We all have one.  They come in many shapes, sizes, colours and and finishes. Sometimes they are at the front and sometimes they are at the back.  They almost always see a lot of traffic. The traffic is either coming or going through here…sometimes the traffic stops here…Very often the traffic leaves a deplorable mess here.  For me…it is the bane of my existence. It is….

This picture illustrates how my front hall looks on any given day in the spring, summer or fall.

Below is our front hall now…in winter. Our front door is the only convenient entrance to our home and ALL of the family traffic flows through here. The closet to the left is very functional, and sometimes very organized, but not very large. We live in Ottawa…the variable weather conditions in winter require many types of outdoor footwear. Although I have insisted that only one pair of boots per person may remain in the hall,  as you can see, many boots have taken permanent residence in this modest space.

I also insist that all footwear staying in the hall MUST be placed on the small mats to dry and have their  heels against the wall and lined up.  I think it looks less crowded, more organized. Alas, my family does not heed my words….witness the chaos. Now take a look at the throw rugs and surrounding hard wood floors (beyond embarrased to be showing you, but for a good cause).  This is only one day worth of slush, muck and dirt.  It is impossible to keep up with winter constantly visiting our front hall…and then of course, that same mess migrates to other areas of our house on the soles of socks and slippers.

Therefore, THE FRONT HALL CLEANING PROCEDURE is performed…and this is how it goes
1. move all the footwear to the kitchen
2. shake out the mats…toss in kitchen
3. shake out the rugs…toss in kitchen
(I also do 1, 2 and 3 for quick fixes on non-slushy days…when there is only grit…then I sweep)
4. vacuum the floor removing dust, dirt, salt and sand
5. vacuum the rugs…. or take directly to washing machine depending on soil level
6. wash the floor, baseboards and sometimes walls (some people, who shall remain nameless, kick off their boots, hitting many surfaces at once with flying muck….grrrrrr)
7. replace the mats, and rugs when floors are dry
8. return only the necessary boots to the matt making sure the heels are against the wall….put the extra boots in the closet…if they will fit
9. sit down, have a glass of wine… I mean water, because I am parched and exhausted from this labour intensive exercise
10. pray it does’t snow for a few days so I DO NOT have to repeat the procedure again tomorrow
 I COULD spend hours each day washing the rugs and floors, but of course that would be counterintuitive. Oh and one other thing…what’s with the boots sitting in the middle of the hall?…I am going to KILL myself bringing in the groceries some day.

Sometimes I wonder if I should have carried the herringbone pattered tile from the vestibule, into the hall, but that would not have reduced the ucky, gucky puddles.
At one point I was thinking of having a really durable, shows-no-dirt-runner (or two) made to cover the length of the hall…however, the kitchen and vestibule doorways do not line up, so the runner would be askew…my design sensitivity will not allow that.

I have also contemplated  painting a faux rug on the hardwood….I would love the challenge of creating and executing the design.  It would solve a few issues….perhaps the pattern would detract from the sodden slush, there would be no need for throw rugs, therefore, less vacuuming, and rug laundry…actually better for the environment really. I could just have a mop handy whenever winter messes come knocking at our front door. My concern is the durabiltiy of this solution…would the paint fade and crack creating a more expensive dilema in the future?

I am truly flumoxed. I NEED FRONT HALL THERAPY STAT!!!!

Please let me know if you have front hall solutions for winter….I would be eternally grateful.

Addendum:  Yesterday, I undertook THE FRONT HALL CLEANING PROCEDURE. Last night my daughter and 3 friends came through the front door….and yes, my earlier cleaning efforts were for naught. The rugs and floors were a disgusting mess…and there has been no snow for several days…I give up!!!

All othe above photos for “The Bane of My Existence… ” taken by Maureen Coates unless otherwise specified


16 thoughts on “THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE….

  1. Oh boy…sounds like a winter disaster 🙂 I always prefer an entry that has a front closet for easy storing (aka HIDING) of messy boots and shoes…but in your case, I think it still looks ok. You can't beat winter 🙂 Have you tried using a single long rug with a tight pattern, not quite a runner but one rug instead of 2? I think the pattern would help disguise the slushy mess and the single long carpet would not break up the wood flooring in two different places.As for the mats, I wonder if a low shoe rack would help you? Maybe it would eliminate the need for you to remove all shoes, lift mats and clean under them… if you could just squeeze a broom or mop under you'd never have to move all the shoes…although maybe you'd still need a mat underneath because of all the slushy, wet drips. Ahhhh…I don't know what exactly to do! There's a reason I moved to a tropical climate ;)Looking forward to your solution!*Tania @

  2. thanks for comment and helpful hints Tania. I want to do do a long runner, just as you described, but dorrways not lined up…it would run into radiator at one end….Hubs would love a shoe reack, but I think there would be even MORE boots in the hall…maybe a very narrow bench…You have the perfect solution…just don't do winter…very envious.

  3. I have the same problem but in my back entry/laundry room. The closet is full and I am constantly tripping over boots/shoes, while trying to get into house or while trying to do laundry. I actually have been known to throw boots/shoes into garage…..Works for me! I agree with Tania put one longer/larger rug in front of entrance- have it end before radiator. Then place a boot rack with mats just underneath to catch drips.

  4. Did you know that you can buy a carpet remnant and have it templated to fit the hall exactly? the edges would be bound (of course) and you could leave some would showing around the edges Or you could opt for a snug fit. et voila … use an indoor/outdoor to handle the wet or a good "nylon" commercial carpet (don't use indoor plush). I LOVE the idea of a low bench to place/line up/organize the boots. That would be the bain of my existence as well. Sympathy my dear … sympathy 🙂 Move to Vancouver, it's gorgeous today 🙂 just sayin …

  5. Love the templated carpet idea Layers and Layers, but it would have to withstand a lot of wear and tear and hide the dirt (water stains)…is there such an animal..if there is I will buy two. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

  6. there are lots of options on the market now … there's one product (sorry, I can't remember what its called),but it reminds of me chilliwich but its for the floor (mind you chilliwich makes area rugs too) call ELTE they should carry it. Its a solution dyed "plastic" woven … great colours, gorgeous product. Very stylish … then in the summer roll it up OR you might light it enough to leave all year. Hope thats helpful 🙂

  7. I hear you sister. We have a similar layout and I use a runner after the tile floor, with a rule that you are supposed to take off footwear before the mat. Little people listen, but not the big ones. Frustrating. Especially when you think the rug is dry and you step in a slushy mess. I'm with Sonya…God I wish I had a mudroom!

  8. I live in southern CA, and only have to deal with the occasional rain pour (which, to me- that is frustrating!). But I do enjoy reading all of the comments on this… and am thankful that it is not something that I have to deal with! Good luck! 🙂

  9. Oyyyy…I feel your pain. Find comfort in the hundreds of calories you burned while cleaning and the gift your daughter and her friends have given you of getting to do it all over again. (You have to know I'm kidding!)Close your eyes and hang in there!Tricia

  10. We don't have the boot problem (just a few pairs between hubby and me), but we do have a paw print problem! Not so much in the winter, but in the spring when the backyard is wet & mucky, the wet & mucky comes into the house on dog paws.I find the best solution is to just pretend the dirt & mess doesn't exist 🙂

  11. Ooo Maureen, I so feel your pain. We have a similar entryway, however the closet opens into the entryway which helps as you could hide boots/shoes in there – at least until the doors were removed. Now it's open to the naked eye *gasp* and I am constantly rearranging shoes and boots – and it's just hubby and I (and occasionally, when she remembers she lives here, daughter #1) LOL. Now at the back door it's a different story. The door is in the kitchen and there is very limited space. Add to that the comings and goings of two dogs and one hubby who MUST wear those big ugly green rain/snow/work boots – AAARRRGGGGHHHH!!!Where's the wine …..

  12. Gosh, Maureen, I totally feel for you!!! I put out a typical hardware-store black boot tray beside our front door entranceway, adjacent to SOLEIL (the name of our art glass table) and placed a good amount of colourful glass cabochons (circular and oval jewel-like glass 'stones') (yes, for those who don't know us, we are glass artists!) so the mat sparkles with lively colours even against the black background… my idea being that like river rock, it would help with drippy, snowy boots, (a la Martha Stewart!) and actually be a decor element at our front foyer! Only every guest who enters our house (or to visit our glassworks gallery), whether our kids' friends or family (or clients, yikes, I'm really not upset! LOL!), leaves their boots on the front hall rug, and never, ever think to put their boots on the shimmery tray!!! 🙂 I once asked a visiting teen, who told me they were afraid to 'mess it up, it looked too pretty'! And yes, similarly, that does entail a weekly cleaning of glass globs in vinegar and water (you have no idea how loud glass banging against one another as they tumble into a pail is 'til you experience it for yourself! 😉 … ah well, what we do for beauty – and to give ourselves a small smile of satisfaction! Guess we all have our 'banes'! 😉 …. Pam

  13. Thanks for GREAT comment Pam. I love the glass bead idea and actually toyed with it for awhile, but I need several boot trays…therfore lots of beads. i imagined them all over the floor if they stuck to the underside of boot, then fell off, putting them on. Four choices, move to warmer climate, move to condo, hire a wife, suck it up and just keep cleaning it up.

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