Many of our homes were built around the idea of “everyone uses the front door”. Larger entrance, coat closet, etc. However, many of us do not come and go from that front door. Last week, a friend asked if I could help with her new homes’ back door / drop zone / launch pad. In her words,
- there is no place for coats and bags;
- the space is small and hard to manage;
- adding in winter accessories like glove and hats makes the problem worse;
- taking coats to the bedrooms makes no sense;
- everything gets dumped at the door, and is now spreading into the kitchen; and finally,
- “I’m gonna lose my crackers!”
- The back door is where all five family members exit and enter.
- For scale, when the back door is open, it spans the entire width of the space.
- The back door leads directly into the dining area in the kitchen.
- The back door landing is a step down from the kitchen, and is the landing for the stairs going down into the nicely finished basement.
The family is quite organized, and they have done a lot to maximize the space they have while settling into this new (new to them) home. There is a small set of hooks next to the door for keys, umbrellas and the dog leash. There is a counter a few feet from the door where family members can drop their bags as they come home. But they lack coat / accessory / bag storage.
We all may have an organizing challenge like this….
Often-used space that occasionally drives us crazy!
Spaces that every family member uses!
Spaces that can make or break our daily routines and flow!
Spending a little time and energy organizing these spaces saves us hours of headache (and yelling) in the future!
State your purpose for the space. For my client, the purpose of the back door space may be “An attractive space that helps with timely and stress-free arrivals and departures”. Once you state your purpose, Pare Down what is in the space to only the items that feed your purpose. My friend’s back door / landing pad space should be
- geared towards a quick and easy transition, typically exit;
- aesthetically pleasing;
- as clutter-free as possible.
- If you look at something, and you feel yourself frowning as you wonder “Who’s is this? Why is it here? What were they thinking?”, those are all good indicators that something doesn’t belong in the space you are working on!
Once you know the Purpose of the Space, Look up and down and all around for storage solutions!
Keep it Safe!
Since this space is a heavily traveled walk way – in and out of the house and also up and down the stairs – safety is very important. Storage solutions will need to keep the walk way and stairs clear. I will recommend coat hooks as solutions, but only on one side of the stairwell, to keep it as clear as possible.
Shelves, shelves and more shelves.
- Any empty walls can be considered storage space. To keep the walk way clear, I may recommend shelves high on the walls for baskets of accessories or off-season items.
- Shelves, too, near the ceiling could hold decorative baskets with extra accessories, if needed.
- Add shallow shelves above the command center in the kitchen, and add baskets for extra sunglasses, charging cords, and maybe one for each family member.
That Door Has Potential! Consider the door itself in the organizing solution.
- Invest in an over-the -door coat rack; and / or
- invest in an over-the-door shoe rack, for shoes but also for accessories; and/ or
- if the door is metal, purchase heavy duty magnetic hooks for coats, like these…
Install some – okay, maybe a lot of – hooks:
- Everyone gets a couple of hooks for their own bags and coats.
- Consider key hooks, especially if any one shares a car.
- Command Hooks are a personal favorite, too, for this type of challenge.
- Double deck your hooks: Consider installing two lines of hooks – the upper set (at eye level) for accessories and keys, and the lower set, installed 6-8 inches below the upper set, for coats, umbrellas or longer hanging items.
- Since my kids were little (and would take off with my car keys!), my handbag has been hung on a high, heavy-duty hook near the back door, with my keys securely clipped to it.
Expect and embrace maintenance.
- I really wish I could say that once we organize a space, it will stay organized forever. However… that is not typically the case.
- Once a week, clear everything and put it away. The shoes and coats will slowly migrate back to the landing / launch, but at least once in a while, the space is clear.
- Keep an empty storage bench at the bottom of the stairs, for that day when you have a house full of people and you just want the space cleared!
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