Organize the Foyer

This page explains how to organize the foyer. Foyer or entry way is the first place your guests see when they come to your home. “First impression is the best impression” – So it makes sense to organize and keep it neat and clutter free. This sets the tone for the rest of the house as well. One challenge is that this space is usually small compared to other rooms in your house. So you have to be creative. Again, it does not have to be expensive or fancy. Try to keep it simple. Here I will include ideas for different scenarios. Use the ones that work for you.

If you haven’t read my article on tips yet, I strongly suggest you read it before you organize any of the rooms. That article will help you get through these tasks a whole lot easier and keep your results once you are done.

Before you begin, set realistic goals and split tasks into small chunks, so you can complete them in a reasonable amount of time and make progress. Set time limit (1 to 2 hr maximum) for each session of work. Do what you can in that time limit. Then, wait for the next day or weekend, otherwise you will be exhausted. Also look at what you have accomplished and enjoy it. That will inspire and motivate you.

Your first task when you organize should be clearing items in open areas as explained in article Home Organization Tips (when you begin). Separate them into five categories. You can further divide “Keep Items” into different categories. For example, you can group items into shoes, coats, winter accessories etc. The idea here is to sort them when you first see them.

Then you can begin to de-clutter the rest of the foyer. As you go through your items, place items you want to keep in the appropriate category you have created. Once you are done with de-cluttering, you can start to organize the foyer.

Common Foyers:

Let us first consider the case when both the front door and the door from the garage lead to the same landing area. Depending on the size of the space you can put a bench with built in or space underneath for tall storage. This will provide seating for your family or guests if they want to put on and take off the shoes. You can buy baskets to place under the bench and use them to keep socks or winter accessories like scarfs, hats, earmuffs, gloves or mittens. Make sure you use lined baskets if they are made of wood, wicker etc., so that they won’t damage your items. Get baskets that look nice, but they don’t have to be expensive. Provide separate basket for each family member. If you have a big family, designate these baskets for small children for easy access. Using cushions or pillows on the bench will be a nice touch.

If you have a coat closet in your foyer or entryway, use over the door shoe organizers (preferably clear or semi transparent) on the closet door, to keep winter accessories. These organizers usually have 24 pockets, 4 each in one row and costs about $12 to $15. You can assign pocket(s) for family members according to their needs and height (lower ones for children for example).

If you leave your shoes in the foyer, use expandable shoe rack(s) for shoes. You can find these for less than $20 at supermarkets. Depending on the width of your closet, expandability of the shoe rack and also the number of shoes you own, you can buy 2 or 3. Or use non-expandable one(s) for one or both ends of your closet (put it depth wise) and place one expandable one in the center. Alternately you can leave one or both end(s) free for longer length coats.

If you’d prefer to use this closet primarily for shoes and coats and not winter accessories (or if you live in a part of the country where you don’t need them), and need more shoe storage, you can also buy over the door 24 or 36 pair shoe racks instead of the pocket organizer (which hold 12 pairs) and costs under $30.

You can keep additional baskets on the closet shelf. Put keys, wallets etc. in shallow baskets. You can also use shoeboxes for these items. Make sure you label them. This way you always know where your keys, wallets etc. are. Then you won’t misplace them as often and waste time looking for them.

One accessory that works well for guests is a coat rack, especially if you don’t have space in your closet. This way, they don’t have to look for the closet, or open your closet to hang their coats.

If you have a small foyer and don’t have a coat closet, or if you have a bi-fold or sliding closet door, hang the over the door shoe organizer with clear or semi transparent pockets on the door to your garage. You can use this for keys, wallets, winter accessories etc., by assigning pocket(s) or row(s) per family member according to their height. You could use labels or write their names on each pocket(s) for easy identification. Use coat rack for coats. Use a folding chair instead of the bench when you have limited space. Wooden chairs look nicer than metal ones.

Separate Foyers:

If you have separate entryways and coat closets at the front door and at the garage, you have more space to work with. You can still use ideas from above to organize the foyer. Since you have two separate closets, keep the guest closet for guests. You can use the shelf in the guest closet for additional storage but leave the hanging space for guests. Keep a small chair if you have the space. Again, wooden chairs look nicer than metal folding chairs.

In this situation, the closet at the garage door will be for your family. A bench is a nice addition here for people coming in and out through the garage door. If you don’t have space for a bench, you can keep a folding chair inside the closet.

No Foyer:

If you don’t have a foyer or an entryway, you can do a couple of things to maximize the available space. Use the wall space for coat hooks or peg rails. They could be with or without cubbies. Peg rails usually have a shelf on top, which could be very useful. For a neat seamless look use decorative storage cubes of the same color for the cubbies or shelf. Narrow stackable storage cabinets are available for keeping shoes providing hidden storage. This will keep the space clutter free. If space allows, use a small narrow bench or stool for sitting.

Useful Tips when you organize the Foyer:

  1. Use slim-line hangers to maximize closet space. They are very thin and have a velvety coating which prevent clothing from sliding. They come in a multitude of colors. Assign one color to each family member.
  2. If you don’t want to use the foyer closet for shoes, use that space for backpacks, laptop bags etc.

Once you organize the foyer, the space will look completely transformed. Now, wait for your guests to come in and be pleasantly surprised! Make sure you maintain it.

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