If you don’t leave in exactly ten minutes, you’ll be late. Fumbling with your bag, you race for the front door. One hand frozen on the doorknob, the other pawing through the inside pocket of your bag. 

Your stomach drops. Where are your keys? 

You could have sworn you put them in there. Your eyes scan the nearby end table, overflowing with junk mail. No keys. But your sunglasses are there! Recklessly perched atop an expired Bed Bath & Beyond coupon. Grabbing them, you rush back into your living room, frantically searching for those keys. No luck. You comb through your house, finally locating the missing keys in the kitchen near the coffee pot. 

Two minutes before you’re late! You just might make it! But you open the front door, and it’s raining hard. Your wool-and-silk pantsuit ensemble practically cringes at the sheets of water falling from the grey sky. Of course, you haven’t seen your umbrella in months. Now you’re either going to have to change, or hunt down the umbrella. With a heavy sigh, you pull out your phone to call your supervisor to tell them you’ll be late, again, as you shut the door in tired defeat. 

If mornings like this sound familiar, you already know nothing ruins the potential for a good day faster than a rough start. 

Here are a few quick tricks to shore up your entryway and make your mornings run smoother:

1. Figure out where. Everyone has a specific area in their house where they get ready for the day. Whether it’s the kitchen, the mudroom, or your front foyer, clearly identifying your primary entryway will help you nail down where you’re going to store your most-used items.

2. Figure out what. Once you figure out where, you also need to clarify what you need to store in the entry. What things do you use every day? What always goes with you when you leave your house? Bag, sunglasses, car keys, wallet, phone, umbrella, coat? Gather it all in one area so you can see exactly how much you need to store.

3. Find a home. Once you have both your area and your items ready, it’s time to create a storage system. Make sure everything has a clear place to live, and make sure you can grab what you need without moving, lifting, or shifting other things out of the way. Remember, you don’t have to stick with what’s already in the entryway – you can add furniture, shelves, hooks, and other storage options like a storage bench. Small things like keys and sunglasses often work well hung on the wall, and small baskets can help contain wallet and sunglasses. You can even go with a custom build-out if you want something perfectly suited to your space and needs. Just make sure everything has a place and that your storage solutions are functional, not just pretty.

4. Create a system for mail. Signing up for paperless billing can help cut down on the amount of mail coming into the house, but even so, mail can stack up quickly. Simply having a waste basket or recycle bin near the entrance to the house can help keep it under control: Immediately throw out anything unimportant – you don’t need it in your house if it’s junk! – and do your best to take action on everything else right away (pay bills and immediately file paperwork).

5. Use your systems! No matter how beautiful your entryway system is, it can’t function without your help. So, use what you’ve created! As soon as you come home, place your items where they belong. If you notice things out of place, take a quick moment to set them straight again.

Ready to conquer your mornings? By making over your entryway, you’re setting yourself up for smooth sailing every single day. With the right systems in place – ones that work for you – mornings will no longer feel like a mad dash out the door. Instead, you’ll be able to grab your coffee, take the time you need to get ready, then simply stroll through your home to the entryway where all your daily essentials are ready to go. Organize your entryway, and skip the stressful start to your day. 

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