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Entryways in warm weather have nothing on their winter counterparts. They know not of the heavy coats that crowd every available corner and the muddy boots piled on top of one another. As soon as fall hits, organizing this often-cramped space is a whole new ball game, but according to organizing expert Shira Gill, it can be done—and in under 10 minutes, no less. 

Okay, shipping your new storage goodies pre–tidying up may take a bit longer than that, but when the outcome is a hallway where everything has a designated spot, it’s worth it. Do it, if only so your holiday guests won’t have to navigate a maze of umbrellas and rain jackets to get into your dinner party. 

Step 1: Assess the Mess

“Generally, when things get strewn all over the entry area, it’s because they don’t have a clear place to go,” explains Gill. Take inventory of what typically gets dumped there and write down everything that doesn’t currently have a storage solution. We’re looking at you, dog leashes, bags, and mail. 

Step 2: Start Planning 

Next, assign locations near the front door for everything on that list. This is how you’ll figure out what types of catchalls you need to buy—Gill has a few recommendations:

  • Sturdy hooks for heavy coats, dog leashes, and bags. “Mount them at arm’s reach for kids’ backpacks and jackets, so they can be responsible for their own things,” suggests Gill.
  • Bins, baskets, and cubbies for shoes (plus a tray for wet boots if you need it). Gill’s tip: If you can manage it, keep most of your footwear in your bedroom closet so the entryway doesn’t look like a shoe store. You might love to look at those espadrilles, but chances are you won’t be needing them in November; tuck them into a box and never look back.
  • Ceramic dishes for keys, cell phones, and loose change. They will come in handy on laundry day when you need to track down those last two quarters.
  • Wall pockets for mail and magazines. “It’s also super-helpful to set one up for each child’s homework and school forms,” Gill points out.
  • An umbrella stand for—well, you know. 

Step 3: Go Forth and Organize 

Put aside part of an afternoon to set up your new entry station—it won’t take more than a few minutes, we promise—and be sure to tell everyone in your home about your plan so you can maintain the new put-together look for longer than 24 hours. 

If you have kids, Gill recommends taking it a step further by labeling a “zone” in the space for each of them, where they can keep and be in charge of all their necessities. “Get creative! At our house, decorating paper tags and laminating them is a big hit. You can also try pinning a Polaroid picture of each person above their hook, bin, or cubby,” she says. By the end, it will be clear: Organizing doesn’t have to be a chore. 

See more ways to get your home together: 7 Tricks for a Tidier Underwear Drawer in 10 Minutes You’re Only 10 Minutes Away from a Tidy Nightstand How to Organize Your Pen-Riddled Desk Drawer in 10 Minutes