Avoiding The “Just Walked In The House” Clutter

Ivy says:

A Twitter buddy of mine was wondering how to avoid the buildup of shoes, coats, mail, etc. from when you walk in the door. I think most people struggle with this, since it’s really easy just to toss down your stuff and sack out in a chair the second you get home.

eliminate clutter inside door

The biggest key to this is to keep up with the stuff the minute you walk in the door, or even before. I keep my trash dumpster by the mailbox and I immediately dump all the sales flyers and other crap I don’t want directly into the dumpster. The exception to this is credit card offers and other things which need to be shredded. Those go on top of my paper shredder and when I’m feeling exceptionally cranky, I get to shredding.

Having some organizational stuff right beside the door you come into is also important. One of the things I’m hoping to get for Christmas this year is a hall tree so we can hang out coats on it. We’re lucky enough to have a closet right beside the door, but it just seems soooooo harrrrrd to pull out a hanger and hang our coats up, so they usually end up tossed on the ottoman or hung on the back of one of our kitchen chairs. My mom has a hall tree by her door, and we always remember to hang our coats up there. So I’m thinking hall tree for Christmas.

Having a key rack by the door is also handy. Get one that’s strong enough and you could even hang your purse there. For the shoes, we have that handy closet, but if you don’t have one, get a shoe rack, or even put a basket by the door to stick shoes in. Once a week or so, you can clean out the basket and get all the shoes you don’t wear as frequently back into your closet or wherever you keep your shoes.

home organizing tips

Click the picture for more tips!

Finally, for the mail you DO want to deal with, my suggestion is to get a wire rack to store your mail in. On Sunday afternoons, I always sit down with the mail to be dealt with and pay bills, etc. Once you get into the habit of this, you’ll find that mail isn’t such a problem any more.

Tell me, Home Eccers, what are your tips?

Send your domestic questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.


  1. Rose on August 3, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    One thing I found really helpful was reducing the amount of mail I got in the first place, by opting out of receiving credit card offers (www.optoutprescreen.com).  Not only is this good for the environment, but it’s also one less thing I have in my hand when I walk in the door.

  2. deneicer1 on September 28, 2011 at 1:13 am

    Shoes are definitely the biggest offender around here! I found a great “Command Station” idea and started looking. My Hubby hung a 4 hook thingy that I purchased at Home Depot. I found a cool old wrought iron wall letter holder at a junk shop really cheap. I all ready had the key hook thingy and a calendar. I added a mesh metal square box pencil holder I found at the dollar store (I just cut a couple of the metal mesh wires out to make room for a screw…nothin’ too fancy.) I then found a great bench with storage inside. My idea for a table just meant flat-surface-syndrome-catcher, drawers meant hidden-crap-syndrome and anything fancier wouldn’t have fit. I am on the lookout for some sort of tray, box, basket, etc. that will just fit under it for scarves, hats, gloves, etc. for winter. I am still not exactly sure what I want to store inside of it but I will figure it out and not waste the space! LOL! I ordered some vacuum-out storage bags and I bet they will fit in there nicely. Hmmmm….

  3. Mom of three on November 26, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    For hats, gloves, scarves, I use one of those over the door shoe sorters. They have pockets for shoes. The kids can just stick them in an open pocket, and you can see what is in each pocket so there’s no need to go through them and throw them on the floor. It hangs over the door of the coat closet.

    In winter, since the coats aren’t usually in the coat closet, I hang swimsuits, and they go in there too.

  4. Jan - queenofkaos on November 26, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Our shoes and boots seem to multiply so a double tiered shoe rack right by the door helps a lot, as well as another small gathering place to set the wet ones.

    I religiously place my car keys on a small shelf inside the door, this has been a life saver for me.

    I agree also that open hooks really increase the likely hood of things getting hung up, although ours isn’t right inside the door. I’m one of the worst offenders for walking up the stairs with my coat on and then hanging it on a chair.

    Something that would help I think is to keep the hooks clear. We probably have too many hanging there that are not everyday coats.

    Think I’ll go do some sorting right now :0)

    BTW, we also have a set of plastic drawers, one for each of the kids to put their mitts, hats etc in and another smaller one for school papers. Saves a lot of searching and late buses.

  5. jag on November 25, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    We’re in an old house with no closets, so we hung a 4 hook bar on the other side of a small wall from the front door for coats. When backpacks and bike helmets still ended up hanging from every chair in the house, we put a second bar underneath the front for bags and whatnot and the coats hide them.

    I think that once we get our cabinets redone and our recycling drawer put in so we can move all the recycling out of the utility room, I’m going to put in a bench with baskets that slide in underneath it, once for each person for hats and shoes.

    I’m also thinking about getting my husband one of those sorter/charging stations for Christmas. All my stuff stays in my purse, but his wallet, change, ipod, phone, and all that end up all over the place. Maybe this is the solution to keep his stuff in one place and my sanity intact.

  6. Mom of three on November 25, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    I bought some of those boxes that doctor’s offices use outside of patient doors to hold the patient’s file folder. I got one for each person, put our names on them, and hung them in the UR, which is the room we come in to the house from. As I come in with the mail, I sort it by person. The kids drop their keys there when they come home as well. If the kids have chore lists, I hang it on the front of the box so it is visible. With two going to college, this idea is saving my sanity, since they get tons of mail everyday now. Any thing that needs to be tossed goes straight into the UR garbage can. Anything that needs shredding I take straight to the shredder in the kitchen. There are 5 of use, so to make it even, I hung 6 and one is for magazines and sales circulars. I always know where the coupons are when I head out to the store or out to eat.
    They are a smoky gray so the mail doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. No more lost bills or college applications.

  7. Mom of three on November 25, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I use the nagging and gripping method. I nag until they grip it and take it to their room gripping. Works 90% of the time, but does require me to be home.

  8. Karen on November 25, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    When we bought our condo we thought it was weird that the previous owners had taken the sliding doors off the front closet. (Who wants to see the inside of a closet!?) But… it was a blessing in disguise. It is just that much easier to reach for a hanger, which I always do now.

    That’s still not easy enough for my husband. I found a solution though. I have a few of those big hooks that you can hang on the back of a door. It’s as easy as a coat rack and takes up no floor space.

  9. Amy on November 25, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    I just bought a cabinet from Creative Memories that has a magnetic board on front (for a calendar) and a French memory board inside the door. The rest of the inside of the cabinet is perfect for holding bills, permission slips, etc. It’s going to go right inside the back door where we always come in, and be a home for bills to be paid, as well as the other “running the house” junk that always accumulates there.

    I have a shelf with three hooks that I got (cheap) at Target, where I hang coats, purse, diaper bags, etc.

    I, too, sort the mail on the way in the door. There’s a trash can I pass on my way through the garage, and all the junk mail goes there.

    My husband is the real problem, though, with the “in the door” clutter. I wish there was a way I could declutter HIM before he walks in!!

    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

  10. Melissa on November 25, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    If I have too many systems in place, Husband gets overwhelmed. I’m tempted to have ten different spots to put things, like a key holder, mail filer, wallet place, change bin, etc. I ended up just putting a basket on the counter right by the door so he can empty his pockets when he comes in- so it holds wallet, keys, spare change and bills. Then I have a spot to put any important mail and papers. That way, he knows where his keys and wallet are, and the contents of his pockets don’t end up all over the apartment. Now, the shoes? Still working on that.

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