Around the House: Declutter Your Entryway and Create Calm
By Yehudit Garmaise
With children soon returning to school and the fall Yom Tov season just four weeks away, this week is the perfect one to clear out, organize, and transform your entryways into something more beautiful, appealing, and organized.
To catch their buses and get to school on time, in the morning rush, students will need to be able to easily spot: backpacks, shoes, hats, sweaters, and coats. Plus, to prevent mountains of things from blocking your front door every morning, parents should create regular “homes” for school necessities to which they can be returned at the end of the school day.
Before you begin, take a step outside the house and then open the door. What do you first see?
Clutter or calm?
To create a clean, minimalist entryway, take a few minutes here and there each day this week to first clear the mess. Then make a list of what needs to be replaced, and consider how you want your front entryway to look when you leave and return to your home.
1. Recycle old magazines, newspapers, mail, and other papers accumulated on tables, floors, and furniture. File papers and/or scan what you need into your computer.
2. Remove all furniture in your entryway and sweep and mop the floor. Kids can help by wiping down the walls with damp sponges with some cleanser.
3. Entirely clear off and clean any furniture in the front of your home with a wood cleaner or other appropriate spray and a rag. Hang hooks or designate a basket or a bowl for house and car keys so you always have a place to return them and know where they are.
4. Consider whether you have places for everyone’s shoes. Do family members and guests kick their shoes off in a heap at the front of your home? Or do you have bins, baskets, or a closet into which shoes can be put neatly out of sight?
5. Do children leave shoes they no longer wear at the front of the house? Check which shoes no longer fit and decide what shoes are needed for the new school year. Put all shoes no longer worn into a large garbage bag to give or throw away. Make a list, and then go shoe-shopping later this week.
6. Children also should assess backpacks and determine whether they need to be replaced this week. In addition, while you are buying a few new baskets or bins, get a few larger ones where children can place backpacks upon arriving home. A storage bench can also serve as a place to stow backpacks and school bags while also providing a place to sit while putting on their shoes before heading out.
7. Do you have designated places for everyone to hang coats and hats? Matching hooks for hats, coat racks, hat racks, and matching hangers in a cleaned-out front hall closet can store outdoor essentials. Umbrella stands are also good ideas to grab an umbrella when cloudy skies threaten rain in the day ahead.
8. Consider buying a new, welcoming rug, unless you prefer the look of cleaned and newly polished hardwood floors.
9. Ask yourself what you would most want to see as you first open the front door to the refuge of your home. Perhaps a photo of your rebbe, a new or beloved piece of art, fresh or silk flowers in a pretty vase on a decorative table, new shoe baskets, and a clear floor would warmly welcome everyone home.