Having a slower schedule means I can take a closer look at different spaces in my home that I tend to overlook. Either because they don’t inspire me or because I’ve found little success in improving them.
Enter the entryway
At one time my entryway was Insta-famous for the trinity of entryway decor: hooks, bench, and runner.
We really did love the functionality of the bench and hooks. Guests and family alike used it to take off shoes upon entering our home. And the hooks added value by providing a home for keys, bags, jackets.
But at the core of my Anita Yokota Method® is helping you identify your WHY for each space. And it’s not just about having the proper storage or perfectly-sized runner.
I truly believe entryways present a golden opportunity to intentionally stop for a moment or two and realign your internal world with the new environment into which you’re transitioning. More than just an in-between space, it’s an opportunity to purposefully pause and reset.
Let’s take a deep dive into more of what I mean!
MINDING THE GAP
As a therapist, my goal was to help clients build a powerful toolkit to tolerate, accept and embrace unknowns and uncertainty. Because whether it manifests as anxiety, depression, or relational issues, as human beings we love to be in control and can quickly spiral when we’re not.
During our current state of cocooning at home, we’re facing a big reality check. Suddenly the constant business that distracted us from facing our most vulnerable selves is gone.
Being vulnerable means acknowledging that we don’t know all the answers and outcomes. We just know the present. That can be a scary and jolting transition.
But here is where my passion for interior design comes into play. Why not use physical spaces to help us transition mentally?
Why not mind the gap, i.e. harness that entryway or lobby or stairwell (spaces that are so often disregarded as utilitarian portals between the spaces that matter) as a reminder to take perspective?
How powerful is it if we can deliberately transition so that we can go outside to work activities, and school with a clear mind and relaxed attitude?
And vice versa, to come home with a transition point of taking a breath, letting go of the outside, and coming into your safe haven to reset.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m still an interior designer! And I love a beautiful mid-century modern bench. But it’s not just about the surface-level functionality or appearance of a piece. Your furniture placement and decor support the deeper purpose of the space.
It’s crucial to establish a comfortable place to sit, soothing ambient lighting, and functional hooks and baskets to house the outside gear at the entrance to your home. Because then the stage is set for you to start minding the gap.
MINDING THE GAP 101
Here’s how you can make the most of this in-between space, this purposeful pause to step back and reset:
Take your jacket and shoes off as you enter. As an Asian-American household, we always take our shoes off upon entering the house. I highly suggest adopting this practice, even if your household hasn’t done so in the past. Changing our clothes is a powerful signifier that we’re leaving our outside self outside and returning to the nest.
As you take off your shoes, reinforce that sentiment by saying quietly to yourself “I am now shedding work, school and other responsibilities.” Or: “I’ve done the best I can do out there, and now I’m closing that chapter and starting the next chapter here.”
Savor the moment and quiet yourself. Even 30 seconds is powerful.
Pick one thing you are going to do next after you take off your shoes, jacket, put down your purse or backpack.
Then, with laser-focused energy, act on the intention.
If what you need is a bath, tell your loved ones you need a transitional moment and you will give them your full attention afterward.
Or if you feel the need to give your kids hugs and spend 30 min re-connecting, then reach out to them and do just that.
Then you can turn to the rest of your day at home, whether that’s making dinner, folding laundry, doing schoolwork, or just watching Netflix. The important thing is that you’ve separated yourself from the inertia of the day and given yourself a chance to begin anew.
Of course, it’s easier to mind the gap and collect yourself if you have a comfortable and beautiful space to do so.
You can further build out your entryway to support minding the gap with designated baskets and floating shelves for additional storage.
A credenza and table or floor lamp will give you a soft landing and warm ambiance to take a beat.
If you’re tight on space, a single sitting chair or statement stool can multi-task as a landing pad in the entry way and extra seating in your living space during gatherings.
Finally, a wonderful runner that brings you joy is the perfect way to welcome your steps back into your home.
As we cocoon, it’s natural to reflect on how we want to level up and change our behaviors or to set goals for our post-cocoon daily routines. That very tendency – the same one that’s encouraging you to read more or make time for long baths as self-care – can also guide you in rearranging your home.
I truly see this time as a blessing to press pause, mind the gap and better ourselves from the inside out.