Entrancing Entrances

How to declutter and create a welcoming entrance to your abode

When people first think about decluttering they automatically tend to think of the living room; the knick-knacks, newspapers, books, toys, mystery objects and paperwork left laying around. What people rarely mention is the hallway or entrance to their home. The entrance to your home is the first thing you see after a long, hard day, and the last thing you see after leaving. It makes an impression on everyone who walks through it, especially you.Therefore, your hallway or entrance should be one of the most welcoming places in the home, there to remind you that you will soon be able to put your feet up, be yourself, and spend time doing what matters. Walking into your home should be like a warm embrace, yet I’ve seen a lot of these spaces being used as open-storage for things which don’t otherwise have a place, or being overrun by eight coats and twenty pairs of shoes.

Hallways and entrances should only contain the things that you need for leaving home such as coats, shoes, hats and umbrellas. Of course, you can have decor which adds a vibe of your choosing- everyone has their own style. But there shouldn’t be an overabundance of clothing or objects.

Let’s talk about the issues with having too many coats and shoes. You and I both know, that such attire tends to take up a lot of space – so much, in fact, that when guests arrive, you just tell them to sling their coats over the stair post, or leave them draped on your dining chairs. Not to mention, each time you leave the front door you have to make a decision about what to wear, which takes precious time and energy.

Imagine walking into a spacious hallway with plenty of free coat hooks and space for guests to leave their shoes. The feeling of airy spaciousness and nothing for you to tidy when you walk through the door. Imagine being able to quickly made a decision about which coat and shoes to wear when you leave, no visual clutter stressing you out and no worrying about the impression on visitors. Relaxing, isn’t it?

So if you find yourself drowning in your hallway and rushing through it to escape the clutter,it’s time to take action. I realise that many people have issues with their families’ belongings when it comes to the decluttering process, but unless your significant other or family member is already on-board with the idea, just focus on your own stuff for now.

Firstly, take down all your coats and evaluate each of them. Ask yourself; how often do I wear this coat? Do I enjoy wearing it? Do I really need three different coats for a rainy day? If you struggle to get coats to match your outfits, the trick is to get a coat that is neutral and will go with most things you wear. It may even be worth checking your wardrobe for the clothes you wear the most (more about wardrobes and clothes in later posts).   

One of the best methods you can adopt when it comes to clothing is an ‘in with the new, out with the old’ philosophy. That way, when you buy a new pair of shoes or a new coat, you do so knowing that you intend to donate, sell, or trash the old one. Failure to follow that simple rule will ensure that you’re always drowning in decision making, tidying and searching. And nobody wants to live life like that.

Aside from coats and shoes, there’s another thing that tends to clutter up hallways and imbue a feeling of dread or procrastination  -paperwork and unopened mail. I’m not talking about the mail that simply lands on your mat as it comes through the letterbox, but the mail that is left to pile up in the next available space. Some people leave it lying around on hallway consoles and on window ledges so it is bugging them as they leave for work and greeting them with a ‘to do’ list as soon as they re-enter the home. My recommendation for mail, is to have a specific drawer, cupboard or folder where everything can be effortlessly accessed at a moments notice. “But I need a reminder to pay my bills”, you say. In that case, I recommend using a calendar, either physical or digital. Personally, I use a physical diary, preferring to cut down on the digital cacophony that has become part of modern life.  Everyone’s methods will be slightly different.

Lastly,  don’t leave kids toys, rogue bags, receipts or any other miscellaneous items hanging around your entrance. If anything is out of place, put it back where it belongs immediately, preferably before you even leave your home. That way, you know you’re leaving the place exactly as you want to return to it (unless, of course, you have messy family members, in which case, further posts about living with other people’s clutter might be for you).

But what about creating a relaxing vibe that you’ll always be happy to walk into? If you’re worried about things looking too sparse or are worried about other issues such as lighting, there are several things you can do:

You can’t go wrong with some healthy, homely greenery
  • Plants and greenery do wonders to spruce up any room, and having one or two in your hallway can make the environment feel fresh and airy.  You can also use a diffuser to ensure you are constantly greeted by a pleasant aroma of your choice, although you’ll want to keep them in a spot where they won’t get knocked over or explored by tiny hands.
  • Personalise with photos of friends and family, or give the walls some character with a few select pieces of art – don’t go overboard with this, however, as too much can make a room feel cluttered.
  • Furniture doesn’t have to be boring – for example, you can buy stylish and decorative umbrella stands for a very affordable price. Having an umbrella stand will also take away the temptation for people to leave wet umbrellas draining over the floor.
  • Think about lighting – a hallway struggling for light may benefit from a strategically placed mirror. Mirrors can also help make narrow spaces look a little wider. Failing that, a beautiful or stylish lamp can make a big difference. In my own home, we had the living room and kitchen doors replaced with glass panelled ones so that the light from those rooms would filter through.

The most important thing, however, is to treat the entrance to your home with love and respect. Doing so can and will make a big difference to your mood and your attitude to the rest of the house.

Next, I will be talking about how to declutter your living room and make the perfect respite for you and your guests.

If you have any questions or if there’s something I haven’t covered, feel free to leave a comment.

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