The Goods

Get it together: Entryway organizing made easy

Interior designer and mother of six, Lisa Canning shares her tips for keeping this room neat and tidy

Interior designer and mother of six, Lisa Canning shares her tips for keeping this room neat and tidy

(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

A home's entryway can be one of the most hectic spaces in a house – especially because it's the first and last spot people spend time in before braving the outside world. Keys, papers, mittens, change… it doesn't take much for it to become a disorganized mess. Toronto-based interior designer and mother of six, Lisa Canning knows that with a few simple steps, it's possible to organize your entryway and make coming and going a snap. Here are her top tips for an entryway that will help make for a great first and last impression of your home.

Limit the real estate

Each family member should have no more than two coats and two pairs of shoes at the front of the house. The entryway should not be used as your main storage space – it should be where you start your day, so you don't want it to be cluttered and messy. Keep other coats or shoes in your personal closet or the basement.

Kids can hang their coats up on hooks while parents can hang them on hangers. It's much easier for the kids to toss their jackets on a hook than try to get it on a hanger. Keep their hook at an appropriate height so they can reach it easily, about 36"- 48" depending on their height.

Have a space for personal items

Allocate one bin or shallow drawer per family member. This will be for their personal items like sunglasses or mittens. Having one drawer for everyone can be frustrating and very messy, but giving your family their own space can help keep things organized – especially during those crazy mornings before work or school.


You can maintain neatness in an entryway by making habits that you stick to. Keep a basket, like a catch all, that matches your decor at your entryway for these things. Commit to purging once a week, and get rid of things that will make their way into the entryway that don't belong at the front of the house. You can do this with toys in other areas of the house, or even with odds and ends that end up in the garage all the time.

File file file

Deal with paper when you get into the house immediately! Most people toss their mail and papers onto their kitchen island or dining table creating a messy and unusable space. Keep a binder and a three hole punch or some sort of file folder at the front of the house to immediately put your papers into. They either go straight into the recycling or into the folder until they're ready to deal with. Permission slips, bills, prescriptions and other important documents will never get lost again if you make dealing with paper part of your daily routine.

Packed to-go bag

Have a to-go bag that holds all of the necessities your family requires when going out. This is great for times when you're in a rush and don't have time to run around the house grabbing things like extra diapers, a first aid kit etc. This could be as simple as a freezer bag, but you might be surprised how much time this easy idea saves you on your way out the door.

Errand bag

Put a small pad of paper in a cute tote bag and leave it by your door. You'll want to fill this bag with paper slips of the errands that you have to get done or things that have to go back or get fixed. For example, make a note to take back a library book or to bring in the dry cleaning. Consolidating these things will help you remember to get them done, and then you can get into the habit of checking the bag on your way out the door to see if you can make your errand trip even more of a success.

Thanks to Lisa, these tips are sure to set your family up for organizational success as soon as they walk in the door.

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