family by talking with them.
The most painful and frustrating thing we can do to ourselves when we want to organize a space is to assume that everyone feels exactly the way we do and needs the same things we need.
Taking it upon yourself to organize a space for your family and then laying down ground rules is like putting fertilizer on resentment. You are going to grow a big ol’ crop of it. I know that’s not what you want.
Instead, share what’s weighing on your heart from a place of love. You could say something like this:
“You know, I’ve been thinking about our entryway lately. Every time I walk through the door I feel a little clausterphobic and icky about the mess we all (including me) leave laying around. I thought it might feel a lot more relaxing and peaceful for all of us if it were a bit more organized. Do you feel this way at all? If you could wave a magic wand, how would you want this space to feel? What might that look like for you? What do you think we could do together to make that happen?”
When people feel included in the problem-identifying (as opposed to accused of BEING the problem), trust me, you'll enjoy the process more AND you'll get happier results.
Many of us grew up in the “this is my home, you’ll follow my rules” generation.
I invite you to shift your approach to “this is OUR home, let’s pool our collective awesomeness and create a space we ALL love!”
When people in your circle share far-out ideas, don’t poo poo any of them at face value. There is nothing worse than being encouraged to share a creative thought and then told, “Oh, that won’t work.” Instead, you could say, “Cool! I’ll add that to our list of ideas.”
Now that you’ve collected feedback from your tribe, you need to think about a system that will work to not only keep your entryway clear, but also support the needs of everyone using the space in the most convenient way possible.
If you organize without a SYSTEM, all you are doing is creating prettier chores. It’s the organizing equivalent of putting perfume on a pig.
Organizing is the placement of the things. The SYSTEM is the action that needs to happen on a consistent basis to maintain the organized space. If you crave a more organized lifestyle, you can’t have one without the other. This isn’t always apparent in many organizing tips, which is why we frequently struggle to get truly organized.
So...in other words:
getting organized = attaining calm
using a system = sustaining clam
Your system should be created around the needs of EVERYONE using the space and you should design the system WITH your participants so it is realistic for all of you. If you want to learn more about creating a system (and I hope you do...it’s THAT important) be sure to read more here.
Decide upon the function of the space.
Ask yourself, "What purpose or purposes does this space need to serve in our home?"
Here’s my list:
Collect shoes, jackets, umbrellas, hats, mittens, keys and receipts. Oh, and keep the dog walking gear easily available. (My kids take their backpacks and instruments to their bedrooms).
Keeping our entryway organized is fairly simple because I just make sure to remove anything that falls outside the function of the space (as listed above).
By eliminating what doesn’t belong, it becomes crystal clear where to put things that DO belong in the space.
Even if you have closets and cupboards (let's say your entryway is a multi-purpose laundry room,) don’t use your entryway as a dumping ground or storage area for things you don’t use very often. Only keep what you need on a daily basis in that space. Also, keep some room for guests to put their shoes and outer wear.
Now, ask yourself, "Do I need to think about the look of my entryway in relation to adjacent rooms?"
Here's what I mean by that. See that entryway below? That's mine. I keep this space pared back and the storage hidden because I can see this area from my kitchen and my living room. I'd go bonkers if I had to look at cubbies and coats on hook.
Hooks and cubbies are GREAT! I ADORE them!
Is that not the coolest thing ever, below? But, again, think about the aesthetic of your space and know that your family is not going to hang everything neat and tidy all the time. If this will drive you crazy (as it would me) because your entryway is out in the open, then you'll want to think about tucking your storage out of site while still keeping it INTUITIVE to use and super EASY to access.
Have a plan for habit redirection. Adopting a new system takes time and patience because brand new little neuro-connections need to be formed in our brains. If you stay consistent, it will become the new normal, but in the beginning you’ll need to offer some guidance.
When my kids kick their shoes off and leave a mess behind in the entryway I do this:
I go sit down where they are. If they are playing or doing something I say something like, “Hey sweetie, can you pause what you are doing and look at me for a moment?”
Once I have eye contact, I say,
“I noticed you left some things in the entryway. I need you to take 30 seconds and go take care of that please...remember when you helped me decide where you should put your things? ” - smile
When they come back with a completed mission, give a hug & a high five and say,
“Thanks so much, my dear. That means a lot to me. You just made my day:)”
Love can move mountains. Love can soften stubborn resolve. Love makes everyone feel dang good.
Love your entryway. Love the people that walk through it. Love the collective process of transforming it into a space that works for everyone.
Then maintain it with your system.
Don’t worry about the entryways you pinned and are pining after. They don’t matter. Work with what you have and untangle it with love.
I hope these tips inspired you to calm your entryway this weekend!
Don't forget to learn how to set up an organizing SYSTEM here:)
P.S. Speaking of love, I would totally LOVE it if you'd share this article with your friends (only if you loved it, naturally:) Just click the "like" button below. (I wish there was a "love" button...haha!)