Ask the Productivity Expert: 'Hi, Our phone session was great last week! I never thought that carefully about how the time running errands is taking away from my business. I found a stay-at-home mom in the area to help. My question is... how to organize the entry way/mudroom in my home? It is the first area myself and guests see when entering and the worst area for organization'~T.B., Financial Adviser, Boston, MA
Productivity Expert's Answer: 'Hi - That is great you are asking for help! Your entry area and mudroom are often the first rooms that people see as they enter your home. It is also the landing strip for you and your family. It can very quickly become a dumping ground if you are not careful.
I believe that the entry way and/or mudroom are one of the most important organizing areas in your home! Think of the entryway as organization central. Whether it's in the front, back or side of the home, the entryway sets the stage for the entire family's daily comings and goings. While an organized entryway is priceless.
First, of course you need to de-clutter. De-cluttering strategies can take up several other articles, but for the sake of time and space in this article, let's just say you should get rid of anything that isn't useful or beautiful. There are so many things I find in my client's entry way that have no purpose greeting you at the door
Then, decide how you want this area to service you.
Usually, entry ways have house the following items:
If the first thing you see when you walk into your home from a long day is a big pile of junk mail, or even worst bills, your energy will be drained. Mail should not be in the entryway and should be processed somewhere else in your home. However, as far as the entry way does go, you may want to have a small trash receptacle inside or just outside the front door to throw away all the excess papers and junk mail before it even makes it into your home.
Simple enough, but lost keys are a major cause of stress when you are trying to get out the door. Have a hook, a drawer, a bowl, a basket, anything... just drop your keys at the door.
Jackets and Other Outerwear
Bulky jackets and other outerwear only need to be in the entry way or mud room when weather beckons it. When weather permits it is nice to un-peel the layers right at the door. You can install simple hooks for each person in your family for coats and jackets, then have baskets for all the other accessories such as mittens, scarfs, and hats. There are several solutions in stores for turning your entryway into a beautiful home locker room.
Handbag and/or pocket contents
Having a place to store your handbag as you walk though the door from a long day is really taking a load off. Especially with all the electronic devices we have to carry around nowadays and the fact that we are away from home for such long hours - you can really load your bag up. Also, for the gentlemen, we want to create landing place where they can empty their pockets and find the items the next day when they are ready to leave the home and not find the items in the washing machine!
Children's School Forms and Other Correspondence
Permission slips, homework, out-going mail, those 'green' shopping bags, etc. You will have such peace of mind if all these items were where they should be and ready to make their way back into the world.
Electronic Device Chargers
Often, I set up charging stations right at the door for cellular phones and other devices. Personally, I think that wires and chargers have no place at the front door, however, this is your system and it must work for you (and I'll will do my best to hide the wires:)'.
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