“Well-organized entryway sparks joy”.
When my husband asked if I knew Marie “Konmari” Kondo who was featured in WSJ in 2015, I said “who is she?” He assumed that she was already popular in Japan and he thought I had heard of her before (because I am Japanese). At that point, Her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” had been ranked 1st in the New York Times for more than 27 weeks. However, actually, Konmari became well-known in Japan after she became popular outside of the county. In any case, she appeared in a Japanese TV show often around this time and at one of the shows she talked about how to tidy up the entrance.
According to her, tidying up the entrance is very important: How the entry looks tells you how much people can relax at home. The entrance is the first place to be seen at the house. If the entrance looks very neat and clear you would feel very comfortable. “Well-organized entryway sparks joy”. Even if the entryway appears very clean, good air flow is critical too, she says. Air comes in from the entryway and flows through the whole house. If many things pile up at the entrance, they block airflow. You may think that this idea applies only to Japan where all the houses are designed to have entryway recessed to the floor to remove shoes. However, Konmari lives in the US now and she mentioned at this blog (sorry.. but written in Japnese) that she keeps entryway as clean and clear as she was living in Japan. (you can see her apartment’s entryway in this blog)
Here, I summarized the tips to organize the entryway and shoe cabinets.
Tips to organize entryway and spark joy!
- Keep your entryway as clear as possible.
- Leave out only the shoes you have worn that day to air them. The shoes have to be dried entirely before putting them back into the storage. There should just be as many shoes as family members visible.
- There should be nothing on top of the shoe cabinet at the entryway. However, you could put something that sparks joy.
- If you have keys or anything you want to have at an entryway, you should have one container. Keep in mind that you always put them back in it.
- Be mindful of the odor of entrance! Deodorizer or flower may help.
- Clean shoes as often as possible and fix them if necessary. You will feel better if you see good conditioned shoes and feel motivated to clean entryway more often too.
- Remove dirt as much as possible, or wipe the bottom of the shoes if possible before entering the house.
Tips to organize the shoe cabinet (at entryway)
- Store shoes by a member of the family. Decide who’s shoes belong where. (If you do so, each of the family members can realize how many shoes they have or need)
- Store seasonal shoes or occasional shoes in their own room (it is better to store kids shoes in kids room).
- Heavier shoes such as boots or men’s shoes can store in lower levels, light shoes such as women’s shoes or flip-flop can be stored in upper levels of shoe storage. It looks better, and you feel better! (if you follow this rule, kids shoes may end up on the higher shelf. if that does not work for you, you can modify the place)
- Shoe boxes that come when you buy shoes are useful: Seasonal shoes can be stored in shoe boxes. Shoe boxes can also be used for the shoe accessories such as shoe care kit if you need.
- Use space-saving products:
- 3-Section Shoe Bin that can hold three shoes upright may help
- Shoe Slotz can double your storage space
- make your own by folding a cloth hanger Z-shaped.
- Tension Rod can be used to organize shoes.
Decluttering your shoes
Finally, don’t keep shoes that you do not need! The best way to clear the shoe spaces is to take out all the shoes you have and lay them out by shoe type (flip-flop, pumps, boots, kids shoes, etc.) then decide which one you want to keep. Check the condition of the shoe. Think when is the last time you wore the shoe. One of the lessons I learned from Konmari book was the concept of “served its purpose”: when you are not sure if you want to keep the shoes or not, think the purpose of the shoe. It may have sparked joy at some points in your life but if it does not now, then thank them and let it go. The shoes totally served its purpose! After reducing the number of shoes, separate regularly worn shoes from occasional and seasonal shoes. Then store occasional and seasonal shoes in the closet or boxes.