Article Line Long1

IT’S TIME TO ORGANIZE – Small Entry Organization Hacks For Those Of Us Who Are “Mudroom-Less”

My favorite mom quote goes as follows – “Without systems there is chaos. Without systems there is chaos“. One of you deserves credit for it, left sweetly in the comment section two years ago, and I chant it ALL THE TIME. This applies to every single part of our lives, and as someone who unfortunately isn’t innately gifted in the organization realm, and yet abhors visual mess, I HAVE to create systems, or else the house is so chaotic and messy and it actually affects my mental health (thus the choice to live more minimally with less stuff).

Labels are my boss. Baskets make me feel safe. So when we were brainstorming about how to talk about organization in the New Year, I ranted about all my pain points at the mountain house – the “no mudroom entry,” the exploding vanity, the lack of linen closet, the hall utility closet that housed both the vacuum and the board games. All solvable, WITH A SYSTEM that includes starting with the right product. And even though we knew we were moving to Portland it still seemed like a good time to come up with some better solutions – both for guests that stay, my family when we return in winter/summer, and of course for the blog.

So we partnered with Target to highlight their new and always loved organizational products to ease our chaos and make our homes and brains calmer after the holidays. Systems, it’s all about systems 🙂

The “No Mudroom” Entry

We packed in a lot of solutions up here, for ideas for all your pain points. Not everyone can enter and exit through a designated mudroom, especially apartment dwellers, and us. But walking into chaos, stepping over shoes and the visual pile of coats drives me NUTS. Now the elements that you MUST have here are simple –

Wire Basket | Wood Bowl | Sunglasses | Black Wallet | Leopard Card Case | Knit Gloves | Shoe Rack (coming soon) | Toddler Magnus Chukka Boots | Ronin Lace-Up Chukka Boots | Blaine Slip-On Leopard Sneakers | Slip-On Enzo Brown Leather Sneakers | Kingston Leather Sneakers | Luna Sneakers | Opal Zipper Slip-On Chelsea Boots | Molly Sneakers

  1. A Drop Zone (could be the bench or the tray on the shoe rack) – This is for mail, keys (if you don’t have hooks), and bags. Get yourself a tray, bowl, or basket (and a hook if you want to never have to look for your keys again).
  2. Shoe Storage – This could be a shoe shelf like this (which is nice because it can be wheeled away if you have guests over), a trunk, or a basket. While I prefer something more enclosed, getting my kids to “drop” is a challenge enough so ‘arranging’ is a monumental feat. Plus a shelf keeps them from getting scuffed up and you have less searching to the bottom of the basket time. Someday, crossing fingers, we’ll graduate to this.

Accordion Coat Rack | Tall Basket | Umbrella | Rug | Circle Vase | Trailing Green Stem

Don’t have a coat closet? ME NEITHER! So you need either hooks on your wall, a coat rack, or a freestanding piece of furniture. The first two are better for small spaces (plus wet coats can’t dry off in an armoire).

3. A Place to Hang Coats/Scarves, and Hats – Could be standing or to save space use a wall-mounted hook system like this. Use the anchors provided (I’ve skimped on those before), try to do a weekly depopulation based on the weather, and put away coats in hopefully a coat closet nearby, leaving just what you need here.

Gold Wall Sign Key Hook | Round Mirror | Bench | Pillow | Belt Bag | Large Wire Basket | Jean Jacket | Rain Coat

4. Designated Baskets for Daily Needs – Under the bench: 1. “House shoes/slippers” (easy to change into when you come home, 2. “Dog accessories” (leashes, bags, treats), and 3. “Hats and gloves”. I love these baskets with the wood on top, but opting for something more closed will make it look cleaner (just make sure you know what is in them so you don’t have to do the “search and bury”).

Left Bin: Slippers | Lionel Moccasin Slippers | Topher Moccasin Slippers | Middle Bin: Monkey Fist Rope with Handle | Sherpa Dog and Cat Vest | Dog Leash | Dog Poop Bag Carrier | Tennis Balls Dog Toy | Right Bin: Rib Glove | Chunky Rib Beanie | Pink Plaid Scarf | Cream Plaid Scarf | Solid Blanket Scarf | Knit Gloves | Cable Pom Beanie | Color Block Beanie

Brown Bag

Shout out to that bench – please note the good joinery under the seat!! So good.

The “No Entry” Entry

Entry Bench (coming soon) | Wire Basket | Wallet | Sunglasses | Jacket | Cream Scarf | Hat | Dog Leash | Dog Poop Bag Carrier | Faux Trailing Plant | Rattan Plant Holder | Woven Basket | Beanie | Knit Gloves | Rib Gloves | Gray Scarf | Rug

For those of us with even less space or perhaps at the back, side, or kitchen door we have a one-piece unit for all of those same needs – it’s pretty genius. At the top you have hooks for coats/hats and scarves, then a bench to sit on for shoes and a surface for a drop zone, with shoe storage underneath. ONE AND DONE.

Tan Sneakers | Leather Sneakers | Pink Hightop Sneakers | Duck Boots | Sherpa Tongue Hiking Boots

It’s a small space solution that packs a ton of function into one piece. All you need is a 4′ blank wall near your door and you can live a better life in a small space. Pretty sure someone should write a book with that title.

So no, you don’t need “an entry” to have an entry. You just need a good, solid system and Target has truly made it even easier.

Em’s Outfit: Beanie | Jacket | Dress | Socks | Duck Boots

*Art Direction by Me
**Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp
***Styled by Emily Bowser


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

49 thoughts on “IT’S TIME TO ORGANIZE – Small Entry Organization Hacks For Those Of Us Who Are “Mudroom-Less”

  1. My issue with entry ways is that there never seems to be any space for purses, backpacks and gym bags. Those seem to clutter up everything even when I have coat hooks, drawers for shoes, etc. Any brilliant small space, no-entry way backpack solutions?

    1. We have this same problem and were able to carve out some backpack space in a small hallway to our powder room. This way the backpacks are closer to the kitchen for lunch emptying each day and all of their really dirty stuff like coats and boots still get left by the front door 🙂

    2. We have no closet at either door. I added double hooks to the wall and the kids’ back packs go on the lower shorter hook, with their coat on the top hook. I do the same with my jacket and purse on a double hook. Not the most elegant solution out there but we have limited space. We have a round basket for mittens and scarves and a boot tray for shoes and boots (we live where there is snow or mud 3 seasons of the year so we are a no shoes inside house). We do have an upper and lower row of hooks too so when guests come they also have a spot for their coat. The kids could spread out and use the extra hooks but they find it easier to just put all of their own stuff on one hook. I’ve been making them so this since toddlerhood so as teens it’s automatic they chuck their shoes or boots on the tray and hang their stuff the minute they walk in. No tidying ever needed

    3. I have the ikea hemnes shoe cupboard, the taller one with the drawer on top for keys, sunglasses etc and then two cupboards below. We use the bottom cupboard for shoes and the top cupboard for caps and bags. I added metal hooks on the side and hang my most frequently used hand bags there. Extra handbags and purses go in my closet in my bedroom. You can stuff an amazing amount into these shoe cupboards and if need be you can put two side by side (there are hacks where you replace the top in order to make it look like one larger unit.

      1. I have this cabinet too and I get endless compliments on it! Mine is gray and I used rub n buff on the pulls to make them look like brushed brass. It’s been a lifesaver in our house!

        The handbag idea is genius!

    4. coat tree with 2 layers of hooks or add a row of lower hooks for the bags maybe? can backpacks be moved to another area? we have one closet in our home and our ‘entryways’ are the back door that leads to my bedroom and the door that leads to our living area. my husband’s work bag sits nearby and i have reduced to a small bag that i stick in a tote if i need extra space. totes are stuffed into another bag on a wheely coat rack by the front door. our coats are hanging on door hooks and the wheeled coat rack that could use a facelift. functional but not ideal / very much hoping to find a coat tree this year 🙂
      emily, not a mom but my organizing mantra is ‘everything in its place’ – what i repeat when it’s time to tidy up or i feel overwhelmed by STUFF, organizing really is sooo important for mental health.

  2. Well timed! The conundrum of “hey, where do we put our stuff?” has been a longstanding marital sticking point between my spouse and me. The crux of our issue is that he’s pro wall hook/peg and I’m am strongly against. Pegs and hooks are always recommended as a key feature in stuff-storage-solutions. But HOW do you keep the hanging purses/backpacks/keys/coats/etc from trashing the wall? After six months of using any hanging system, my wall starts to look like it’s gone a few rounds with a prizefighter. Must I buy Farrow and Ball? Repaint often? Bow to inevitability and live with it or remain #TeamNoHooks?

    1. I get this concern. I have hooks that are mounted on a wooden base (not just right into the wall) so that the bags and other items are set just a bit away from the wall. On the occasions that they do scrape up or dirty the wall, an occasional swipe with soap and a microfiber towel will suffice, or if the scuff is really bad, a Magic Eraser. These tips help a lot — haven’t had to repaint that area yet!

    2. When my kids were little, we had the same problem. After repainting that one section of wall a couple of times, I got mad and used a couple of coats of marine sealant in a matte finish to cover it up. We lived there another 12 years and I never had to repaint the wall again. 😉

  3. I couldn’t get any of the links to the benches work! Was it only me having that problem?

  4. Love this and need that entry bench! Product page doesn’t work and can’t find it via Target. Do they not make it anymore? 😭

    1. I entered the target shopping via Em’s prompt and then through my app. Both showed the bench, which I’m hankering for in the worst way. BUT it is not in stock. I signed up to notified
      ps. Same for the tall basket, for umbrellas. Threshold may be having supply chain issues. Their other website, McGee and CO., is very slow just now too.

  5. I have pretty much given up shopping online at Target. Love their products, but I find their website and availability to be pretty abysmal. Surprising, from such a huge, successful company.

    1. Same! And I really despise how they are now doing “drop shipping” of random products they don’t even offer in store. I go to Target for the curated of cool/stylish items – online you get overwhelmed with a ton of other non-Target products and it takes forever to sort through the junk. It’s a longshot but I hope they see our comments and improve the web shopping experience 🙂

      1. Totally agree. I did see you can filter by ‘[Target logo] brands’ on the website – I always do that now so that I’m just looking at the Target family brands and not the endless pages of other stuff!

    2. Links don’t work for either of the benches. I have given up shopping online at Target as well. Biggest pet peeve is that they will feature something in the email and if you click the link it takes you to something else. It’s impossible to find the item from the email and I’m convinced some don’t exist on the Target website. It feels like bait and switch. I am a Target fan and want them to improve. Hopefully with Emily’s relationship, she can convey some of her readers comments. We only want them to improve!

    3. Yes, yes and yes. I’ll add that the pick-up, same day shipping and regular shipping options are bizarre, often making it impossible to get what I actually want by any single method, which makes online shopping useless.

  6. I would love to be able to buy some of this product! Links aren’t working and things arent available. so sad!

  7. The shoe rack is no longer available on the Target website. Can you please post an alternative shoe rack? thanks

  8. the link to the dark colored shoe rack from Target says Product Unavailable. Any details on when we can purchase?

  9. Hi! Would you please share the product names/product lines for the shoe rack and entry rack? As others have mentioned, the links say they are unavailable, but if we know what they’re called we can keep an eye out for them. Or is it possible they haven’t been released yet?

  10. I have lived just out side of Portland for 46 years, and we have never had a proper entry/mud room/hall closet. We take our shoes and backpacks to our bedrooms so we don’t have entry clutter. Maybe living in a smaller house makes this easier? Buying an old library catalogue has helped immensely though. The little drawers hold wallets, keys, dog leashes, gloves, hats etc.

  11. OK, I will admit that after reading this I ordered two of those wire baskets. But this post also inspired me to purge a bunch of stuff and organize our drop zone (which is actually a vintage ironing board) AND clean off our coffee table! So thanks for the organizational push–I’m hoping these baskets will help with me create a system too (my current “system” of throwing mail any random place when I get home and then dealing with it whenever I run across it again is … not great).

  12. So weird – when I clicked on the link for the bench I went right to it and it appears to be available for me. And I don’t even want it.

  13. If I keep dog toys near the floor, they would stay there for several minutes, until the dog finds them 🙂

  14. Looking great, but those of us with doors that open directly to the living room are always left out. No walls, no room. We are the Mudroom-less-less and need help. Thank you.

    1. i have the same situation/working on a post for us 🙂 we also only have one closet in our entire apt lol so we have hooks on the door and a wheeled clothes rack by the door that could definitely use an upgrade.

    2. I am with you. We have two doors. One into our living room which is wide open. One right into our dining room. It’s tough. Sounds like Steph and EHD is working on this! Thank you!

    3. Agree! I have a porch, but if I put a bench in it I wouldn’t be able to open either door, and the hall beyond that is the same – no wall space that isn’t taken up by a doorway. I can manage wall hooks as the things on them are squishy, but I would love it if the post for the Mudroomless-less could include some clever ways to fix up a seat for removing shoes that folds away again!

  15. I never understand the choice of big baskets for shoes – the dirty soles on top of other shoes’ clean uppers??!! Additionally, you should never keep your keys near your front door – this makes them very vulnerable to physical theft through the letterbox or more open to being cloned electronically.

  16. A good reminder that I have the system already- I just need to have a better backup spot for the not using this week items. I remember reading somewhere that a cluttered area might mean the storage elsewhere is full. I feel this right now.

  17. Hi! I love this – thanks for sharing! I have a question. Can you tell me where I could find the light fixture in the entryway picture at the top of this post? Thanks for your time!

  18. Should probably coordinate with target when you are doing a sponsored post to make sure they have ample quantities of the merchandise. Isn’t this how you make money?

Comments are closed.