Monthly Archives: July 2013

Room Service – 8 Ways to Create a Simple Entryway

How to create a simple entryway
{ via tumblr }

“How do I stop my entryway from becoming a 3D to-do list?”

A few weeks ago, Christine from Footsteps asked me this question, and it’s one so many of us struggle with. In our attempts to be more organised and prepared, we use the entryway to our home as a collection point for bills, letters, junk mail, handbags, phones, gym bags and school gear.

In part, this is how an effective entryway to a Slow Home should work. It is meant to act as a filter, stopping you from bringing clutter any further into the house.

But what happens when it becomes a three-dimensional to-do list? When everything that needs actioning simply gets dumped there?

How do we stop that from happening?

I’m so glad you asked!

As it turns out, a simple, functional entryway is one of the key elements to a Slow Home. The entryway (or landing strip) is more than simply the door to your home.

The beauty of this idea is that every home can have an effective entryway. It doesn’t matter if you live in a sprawling 6-bedroom home in the country or a studio apartment in the city, every home can incorporate – and benefit from – a landing strip.

And it doesn’t have to be complicated or imposing. Something as simple as a shelf or some hooks can be enough to get your entryway organised. Add in a seat of some sort and you have everything you need.

An effective and lovely entryway:

  • stops clutter from entering your home
  • saves you time – no more looking for lost keys, phone or handbag
  • allows you to prepare for the following day, by having your handbag, gym gear or school bags ready for the morning rush
  • can incorporate your exit drawer, meaning you’re far less likely to forget things that need to leave the house when you do
  • can also incorporate a donations box, making it easy to continue decluttering and donating your unused belongings

The Key Elements of a Lovely Entryway

For an entryway to function effectively, there are a few elements that should be incorporated. But the keyest of key elements? It needs to work for you and your home. Simple.

That being said, most lovely and useful entryways will incorporate the following:

  • somewhere specific and neat to drop your keys/purse/wallet
  • a place to hang your bag/jacket/scarf/umbrella/dog leash
  • a seat or a bench where you can sit and put on/take off shoes
  • somewhere to put incoming mail
  • somewhere to open mail and recycle the junk, action and file any bills immediately
  • be inviting, but highly usable

How to create a simple entryway

8 Ways to Create a Simple, Functional Entryway – Regardless of the Size of Your Home

1. Don’t overcomplicate things.

You don’t need to buy specialised furniture or storage solutions. The majority of the time you will have something on hand that will suffice. For example, we use a second-hand dressing table, some hooks behind the door, and a small painted tray to keep our keys and phones in.

2. Keep the clutter to a minimum.

While it may be tempting to display photos or knick knacks, try to keep it simple. This space is all about function, and the best way to avoid clutter is by keeping the unnecessary decor out of the way.

3. Make it inviting.

The space doesn’t need to be devoid of personality. Use houseplants or flowers to draw people in to your home and make it a pleasure to open the door.

4. Have specific places for each item.

Have a tray or bowl for your keys and phones. Hooks to hold your coat and bags. A rack or a large tray to keep your shoes. By having a specific place for everything, you take the guesswork out of it and are far more likely to put things back in the right place.

5. When it comes to furniture, think outside the box.

What do you already own that can be used in this space? A TV unit can double as a bench and storage space, while a dressing table can hold your necessities. An old basket or wicker tub can hold shoes, balls and boots, while any old piece of timber can be repurposed into coathooks.

6. Try incorporating natural or recycled elements.

Second-hand timber or hooks add personality and function to a space, while recycled furniture brings history and warmth, making your entryway both inviting and useful.

7. Keep it seasonal.

Only keep out what is currently in use. Once winter is over, put the coats and boots in storage. Similarly, there is no need to keep summer hats out once the weather turns cool. Keeping it seasonal means keeping the space as streamlined as possible.

8. Consider including a mirror.

Not only is it good to make sure there is no spinach in your teeth before heading out the door, a mirror can also make a small space feel larger, by reflecting light and space.


How have you set up the entryway to your home? Is there anything you’d like to change? Does it work for you? Does it help the rest of your home stay clutter-free?


{ Images L-R:  Design*Sponge | Dwell | Ana White | Pinterest | Loft and Cottage | CDN Homedit |vtwonen }

July is the Month of Big Jobs

July is the Month of Big Jobs - 2013 in 2013 Declutter Challenge

Let’s face it, it’s never going to feel like a good time to tackle the clutter in your garage. Or your attic. Or your basement. Or your store room.

These are Big Jobs.

Overwhelming jobs. Jobs that get put off until a long weekend, or until the clutter tumbles out and pins you to the ground.

But guess what? This month, we’re all about the Big Jobs. Because as annoying as it is, tackling them now is infinitely better than freaking out in November and rushing to get the house in order before the holiday season.

Please Note: Many of you are in the middle of summer (for which I am extremely envious) and you may be tempted to say, “Why would I waste my time decluttering when I could be enjoying the sunshine?” But instead think of this as the last time you will ever have to face an overflowing basement full of stuff. Because this is the summer that your home and your life changes for the better. 

To jump straight into the challenge, you can download the July checklist here. Or keep reading to find the full list, as well as added tips and suggestions below.

(If you haven’t started the challenge yet, it’s never too late to join!)

My Progress…

This will be quick, because my progress was exactly zero this month.

Aside from a quick rifle through the toys, I didn’t declutter a thing.

This was partly due to the fact that June was a personally tumultuous month, where I fell off the simplicity wagon. But it’s also partly due to the fact that we have decluttered virtually every area of our home, and much of what remains has been intentionally chosen.

In other words, we’re coming to a point where simplifying won’t have to be a constant goal any more.  I can’t tell you how exciting that is!

So for the remainder of the year, and the 2013 in 2013 Challenge, I’ll have to work quite hard to find enough items to declutter. But that’s part of the challenge, I guess. To be challenging!

So it’s on to this month’s checklist.

July is the Month of Big Jobs

After 6 months of decluttering, you have enough experience and have strengthened your decision-making muscles to the point where you can tackle the garage, attic, basement, or any other big storage area you may have.

Overwhelmed just thinking about it?

Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

Before you begin, just know that this – despite all your best intentions – will not be the last time you tackle these areas. It will be the most difficult and the biggest, but it won’t be the last.

As you continue to simplify, your ideas of ‘enough’, ‘need’ and ‘just in case’ will shift. Over time, you will need less and want less, but that takes time.

So for now, know it won’t be perfect, know you won’t get it all done, and start anyway.

The July Declutter Checklist

Click here for a printable version of the checklist.


  • Boxes
    • sentimental items – ask yourself if keeping them in a box is doing these items justice
    • baby items – if you’ve finished having babies, don’t hold on to this stuff anymore. Keep a special outfit or toy if you want to, then pass the rest on.
    • childhood items – nominate ONE box per person to keep mementoes in. A special baby outfit, photos, drawings, school work, etc. ONE box per person, at the most.
    • unused gifts and just in case items – if you haven’t used or needed them since they’ve been in storage, then chances are you can get rid of them. Otherwise, consider making use of them.
    • photographs – at this stage, to be honest, you should leave photos alone. It is a huge project of its own, and one you will do justice once you’ve simplified other areas of your life.
  • Loose items on shelves or floor – if it gets used, find a place for it, otherwise it goes.
  • Tools/Equipment – if these items haven’t been used in 12 months, get rid of them.
    • garden tools
    • recreational gear
    • hobby equipment
    • old paints, chemicals
    • cleaning equipment


  • Shelves
  • Boxes
  • Keepsakes
  • Clothes in storage
  • Photos

Again, the July Checklist can be found here.

Tips for Tackling Big Jobs

  1. Choose the easiest space to start with. Empty the space as much as you can and clean down the surfaces. Then, container by container, piece by piece, work through the items.
  2. Challenge yourself to see how many storage boxes you can rid yourself of.
  3. Store like items together once you’ve finished decluttering – it will make the follow-up much easier.

I’d love to hear how you’re finding the challenge. Does the prospect of tackling the big jobs make you nervous? Overwhelmed? Tired? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.