The winter is now just around the corner, and it’s time to start thinking about muddy feet and all of the extra coats and shoes you need to find a home for. Most homes are set up to have these items in the front hall, but being greeted by boots, wellies and winter jackets as you come home every day isn’t conducive to rest and relaxation.
Rather than allow things in your front hall to become increasingly hectic and cluttered over the winter months, it’s best to be prepared in advance.
Have a clear-out
You’re going to need every square inch of space in your hallway, so it’s always a good idea to have a complete clearout in preparation for the change in weather. Remove anything that doesn’t have to be there — find a new home for it, sell it or give it away. Also, remove any unnecessary furniture, summer shoes and coats you won’t be using until next year.
Deep clean the entire hall
Cleaning your front hall during the winter months won’t be easy, as it is likely to be filled with boots, heavy coats and various items of winter clothing. Take the opportunity to perform a deep clean during the autumn. Deep clean your floors, skirting, walls, furniture, windows, mirrors and anything else that requires attention. Then, during the winter, cleaning will be a simple matter of maintenance.
Think about ergonomics
Once you’ve cleaned and cleared your front hall, stand in it for a while, and think about how it is used. What is the first thing people do when they come in? Do you need extra storage, shoe racks or coat pegs? Where will school bags go if you have children? What layout will make cleaning as easy as possible? Adapt your front hall to your family’s needs, and it should serve you well throughout the winter.
It’s important to be realistic about the space you have in your front hall. While it would be lovely to have everyone’s winter shoes at your front door, such a situation might cause a mountain of footwear greeting your guests as they enter your home. Limit everyone in your household to one pair of shoes and one coat in the front hall.
Use specialist storage
Let’s be honest: there is no way of making several pairs of shoes look attractive in your front hall. But a dedicated shoe storage system can actually add a touch of elegance to the space. Most furniture retailers will sell their own version of a shoe “wardrobe” — designed specifically to store footwear near a front door. Alternatively, the addition of a chest will allow you to store bags and shoes out of sight.
Create a storage area for mail and keys
Junk mail often accumulates in a front hall until it starts to cause a serious access issue. Dedicate an area or a storage solution for all mail, and ask people to collect their own letters and correspondence every day. Also, fit a key cupboard to a wall in your hall; keys that simply get thrown on a table at the front door have a habit of going missing.
Use appropriate floor coverings
You should be preparing your hall for lots of rain, snow and ice, which means using effective floor coverings that will protect your carpets and wood floors while minimising the amount of cleaning you need to do. Thick mats made with horse hair always work well. Also, think about adding a couple of runners to your hall to protect your flooring from wet, muddy shoes. Of course, you could just ask people to take their shoes off at the door, but this might create a new issue if you’re planning on having guests around.
Prepare for cleaning
Your front hall will be dirtier during the winter than at any other time of year — so you should just accept that it’s going to happen. However, you and the other people in your household can clean as you go when you have the necessary cleaning tools close at hand. Keep items such as cloths, wipes, multipurpose sprays and paper towels in a cupboard near your front door… then there’s no excuse for not keeping the front hall spotless during the winter.
You front hall is the area of your home that offers guests a warm welcome during the winter, so make sure it’s always clean and presentable.