What You Want Wednesday: Organized Chaos

Tori Daly Decor + Design, Family, Lifestyle, Organization

Photo: Kerri Brown Homes

Photo: Kerri Brown Homes

One of the biggest struggles for a lot of people is getting + staying organized. Life gets hectic and even for people who consider themselves fairly organized, things can get away from us rather quickly. But one way to avoid the creeping in of too many unwanted items in an area is to have a plan of attack for organizing + maintenance and to put them into practice regularly.

Usually, the first places we hit upon entering the home is the entryway. This can easily become a dumping ground for any + all items making it difficult to find things the next morning. You know how it is, chaos coming in the door with a million bags + whatever else you can fit carry in: coffee mugs…sports equipment…take out for dinner…you get the idea. A lot of times we rush in the door as quickly as we rush out and just leave things wherever they may land. And when you’re running late the next morning, how can you find anything when kids things are mixed in with adult things? It’s a vicious cycle.

On one hand, there is no magical, easy fix. A large part of it rests on our shoulders for putting a rhythm into practice. On the other hand, there is an easy way to get started. It takes some time to get into a routine but hold yourself + others accountable and if you practice it mindfully every day for a month, I promise you will see results.

To get started on the path to an easier beginning + end to the day, take these steps to set up your entryway for success all-year round!

1. Declutter + Clean

The first step into any organization project is to declutter. Clear out everything in the entryway; in the closet, on a table, in any storage bins, then make piles: 1. Keep/Belongs (in entryway), 2. Throw Away, 3. Donate, 4. Put Away. The put away items can be items that belong somewhere else, like a vacuum, or things that are out of season (probably don’t need those snow boots out right now).

Once decluttering is complete, and BEFORE anything is put back into the space, give it a deep clean and make any repairs that might need to be done. If you’ve been meaning to paint, do it now. A quick update can bring a renewed spirit to the space and get you excited for the mini project. You’re now ready to set the space up the best way that it will work for your household.

2. Assign

Only you know your family’s routine and this will dictate what items need to be handy in the morning (I’ll share our routine at the end of this post to give and idea). Think about what items are needed on a daily basis + things that are most likely to be forgotten if they’re not right in front of your face. Once you have this list, designate a place for each family member + their items.

One thing that I highly suggest is having a basket for shoes by the door (if you can place them by an outlet with a plug-in, even better). We have a rule that shoes come off as soon as you get in the door this cuts down on dirt throughout the house (thus my cleaning time) and obviously the germs. And in the rainy spring + winter months I lay out a utility mat next to our basket to put wet shoes on so the floor doesn’t become slippery or get ruined.

3. Buy

Once you have the designated items that belong in the entryway you can start buying storage or organizing pieces but . Other than a nice big basket for shoes, I also suggest a storage bench if you have the room. This allows you to keep items by the door but also hidden when they’re not needed, or at very worst they end up on top of the bench rather than on the floor, again, making cleaning easy. If you can’t tell, I’m all about easy cleaning.

Having a tray or hook for keys right by the door is so helpful, too. Do I always remember to hang them up? Nope. But when I see them lying around, do I know where they belong? Yep! Even if things don’t end up in their designated space right away, they have a home and it makes cleaning up…you guessed it, EASIER!

If you don’t have a lot of floor space consider going up the walls. Add hooks for bags, or even find a pretty tall planter or umbrella holder that can corral things like hockey sticks, umbrellas, blueprints, anything tall and awkward (i thought of this before seeing it in a picture like the one above…and now that I see it, it looks so cute!) You can get creative + pretty with storage solutions!

Here are some cute + useful pieces to consider using or finding similar pieces.

Pottery Barn: Galvanized Metal Planter

Pottery Barn: Galvanized Metal Planter

Pottery Barn: Reclaimed Wood Planter

Pottery Barn: Reclaimed Wood Planter

Wayfair: Beachcrest Home McKinley Wood Storage Bench

Wayfair: Beachcrest Home McKinley Wood Storage Bench

While I’m not a fan of the open wire (dust collector!) I would be willing to overlook the PITA cleaning factor because this piece has it all! Cubby, loads of hooks and a shelf! A little expensive but if it saves time, I’ll take it!

Anthropologie: Wire Wall Cubby

Anthropologie: Wire Wall Cubby

4. Maintain

Having a routine when you enter the house is just as important as the one you have to get out. If you haven’t been in the practice of putting things away as soon as you get home, figure out what your return routine should be. This is the difficult part because you’re exhausted and don’t want to think about cleaning up. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect and the more you make an effort to put the same things in the same spots, the quicker it will become a routine you barely have to think about. To make the space really manageable your best bet is to have the least amount of items possible in such a small space.

At the change of the seasons take an inventory of the items in your entryway area and do a quick delcutter to make room for new items. From summer/fall to winter, swap out flip flops + beach bags for boots and gloves. Get a basket of winter items ready (scrapers, de-icer, etc.). You don’t (shouldn’t) have to pull everything out again; just remove things that don’t belong + put away things that do.

At the end of the day just remember, your home doesn’t have to look like some staged photo from Instagram, but for your own sanity it should probably not look like a bomb went off either. The ultimate goal is to have a functional home that is organized but still reflects the life you are living. When starting any project it’s great to look at all the organization inspiration on Pinterest but remember to be realistic about budget + inspiration. We don’t all have $1,500 to drop on built in cubbies and shelving , or a 300sqft mudroom, nor will things always be perfectly in order. Gather your favorite inspirations and try to find similar solutions for a lower price or if you’re a DIYer, more power to you! The items I posted above would all cost roughly $500 (give or take) but you can find similar items at Homegoods, thrift stores or even yard sales.

As promised, here is a breakdown of our routine and how we use our entryway. We actually don’t have a designated entry was because you walk right into the living room so I have had to create areas for everything and we rarely use the closet unless it’s for coats/umbrellas.

After the regular routine of brushing teeth, getting dressed and breakfast I’ll begin the “pack out” starting in the kitchen (since we’re already there).

Ready in the kitchen: lunch box, coffee (definitely coffee), water bottles.

Ready at the door: Keys on a hook, handbag, diaper bag, backpack, shoes, jackets. Sometimes sunglasses are on the table but mostly are left in the car.

Return home: Shoes off, keys hung up, bags back by the door; drinks in trash or sink; lunch box back in kitchen. Art projects from hung on art board. Go through papers (see next post on how to keep all those school forms organized).

I’d love to hear what allows you to get out and get in quickly + efficiently in your home. If you didn’t already have a system, did these tips help?