While we all want an immaculate and organized house, we have to admit to ourselves that we don’t all fit the mould. The upkeep is what kills it. But having one space that is always pristine makes up for the lack of overall satisfaction enough to not worry so much about every dingy corner that you will inevitably have.
Front halls are among the most demanding spaces one has in a home. They are what I call first-impact spaces, the kind to take in at one glance.
Impressions of spaces can be formed in two ways: immediate, which is instinctual, or analytic, meaning, after a bit of looking around and analyzing what you see. Surroundings are often complex environments, hard to grasp in one shot since human perception operates through so many filters. In the case of front entrances, the safest bet is to tackle them with simplicity.
Simplicity is often misunderstood as spareness, but in front halls, simplicity means convenience.
The boots in the middle of the floor, for instance, just waiting for you to slip them on your way out – how do you beat that convenience by hiding them in the closet? You better make sure that the door separating you from them opens ever so smoothly as if it’s not there. And as soon as it’s open, the boots need to be there, facing you, as ready to be slid on as if they were in the middle of the floor. That closet better be deep.
Front foyers are also the place for an army of small objects. Keys, lipstick, one forgotten mitten, receipts, bits of crumbs in the lunch bagel bag, hair clip, the last business card on earth that someone certainly handled to you by mistake! And let’s not forget the few charger cables with their constantly changing adaptors and converters that you can’t even remember what device they belong to but still keep just in case. These little trinkets that we carry around never cease to amaze me.
The mysterious catchall trays of grand homes with great shape and beautiful lines, filled to the brim in no time with this assortment of keys, strings, rings, cards, broken bits of electronic clickers and coins, never seems to get empty, always full.
One day, I thought, I shall grab and toss it all in a bag and shove it in a corner. Will I actually miss anything in it other than the keys?
Does the catchall tray have some extraordinary power of rendering everything it catches into uselessness? If that’s the case, it is the perfect vessel for mini-junk removal – right up there with its sister, the garbage bin.
But until we get a self-cleaning tray, we will still resort to the less convenient doors, drawers and hide-aways that can be beautifully designed and hide with utmost precision the organized array of items on the go that the modern human shleps around.
So what’s the secret? you ask. If you did not get it, start with grabbing that catchall tray and dumping it. Ask me after.