Was it just me, or did you also have a minor meltdown after the first snowfall this year when you had to drag out all of the boots, hats, mitts, gloves, coats, snow pants, etc. and try to fit it in your front entrance?!

Even worse than taking everything out was seeing my kids come home for the first time after wearing their winter gear. My front doorway looked like a complete sh!tshow disaster zone. It was seriously stressing me out!

I think I can speak for us all when I say that not only do we want our front entry to be clean and inviting (you never know when the Queen is going to show up), we also want to make sure that our entrance space is organized, with a place for everything. Is this too much to ask for?!

Living in a northern climate means that we have to deal with a whole lot more than just snow. It means that we need all the snow gear that takes up SO much room. It also means that we track in the snow, salt and sand when we come in the house.

Our front entry has to work extra hard in the winter, so I wanted to make this space work for my family. Here are some before and after pics of our space that shows that it can be done!

If you’re dealing with a small space, every square inch is matters. And even the biggest of foyers needs a system to keep things in check. For me, the biggest obstacle was organizing the space so my kids could take part in keeping it clean – a task that I’m working on throughout the house!

While I can’t make your space bigger, I can share some key ideas to incorporate if you’re looking to maximize space, keep things organized and ensure that everyone in the family can stick with the plan, all winter long. With these tips, you’ll be ready for the Queen to pay a visit!

Here are my 5 Tips to Organize your Front Closet and Entryway

1. De-Clutter To Make Space

Even though we know it’s coming every year, the first snowfall always seems to catch us by surprise. Aside from snow being the topic of nearly every conversation (‘can you believe it SNOWED?!’), the first snowfall usually signals the start of a new season (even if it’s still October!).

When it came to preparing for winter in our front entrance, I started from scratch and emptied out the space. This exercise made me realize that we were storing unnecessary items that were just taking up room. We had teeny baby dress shoes stuffed in the back of a drawer from Ashton’s first Christmas and he’s 3 years old! We also had a ton of summer stuff that would not be used until the Spring.

Clearing out your closets every season helps you take note of what you have, so you can determine what will work for next year, what your kids will outgrow, what can be donated and what just needs to go in the garbage. I bought some storage bins, filled them up and was ready to tackle the next step.

2. Invest in Multi-Purpose Pieces

Ryan and I bought our current home shortly after getting married. Storage space was definitely on our list of must-have’s, but fast-forward six years, two kids and two dogs, it seems like we are running out of space at every turn. This has forced me to be clever about the furniture that we bring into our spaces, so that they function well for us.

When dealing with a small space, everything you put it in it should have more than one purpose. This is sound advice year-round, but rings especially true come winter.

Seating with storage, shelves with hooks and tables with drawers can serve many roles and keep an entry space both organized and looking great.

A couple of years ago we purchased a bench with sliding doors and open storage underneath. It stores baskets with mitts, toques, gloves and more. We also added a shelf with hooks, which has been super helpful for our kids who can’t reach hangers in the closet.

If you’re looking to purchase key furniture for your entry, you can’t go wrong with a hall tree. These multi-purpose pieces are stylish and keep you organized; a win-win.

Here are some of my favourite options that are stylish and budget-friendly:

This drift grey corner piece optimizes even the smallest of spaces (and is currently more than 50% off!):

This gorgeous Bermuda hall tree has shutter style doors for hidden storage with big impact:

This industrial-style 3-in-1 piece optimizes space in a modern and stylish way:

3. Start from the Bottom

With kids (and a husband), my front entry gets trampled on the daily with wet, muddy and sandy boots. It seems like winter causes this issue to escalate, so we needed to figure out how to make the most of the floor space.

With a larger area rug, we can accommodate more snowy bodies and the kids have more space to get undressed without making the floor wet and slippery. We also got a designated “wet” boot tray for immediate drop off and a boot rack for the footwear that isn’t used as often. Finally, we got some mitt drying racks to place over vents and even a portable plug-in dryer for especially wet items that may need to dry faster (great for in-and-out trips on the weekends). And hockey/ski parents take note: this portable dryer works great for hockey skates and ski boots – amazing for tournaments and ski meets!

Our winter essentials:

4. MAKE Room

When it comes to small spaces, the most clever designs are the most functional. In the winter, there is an excessive amount of stuff that needs to be stored (mitts, gloves, toques, scarves …). Incorporating storage solutions ensures that all items have a place, which hopefully means that there is less stuff ending up on the floor in a giant heap!

We don’t have a ton of closet space in our entrance so I had to get a bit creative with our storage. I took a trip to Dollarama and found plastic baskets that are a durable and cost-effective solutions for hidden storage. This is what I use for kids mitts, gloves and toques under our entry bench. Since it’s at their level, my boys know exactly where to find their gear and can easily put it away. I have an open shelf in the middle of our bench, so decided to splurge on one basket which serves as a nice decorative but useful storage touch.

Another way to make the most out of the space you have is to find new uses for existing items. For us, this meant using as much vertical space as possible. Shelves, hooks and hall trees all help take advantage of square footage. Extra tip: add removable hooks to the back of your closet doors and/or walls for winter. 3M Hooks are the best invention for so many things, temporary storage included!

Add Temporary Storage:

These stainless steel hooks do not require drilling, look great in any space, can hold over to 12lbs. and are waterproof (think snowy coats):

These are the ones we bought, which work really well behind our closet door and hold up to 5lbs.:

5. Understand That We’re all in the Same Boat (um, Snowmobile)

This isn’t so much as a tip as it is bit of advice. While I joke about making sure the front entrance is in check for when the Queen comes to visit, let’s all be serious for a second – we’re all dealing with the same stuff. If you live in northern Ontario, Canada or basically anywhere with a substantial amount of snow in the winter, you need the whole nine yards when it comes to winter gear, yet your entrance somehow doesn’t get bigger to accommodate all the extras. And guess what – this applies to your neighbours, friends and relatives too.

So, when you’re looking at your front foyer and you’re ready to pull your hair out, try to remember that we’re all in the same boat (but because it’s winter we have to be riding a snowmobile). So if there are mitts out drying and extra boots piling up at the door, try not to sweat it. We’re in this together! Besides, minimalist design isn’t cozy enough for winter!

How are you organizing your space to make room for winter? Drop us a note and share your ideas – we’d love to hear from you!

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