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How to Create Better Use of an Entry When Space is Limited

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The Zone of Chaos!  The Magnet of Clutter!  My Insanity!

These are just a few descriptions of my client’s foyers.  Their words, not mine. They lament about the old days, when there was enough room.  This is usually the days before kids.   But now, everything is out of control and they are looking for a quick fix, a furniture solution, a cubbyhole paradise.

I had a client a few years ago show me her back entry, which consisted of one door from the garage, one door from the family room, a closet under the stairs, and a top load washer and dryer.  She showed me every shoe & coat her kids owned (because they were thrown in the closet on the floor), as well as baskets of laundry piled against the only blank wall.  The room was tiny, five feet by seven feet at the most.

I suggested she get a front loading washer and dryer so we could get a counter top installed, or a stackable washer and dryer to open space up for more storage.  The answer was “no”.

I suggested we move the washer and dryer to the second floor.  Too expensive.

I proposed we move the wall of her laundry room five feet into the garage (taking one bay of the 3 car bays).  She wondered where her two kid’s ten bikes were going to get stored.  This was never going to happen.

I was out of ideas.

Then I thought of something so radical, even I paused before I proceeded.

“What if you made your kids put their shoes and coats away in their room?” I asked.

I wish I could tell you that this story ended with my client having the perfect laundry room.  It didn’t.  In the end she decided to do nothing.  The shoes still sit there to this day and every now and again, another organizational product is attempted and then abandoned.  While this was certainly the least expensive option, I am sure the frustration has not been solved.  After fifteen years helping clients realize their home’s potential, I still believe that most of the time it is not your home that needs fixing, it’s your habits.

If you are ready to take charge of your entryway or foyer, here are some quick tips to consider.

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Create a Foyer When There Isn’t One

Strategically placing your furnishings can create a “foyer” when your open concept plan is foyer-less. A dedicated closet for coats may not be right at hand, so setting yourself up with an organization plan is an important part of planning your space.

Understand your Space

Many times, clients over estimate what their foyer can accommodate and still look good.  Center hall colonials are usually not the built-in-cubby-and-still-look-fabulous type of space!  It is difficult to solve storage problems when clients have a tight budget, as the best solution is usually not the cheapest.  Having realistic expectations and a proper budget for the work to be completed will help you problem solve a lot better.

Think Outside the Box

Look at the adjoining spaces in your home and consider using a portion of a space to control your foyer clutter, especially if you have a smaller home and lots of family members.  An unused formal living room could be the perfect space to create this option.

The IKEA Pax system is a great wardrobe piece that can accommodate lots of storage and help any homeowner get organized.

Create New Habits

Consider this, if you create good habits in your foyer from the get go, everyone wins in the long run.  What am I talking about?  No one needs every piece of exterior clothing saved by the front door.  Keep the most used coat for the season in the foyer and keep the rest in a secondary closet.  The youngest member of the family could have the easy chore of putting shoes away before dinner!  You’re setting the tone for good habits and teaching kids that family organization starts with everyone.

Create a Secondary Entrance

There is no reason why the kids and all their “stuff” cannot come in a secondary entrance, even if that entrance is through the garage or laundry room.  Consider this the “House Rules”.    If you get the kids “stuff” outside the main entry zone, you will be able to organize your entrance and give yourself the perfect place to welcome neighbors, friends, and family.

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Great foyers don’t just happen.  This hectic zone can fall into disorganized chaos within hours.  Having a system in place and asking all family members to participate will keep the entry clutter & stress free.

Ready to take control of your Foyer or Entryway?  The McMullin Design Group is ready to help.  Contact us today by filling out the form HERE or by calling 856-673-0290.

Posted by Bridget McMullin on March 23, 2016

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