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True confession:  Last night (at the time of this writing) I took a child to church with no shoes.  It wasn’t intentional, but we were running late and I couldn’t find any of his shoes and it’s kind of embarrassing for the pastor to walk into the service late.  Somehow it’s more noticeable when you have to go up front and lead worship.  I figured it was better for me to be embarrassed about a barefoot child than to exhaust the pianist with lots of prelude music and embarrass my husband by making him walk to the front of the church 15 minutes late.

So I took him barefoot.

Most of the time, our system works well.  But I don’t want you to think I’ve got this whole thing figured out, so I thought you should know my kids go to church barefoot sometimes. As a matter of fact, one child almost went to church in pajamas in the morning.  For promotion Sunday.  When said child would be reciting a Bible verse in front of everyone attending Sunday school.

Yesterday was not a banner day in the Quillen house.

This doesn’t often happen to us because our entryway/exit path is fairly organized.  But even in the best of systems, there is sometimes a breakdown.  Apparently, convincing a two-year old to keep his shoes in his cubby by the door is one of those break downs.

I’m sure you have experienced your share of barefoot or pajama-clad children and don’t need my help in orchestrating such events.  They seem to come organically.  🙂

Getting out the door well, on the other hand, doesn’t happen organically.  It requires organization and planning.  So, let’s talk about what works well, when it works for us. lol.

We enter and leave our house through our back door.  The back door opens into our living room.  I created a mudroom of sorts by dividing the living room (its awkwardly shaped) with Expedit shelves from Ikea and some pictures (they hang from the ceiling and have images on front and back).

One side looks pretty and faces the living room.  The other side is a highly functional mud room.

Please Enter!

Each of the lower openings in the Expedit is filled with a plastic bin.  You can’t see these from the living room side because they are behind the sofa.  My kids store their shoes in these bins.  They are easy to wash, durable, and hold several pairs of shoes.

The upper openings are filled with decorative baskets.  My older kids use these as a launch pad of sorts.  It is where they keep the things they will need to take with them when they leave.  So, if they have a card they want to hand deliver on Sunday, they pop it in their launch pad as soon as they’ve written it.  My eldest daughter keeps her purse in her launch pad.  My son’s keep their Sunday school binders in theirs.

We have hooks for backpacks and jackets.  This time of year the wall is fairly empty, but come winter it will be packed.

The buffet by the door hides a bin of items to be returned to stores, a bin of items to be returned to people we know, a bin of give-away items, and a basket of hand-sanitizing wipes.  I need to add a trash can to the area so people can throw away the little things they cart in from the car, but I haven’t found one the right size just yet.

My husband has a decorative box on top of the buffet that acts as his launch pad.

I added a clock, so they know how late we are running,and a mirror, for last minute visual checks on the way out the door.  There are even hooks nearby for keys.

Most of the messy parts are hidden from view in the living room.

Since we all like to go without shoes, it’s not usually a problem to take shoes off when we walk in the door and pop them into our shoe bins.

Except the two-year old.  He hasn’t quite gotten the hang of this yet.

Which is why he went to church barefoot last night.