by Leslie Patterson
When it comes to starting the day right, most homeowners would agree that seeking lost keys and stumbling over wayward toys are not on the list of things to do.
Homeowners everywhere dream of a home where the day's necessary items are easily accessed without frustration or extreme exertion. Imagine the surprise when this dream becomes a reality – all it takes is some creative organization and attention to routine.
For many homeowners the front entryway is no longer the primary center of traffic for entering or exiting the home. Garage entries allow families to pile immediately into vehicles upon take-off and subsequently spill back into the house when landing back at home. Rear foyers have become the "catch alls," teeming with belongings that have no home or are forgotten upon drop-off. Day after day, this constantly growing clutter makes it more difficult to get in and out of the house efficiently. In order to combat the expanding mess (and increasing stress), it is time to take control of the rear foyer in just a few simple steps.
- Evaluate your needs.
Before you even glance at the rear entry space, sit down and construct a list of every item that leaves your house daily. Break it down by person to evaluate each family member's individual needs. Then turn it around and create a second list with each item that regularly enters the house (again, by person). It may sound tedious, but this approach will help ensure that regularly needed belongings will have a place in your newly organized entryway.
With lists in hand, it is time to turn toward the space itself. What does the area need to make the lives of your family easier? Is there adequate floor space to install seating for removing muddy shoes? Is closet space accessible or will you need to install a storage system? Keep in mind that each item needs a designated space to reside without stuffing or overflowing, so take your time researching what hardware can best serve your needs. These storage solutions could include:
- Hooks – Hooks are great for storing objects that require easy access on the move, such as keys, purses, umbrellas, or even dog leashes.
- Shelving Units – Shelving units such as cubby and locker systems come in various sizes making them useful in virtually any rear foyer space. Whether supplementary storage for a closet or the primary source of sorting and storing gear, these units can be customized to help maintain belongings for every member of your family.
- Baskets and Bins – Baskets and bins come in numerous shapes, sizes, and materials, allowing your family to divide items efficiently. Clear over-the-door hangers are ideal for sorting small items like hats and mittens, making use of vertical space and keeping everything in sight.
- Cull the clutter.
After you have devised what you need, it is time to remove what you do not. Begin cleaning out the current space, banishing those objects that do not belong in the entryway. Be careful to not let them pile up elsewhere! Make a rule that every item removed from the space is given a proper home; putting forth a small effort now will save time in the future.
Also use this time to categorize certain belongings and seek out a better storage spot. For example, if closet space is limited, is it really necessary to store infrequently used dress coats in the entryway? It makes much more sense to limit that closet to everyday wear while relocating the dress coats to another storage space.
- Move forward – slowly.
Now that you know what storage is needed, "installation" can begin. Take your time and be deliberate with your placements. Slowly adjusting to your new space allows your family to form a routine, ensuring your rear foyer is used to its fullest capacity.
While establishing a routine allows your family to get the most from a storage system, it is important to re-evaluate your organizational needs regularly. Upon examination, is each space still being utilized as intended? Have you noticed any frustrations with the system? For example, there are hooks for backpacks but no place to store this season's sports bag? If one storage solution is not as convenient as before, this is your opportunity to try something else. As life changes so will your storage needs, so be on the look out for reoccurring issues and easy resolutions.
Beyond the need for organization of shoes, coats, bags, and other daily gear, some homeowners find themselves in need of a separate "drop zone" and message center. Drop zones are typically a three to four foot wide surface where small items are kept organized. Valets keep charger cords under control and accessible, and small dishes or hooks organize different key sets. The drop zone is an excellent place to toss junk mail into a recycle bin while keeping important letters handy in a mail tray. If drawers are available, drop zones can also be used to store emergency items, spare keys, and extra office supplies.
Message centers may or may not be a part of the drop zone depending on the space available. For some families, a simple whiteboard is perfect for passing information and tracking one another's daily activities. Other families may expand the message center to utilize cork, magnet boards, or chalkboards while keeping track of schedules, notes, homework, grocery and chore lists. Whatever the use, the message center can play a vital role in keeping your home running smoothly.
Making the most of your rear foyer is not a difficult task, but does require an initial time investment. Putting in time now will certainly save you future headaches and wasted efforts. Research the available storage options and seek suggestions from friends and even organizational professionals. As you begin this process, remember that there is not one "perfect" method to organize your rear foyer. However, a little patience and flexibility will certainly help you find the best solution for your lifestyle.
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