Posts Tagged "keys"

Come & Go with Ease: Front Hall/Closet Makeover

Posted by on May 3, 2012 in Easy Organizing, Featured, Problem-Solved!, Room-by-Room, Sanity Savers, What You Need & Where to Put It | 1 comment

Hall closet example photo credit Better Homes & Garden

Photo credit:

Some houses have an entryway with a closet and others don’t. Your main “entryway” for the family may be the back or side entrance that doesn’t have a closet at all. Whatever the circumstances, busy families need a dropping point for things that come and go every day, such as jackets, book bags, keys and mail.

Recently, a twitter follower of mine asked “How do you get coats, shoes, boots and all the stuff a family of 4 to fit in a hall closet?”

Good question! Here are three simple steps that will solve most problems:

  1. Limit the number of coats and shoes for each family member.
  2. Remove and store out-of-season elsewhere, creating space for what you’re currently using.
  3. Make a place for everything–When there’s room for everything, putting it away becomes effortless and easy for every one in the family to help.

Ideally, a front hall closet should be for items you use regularly. If you’re “storing” items here, relocate them. Think of the hall closet as a permanent place for items that are used frequently during a particular season. When it’s summer, consider packing up and storing winter items elsewhere. This will make it much easier to grab what you need without weeding through what’s currently not in use. Also, closed storage is a great way to keep the hallway from looking like a bomb went off (even my front hall looks like that from time-to-time, but having a hall closet makes it a quick fix to put everything away).

So, to effectively organize your space, here are solutions if you DO have a hall closet and if you DON’T.

If you DO have a hall closet, use it for:

1. Jackets and bags–Whether it’s hangers or hooks, make sure there are enough for what you’re using currently.

2. Shoes–Limit the number of shoes that are kept in the immediate are to two pair per person. Flip Flops and sandals take up minimal space, so consider a basket for those items.

3. Incoming/outgoing mail–Add an in/out box for mail so you know where it is. Sort regularly so it doesn’t accumulate. Hang a double on the inside of the hall closet to give new meaning to “dropping” the mail.

Photo credit: Staples

If you DON’T have a closet, here’s what you need to make your entryway functional and family friendly:

1. Coat Rack or Hooks–To hang jackets and bags

2. Hall Table–for a key bowl and place to drop mail

3. Chair–or a bench if you can fit one. Makes putting on shoes easier or if you want to sit and open the mail.

4. Shoe Storage–If your hallway is tight, consider a table (#2) where you can keep shoes that are worn daily. For busy families, it’s unlikely that you’ll put the shoes away in their permanent storage place every time you come and go, so make a space in the hall.

5. Mirror–If possible, a full-length mirror is great so you can “check yourself out” before you leave. If there’s only room for a standard size mirror, you’ll at least be able to check from the waist up.

For fabulous examples of entryways and hall closets, click here to visit my Pinterest board:


Please comment with additional questions or comments so I can continue to help you solve your organizing challenges! If you’re on Facebook regularly, pop over and “Like” my page too.


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You Need a Junk Drawer (Yes, That’s What I Said!)

Posted by on Nov 8, 2008 in 5-minutes-a-day, Easy Organizing, Organizing Products, Sanity Savers, What You Need & Where to Put It | 0 comments

Many people won’t even admit they have a junk drawer because it in someway connotes being messy, even if outwardly they are not. Well, I say you should have a junk drawer. Why? Well, we all need a place to “temporarily” stash papers or stuff that accumulates on the countertops in the kitchen.

Designate a drawer, a shallow one that holds only your junk (or “stuff”). Divide the drawer with containers to hold keys (put them there everytime you walk in the door), cell phone and charger, pencils, pens, paper, a catchall for safety pins, hair holders, extra batteries (if you have a lot, create a separate place in a utility closet, for example), etc.
Go through this drawer at least once a week and discard or transport items to their permanent home. This junk drawer system can help you accomplish a few things:
  • Never misplacing your keys
  • Ability to clear the countertops quickly
  • A temporary spot for Active items such as cell phones, field trip permission slips, appointment cards, and note paper

P.S. You may also want to designate a junk drawer for your kids so that if they leave their stuff around, you have a place to put all those bits and pieces. Tell them to stay out of yours and when they come asking for “such and such” tell them to look in their drawer. 

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Where are my keys?

Posted by on Nov 16, 2007 in 5-minutes-a-day, Easy Organizing, Sanity Savers | 3 comments

Believe it or not, we all misplace our keys at one time or another. Whether we get distracted by a phone call as we’re coming through the door or we simply haven’t developed the habit of putting them in the same place each time, or perhaps our child has run off with them.

You know the panic that sets in when you can’t find that missing piece of paperwork or a permission slip for a child’s field trip and it was due yesterday? Immediately, we begin to berate ourselves, which increases our heart rate, then we conjure up all the consequences of not finding the lost item.

Each year, Americans waste more than 9 million hours a day (hard to believe, huh?!) searching for lost items. In my house, we recently went through the panic of my daughter misplacing her latest Webkin aquisition log-in code. After spending a few minutes diffusing the panic including crying and stomping feet, we retraced her steps. Unfortunately, we still haven’t found it, but at least she’s learned to give “important items” a home and make sure they get there.

Take it from one who once completely resisted routine. Although organized, I like change and spontaneity. Doing the same thing over and over again used to flat out annoy me (I’m also a Gemini, so that’s probably part of it), but after becoming a mom, I quickly realized that it was routine that would save my sanity–and it has!

So, to avoid losing your keys, set up a place where you “house” your purse, keys, cell phones, etc. Perhaps in a kitchen cabinet drawer or pull-out. Maybe a key rack next to the phone in the kitchen. Put them there when you arrive home and when you need them, you’ll know exactly where they are. It will probably take a couple of weeks to adjust to this routine, but it will benefit you immensely because you will no longer need to ask yourself, “where are my keys?” because you’ll know!

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