Week 4: Entry Points.
I am still plugging away, bit by bit, on my organizing challenge and this week is about entry points. In my house, we have two main ones: 1) the front door, where the kids go in and out for the bus and visitors come and 2) the garage door, where we come in after driving somewhere.
The way our house is set up, you walk into the laundry room from the garage, and I would not recommend that layout. It is a small area, really only holds one person comfortably, and when I wash my clothing all I think about is how we have stepped in this room coming directly from the outside. If a piece of wet, clean clothing falls on the floor I wince and play the Five Second Rule Game, scooping it up, blowing the "dirt" off of it, and tossing it in the dryer.
In some ways its probably good that the room is so small because it would otherwise be a major dumping ground for crap. I have worked with many clients whose entryways vex them because when they walk in, they put everything down on a surface or the floor and then never go back to properly put it all away. We have a countertop above our washer and dryer, and I try very hard to only leave things on the counter that need to be returned. This mostly works but there are weeks where stuff builds up there.
Here's some shots of my laundry room:
The other area that needed love was right outside the garage door. We keep the kids' shoes there to try to keep the outside dirt, well, outside. We placed old plastic shelving units that used to house toys in our basement on the side of our garage and while it started out pretty nice, it eventually looked like this:
That's a no-can-do, muchacho. Not in a professional organizer's house.
So I turned to my trusty Amazon and ordered some baskets made by Sterlite that I've previously used in a client's pantry. Add to the mix my favorite labelling machine, a little bit of cleaning, sorting, purging and organizing, and we ended up with this:
Ahhh. Much better.
I did this during one of the kids' breaks (I think in April) and I'm happy to report that it has stayed pretty much like this for the last three months.
While I was at it, I cleaned out the front hall closet, which was crowded and messy, but not terrible. Here are the befores:
And the afters:
The biggest difference was on the floor of the closet... before: (HOT MESS)
... and after: (MUCH BETTER)
My last tidbit of advice for entry points is a simple one: have a designated spot to hang your keys near the door. I'd estimate that 50% of my clients do this and 50% do not. When we got married two decades ago, we were lucky to receive as a gift a little personalized key holder in the shape of a house. It hangs in our laundry room right beside the door and we have never lost our keys in 21+ years. They just hang reliably and happily on their hook.
Entry points should be calming, orderly, and set the tone for the rest of the house. Stuff tends to accumulate in them as they are the first spaces we can put our stuff down. Having some good systems in place to corral coats, mittens, shoes, and stuff makes maintaining a pretty neat house so much easier!