Posts Tagged "mail"

Simple, Yet Functional Hall Entryway

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in 5-minutes-a-day, Easy Organizing, GOPACK Method, Problem-Solved!, Sanity Savers | 0 comments

An entry hall need not be fussy or overdone. A place to put your keys, bags, coats, mail and the ability to sit down and put your shoes on (oh, and don’t forget a mirror to check your makeup before answering the door) are the key components to a functional entry hall.

This entry hall has it all—even a place to put an umbrella. The primary entry/exit door used in this home is the “door to the garage.” The shoes/coats/bags, etc. are hidden behind the hall closet door. It’s organized, however.

entry hall

The hall closet looks something like the picture below, but not quite as colorful.

clever closets bhg

Photo credit: Better Homes & Garden

Use a clear shoe bag to hold not only shoes, but dog leash and poop bags, possibly bug spray and sunscreen (or seasonal-related items).Command Brand® hooks are awesome for spaces like this for hanging yoga mats and extra bags. Use the tops shelf, if you have one, for baskets that contain seasonal items, such as scarves & winter hats and gloves…or baseball caps. For a more extensive hallway closet makeover, click here.

Back to the entry hall…

I can’t say enough about a key bowl. For all those who spend countless and precious minutes searching for keys, use a bowl, tray or wall rack where you put your keys EVERY time you come into the house. Eventually it will become a habit. Also put a tray to hold the mail, then a promise to spend five minutes a day going through it.

To simplify the entry hall. Think of it as a temporary parking place for items you use regularly. If you’re not using “it” at least every few days, store that items elsewhere that way you keep it fresh and uncluttered.

For more entry hall examples, visit my Pinterest board here…

pinterest entryway pins

What’s the most unusual thing you have “stored” in your front entry hall now?



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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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Household Mgt: Creating the Command Center

Posted by on Apr 2, 2012 in 5-minutes-a-day, Easy Organizing, Featured, MomSources™, Organizing Products, Problem-Solved!, Sanity Savers, What You Need & Where to Put It | 0 comments

Household Mgt: Creating the Command Center

This is Part Six of a Six-part series. Scroll to the bottom of the article for links to Parts one through five.


I’ve always talked about the importance of creating a centralized command center. It’s the hub of the household where all important paperwork lands and calendars are kept. Here’s an article from Smead Organomics that will help you understand what is needed and the tools that will help you get there!

Household management is a word filled with responsibility. Staying on top of everything that you personally have to do is a challenge – but managing all of your family members’ affairs can push you to your limits! What you really need is a household management “command center.” This is a place to store important information and help coordinate everyone’s activities.


The first step in creating your household management system is to choose the right location. It should be a high-traffic area of your home, where people are constantly passing by.

Make sure you that the space you choose has enough room for:

  • a desk-type flat surface
  • storage for files
  • basic office supplies (pens, paper, envelopes, stamps, scissors, tape, etc.)
  • space on the wall to hang a calendar and bulletin board

Usually a nook in the kitchen or just off of your main living room is the ideal spot for a household management center.


In this hurried day and age, parents and children often pass like ships in the night and sometimes the only way to stay in touch is by leaving notes for each other. Set up a bulletin board or magnetic write-on/wipe-off board above your desk – designated JUST for communications (no posting of class pictures or drawings the kids did…you can find another spot for those).

Examples of messages you could leave include:

  • a reminder for Johnny to take his soccer uniform with him to school
  • a grocery list and appropriate coupons for the hubby’s shopping excursion
  • Sally’s permission slip for today’s field trip

Just be sure to regularly clean off old messages to keep your board from getting overloaded.


While you have your hammer and nails out, get a good-sized wall calendar and put it up right next to your bulletin board. The goal is to record every family member’s schedule in one centralized place – so you can review the entire household’s activities with one glance.

Step 1: Write each person’s appointments, deadlines, and other responsibilities with a different colored markers or use a pen and highlighters – blue for mom, green for dad, red for Sally, and purple for Johnny.

Step 2: Have a “family planning session” at the start of each week. Ask each person what they have coming up in the near future:

  • extracurricular activities,
  • days that your kids need a ride somewhere (as well as days you have to work late and can’t pick them up)
  • school project due dates
  • birthday invitations
  • vacations
  • dentist appointments

Everything discussed should go on the calendar.


Another part of your household management center is your incoming paperwork processing system. Set up a hanging file box or rack and create a folder for each type of “to-do” that you regularly encounter. These may include:

  • to file
  • to read
  • to pay
  • to call
  • to sign and send back to school

Use a different color folder for each action. Every day as the mail comes in, you bring papers home from work, your children give you a new pile from school – take five minutes to sort each item according to the next step you need to take. Put each document in the appropriate folder (and throw all the other junk away).

Now you’re ready to tackle your many responsibilities in an organized fashion. Sit down once a week and go through each folder, taking care of your to-do list in order.


If you don’t already have a file drawer in your household management center, it’s a good idea to setup an expanding household organizer for your important papers. You can create one system for “fingertip files.” These are things you refer to often such as:

  • phone directories
  • class and team rosters
  • babysitter instructions
  • pre-printed grocery lists

You may also want to keep a separate system for those “monthly” files that you access when you pay bills and go through your to-do’s:

  • utilities
  • mortgage
  • health records
  • school paperwork
  • files for your hobbies

A great way to organize these items is to use a sturdy poly expanding file, or a premium expanding file. Label each divider as needed. Thanks to your new household management system everything is accessible from one location and you don’t have to run around the house looking for supplies, files, and your schedule. Managing your household responsibilities will go much faster and be a lot less stressful!

Here are links to Parts one through five:

1. Easy Organizing for a Successful 2012

2. Tax Advice: Making Tax Time Easier

3. Eliminate Time Wasters

4. How to Effectively Handle Paperwork

5. Scheduling & Time Management
Office Depot, Inc

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