Hallways are the first place you see when you come home, and the last place you pass through when leaving. This makes this space an especially important space to keep clear and practically organised.
As the thoroughfare of the home, hallways can quickly become a waste ground for forgotten shoes, piles of coats and wayward umbrellas.
The key to keeping the space clear and under control is smart hallway storage and streamlined decluttering. Of course, this is often much easier said than done, especially for busy families.
Decluttering expert Kate Ibbotson from A Tidy Mind explains that, “hallways can end up being dumping grounds for whatever people are holding, or want to take off, when they walk in the door.”
“The main items which clutter a hallway are shoes, coats, bags and mail,” she says, adding that, “we often forget about the niches in our hallways such as windowsills, corners or open under stairs areas,” which can quickly become cluttered.
Having a decluttered and practically organised space will not only look more pleasing, but will also save your energy as “you’ll spend less time looking for the things you need because everything has a place,” says Kate.
She adds that being organised can even boost your wellbeing, as a clean and tidy environment can help you to, “think more clearly [because] you’ll have calm, organised spaces that support how you would like to live in your home.”
How to make the most of hallway storage
So, what are the best ways to tackle the most common offending items, such as shoes and coats, and make the most of all the space you have available? Our experts have share all their best tips below.
Shoes can quickly look untidy, especially if you’ve got a family full of trainers, wellies and other shoes gathered in a heap by the door.
“Aim to keep all these items off the floor,” says Kate of A Tidy Mind, who suggests using “a shoe rack, bench or cubby holes” to store shoes neatly together, rather than lining them up loosely on the floor.
“IKEA Trones units are versatile as they can be stacked and can be homes to shoes, accessories and pet items,” Kate recommends.
“Some homes simply need a lot of shoe storage, so this multi-level high unit from Wayfair is popular with my clients,” she says.
Jacqueline McLeod, of Bancrofts Organisation Services, recommends making the most of limited hallway space by opting for multi-usage furniture.
“There are many shoe cabinets and racks designed specifically for the hallway that can double up as a seat, coat and shoe rack or console style unit,” she says. “Using the vertical space in your hallway is a great space-saver, and there are many slimline shoe cabinets that suit this purpose.”
If you have any awkward crevices or awkward corners, make the most of these by repurposing them as storage, advises Jacqueline, such as a bench under the stairs which doubles up with storage underneath.
How to store coats
Coats and jackets often live in the hallway and can quickly take up room. While a stand-alone coat rack might seem logical, expert organiser Kate Ibbotson says they might not always be the best option.
“Avoid bulky coat racks which can take up unnecessary room,” she says, instead advising using wall hooks down the full height of the wall to save on floor space.
“For example, you may have a set of hooks but adding another couple of sets above or below for bags and coats could make sense to avoid hooks being overloaded,” Kate says.
“I love this standalone wall tree by Wayfair as a solution for coats, bags and shoes,” she adds.
For Jacqueline McLeod, clever storage is also about taking a good look at the jackets you’ve got in your hallway and thinking about what really needs to be there.
“Consider the number of coats you typically store in your hallway. Try to stick to using that space just for your daily coat for work, school or running errands,” she says. “Other more occasional outerwear should be stored in your wardrobe or other closet if possible."
Kate agrees, recommending storing away any out of season coats when they’re not needed.
If you already have or are considering building a dedicated coat cupboard, Professional Organiser Vicky Silverthorne (You Need a Vicky) recommends adjustable shelving, as explained in the video above. This means your cupboard can be altered to fit your life over the years.
She also suggests adding half shelves in some places, to prevent items on lower shelves being lost out sight, and low hooks for children to reach and hang up their own coats on.
The hallway is the place to store your regular essentials and things you need to grab right before leaving the house. For this reason, only your everyday handbag should be permitted a spot in this space.
For kids, Jacqueline says that, “the only bags that should really ever be in the hallway are school bags and PE kit bags.”
“Like coats, having bags on hooks is always the best option - or if you don’t like hooks, having them in easy-to–access storage boxes work well too,” she adds.
With online ordering becoming ever more popular, faster and easier, post and packages can quickly take up space.
“Go through your mail each day so it doesn’t build up,” says Jacqueline.
For letters, she recommends “a mail organiser that can sit on your hallway table or even windowsill. If you don’t have a table or unit, a budget-friendly wire magazine rack or similar can be hung on the wall.”
During autumn and winter, our demand for umbrellas rapidly increases thanks to the unpredictability of the British weather.
Jacqueline advises incorporating an umbrella slot into other multi-use storage, such as corner units, or storing under-bench seating when not needed as often.
If you’re an active household, a classic umbrella stand could be the way to go.
“Umbrella stands can be handy for not only umbrellas [but also for] walking sticks, tennis rackets and yoga mats,” says Kate from A Tidy Mind.
Storing keys and other bits and bobs
For smaller essentials like keys and other miscellaneous items, racks and narrow shelves can be a useful organisational tool.
“Key racks with hooks can be useful and often also have a small shelf which can be a place for wallets and sunglasses. Noticeboards or pegboards can provide useful wall storage too,” says Kate.
If you have kids, consider giving each family member a different coloured basket which can house their things and prevent them getting lost or mixed up. These are especially useful for awkward spaces which could be maximised with shelving.
“Open shelving can fit to almost any space and is versatile as baskets in different colours and materials can live there,” she adds. Each different basket can then hold items belonging to a certain different category or which belong to a particular family member.
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