Your “First Impression” Room: What does it say?

Pottery Barn's Samantha Entryway Collection

Like it or not, first impressions are made in a matter of seconds.  As far as our home, that “first impression” is made as our guests walk up to the front door and step into to our entries {or whatever room that greets them}.

I do want our visitors to feel good/warm/welcoming/happy feelings when they come to my house. But what I’m realizing that’s as {or even more} important… how YOU feel when you walk through the door. So this isn’t about how to make people feel like they’ve walked into the pages of Veranda when they cross your threshold.  It’s about having a home that welcomes you and your family when you walk through your own door.

“The outside of your home and its entrance are the first things visitors and passersby see. A cluttered entry gives others a poor first impression of you. Prevent clutter from accumulating here. Pick up trash from the sidewalk in front of your home; collect children’s toys; rake leaves; and keep the grass and shrubs trimmed. Because the front of your home and its entrance symbolize your self-image, keeping it neat and orderly can help you enhance your own sense of self.”

Skye Alexander, 10-Minute Clutter Control Room by Room

If clutter is at the door waiting for you, make a plan to get rid of it. As simple as it sounds, everything needs a home. For items that don’t have one, make one for it {instead of just shifting the clutter into a closet, onto the counter, etc}.  Whether you enter into a formal foyer or laundry or mudroom, these are some common things found. Come up with specific places for your:

Keys: ONE place {such as a key hanger or decorative bowl} where you ALWAYS put your keys as SOON as you walk in. Even having a specific pocket in your purse for your keys and cell can save you from having to dig around {and potentially breaking a nail or missing an important call}.

Stuff from car: I love my carry container that holds things to take with me when I leave in the morning and brings stuff from the car back in with me when I arrive home. THE KEY: shortly after you get home, go through it and place things back where they need to go so that when you head out again, you, not the clutter, are ready to go.

Purse / backpacks: Allocate a space nearby for these things designating a specific shelf / cubby / basket for each family member.  Just make sure these don’t become clutter catchers, too.  Get in habit – and get your KIDS in the habit – of putting things {have other homes for these “things”} away when they get home. To make it easy for them to maintain {another KEY!} be kid-friendly by using labels {pic or photo for little ones} and hanging pegs / hooks / rods low enough for little hands to reach.

Mail: Have a place to put it {such as a basket} and go through it daily. Have a home for each type of mailing:  bills, catalogs, magazines, invitations, etc. As soon as you touch a piece, do something with it: trash or recycle it, place in your action to take box… just deal with it that one time so it doesn’t become a very intimidating and growing pile.

Shoes: If you take them off when you go inside {which helps keep dirt outside}, have a {once again – SPECIFIC} place to put them. And put them away at night if you’ll be using different ones the next day. Consider a behind-the-door shoe rack for a coat closet door:  can store a pair or two of each member’s shoes – and the other pockets make great places for holding leashes, sunscreen, glasses, scarves, gloves… things you need for the season as you head out.

Storage / organizing options include:

  • storage bench {provides both a place to sit when putting on shoes AND convenient storage}
  • armoire in need of a new use {maybe one that used to hold your big – front to back! – TV}
  • coat rack {standing or hanging-on-the-wall one}
  • furniture pieces made specifically to organize mudroom or entry

Also, consider:

Scent: Nothing too strong but it is nice to walk in and have it smell really good.  Right now I’m trying out Caldrea’s fragrance diffuser in Cypress Sage {Target $12.99}. Have always heard fabulous things about Jo Malone’s scents for the home but they’re a bit pricey – one day I’m definitely splurging though. {I have gotten a “steal” on diffusers before but realized they were marked down because you had to literally be standing over it to  even know it was there.}

Light:  It’s so much more welcoming to come home to a little bit of light. I do like leaving a lamp on somewhere close to entrance, especially if coming home after hours. {To make more eco-friendly, use a good-for-the-environment light bulb.} Walking into a completely dark house can be … blah {can’t think of another word at the moment}.

What about before you even get into the door? Here are a few things you can do to make a big difference:

  • Sidewalk: quick sweep a few times a week
  • Front door: keep glass free of smudges + give door a thorough cleaning every few months + have it re-sealed / painted every other year or so
  • Plants: Keep them looking healthy or replace with very low maintenance ones {I need to take note of this one – my window boxes are looking pitiful – need to stick with the lowest of low}
  • Mat: If it’s looking shabby, replace
  • Seasonal decor: I love seeing homes that have a little bit of seasonal style going on at their entrance. {In fact, I’ve got my camera and I’m on the lookout.  If I find come across some I love, I’ll (with homeowners’ permission!) snap a pic and will share it here from time to time. If you have / see one you love, please share with me!!!}

To sum it up, just remember to:

  • Keep this space for only things that are regularly “taken off” when you enter and “taken with you” when you leave again {not for long-term storage}.
  • Find a specific home for each thing.
  • Enlist the help of ALL family members to maintain!

This post is dedicated to Spanky… We miss your sweet face at our front door : (  Our entry will never be the same…


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