Q: We need an affordable storage solution for our entry area. We need a spot for shoes and boots, hooks for winter coats, and a place for scarves, mittens, hats, and other odds and ends. We’d also like a bench.
—Steph Glaros & Corey McNally, Minneapolis
Steph and Corey’s hallway has limited space, but with some creativity and efficient space utilization, it can house a shelving and storage unit for all of their indoor/outdoor gear, plus a bench and mail table. I suggest tucking floor-to-ceiling shelving behind a decorative curtain. Inexpensive, easy-to-hang, light metal-wire shelving doesn’t collect dust and lets air circulate, reducing musty smells. Rubbermaid offers Greenguard-certified ventilated wire shelving made from 100 percent recycled steel. To keep the hallway easily navigable, the shelving should be no deeper than about 15 inches from the wall.
A curtain will hide the storage, soften the space and add personality. Organic and fair trade curtains come in many styles. Rawganique offers organic hemp; Anna Sova has organic cotton and “Eco Silk,” processed without toxic chemicals.
Organize items according to function. The shelves nearest the kitchen can house cookbooks, pantry items and cleaning supplies. Allow space below the first shelf to hide recycle bins. Organize tools and other “outdoor” stuff on the side closer to the exit. This is also a good place for a clothes rod for out-of-season outdoor gear.
The “central” area houses a bench and “grab-and-go” hooks for outdoor gear in daily use. A bench with built-in cubbies provides a convenient spot to remove shoes, helping keep debris, dust and other contaminants out of the house. Store rarely used items such as holiday decorations in bins on the most difficult-to-reach shelves.
With everything hidden behind the curtain, there’s room next to the large storage area to place a narrow table for keys, mail, a small plant and a favorite piece of art, rounding out the space.
Feng shui wisdom
Opening up narrow hallway spaces is easy—just hang a mirror on the wall.
Save space: 3 easy steps
Storage should be pretty. Our favorite storage solutions, all made from healthy materials, provide smashing ways to store your stuff.
1. Think multipurpose. Furniture can offer storage space within your living space. Look for coffee tables with built-in shelves, ottomans that hold blankets and beautiful kitchen storage containers that can be left out on the counter.
2. Get high. You probably don’t use your wall spaces above eye-level, but your stuff could. Store holiday decorations in attractive woven baskets on shelves mounted a
few feet below the ceiling.
3. Let it go! Don’t have room for something? Maybe it’s time to declutter.
Feng shui and interior design specialist Jami Lin can help with trouble spots in your home. Send a photo and description of your problem area to