Organization is Key: Part 1
March 4, 2017

Q: Is your entry or mudroom:
A) A source of beauty and organization
B) A frustrating mess?

If it’s the latter, it’s time for a new design.

One of our favorite mantras here in the design studio is "an organized home is the happiest of homes" and I really do believe that organization makes a home more beautiful than all the pretty wallpaper in the world. If your entrance does not greet you with a sense of control, organization and welcome, and it bothers you, know that it absolutely can change.

Imagine no more endless piles, no more lost keys, no more "where is…"? Sounds good, right? So dive in, do the work and you’re 3 steps away from that “after” shot you’ll be dying to show to your friends.

Step 1: Function

Homes we design work well because we seriously think through the function of each space. Mudrooms and entry spaces are important- they set the tone for the rest of your day and evening, and are often overlooked during planning. So, grab a pen and paper and start thinking about the following 10 topics that make up “Step 1: Function” of re-imagining your entry organization. Once the answers are nailed down, you’ll be ready to dive into "Step 2: Form", and then "Step 3: Beautify". Let’s start!

  1. Space: Figure out how many people need to store things and how much needs to be stored per person. Make a list so everything will find its place. Don’t forget sports equipment and strollers, pet gear and room for sitters, housekeepers and guests. I find that making a chart and tallying up total numbers of coats, backpacks and sports equipment is essential information. Think about smaller items in terms of how many drawers or cubicles are needed, and how big they need to be.

  2. Location: Are you in a 4-season locale? This one piece of information is often overlooked but if you are, plan that your out-of-season stuff will need to be stored within easy reach.

  3. Storage style: Can you tolerate seeing items out or do you need everything behind a door or in a drawer? Be honest, pick a style you can tolerate and half your battle is won.

  4. Separation: This is such a simple but interesting question to ponder: Homeowners- would you prefer to separate your storage from that of your kids and guests? It’s completely fine to want this, in fact, you have permission! This suggestion tends to bring more smiles than I ever imagined and note that if you want it, but don’t have a good second spot, you can still achieve similar results with planning.

  5. Packages: Allocating space to rest bags or store shipment boxes in a deliberate way is one of the secrets to a much saner entrance.

  6. Essentials: Keys, phones, family calendars, mail- note where you ideally want it all and allocate enough space.

  7. Communication: Is yours a “shoes off” household? Where do guests put their things? Communicate in a subtle, but helpful manner. Pretend you are the guest, what info do you need to know?

  8. Flooring: Think about how much dirt is tracked in through the door- note if your mat is large enough or if your rug needs to hide more dirt. Is the flooring material easy to maintain? Does the height of your rug or mat fit under your door swing?

  9. Lighting: A combination of ambient and task lighting is needed to adequately see everything, and mixing decorative lamps or broad sunlight can tie this room to the rest of your home- what extra lighting do you need for function and mood?

  10. Ambience: We’re talking about the first impression that welcomes you to your home- write down those wish lists and soon it will be reality. Flowers? Art? Family Photos? A mirror? A style you love, a color that makes you happy- note it all, dream big.
Even if you hire a pro to organize this space for you, nothing is better than an educated client. Mudrooms and entrances are areas that are subject to very personal preferences and they are harder spaces for a designer to intuit for you, without your input. A great designer should be asking about all the topics noted above, and more, before you ever see a design drawing. Whether you live in a city townhouse or apartment, a country house with a sprawling mudroom, a cottage or a formal manse, the issues are the same. OK, once you’ve got your answers written down, it’s time for Step 2: Form.