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  • Writer's picture Sue Garnett

you need a giant catchers mitt...

"My kids walk in the door and drop their junk" is a comment we hear a lot from our clients and its not just about the kids!

Is this resonating with you? Does everyone in your household walk through the door and drop their stuff without a thought to what happens when its time to head back out? Is it a hectic almost manic search for bags, shoes, keys, dog leash or those important papers that 'must be signed today'

We all have to admit tidying up is boring, but it beats being irritated by a missing lunch box! Its for this reason, when asked to organize a home, we usually look at the entrance area first and create a space that addresses the issues, so you never feel that panic again.

We often get asked, where do you start? For us, its important that we learn about who lives in the space, found out how many people are coming and going, their ages, their activities such as playing a sport or musical instrument, any pets and any special accommodations a household member may have. We then go onto evaluate which entrance door they use the most and which entrance door would make most sense. This helps us to carve out a space in a convenient area for the household, to serve as a giant catchers mitt.

In a home we toured recently, the kids couldn't find any of their shoes, so the mom just went out and bought more shoes! The last thing this family needed were more mismatched, outgrown footwear to trip over. The kids would fly through the door from the school bus and drop everything. Artwork was getting torn, permission slips were lost and everyone was stepping on each other trying to get a hug from mom first.

We created a zone where the kids could kick off their shoes into cubbies, while hanging their backpacks onto hooks. There was a nearby closet that wasn't in use and we quickly took the doors off, mounted a counter top and made it a paperwork zone, complete with colored coded magazine holders for each child to stash their school papers. On the adjacent wall we used a magnetic paint so they could easily tack up their own artwork.

The chaotic drama that unfolded every afternoon was replaced by happy kids excited about recounting their day. This was a huge win! The mom had felt so conflicted wanting to see her kids and knowing the trouble that was about to invade her kitchen. She was completely blown away by the kids actually using the cubbies, hanging their bags and knowing where to put important things. This minor change completely altered the atmosphere and tone of the day.

We always think its important to see how things are working out. After the initial week, we checked back in with the family and found that a soccer practice had been missed and a birthday party forgotten. The hurt feelings and sullen faces were so sad. So we added a large wipe board with a calendar template to organize the family schedule. What's even better is the kids became responsible for writing down their activities (even the make-up games for rain delays!) The family was able to see when events were overlapping and needed carpool. They even wrote in down-time so the family could take break and enjoy a movie together!

This was a win-win for this family. We were so happy to be part of it! Its understandable to be overwhelmed by the minutiae of raising a young family, but it feels amazing to get ahead of it and plan for the fun!

Staged Space IDEA

Our top tip for a successful organizing system in your entrance area is;

"Keep it simple, Make it interesting

- remember, you want everyone to stay motivated to use it!"

If you'd like our help or want to share your own ideas we'd love you to say hello at or check out our portfolio at

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