*This post is part of a series about getting organized in 2013,
from our new Moms On a Mission = M.O.M. project ,
see February 2013 posts for more great ideas!*
An extension of your kitchen perhaps is the entryway, where you put coats on and take shoes off, where you may keep hats and mittens, hang the keys, etc. This is a top priority on the organizing list because it's a space you use probably more than any other space in your house, even if for a few brief moments twice a day or so. It won't take long to organize this area, so try it out!
Our coat closet is unfortunately in our living room. It'd be better if it were in our kitchen where we walk in from outside, but so be it. Because of this we have some coat hooks near our kitchen door that I make sure we keep clear except for those few coats we are currently wearing daily. All other coats are in the coat closet ... organized by person, so all of mine are together, kids are together, husband's are together. Try using this same tactic - coats near the door are only those you're currently using.
I also have a policy that all coats are in the same place - we don't have them in our rooms (except a few baby ones in the baby room). It's nice to know what we have that is for next season or next year, too.
Do you have too many coats for a certain season? If so, donate them or give away to family. Ask yourself, when did I really wear this coat last season? If the answer was less than a few times then it's time it leaves your closet to make room for other things that are important.
HATS & MITTENS
I keep the kids' items in our entryway. Most are in a large plastic bin, by size (things that fit now are on top, too big on bottom). Mittens are in a ziplock freezer bag, easier to find that way. The couple that my husband and I wear are in a basket in this space, too, so they're easy to grab. We have extras in our coat closet. I know this probably sounds way too organized for you, but think of those spur of the moment days where it's actually warm enough to go out sledding, you're trying to get yourself and impatient kids ready before they change their minds about going out in the first place - you NEED it all to work smoothly, and that only happens if it's organized!
If you have things that don't match or don't fit, holes in them, now is the time to get rid of them. Stop holding on to clutter!
We keep necessary shoes by the door, others are in our rooms in shoe racks, door hangers, etc. Keep going through the shoes - same as above, if they don't fit or aren't in great shape, move them on. We keep kids' shoes that they've grown out of in a plastic bin in storage space upstairs.
I'm sure you have all sorts of bags, too - diaper bag, your work bag, your purse, kids' backpacks, etc. Finding a place for these is important. I wish we had a huge entryway where everyone in our family had their own hook, cubby, and even white board or tack board for papers. Unfortunately our house is not that large so we have this tiny shelf thing where we keep a few bags.
Our diaper bag is always restocked after we return from some place. Why then? Because it's when I remember what we just used and therefore need to replace. Make your life easier by doing this before you really need it done, that way you can just grab it and go.
Speaking of diaper bags... An organized one always has these things in it:
of course diapers, wipes and extra clothes - including socks and hats
diaper cream or vaseline, hand sanitizer
toys, small books,coloring book and crayons (for outings like restaurants where kids should be quiet or occupied)
What's your system for always knowing where your keys are? They should be in the same place every time you come and go, that's a start. We keep ours on top of our fridge.
Do you keep a grocery list some place in this area, or on your fridge? It's a MUST! Writing something on the list when you run out of it is the best way to remember it at the store the next time you're there. A large white board calendar in the kitchen/entryway is key, too to keep track of those play dates, doctors appointments, permission slips, etc.
Make this space work FOR you.
Reflect next time when you come and go from some place and see what works, what is frustrating to your family, what needs improvement. Then start there. If all you need is fewer shoes near the door so you have enough room to bring in groceries, great, that's an easy one, find a new place for shoes to live or once a week remind yourself to go through those shoes and move them elsewhere.