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A well-ordered hall

A family enjoying their tidy hall
Click to enlarge
Operations - Store and Insure

These simple decluttering rules will keep your hall neat and functional

‘…and she’s only gone and got a super-nanny in,’ my up-the-hill neighbour said peering through the hedge. ‘Told her to declutter the hallway. I ask you! How’s that supposed to help? Should have told her to stop letting her children play out on the back field until all hours…’

I nodded and smiled and cut short further analysis of the family down the hill by turning the leaf blower back on. Unlike my neighbour I can well believe that decluttering the hall improves family life. A tidy hallway means you can – mostly – get out of the house without anyone losing their keys and their temper.

I’m rather proud of our entryway – it’s functional, and that makes it beautiful. It stays that way, too, because we follow a few simple rules.

We put our keys and daily carry in one place every time

Putting my keys, wallet and phone down in the same place every time I come in through the door means that I know exactly where to pick them up when I go out again. It’s as simple as that. I keep them out of reach and sight of callers to the front door, of course.

We put outdoor clothes in their correct places

If I’ve got a coat or jacket on, I hang it up as soon as I walk in. We’re not a ‘no outdoor shoes’ house, but I can see the value of being able to quickly put footwear away, so good shoe storage is a must for the hall.

Our hall is a place for ‘now’

This means that only current clothing and equipment are allowed in the hall. In summer it looks a bit minimalist – a few sunhats and light jackets; and the umbrellas: this is England! But now the cold weather is here our winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves have come out of storage . Boots, too. The same goes for sports equipment. Our daughter’s hockey stick and football boots are ready for her practice sessions; but her tennis racket is in storage. I’ve got a reminder in my calendar to get the summer bits out – and I’ll do a post about that nearer the time just in case any of you need your memories jogging!

We speed things on their way elsewhere

I’ve noticed that a lot of halls get cluttered up with items on their way out of the door. These bags of charity shop donations, dry cleaning and borrowed items are like drunken guests who have failed to read the host’s ‘I’m going to bed’ signals. So we do the equivalent of calling them a taxi by making a point of moving them on within the day.

I clear out the post -- particularly junk mail – as it arrives

I don’t like to see envelopes, flyers and free magazines piling up in the hall, so I process our mail as soon as it arrives. Everyone has an in-tray; and I make liberal use of our recycling bin. I might flip through a magazine or a flyer or a tasty-looking takeaway menu – but all the information is available on-line and I just don’t see the point of keeping the paper.

Keeping the hall tidy is an easy win, or really a series of easy wins, that keeps our family life running smoothly.