KeysFor nearly three years we have written about every aspect of building a tiny house ranging from heating and cooling a tiny house to welding on scissor jacks to clearing land on which to live. But since January 2013 we have been living full time in our tiny house and the focus of our tiny life has changed. No longer are we dreaming, preparing, and building. We are now living and loving. And with that comes a number of things you simply don’t think about when weighing the options between an electric composting toilet and a lovable loo!

Being conscious of what comes into your home is a big step in keeping clutter (and your overall home) under control. In the broader sense we practice the ‘One In, One Out’ method. Basically if we bring something in to the house something has to go out. Now that doesn’t necessarily pertain to items of mail or a refrigerator magnet or event a wooden puzzle for our daughter. It means things like a pair of shoes or a new piece of cookware. But the topic today is more about the little items in life; mail, keys, scarves, etc. So being conscious of what comes involves a rather straightforward formula – the less dirt, clutter, useless paper and items that come in, the less time you need to spend cleaning and organizing. It’s easy to allow a lot of stuff to make it in under the radar that we don’t really think about. But before long we can find ourselves in a tiny episode of Hoarders or worse!

The average tiny house has a front entry that is more than likely set back a few feet from the front wall of the house. This is useful for having time to unlock the door in the rain or set your umbrella without dripping in your house. It is not helpful though for setting down a pair of keys, dropping the newspaper or your mail, or hanging a beloved hat or scarf. For that you really need to identify a spot and create what is known in the design world as a landing strip.

This strip is part of a larger, healthier, more practical, filter for your front door. The filter also contains a doormat, and perhaps a coat hanger or two.

The mat keeps the excess dirt out (although most tiny housers practice a NO SHOES policy). The hanger (or hooks even) provide a place to hang your coat, bag, dog leash, etc. It keeps the grime and water in one place and not all over your house. The landing strip is where you can lay things down, sort the mail, park your keys, and drop your change.

In our home we have struggled for a couple of months with this place. I like to hang my keys by the door but at eye level. Fine for me but not for a 5′ tall wife. I like to put shoes right next to the front door. Fine for me but not great for a 22-month old daughter that is learning the art of hide and watch others seek! And while we don’t get much mail the stuff we do get I like to put next to my side of the bed to be read later. Good for me but probably not the best for the person in the house who actually does the budget (read: pays the bills), responds to invites, writes the thank you cards and notes, etc. But we have cured this by working together and identifying our own landing strip.

What about your house? Do you have a landing strip? Do you filter your home at the front door? Tell us your tips and techniques!

TODAYS CHALLENGE: Create your own basic home landing strip

5 Keys to the Landing Strip

  • doormat
  • coat hooks
  • side table (or even a small shelf)
  • waste basket (or recycling bin)
  • mirror

GOAL: Create a space that is functional on a small scale that you want to use each time you come home to sort through the stuff you’re carrying in your bags, pockets and hands upon arrival, so you stay ahead of the mail, bills and items coming in to your home and also, have an easier time getting out the door next time!