For years as a Visual Presentation Representative for numerous retail companies I would begin outside a store to start my walk through. I would evaluate the stores exterior and windows and make my way into the entrance. Here is where I would put myself most firmly into the shoes of the customer, experience it and look for opportunities based on what they would see and how that would make them feel. This has now become a bit of a curse, being a highly visual person, in that I can usually see more than a few negatives at first glance of a space. Thankfully I can see just as many solutions to the problems. Unlike the retail environment our first impressions of our homes matter more than those of guests and visitors. The feeling you get when you enter your space should be one that makes you feel welcome and in that moment, start to see the vision you have for your ideal lifestyle.
When the front hall is filled with shoes, papers, keys, gloves, school bags and coats it can be like chocking off the air that is trying to flow into your home. You want the air, (and people), to flow into your home easily through your entranceway. A great exercise is to start at your entrance and see what is blocking your way. If it's shoes that are blocking your way ensure you've done a thorough decluttering of your shoes. One of absolute benefits of tidying and decluttering your space using the KonMari Method™ is that you tidy by category, so your shoes, outerwear and accessories should already be decluttered by the time you address the miscellaneous items in your entranceway. By following the KonMari Method™ you will now be left with very few items to sort through.
Go through what is in your front entrance space and closet (if applicable). How many umbrellas are there? Is it inline with how many people live in your home? I only ask because at one point I had 3x the number of umbrellas to occupants in my own space. Have you been through your winter accessories lately? What other random items have found their way into this space because they don't have a suitable home. Remove these random items and give them a logical home somewhere else. Think of how to store items so they don't block the flow from your entranceway into your home. Give everything that you do in the entrance a home. Ideally one that is easily accessible and out of sight would also be a bonus.
Shoes can be a big issue, sometimes the volume doesn't equal the space available. One of my favourite storage options is a shoe cabinet, mine is the Hemnes model, from @ikeacanada. It is a slim profile that fits in virtually every space. The space on the top of the unit is small enough so it doesn't turn into a dumping ground, but large enough to put things on as you get settled in. When I return home I keep my shoes out for a while on a matt, one that is appropriately sized to my space and the number of family members in the home. My rule is only one pair of shoes per family member are on the matt, drying/airing out at any given time, and once they have set out for a few hours I will put them away. I usually put them away as part of my pre bedtime tidying routine so that the entranceway is clear for the morning rush.
A proper handbag and workbag routine is also helpful to keeping your entranceway clear of clutter. I clear my handbag of all accumulated items from the day when I come home. Any mail or receipts are taken out and dealt with immediately and my purse is put in its "home". Your work bag should be addressed in the same fashion. Yes it takes a few extra moments and we all are rushing our nightly routines at the end of the day, but doing it daily saves time in the long run, and will solve the frustration of missing papers and receipts that get lost in the bottom of purses and bags.
If the struggle of keeping your entranceway tidy is an uphill battle because of your family members this would be the one battle I would choose to take on as a first step in getting your family on the same page when it comes to your tidying goals. Once you give all items a home make it a mission to get everyone on track with this one space first. Slow down at the entrance and make it a routine that everyone can follow. Coming home should a welcoming feeling and tripping over clutter takes that feeling away. You set the vision and standards for your home. Let the air flow in and through and you will notice a world of difference.
There is also no better time than the holidays to ensure this area of your home is tidy and decluttered. Many people say that the thing they look forward to most about having a tidy space is the ability to entertain at a moments notice. If you are worried about what a visitor might think when they drop in unexpectedly than its time to start making your vision a reality. If you need help making your homes first impression of our dreams a reality let me know, I can help.