With the start of a school year well underway, I am reminded how quickly and easily the hallway can become a dumping ground for pretty much everything. Shoes, coats, school bags, school projects, shopping, post, stuff to take upstairs, procrastination piles, pebbles, feathers, sticks – parents out there, I’m sure you get this! If you’re wondering how you can make your hallway or entrance-way a little calmer, try these 7 tips.
1. Hooks for coats
Install hooks or pegs in your hallway to hang coats and make sure that children have their own hook at the right height for them so they are responsible for independently hanging their coat. Only keep the coats that you need for this season in your hallway. Everything else can be packed away when it’s off season (checking of course that it will be something you’ll be excited to wear again when the season comes back around, otherwise it can permanently leave your home).
2. Space for bags
Create a zone where you can place bags when you come in – your work bag or shopping bags and children’s schoolbags too, so you’re not tripping over them as soon as you walk through the door. Try to establish the rule that bags are emptied immediately, just because there’s a space here doesn’t mean they stay there packed full of the day’s activities. We have the rule that packed lunch bags go away in the kitchen, artwork is popped away and the main school bag is empty and left in its place in the hallway ready for packing in preparation for the next day. It makes this area – and our lives – so much more organised.
3. Somewhere for shoes
I’d encourage you not to keep all of your shoes in the hallway, just the ones you are wearing most regularly. Then the type of storage is all dependent on your organising style and choice of aesthetic, as there are so many options from cupboards, shelves, bench with a lid, cubby holes and baskets. Just this week I’ve realised that as a mum of three children with forever growing feet (will they just slow down!) a new, bigger basket was called for. It’s massive and isn’t the most beautiful looking solution, but it functions and that is always my number one priority. It keeps shoes under control, contained and off the floor.
4. Key Zone
The answer to not losing your keys is to dedicate a place for them – for everyone to use – and being disciplined enough to ALWAYS put them there. A hook, dish, basket are all options for your daily keys. You don’t need to keep all the keys you own in the hallway, spare ones and non-daily ones can be kept elsewhere. Be careful not to keep them in sight of the door for security reasons, but keep them easy enough to access them if you need to grab them in an emergency.
5. Seasonal items
Have somewhere for seasonal items. We have a small wicker basket that’s for gloves and hats in the winter and has also contained masks during the times when we needed them regularly. Umbrellas also need a spot for easy grab and go, so think about an extra hook or stand for these too. If you have more than one set of any of these items, consider storing them elsewhere and only keeping your absolute favourite and most useful in the hallway.
Don’t be tempted to leave post on the side to do later. Open it as soon as you can, and decide what needs to be done with it. Junk mail and empty envelopes can go straight into the recycling and things you need to action, do so as soon as possible or place them into an action file for a dedicated admin time.
7. Other bits and bobs
Every household is unique, so you may have some every-day essentials that not every house needs such as a dog lead and bags or perhaps a lanyard for work. Just notice what else you need to create a space for and keep it simple. Keep only essentials here, so that your newly organised hallway stays clean and clear for easy access and exit.
- Consistently use the zones you create. It seems obvious, but so often we make changes, but don’t put the effort into the new habit. Talk to your family about the new areas for items, what the rules and boundaries are and encourage them to always use them.
- To keep clutter from gathering in your hallway, don’t have a flat surface that is too big. It just screams out to people to leave things there. Make consoles, shelves and other surfaces too narrow to be too useful – just big enough for your essentials.
- Remember, the floor is not a shelf! Keep items off it or contained as much as possible.
- Regularly remove items that don’t belong, are outgrown, or not in good condition and discourage the ‘pile for later’ or the ‘pile for upstairs’ that tend to sit for a while. Remember, don’t put it down, put it away!
- Once you get into the swing of the changes, you can see works for you and what needs tweaking to your home and lifestyle, but remember whatever you do, keep your solutions simple.