Here’s Why I Always Keep 4 Bins by the Front Door

published Jul 6, 2023
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Trying to corral the hats, gloves, backpacks, shoes, sunglasses, and wallets of all four of my family members is infuriating, to say the least. Like many people, I want my entryway to be a calming, organized space. But instead of having the shoes lined up neatly, they end up scattered around the home. 

This makes leaving the house a frustrating treasure hunt for essentials, which is why I no longer attempt to organize other people’s things. Rather, I’ve adopted a method that encourages everyone (even the kids) to take responsibility for their belongings while keeping our entryway tidy: a bin for everyone. 

The idea comes from Rebecca Enberg, home organizing expert and creator of the Substack “Your House Machine.” She explains that her 1905 Victorian home didn’t offer much in the way of entryway storage, so she provided each family member with a bin

Enberg found that when everyone had an easy place to throw their belongings, more tidiness ensued. She went a step further and actually had built-in drawers made as an evergreen solution. While a permanent drawer is ideal, a bin does the trick and can work in any entryway — regardless of its layout. 

It’s simple: Each family member gets a bin. All of their items go in the bin (with the exception of dirty boots). Ideally, the items go in the bin right away, but let’s say my hangry 6-year-old becomes distracted upon entry by the promise of an after-school snack and leaves her backpack on the kitchen table. No problem. 

At the end of each night, it’s tidy time — all family members look around the home to make sure there are no loose belongings. This task could be included in the family’s “closing duties,” made famous by KC Davis, author of How to Keep House While Drowning. In order to get out of the house with ease the next morning, all family members need to get their things in a bin. 

Any bin will do, but not all bins are created equal. I like a bin that is sturdy, neutral, and easy to clean. Here are a few of my favorites.

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The Container Store

Marie Kondo’s Ori Curved Rattan Bins are sturdy enough to hold shoes and backpacks. Because there aren’t any large openings, they’re safe for keys or wallets too. They're minimal and warm, and they look nice enough to keep out in the open or under a bench for shoe tying.

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This three-pack of storage baskets from Amazon comes in a wide array of colors depending on your home’s aesthetic. The baskets are highly rated for their durability, versatility, and sturdiness — plus, they're a bargain.

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was $7.00

HAY’s Recycled Colour Crates are a fun, modern way to organize your entryway. Each family member can choose their own hue, like dusty rose or dark mint. Because they’re plastic, they’re incredibly easy to clean.

Sometimes it’s the no-brainer solutions, like giving everyone a bin, that make life easier and help to create a calmer home.