It's coming: snow-slush-boots-coats-chaos-in-the-entryway-season. Yep, I said it. I apologize. But since there's not denying it, we may as well ditch our struggle with it and just accept, right?
However, some of us may needlesssly struggle more because of entryways that are cluttered and not properly set up to accomodate the onslaught of boots and scarves and gear. A little prep time to focus in on the essentials - and only the essentials - of a good working winter entryway will allow us to skate through Winter like Apolo Ohno.
Take away what you don't need:
-summer jackets, sweaters, hats, shoes and gear.
-way too many boots and shoes piled on the floor
-paper and stuff that doesn't belong in the entryway
Then add in the essential elements of what you do need to make your entryway work to make your life easier and simpler. The 7 essentials I recommend for a high-functioning winter entryway are below.
The essential elements:
1. A small mat outside the door and a nice natural-fibre one inside that will protect the floor from getting wet and also look nice and define the "entry/mudroom" area. Jute or sisal rugs are very forgiving of dirt and snow.
2. A place to sit and take off and put boots is a must. A bench, stool, chair or a built-in seat all work. Utilize the space under it for large baskets or metal bins to hold boots, shoes, gear and pet stuff.
3. A row of pegs or some hooks on the wall at different heights encourages all family members to hang up coats and bags in their own spot. A lower row for kids makes it easy and doubles your hanging space.
4. A large open basket or crate near the door to stash hats, mitts and scarves so you can easily grab them when needed. Perhaps each member of the family each has their own. I keep mine in a beautiful antique wooden butter bowl.
5. High shelving that takes advantage of space up high for winter gear that comes out on weekends but not every day. If you don't have a lot of floor space, verticle cubbyhole wall units are great for shoes and boots.
6. A wall-mounted drying rack above a heating vent or wall heating unit to hang wet mittens, hats and even boots.
7. A chest of drawers where you can stash mail, shopping bags, change and electronics. Keep a basket or tray on top to throw keys and extra lip balm into where you can easily grab them on the way out the door.
There you have it. Not too difficult - a weekend project can get you all set for a season's worth of fewer hassles. Worth it, right? To make it even easier- I've created a FREE CHECKLIST you can download and keep handy while you work.
NOTE: this post was updated and reworked from its original content.