One Thing You’ll Find by the Door in Every Clean Home You See

published Jan 29, 2019
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(Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

The January Cure is all about refreshing and organizing your home for 2019. We tackle one assignment each weekday throughout the entire month. It’s not too late to sign up, and you can visit the Cure page to catch up with the assignments so far.

Tidy people have their secrets (like, uh, a whole storage unit), but there’s one good home habit they can’t hide: The open space by the door where they unload the day’s effects.

If you notice it or not, the cleanest homes always have some sort of a “landing strip” where you can walk in, drop your bag and your keys, and keep messes from ever entering your space. It can be as big as a mudroom or as small as a tiny 1′ by 2′ wall-mounted mirror shelf. A good landing strip is like a clutter filter, catching all matter of small items that you don’t want to let take over the more comfortably livable areas at home.

If you’ve done the Cure with us in years’ past, you already know about the legend of the landing strip (and have long stopped snickering at the name). But for those of you who are doing the Cure for the first time, your job today is to set one up. And start keeping your home cleaner, forever.

(Image credit: Cathy Pyle)

Today’s Assignment: Set up a “landing strip” by the door.

Set up a welcome zone—we call it a landing strip—near the front door (or garage door, or wherever you most often enter your space).

You can compile this together from pieces and things you already own. Raid the kitchen for a bowl, for example, or borrow decorative items from other rooms.

The components of your landing strip might include:

  • A doormat to wipe off your shoes
  • Wall hooks, or usable space in a coat closet to hang your outerwear and bags
  • A dish or hook for your keys
  • A bowl or container for change and your wallet
  • A surface — like a shelf or side table or small corner of a console — to sort the mail and other items (newspapers, books, magazines, purchases) as they come in
  • A small wastebasket and/or recycling bin to hold your discarded incoming mail and other stuff to be recycled (you can also consider a shredder here)
  • A mirror for last minute check ups before you walk out the door

It doesn’t matter how you orient or style these things. They can be clumped in one stop-and-drop area, or scattered around a small space. All that matters is that you can easily unload your things when you walk in the door.

Then you just have to make it a habit. Hang your coat, put your keys and bag in their spots and take off your shoes. Sort through your mail and immediately toss or recycle what you don’t need. Put the mail that will require your attention later in an easily accessible, prominent spot. The whole thing will take just take a few minutes when you arrive home.

This routine is really, really natural. So don’t fret at all about whether or not you can keep it up (New Years Resolution, this is not). You’re really just designing your home in a way that can support your everyday life. It’s second-nature to want to drop what you’re carrying as soon as you walk in, so we’re just making sure your space has an organized way to receive your stuff.

If you’re a Cure veteran and you already have a landing strip set up, take a mindful moment to think about if it’s working like it should be, or if you have any wrinkles in your “welcome home” routine that need ironing out.

No matter what, I hope you’ll tell us all what you did today, and how your home landing strip is working for you!

Only TWO more days to go in the Cure! (And only one “real” assignment left.)

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Download the printable PDF calendar: January Cure 2019

Share your progress on Instagram: #thejanuarycure