I think that we can all agree that no matter where you enter your home- it becomes the dumping ground for everything- kids backpacks and shoes, your handbag, keys, the mail, etc! And since the entryway sets the tone for your whole home- when it is a cluttered mess- you feel like your whole house is a mess! So this really is a great place to start! Here's how to declutter your entryway and mudroom:
How to Tackle a Decluttering Project
There is a process that I like to follow when I am assessing an area to declutter and organize it! Here's how I go about it:
Select a Donation Center
The very first thing I do before I examine a single item is to make a plan for how I am going to donate things I no longer need.
I love using pickupplease.org to schedule them to come to my house to pick up my donations. In my area they are connected with both our local Boys & Girls Club as well as the Veterans- so whoever comes I know they will make good use of my donation!
Knowing that I have a deadline to work towards (the donation pick-up date) keeps me motivated every day to get the job done!
Break Down the Work Into Daily Tasks
Next, I break down my tasks into manageable daily bites. In this case, I have three main areas to declutter (the front door, mudroom, and basement steps) plus two large closets- so I broke it down to steps over 5 days.
That way I can spend 30-60 minutes of time in each area daily for 5 days until the entire job is complete. Knowing that I didn't need to find a 5-hour block of time all at once to work on this made it much more manageable for my life!
Make Suggestions for Items Belonging to Others
I also know that there will be times when I am decluttering an area where the stuff is not my own- it could be husband's or my kids' belongings. So while I won't make the final keep/not keep decision for them (it's important that they make their own decisions and not feel like they need to worry that I am going to throw away their stuff!), I will make it easy for them by pulling things together into groups based on my own suggestions.
I am much more likely to get a teen to cooperate when I say, “Hey Kyle- I haven't seen you use any of this stuff (show him the organized pile) in a long time. Are you done with it? May I donate it?” than trying to get them to work alongside me as I clean out a closet!
How to Declutter the Entryway
Perhaps you're like me and use multiple entryways to your home. In our case, there's the front door- but that's mainly used for guests- although it is also where the kids dump their backpacks and shoes after school.
The thing that was making me the most “nutty” about this area- was how my kids would just toss off their shoes and leave them all over the rug- so when someone did come over to visit- I would have to kick all of the shoes out of the way in order to open the front door! So as I started decluttering this area- I noticed something…
The two bins that I had at the door were no longer large enough to fit their teen-sized shoes! And after a few shoes were in a bin- the rest would never fit- so it was time to find a bigger bin!
I settled on a pop-up tote (I love pop up totes, I also use them to store blankets in the family room and game room, as hampers, etc) which is large enough that shoes can go in flat and be stacked on top of each other when needed. And I moved it away from the backpack rack and onto the baker's rack so everything would be out of the way.
And of course- I emphasized to the kids that I now expected them to use the new shoe bin and baker's rack and no longer leave their things on the floor!
The area by the front door- decluttered! (Day 1, total time=20 minutes)
Next it was time to tackle the front closet- and here we were storing way too many things that either didn't belong in this closet- or were coats and shoes that my husband and I don't wear anymore. We started from the ground up- emptying just one area at a time, cleaning it, sorting what was in it, and then putting back only what we wanted to keep.
Before we finished we collected 3 bags of items we no longer needed- just from this closet alone!
And here's how it looks after decluttering:
So much better!
In our entryway we also have a small wall with a table and mirror in front of it- and I also decluttered the drawer in that little table. Boy- talk about a space that attracts all kinds of doo-dads- a drawer by the front door is truly a catch-all area! (Day 2, total time=1 1/2 hours)
Another place in our home that sort of serves as an entryway- are the steps leading down to our basement.
This is where I hang my jacket, handbag, deposit grocery flyers, store my reusable shopping bags- and it is also the space where I keep things we make/harvest- like honey from my husband's honeybees and maple syrup from the trees out family taps. I use these shelves to keep the filled bottles as well as the ones we use empty all year long and will re-fill next spring/summer. (Day 3, total time=45 minutes)
How to Declutter the Mudroom
Our mudroom area is where all of the kids' coats, shoes, sports gear, sunglasses- and so forth are contained. They have locker-style cubbies for hanging their current season's coat right when they walk in, and they have bins for shoes (when they use them!). This area only needed a general clean up- like putting away their snow pants left out from the winter and moving out the shoes that they've since outgrown from the fall (the ones in good shape go into the closet to be passed down to a younger sibling- those that are worn out are tossed).
And then we have a large shelved closet that we use to store everything off-season as well as sports gear. This one needed a more serious decluttering.
(Day 4, total time= 1 hour)
And one story about decluttering that I would like to share is about a large bin of sports equipment that a friend gave me thinking that perhaps that my kids could use it, that I had stuffed into this closet. But here's the thing- this equipment was for a sport that my kids don't even play, nor have any desire to play. But it was good stuff- quite valuable! So I kept it around…. for 2 years!
But this time when I looked at it- and I asked myself those decluttering questions- do I love it? (no), do I need it? (no), do I want it? (no) and do I have room to store it (not so much!) and I knew it was time to let it go. So I packed it up and donated it. Without sadness and without guilt. It was time to reclaim my space!
Looking for Some More Ideas for Your Entryway and Mudroom?
Here are 12 great ideas for entryway and mudroom organization– something you'll want to do once you get those areas decluttered!