Entry Way Oasis

There is one area of my house that seems to repel clutter. I consider it my “safe room.” Some people have safe rooms for security, I have a safe room for sanity. It is where I retreat to when I can’t stand the sight of another pile, another discarded piece of clothing, abandoned toy or wayward shoe.


My safe room, technically, is not a room at all. It’s merely a passage way to other areas of the house. There is no chair for me to sit when I escape there. No door to shut to keep others out. I just stand there on the small area rug covering the hardwood floor absorbing its resistance to family chaos.


This beautiful piece of unmolested feng shui is my entry way. It is miraculously devoid of anything (excluding dust and dog hair dust bunnies) that shouldn’t be there, and for this I love it.


There’s not much to it – a bubble gum machine in the corner and the two small tables adorned with pictures and knickknacks representing the most current holiday. But its simplicity isn’t necessarily what stops the clutter from congregating there. There’s not much to my nightstand, but it’s littered in books, magazines, papers, and sudoku puzzles I’ve been meaning to get to, as well as errant jewelry and hair ties, three TV remotes, cough drops, and a week old glass of water with a film of dust and what looks to be a gnat floating in it.


Its role as a passage way doesn’t seem to be the key to its pristine condition either. The other transitional area of the house, the hallway, is always good for at least one shoe, sock, dog bone or toy, ball (left from playing unsanctioned “hall ball”), or not-mine contraband flung from a brother or sister’s room when they’ve been forced to tame the bedroom clutter.  


The location is probably helpful. Since our family enters the house through the garage into the den, that’s where everything gets dumped the second someone crosses the threshold. Its place in between the hall and kitchen, leading to the family room, offers no convenient surface to mindlessly deposit something. No one has stacked anything to be sorted later because that’s what my kitchen counters, desk, china hutch, coffee tables, nightstands, bathroom counters and bedroom floors are for.


Hubby doesn’t linger long enough in the entry to pollute it with a discarded Pepsi can, loose change or crumpled receipts because there are no masculine touches to cause him to pause and notice this area of the house exists.


The breakability factor in the entry way – high – with framed artwork on the walls and prized surface decorations isn’t worth the risk of Mom’s wrath to the kids. So they steer clear of the area when on a rule breaking tear, instead knocking anything and everything else over while racing through the house tackling each other, playing outdoor games inside, and chucking stripped clothes.


As for me, I have vowed to keep any piles of unopened junk mail, unread papers, stacks of kids’ school paperwork, calendar input, or any things to be put away, filed or sorted (including laundry) from collecting in the one space in my house, that against all odds, has remained a clutter free oasis.


That is, if I pretend that there is nothing behind the coat closet door and we all agree it doesn’t need to be opened.


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