Wood-Bench-In-Entry-White-Paneled-WallsAn organized entry way is the key to a great start on the day. If you have ever started out the morning searching frantically for your keys or sunglasses, you understand that having a spot for everything where you can grab it and go is key to simplicity and calm in the morning.

If you are lucky, as I was, to have kids, mornings are a chaotic mess if there is not a plan and a place for everything. Start with the school stuff. Homework, soccer shoes and notebooks need a special place, hopefully close to the door and large enough to house the day’s necessities. Each person in the household needs their own space, or it won’t work. Hang coats, leave gloves, shoes and scarves here. Anything that comes in and must go out, must be put in place before bedtime, or the time consuming final paper will undoubtedly be left on the night stand or kitchen table. The plan is that everything is in place the night before. For lunches or refrigerated items, leave a sticky note on the door, so it won’t be forgotten in the mad rush out the door. Grand Central Station

The entry or rear entry should contain an easily cleanable flooring material to handle muddy or wet boots and shoes, a bench or seat for removing shoes, cubbies for storing footwear. Hooks, which are handier for coats than hangers are a good choice. They also work for scarves, umbrellas, back packs and bags. Upper cubbies are great for hats, bags and packages. A small table or counter works well for mail, packages and cell phones. A dish or small hooks keep keys in check. The important thing is to purge this area often to keep it from becoming a catch-all.

cubby bench

Sporting goods are best kept in individual bags, backpacks or cubbies so that they can be grabbed without sorting. Leave bag unzipped until all of the items have been washed and returned. If the bag is open, there is something missing, like socks, t shirt or dance shoes.

My personal checklist includes sunglasses, keys, purse, coffee mug and cell phone. In the winter I add a scarf and gloves. Keeping these things near the door and in the same place greatly decreases the possibility that they will be forgotten at home or missing just as I head out the door. A phone charger near the door works well even if you keep your phone by your bed at night. When you get up, plug it in by the door and grab it as you go already charged.

Items to deliver, drop off, donate, mail or ship can also be left in this convenient area, so they can go out the door with you. I often move these right into the car so that they are ready whenever I am.

“Out of sight out of mind” is an old cliché that is a perfect reminder that works like a charm. If you need to remember to drop the check at the bank, mail the payment leave it on the front seat along with your child’s bag or backpack, so they don’t forget it in your car. These all serve as a visual reminder of what you need to accomplish before you go home.

entry benchWhen you come home at night, this is a staging area for the next day. A cue that the day is over and it is time to relax. Knowing that everything is packed and ready to do for the next day makes the evening much smoother and more enjoyable.