entry way with red walls

Welcome Home: Keep Your Winter Mess at Bay in Your Entry-Way

The entry to your home needs to do double-duty corralling outerwear and other gear in some semblance of order while warmly welcoming people into your home.

This is especially true in the winter months when boots, coats, gloves, hats, shovels, possibly a sled or two, ski boots, and other winter activity paraphernalia need to be stored. It’s funny that the entry is expected to be both an orderly calm space in which to usher in guests while at the same time holding a variety of detritus of life.

I’ve been dealing with this challenge for years, so here are some simple ways to keep the flotsam and jetsam organized and create a warm and welcoming channel into your home. Let’s take a look.

Rugs That Stand Up to the Muck–If you can, install radiant heat under the tile of your entryway – this will help dry and melt the snow and water. As far as rugs go, a two-step approach is ideal. First, have a rough-textured mat made from coir or similar material where you can wipe your boots or shoes, then another softer rug a little further in for after you’ve removed the boots/shoes. Indoor/outdoor rugs work very well in this area also. Go for something with a pattern to camouflage the dirt.

Bins, Bowls, and Baskets–In the warmer months, I fill two baskets with lacrosse equipment, swim goggles, and sunscreen, but in the winter, we have quite a bit more, including hockey sticks, ski gear, coats, boots, hats, gloves, snow pants, and even sleds make their way in. It can become a mess quickly, and our entryway is tiny. I use baskets and bins as well as a big crock to keep the stuff organized. It’s not always easy, and believe me, you’ll quickly see mittens going in with the shoes and a pair of snow pants thrown in with the ski poles and hockey sticks. No matter how hard you try to organize, the reality is when the kids rush through the door, mayhem usually ensues. They might put things away but not always in the right spot. Once or twice a week, try to go through the bins and re-organize them before they get totally out of control.

entry way

A Place to Sit–Unless I stay on top of it, our bench (which is meant to be a place to sit) in the entry can become a spot to dispose of books, backpacks, and other items when the kids walk in the door. A few days ago, it housed two packages that needed to be shipped, my son’s lunchbox, along with his friend’s sweatshirt and sneakers. Often, a place to sit in the entry can become a dumping spot. It’s inevitable. Regardless, try to keep it cleared off so it can retain its purpose as a seat. It’s nice for people to have a spot to sit when taking off or putting on their shoes.

Hooks, Hangers, Shelves, and Cubbies–As far as hooks go, you really can’t have too many in your entryway. A wall of hooks at varying heights helps the whole family, as well as guests, find a place to hang their coats. A row of cubbies or matching bins underneath a built-in bench can work wonderfully to hide and corral shoes and boots. A friend of mine installed built-in vintage lockers to her entryway – they added a fun touch and hid almost all of her family’s winter gear.

A Dresser, a Closet, a WardrobeIf you’re lucky enough to have a closet in your entryway, then lucky you! I’m sure you know what to do with it, but those of us without one need to get creative. We currently use a small antique dresser to hold our winter hats and gloves, but I’ve been thinking about getting an old wardrobe to hide the excess.

A Place to Primp— When heading out to a holiday cocktail party or even just running out the door in the morning, it’s always nice to get a last look at yourself in a mirror. Plus, an antique mirror with some soft lighting adds an elegance that elevates even the most humdrum entry (make sure the light is in the form of a sconce next to the mirror – or even a floor lamp – rather than a lamp behind the mirror). 

What ideas do you have for stowing away all the winter gear in your entryway? Share below!

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