EntrywayIt's time for a big change for my big family's small entryway. When I wrote this post last September, what you see to the left was the first thing a person would see as she walked in my front door. Crowded, cluttered, and yet strangely empty -- the entry was both ugly and dysfunctional.
With five kids, we really need solutions that will help us keep coats from falling on the floor, shoes from taking over, and hats and mittens from getting lost under piles of backpacks. And I don't think it's too much for me to ask that the space is pretty, too.
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Over the last ten months, I have made a few improvements. We hung up more substantial coat hooks, put a console table in the empty space and de-cluttered a bit.
But as you can see, it's still far from great.
I've paid attention and learned a few important things about cramming a large family into a small entryway…things that will definitely influence my organizational makeover:
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Large families have lots. Lots of coats. Lots of shoes. Lots of hats and mittens. Just clothes! Sometimes the first step is finding a second "home" for the excess and then monitoring the space carefully to make sure extras don't pile up. It's pretty much impossible to keep a small area neat if it contains 14 pairs of shoes.
- Sometimes "out of sight" just equals more "out of mind" clutter. Cubbies and compartments can be a great idea, but only if you take care not to let them pile up with stuff you aren't using (or can't find when you need it.) Even though I love the look of a row of overhead cubbies, most of my kids are too short to manage them and it's only too easy to stuff them full and forget all about it. I'm going to opt for a second row of higher coat hooks instead.
- Function has to come before form. I looked at many adorable shelves and mirrors with decorative hooks attached, but just try hanging more than a scarf on one of those and watch it break or come tumbling down! We live in a northern climate and my kids are getting big, so anything I put in my entryway has to be tough enough to withstand seven heavy, wet coats, boots, and the like.
- Less can be more. One of the great things about having lots of kids (and older cousins!) is that the youngest kids always end up with lots of hand-me-downs. But does any kid really need six hoodies or three hats? I'm planning to seriously prune our outdoor wear, with the philosophy that it's better to have one pair of mittens you can always find than a half-dozen that are usually buried. But because things do get lost and misplaced, I'll keep a box of spares in another area of the house.
- By Meagan Francis
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