Have you ever noticed that no matter how much you try, the front door closet and entrance just turn into a jumble?
To add to the issue is the fact that many older suburb houses didn’t create very large entranceways or storage closets. But there are ways to use the space to your advantage to help control and deal with closet clutter that doesn’t require a total renovation.
Tip 1 – Pull It Apart – I know this seems like a pain, but really is the worst part and no way around it but to dive in head first. Once you get this part over with, not only will you find those lost mittens from years ago, you will have a good idea of what you own already and what you need.
Many times, new things were purchased because they could not be found in the abyss of that front hall closet. One mitten here, or one boot there, or the umbrella jammed in the back along with the extra umbrellas that soon turned up because you couldn’t find the first one.
You want to be able to grab things easily yet put them away just as easily too. So, pick a day when you have a couple of hours, preferably during the daytime so you can really shed some light on the area. You could get your kids to help, but personally I found this a job I wanted to tackle myself before I had too many opinions of what needed to stay or go.
Clear an area nearby just for the closet items. Start with the coats and jackets on the hangers. Have an area for keeps and an area for donation and even an area for garbage if these are pretty worn out.
Take the items out one at a time, starting with the jackets and coats that are on hangers. It is pretty hard to see what is in behind or on the floor with every jammed in there tight.
Once you have the hanging things out, then you can pull out all the junk on the floor or the top shelf. My kids used to love to throw things to that top shelf and you never saw it again.
Tip 2 – Use the Two Year Rule – If you come across a jacket hanging in this closet, that you have not worn in two years, then maybe it is time for it to be donated? Let someone else have the use of it. Plus you will create more room.
I tend to follow this rule for most of the things in this space, as that would mean two winters, summers, springs and falls, and if it wasn’t exciting enough to wear then it is time to go. Make sure you source a good donation spot or charity you love so that once you take these items out of the closet, they go straight into a bag and then into your car ready to go to the drop off site.
If you don’t source a charity or donation spot, this bag will linger around in the house. So get that part under control, and then you can feel great donating your useable things.
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Tip 3 – Match Everything Together - If you have kid’s boots, shoes, sneakers and your foot wear all in this space, then match it together so you have the left and right shoe. I know this sounds obvious but for some reason I many times, could only find one shoe.
Put your favourite scarves on a hanger beside your jackets you wear so that they are in plain sight. You could fold them and put them on the top shelf, but then you will want the bottom one and the pile will fall down, so I found it better to put accessories with the clothing item, such as gloves in the pockets and the scarves on the hanger with the coat or purchase a scarf hanger if you have a lot of them.
Keep your shoes together either by purchasing a boot or shoe tray to keep on the floor in the closet, or a hanging shoe organizer for the special occasion shoes.
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Tip 4 – Over the Door Hooks – If you have kids that simply don’t hang their coats or jackets up in the closet, then try and make it easier for them. Most kid’s coats will have a fabric hook in the back of the jacket, or you could sew one in, this way they don’t need to use a hanger and can simply open the closet door and put their coat on the hook.
Kids and hangers simply don’t work (at least at my house it didn’t), so the easier it is the better. Over the door hooks are a great place to put things you use all the time, so you can quickly grab and go.
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Tip 5 – Create a Separate Area for Wet Things – I know the entrance area can be tight, but one of the worst things for any closet is to jam wet things in there. It just keeps that damp smell, the things never totally dry, and it just becomes a gritty mess.
You can get coat trees that are free standing and a great place to park wet things. Just make sure and stand this coat tree on a boot tray or mat to catch the dampness of coats and mittens. You can also get boot and mitten dryers that work really well especially if these things are needed the next day. If you experience winter, then you need to keep things drying overnight.
I have personally found that closet organizers didn’t really work that well in the entrance way as bulkier items were mostly likely to live there. So, make sure you have a good idea of the things that need to live in the closet before spending too much money on an organizer that doesn’t get used as folding things at the front door doesn’t tend to happen as much as maybe for a bedroom closet.
All you really need is a place for things. If they are wet have an area for them to dry, keeping things together makes it easier to find, and go through your items each season and donate things that are too small or not needed anymore.
It will be a continuous process, but if you sort it now, and then quickly go through it each season, it will not build into the smelly mess. Invest in a few key pieces such as hooks or coat trees or boot dryers, a bench if you have room, and you will notice the area stays pretty organized.
Get rid of closet clutter once and for all.