Entryway with no coat closet - tell me how you keep it organized!

sarunaJuly 24, 2008


We have a single door entryway with no coat closet. I keep a shoe shelf, coat hanger and a small entry table. It gets pretty messy with shoes, schoolbags, jackets and whatnot. We enter mostly thru the front door, not the manual garage door.

Folks with similar entryway, please tell me how you keep your entryway organized!

thanks so much.

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We have a similar situation. I have a center hall Colonial house with a microscopic coat closet at the end of the hall. The closet is stuffed with out-of-season coats, rain and snow boots, umbrellas, etc., so though it serves a purpose for us, it is unusable for guests. We also do the majority of our coming and going through the front door.

What we did was put a large coat tree behind the front door for guests and adult family coats currently in use. Any shoes that do come off during good weather are set on the staircase (we're not a shoes-off house) and in the winter I put out a boot tray for drippy umbrellas, wet boots and shoes. That pretty much takes up the entire entry. It's certainly not spacious, but it functions. A few steps further in I have a very narrow bookcase in the hall with containers for mail, keys and sunglasses. The bookcase also holds the phone, answering machine, phone books, take out menus and a container for loose change.

What I found helped the most in controlling the mess in the front entry was requiring the kids to bring ALL their stuff down the hall and into the kitchen. My kitchen is large, so I have a second coat tree there exclusively for the kids to use (it's shorter than the regular one in the front hall so they can reach) and another boot tray in bad weather. School backpacks live under the coat tree. Sports equipment goes in a basket by the back door.

It's still not an ideal arrangement -- I DREAM of having a mud room but that just isn't gonna happen in this house -- but it does function well.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:55PM
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thanks Sheriz.
There is not enough space to put a coat tree behind our front door. There are perpendicular walls on both sides of the door about 6 inches away. On the wall towards which the door opens, I have the coat rack/hanger.
I have 3 boys, and their backpacks/shoes etc are strewn all over. I have to yell at them everyday to take their backpacks to their rooms and shoes to the garage, which is at a lower level (ours is a split tri-level house). I feel that I shouldn't bug the kids so much and make some arrangement for all those things in the entryway.
Maybe I can keep a coat tree further doen from the door and have a basket for backpacks and sports stuff.
I havent seen any coat trees with hooks at kids' height, where do you buy those? Or is it custom-made?

thanks again, it helps to know how others are handling the situation!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 4:27PM
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If you can steal the first foot and a half or so in the first room off the front hall (living room?) you might consider building around the doorway with a combination of bookcases, coathooks, bench, and shoe cubbies? If it has plenty of space, and it works, it can be downright decorative, and a whole lot better than the discord and mess you describe now?
Look at this link for something similar, and imagine it not quite so massive looking, the color of your trim, fitting the space on both sides of your living room door, and continuing over the door, so it becomes a feature wall...??

Here is a link that might be useful: entryway unit

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 4:40PM
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Thanks, those units look like just what I need. The single unit with the open bench and closed upper cabinet will probably suit me perfectly. But I can't find its dimensions on the webpage, maybe I will call pottery barn and check. Thanks much, I have to solve this problem before I lose it completely!!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 5:57PM
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Saruna, the coat tree I have for the kids was something I stumbled upon at Staples a number of years ago. It was a regular sized coat tree, only the main section came in three pieces and it had to be assembled. I just left out the middle section and the result was a kid-sized coat tree. I checked the Staples website, but I didn't see the one I have. I'm sure there are other kid-sized ones out there, Target had some, and I'll bet places like Potter Barn Kids, etc., would have them, too.

Here is a link that might be useful: kid's coat tree

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 8:39PM
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When our children were young we lived in a split entry home. It had more than six inches on either side, but what I did on one side would easily work for you. I installed a shelf at their eye level that happened to have a brace between the brackets. To that brace I added a number of double locker type hooks for them to hang their coats and backpacks on.

On the other side of the door (wall facing the shelf and at a right angle of the door) we had a bench to set on and take off their shoes which could be stored on the shelf under the bench. It doesn't sound like you have room for a bench though you could build one that folded down when not in use. They'd have to carry their shoes to their room since you have no place to store them.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2008 at 10:02PM
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Justgo's idea sounds very creative and useful, but I think it might impede your movement through the door on onbe side, and get in the way of the door's opeining all the way on the other, if you have only the 6" space on either side. And if the natural impatience of children makes it hard to change their habit of dropping their things in the floor, then it might be equally hard to get them to use a pull-down bench, and more important, to put it back up, so that other people can open the door from the other side?
I still recommend the idea of putting the whole operation in the next room, so that you make it easy for them to come whooshing in the door and unload in three seconds into the right place, without spoiling the clean, uncluttered look we all want in the entry, which sets the tone for the whole house?
(Do I win the too-long-sentence award for that one?)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 9:05AM
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Since you have room for a shoe shelf, coat hanger and a small entry table, you have some space to work with. Maybe you could more efficiently use the space with a built-in unit that would also allow for the backpacks.

A company that designs personalized closets could do this for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: EasyClosets

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 9:16AM
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Saruna, do you have a picture of your entry that you can share?

Bronwynsmom, you are so right about kids leaving down a pull down bench. Can you tell my babies are all grown up? It's been so long I never gave that a thought. I have to get back into that thinking mode since I now have an almost 9 month old grandson.

As for the shelf and hooks, they were behind the door when open. I guess as much as I love to decorate I realize that families with children who are in and out the door so often need a quick place to hang coats and backpacks and store little shoes. It's just part of family life. When the kids are grown and gone you'll realize how much you miss those little annoyances. I chose to embrase those areas of our home in a way that made life easier. Maybe to some it was an eyesore, but to me it was a sign of life and memories to come.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 12:08PM
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Oh, no, justgo...I never meant to insinuate that your solution was an eyesore! It was the 6 inch space that concerned me.
And congratulations on your grandson. He will fill your house up with the noise and energy you miss in no time!


    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 12:24PM
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thank you folks, here is a picture. The coat hanger shows up only in winter. This picture is taken from the living room, you see the sofas, I am not sure if I can steal any space from the living room...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 5:17PM
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Bma, I'm sorry I didn't mean that you thought my solution was an eyesore. Though I'm sure at times ours was. Especially in winter with snow pants, hats and gloves added to the mix!

I wish it were easier to know expressions here without using html. I've tried, but it makes everything italic or bold.

Thanks for the pictures Saruna. In the picture of yours I've linked to below I see that you could easily do both of the ideas I did in our home only just down the hall a bit from the door itself. I'm so glad I asked for pictures. I'd move your bencdh across to the opposite wall under the lightswitch and put the shelf above where you have the bench now or even get a narrow hall tree. We now have one at our back entry that I got at Hobby Lobby. I had just bought it and plopped some things on it that happened to be close by. I don't have a current picture of it, but actually you can see it better in this pix. I think you'd have plenty of room to have one like this where your bench is now. You could add your own hooks to the sides low enough for your children to hang their coats and be out of the way of the sitting area. I now have basket in the cubbies where shoes can be tucked and just measured to make a cushion. The cushion will be sixteen inches deep by twenty nine inches wide so that gives you an idea of the size.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2008 at 5:48PM
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Thanks! I will check out Hobby Lobby, that unit looks good and should fit in that space. And I also need the plaque you have there! :-)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 1:50PM
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You are very welcome. I don't know if they still have the same one since this was over a year ago, but they get new furniture in every season.
My dear sweet darling wonderfully kind big brother had the plaque made for me. Wasn't that so sweet of him? 8-P

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 2:39PM
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Sorry, I just realized I forgot the link to the picture of yours. Guess you knew what I was talking about anyway.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 2:40PM
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Yes, please post the link again if you made any changes to it. I thought I misread.
Can I borrow your big brother please?? I only have a younger sister, who is very sweet, but always wanted a big brother or sister!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 4:58PM
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I didn't make any changes. It was just the first picture in your album.

Here is a link that might be useful: Your picture

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 5:30PM
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Forgot to add, I have not only an older brother but an older sister as well. Believe me, as much as I love them, there have been times........... (rolling eyes).
It's not always fun being the youngest. Remember that when you are around your little sister. (wink)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2008 at 5:32PM
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justgotabme, my sister says that all the time! whats with you little sisters :-)

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 2:13PM
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I don't know what's with us? I've always wondered what's with big sisters!? LOL. Mine has always been bossy, but then she's a teacher so I guess it goes with the territory.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2008 at 8:40PM
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When our kids were little, we lived in a very old house that had no front closet and no room for one. DH made a pair of decorative boards of oak and placed one on the wall at kid level and one at adult level. He then installed six very fancy black metal hooks on each board. This gave us lots of hang-up sapce and the hooks were big enough to handle a backpack if needed. A mat on the floor took care of dirty shoes and boots. a large wicker basket held mitts, hats, baseball gloves etc. The hall did not always look beautiful, but coats were never on the floor, boots did not come past the front door, and most hats and mitts could be located when needed. Now we live in a new house and our small grandson lives with us. Although there is a teeny front closet, he can't reach the hangar bar and has twice pinched his little fingers in the bifold door. So....a piece of fancy oak moulding went up at both the front and back door, the fancy black hooks were installed, and this house has room for a parson's bench to hold the variety of odds. Now we all use this method to hang up our stuff!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2008 at 7:46AM
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