August 11, 2021  

8 Must-Haves For An Organized Entryway


Need ideas to make your small entryway work harder? These organizing tips will make your entry the hardest working spot in the house!

Besides the kitchen, entryways are arguably the hardest-working space in the house. With everyone coming and going and all of the backpacks, coats, shoes, and more, your entryway no doubt gets a workout every day!

Maybe your entry is a large mudroom with lots of storage, or maybe it’s a tiny space inside the front door. Either way, there are a few must-haves that every entryway needs. I’ll walk you through each of these must-haves today and share examples of how I’ve implemented them in my small entryway to create an organized, functional space that works for our family.

Looking for more organizing ideas? Take a look at these blog posts:

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photo of mirror on table with baskets underneath and plants on top in front of a navy wall

Entryway Organization tips

Before we get into the tips, the photo below gives you a good look at our entryway. The blue door is our front door and the gray door leads into the garage. So everyone comes and goes through these doors!

Behind the camera is a small front room that serves as my home office and to the right of the camera is a coat closet. Our entryway is pretty small, basically just this narrow walkway and the navy wall.

Although it’s not a huge space, a few strategic additions have turned it into a space that helps our family get out the door quickly. I’ll share the details below!

Sources for everything you see in my entryway (including paint colors) are listed in this blog post.

view of the front door and the entryway from inside the home. The entryway has a narrow wooden table with baskets under and a mirror and plants on top.

1. Create A Drop Zone

The very first thing every entryway needs is a drop zone. A console table or cabinet works great for this and gives you a spot for keys and sunglasses and mail and hats and all the little things that collect in an entryway. If your entryway is too tiny for a table, a small shelf or two on the wall could work as well.

The photo below shows the console table in our entryway. I looked for something very narrow to fit on this wall and this works so well for us! Not only does it give us a surface to set things down, but the shelf underneath provides extra storage space (more on that in a minute).

view of entryway from the front door looking into the home. Wooden table has baskets underneath and plants and a mirror on top.

2. Add Hooks For Convenient Hanging

Hooks are another entryway must-have! Even if you have a closet full of hangers, a few strategically placed hooks on the wall somewhere can make a world of difference in keeping your entryway tidy.

Putting jackets and backpacks away in a closet can sometimes be just enough work that it’s easier to drop them on the floor or a nearby chair instead. But if your hooks are in a convenient spot, it’s just as easy to drop items on a hook as it is to drop them on the floor.

I added these three hooks next to our console table and they get used all the time. The dog leash usually lives here along with our toddler’s backpack, and once the weather cools down you’ll find sweatshirts and jackets hanging here, too. While we keep most of our coats on hangers in the nearby coat closet, these hooks are so much more convenient for those items we grab daily.

Bonus tip: Consider the height of your hooks, too! A lot of people naturally want to hang them up high, but hanging them lower might make more sense if you have younger kids.

three metal hooks near the entryway table. A dog leash is on one of the hooks.

3. Keep Shoe Storage Simple

When it comes to shoes, consider what makes the most sense for your family. Although you’ll find all sorts of clever shoe storage ideas on Pinterest, sometimes I think it’s best to keep it simple.

Will your kids really put their shoes away in a fancy cabinet? Or will they be more successful tossing them into a big basket? Do you need a giant shoe rack in your coat closet, or does your family keep most of your shoes in bedrooms and you only need space for a few pairs in the entryway?

See that wire basket on the shelf of our console table below? That’s where our toddler’s shoes live. It keeps those tiny shoes off of the floor and contained in one spot so we can always find them, plus she can easily put her own shoes away.

As for my husband and I’s shoes, we try to keep most of our shoes in our bedroom closets and only have a few pairs of our everyday shoes in the entryway. We each typically have a pair of shoes next to the console table, and a pair or two more in the coat closet.

Entryway table with a cloth basket, metal wire basket, and white wooden basket to store shores. The bottom of the table has slots in the shelf.

4. Rethink The Coat Closet

If you are lucky enough to have a coat closet in your entryway, don’t be afraid to modify it to work best for your family. Do you need a lot of hanging space, or would it be more useful to add some shelves? Could you add a few coat hooks or an organizer to the back of the door? Does your closet need a shoe rack so there’s enough room for everyone’s shoes?

Our closet isn’t all that pretty, but you’ll see below that I added a cheap set of shelves to it. We didn’t need all of that hanging space, and the shelves give us extra space to store shoes, dog supplies, sunscreen and face masks, and more. We also tuck our vacuum under our coats and the container of dog food lives in this closet, too.

the coat closet with coats hanging up, and a shelving unit for dog items. The family dog is also seen.
view of coat closet with coats, baskets, and shelves looking toward the front door.

5. Designate a spot for accessories

Beyond the obvious shoes and coats, you’ll also want to designate a spot for the extras like hats, gloves, purses, backpacks, sunscreen, reusable shopping bags, sunglasses, and more. Take a look around your entryway and see what types of things have accumulated there. Maybe it’s time to designate a specific spot for them!

In our small entryway, I added that basket and white storage box under our console table for seasonal items like hats, gloves, and scarves. Even though our entryway is tiny, our winter items are still hiding here in the middle of summer because they have a designated spot to live. During the winter months, these items often collect in the wire basket along with shoes or in our coat pockets and that works great for us.

Entryway table with a cloth basket, metal wire basket, and white wooden basket to store shores. The bottom of the table has slots in the shelf.

6. Create a Command Center for mail & paper

Another item that often piles up in an entryway is mail, school papers, receipts, and other random paper. If your entry collects paper, my advice is to add a wire basket or decorative box or wall organizer so that paper can all accumulate in one neat and tidy place.

This tiny wall below is just a few steps from our console table and I turned it into our family’s command center. The wire basket on top of the printer is a catch-all spot for mail and random papers that we need to sort through.

I will caveat this by saying that I work really hard to deal with paper as soon as it enters the house so this wire basket never becomes a big chore to sort through. When we bring mail or daycare papers/art projects into our house, we immediately recycle as much as possible. We get all of our bills electronically and all are on autopay so I never have a pile of bills to handle.

white box with letters, stamps, and compartments and a printer on top of a cabinet. On the wall above it, a weekly menu and meal ideas white board is hung and a month calendar.

7. Add a Catch-all Bowl or basket

This might seem small, but placing a small bowl or basket in your entryway is a must. Now that loose change, random hair tie, extra keys, chapsticks, etc. all have a place to gather.

See our little bowl below? We always put our keys here when we come home so we literally never spend time searching for keys in our house. You’ll also notice in the photo below that it’s collected some other random things. That small bowl helps keep our entryway organized!

close up of entryway table with potted plant, bowl of sunglasses and keys, with hooks seen on the wall.

8. Make it kid-friendly

If you have younger kids, don’t forget to consider how they use your entryway space. I mentioned a couple of kid-friendly ideas already, but things like adding a few wall hooks at their eye level for backpacks and maybe placing a small basket underneath for shoes and school stuff can make a big difference in how well your entryway functions.

Our three-year-old can put her own shoes away and hang up her backpack after daycare because she knows they have a home and I’ve made things easy for her to help maintain.

view along the wall of the entryway looking toward the front door from inside the house

I hope these entryway organizing ideas were helpful! If your entryway is a mess, choose one or two of these things to implement in your own space. No matter how small your entry might be, I promise there are little things you can do to make it work hard for your family.

More Back To School Ideas!

My fellow bloggers are sharing a lot of great back-to-school ideas as well!

Looking for more organizing ideas? Take a look at these past blog posts:

Have a fantastic day!

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About the author

Emily Counts is the founder of Small Stuff Counts, a home and organization blog she created in 2013. Her goal is to help moms make home life easier so they can create beautiful, organized, and thriving homes. She shares life at home as a mom juggling two young kids and being a working mom with a corporate job. The Iowa-based blogger lives in the suburbs of Des Moines, Iowa, with her husband, two children, and rescue dog. Emily has collaborated with brands including The Container Store, Cricut, Command Brand, Bissell, Sam's Club and Rubbermaid.

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