Assignment #14: Create a Clutter Filter

The idea of a landing strip—the first place you touch down when arriving home, the place where you drop your keys and coat—is one that appeals to me on a fundamental level. I like the idea of everything having a home, even if it’s just a temporary stay between my coming home from work in the evening and leaving for work the next morning. It makes it easier to clean, because then everything can be returned to its proper spot instead of being moved from one horizontal surface to another. (I used to be a master at relocating my messes. It goes hand-in-hand with my love of making piles, which is my way of pretending to be organized when I’m too lazy to actually put things away.)

We’re lucky enough to have an entryway with a closet, and we’re finally getting into the routine of hanging up coats (although we still have a bad habit of leaving shoes lying around throughout the apartment). Beyond that, though, the entryway is completely bare. There’s a dish on one of our nearby end tables for Justin’s wallet and keys, and another basket to stash non-urgent mail. They work, but they crowd the table top and don’t leave any room for a drink or a book. It also always look a little messy.

One of the things I’d like to add is a bench. It would encourage us both to take off our shoes at the door, and if it had cubbies in it I could use them to store my purses when I’m not using them. I currently store them in the bedroom slipped between my nightstand and the wall; when I swap them out, I usually do it on the couch, which means I tend to leave the now-empty bag sitting in the living room instead of the spot I’ve designated. With a storage bench, I’d have no excuse for leaving purses scattered about.



1 – Everett Espresso Cubbie Bench // 2 – NORNÄS // 3 – Altra Storage Bench with Cushion // 4 – Crosley Brennan Entryway Storage Bench

We were just trying to get a feel for what’s out there and what we like, so all of the options we picked out above were chosen for looks and not necessarily for size or price. We like #1 and #3 for for the clean lines, although I think I would make my own cushion to attach to #1. For #2, I’m not sure if we would paint the wood or leave it as-is, but I think we’d definitely paint the backs and/or insides of the cubbies for contrast. Justin is a little concerned about it being able to hold his weight, so we’ll have to check it out once it hits stores (it isn’t available yet in the U.S., but was featured in a recent Apartment Therapy article about new collections coming to IKEA this February, which is just around the corner). The more traditional #4 is a bit of an outlier, but I think the chunkier molding would ground the space, Justin felt that it looked a little sturdier than the other options.

With a closet in the entryway, we don’t need any extra hooks or pegs, so we’re free to hang something decorative about the bench. Either a mirror or a piece of artwork would be lovely, but I think a mirror would be especially practical since I wear scarves at least six months out of the year and usually have to run back to the bathroom to get them just so. Now hang on to your seat, because we liked a lot of mirrors.



1 – Miranda Capiz Round Mirror // 2- Parsons Round Mirror – Bone Inlay // 3 – Wooden Circle Wall Mirror // 4 – Burst Circular Wall Mirror // 5 – Quoizel Reflections Gwyneth Large Mirror // 6 – Sunburst Reflections 38″ High Wall Mirror // 7 – Fairplex Bronze 39″ Wide Webbed Iron Wall Mirror // 8 – Metal Silver Petal 37 1/2” Round Wall Mirror // 9 – Safavieh Galaxy Wall Warm Amber Mirror // 10 – Bianca Quatrefoil Mirror (no longer available) // 11 – Safavieh Braided Chain Decorative Wall Mirror Gold // 12 – Safavieh Wired Wall Natural Mirror

I know, I know. That’s hardly a shortlist of favorites. We seemed to be drawn to a couple of different types:

Row 1: Round mirrors with a textured frame. I like that these are neutral and versatile, but not plain.

Row 2: Sunburst mirrors. They’re a dynamic shape, but not completely bonkers. Also, apparently we like mirrors surrounded by more mirrors. Who knew?

Row 3: Spirographic mirrors. They may be called “petal” or “galaxy” shaped in the details, but all I can think of are the awesome patterns created by the spirograph kit from my childhood.

Row 4: Other fun mirrors. These don’t really share common elements with the previous entries or each other, but we liked each in their own way because they felt different and visually interesting.

Can I just take a moment to point out how ridiculously expensive decorative mirrors are? This is unfathomable to me, because you would not believe the number of $100+ mirrors whose frames were made out of polyurethane, plastic, or polystyrene (AKA styrofoam). They weren’t even especially large or ornate designs, so I have no idea how they justify such hefty price tags.

Finally, we picked a few extras to round everything out.


1 – FÖRHÖJA // 2 – Large Honeycomb Book Shelf // 3 – Latte Parker Letter Sorter // 4 – Chestnut Marten Letter Sorter // 5 – TRAMPA

By adding a wall cubby or two near the door, we can move Justin’s dish closer to the door. For an easy option we could stick with #1; for a splurge, Justin loves the idea of honeycomb shelves like #2 (he seriously digs hexagons). Top that off with a mail sorter like #3 or #4 and we’ve got organization under control. A plain mat like #5 is ripe for a DIY stenciling project.

Those are our ideas for a landing strip. Things will probably evolve before we’ve saved up for all of the pieces we’d like to add. What’s your take on the landing strip—nice to have, absolutely essential, or just another place for clutter to collect?