How to organize an entryway with children in mind – 9 ways to invite order into your home

Struggling to get out of the door on time? Organizing an entryway with children in mind can make all the difference - here's how

A header featuring 4 images of entryways and children's storage
(Image credit: Future / Zulufish / Frenchie Cristogatin / Vanessa Faivre)

Kids aren’t renowned for their tidiness, or their timekeeping, for that matter, so if you want to streamline your exit strategy (and ensure a happy homecoming), organizing an entryway with children in mind is the best chance you’ve got. 

‘When you’ve got kids in your household, decluttering an entryway is one thing, but organizing an entryway so it remains neat, orderly, and sensibly streamlined is an ongoing project. But it's a project worth committing to, given it’s the first space guests see when they walk through the door. 

You want your entryway ideas to be stylish as well as functional for the family. Below, we share nine ways to invite order into your home. 

How to organize an entryway with children in mind 

With school backpacks to find, lunch boxes to pack, and coats to put on, getting out of the house with little ones in tow is pretty chaotic, and that’s without having to wade through last week’s swim bags and smelly gym shoes just to get to the front door. 

Most entryway home organizing ideas apply regardless of who’s in your household, but there are a few kid-friendly adjustments that, according to the experts, are well worth making. Having tried them ourselves, we (and our children) can vouch for them, too. 

1. Consider how you use your entryway and plan accordingly

entryway closet with doors open, hanging clothes and drawers inside, rug on the floor

(Image credit: The Cotswold Company)

Bear in mind that the best entryway ideas (and mudroom ideas, if you happen to have one of those as well) are those tailored to a family’s specific organizational needs. Do you need space for a stroller? What about a bike – or five? Does your brood love ball games? You’ll want to designate entryway storage ideas accordingly, perhaps organize your entryway closet to cater for helmets and hockey sticks alongside your typical coat and shoe storage ideas… you get the idea.   

2. Declutter and prioritize

Dedicating prime storage space to only the items your family is currently using regularly will not only make life easier but keep your entryway tidier in general – the less rummaging around you have to do, the neater it will stay. 

Professional organizer and childcare expert Kathryn Lord advises decluttering by season. ‘Audit how many shoes and coats are out regularly and put out-of-season items somewhere else. Switch up the wooly hats for summer caps and the lip balm for sun cream as it gets warmer’. Whilst you’re at it, take the opportunity to organize children’s clothes. ‘Get your children to try on last year’s winter/summer gear. If it still fits, don’t buy new – simple’, she adds.   

Once you’ve decluttered, go through what’s left and organize it into categories to suit your family’s requirements. Keep them as generic as possible to avoid confusion; ‘wet weather gear’, ‘school work’, ‘sports equipment’, ‘stroller essentials’, and so on. 

3. Get as much as you can up off the floor

Whether you’re organizing a small entryway or not, keeping floors clear so everyone can move around freely is essential. It also makes it much easier to clean an entryway, something you’ll be glad of when winter rolls around! Bypass bulky storage solutions in favor of wall-mounted options. 

Cubbies are great for keeping post, letters, and kid’s school bags close to hand, while shelving lined with clear-lidded boxes (like these, from Amazon) is useful for containing gloves, scarves, hats, and other smaller items. If you’ve got a hallway closet, consider back-of-the-door storage too. 

Whilst we’re on the subject of clear floors, remember to position a doormat by the front door – the last thing you want is muddy footprints through the house!

4. Encourage independence with kid-friendly storage options

colors that go with dark green, two tone green entryway with dark green painted to dado rail, light green above, console table, pale green graphic tiles, basket

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Whether it’s putting on their coat in the morning or gathering and packing up their school books, giving your children the opportunity to start doing things for themselves can make a huge difference to their confidence, plus makes your life easier, too. 

With that in mind, approach your entryway through the eyes of a child and adjust your storage options accordingly. Ensure all their belongings are easily accessible; low-mounted hooks for organizing coats the wall, open storage baskets on the floor for dropping shoes into, accessible cubby-storage for mittens, scarves and school admin, and so on. 

5. Keep systems simple

You’re always going to face resistance from children when it comes to tidiness, regardless of what room you’re organizing, but keeping systems easy to follow should help lessen it a little. The fewer steps there are, the more likely they are to stick to it, too. 

'Rushing is always going to feel stressful whether you’re well-organized or not, so encourage children to sort as much as they can the night before and leave it in the entryway, ready to go. This gives them autonomy and allows you to take a more relaxed and leisurely approach in the mornings – a much better start to the day all round’, says Kathryn Lord. 

Remember, patience is key, particularly with younger children. Leave enough time in the mornings to support them through the ‘getting out of the door’ routine, and be ready with gentle reminders. It won’t happen overnight, but eventually, those good habits will start to stick. 

6. Label everything

You may know exactly where everything goes, but your children don’t. And if they do, they’re likely to forget pretty quickly. With multiple people using the same space, labeling is important. 

'For the little ones, decoding storage becomes a game. Labels or pictures turn it into an adventure, making it fun and easy for them to find their stuff. It’s not just about organization; it’s about creating a system that works for the whole family', says Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning

7. Set aside space for shoes – and putting them on

entryway closet with cabinetry doors, shoe storage, peg rack

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

Instead of shoe storage that caters for your child’s entire footwear collection, opt for a single rack, basket or shelf to hold only those relevant for the season; school/gym/dance shoes during term time, sandals in summer, wellies in winter, trainers year-round etc. 

It’ll take up less space, and the less your children have to rifle through, the easier they are to find. Plus, it makes decision-making a lot quicker (all those with stubborn toddlers rejoice).

‘If you’ve got the space, a stylish ottoman bench is a great addition to entryway ideas, but I find my small, upcycled trunk to be a more practical entryway furniture idea with kids around. I use it to store out-of-season items, they use it to sit and put their shoes on – better there than slap-bang in the middle of the floor! Plus I don't mind if it gets a bit muddy’, says Lucy Searle, Global Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens. 

8. Establish drop zones

Amidst the chaos of shoes and coats coming off, it’s easy to lose track of what belongs to whom, so give each child their own basket or cubby that they can drop things into the minute they walk through the door. When things are calmer, encourage them to go back and sort through it properly, putting things back in their rightful place. 

‘It’s not just kids that need a designated drop zone – if you can’t find your car keys, no one’s getting anywhere on time. Minimize time wasted searching by setting aside space for grown-up essentials, ideally somewhere up high, out of children’s reach. Try a wall-hung organizer; this one from Target.

9. Create a family control center

Bright entryway with green painted wall, black cabinet with pink decorative tray, styled with flowers, candles and ornaments

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

From playdates and school pickups to meetings and meals out, busy family schedules can be a mission to manage. One of the things the most organized people have in their entryways is a ‘family command center’, to help children (and yourself) keep on top of what they need and when. 

A combination of a pinboard, dry-erase calendar and wall-mounted baskets works well. Use the pinboard for lists and memos, the calendar for weekly schedules and reminders and the baskets for incoming mail and paper admin. 


How do you arrange an entryway?

Getting kids out of the house is frustrating enough as it is without bumping your backside every time you bend down to button up a coat or pick up a school bag. 

Being able to move freely is key to keeping your cool, so before you start rearranging, give some thought to what really needs to be there. For example, a console table may look lovely, but if it’s not serving a practical purpose, we’d say get rid. 

When it comes to storage, we’d recommend utilizing an entryway closet or considering wall-hung options where you can – shelving, cubbies, and hooks all work well and, when mounted low, can be used independently by children, which takes some of the load off you. Arrange items in categories, and prioritize space to those your family uses most often. 

Once you’re happy with your layout, give some thought to how you can keep clutter to a minimum going forward. This is where good organizational systems come in. Encourage your household to put things away when they come in through the front door, or at least set up drop zones that they come back to, to ensure floors remain clutter-free. 

Successfully organizing an entryway with kids in mind reaps big rewards. We’re not just talking in terms of your home (although a neat, tidy and clutter-free space is always a win), but your whole lifestyle. Leaving the house calm and relaxed, and returning to a neat and tidy space will do wonders for your mood, and your little ones are learning good habits in the process, too. 

Contributing Editor

For 10 years, Tara King worked as a Content Editor in the magazine industry, before leaving to become freelance, covering interior design, wellbeing, craft and homemaking. As well as writing for Ideal Home, Style at Home, Country Homes & Interiors, Tara’s keen eye for styling combined with a passion for creating a happy – and functional – family home has led to a series of organization and cleaning features for H&G.