Ms. Demeanor's Vertical Etiquette

Dear Ms. Demeanor: Who gets the doormat?

By Jamie Lauren Sutton  | March 16, 2011 - 4:15PM

Dear Ms. Demeanor,

My front door is so close to the apartment next door on one corner of our landing that only one of us can have a doormat. Our old neighbors, who moved in before us, had a doormat while we went without. They just moved and took their mat with them; the new neighbors haven't moved in yet.

I really want a doormat but I don't want to seem overbearing to the new neighbors, who I haven't met yet, by claiming the space. On the other hand, i don't want to be a 'doormat' (sorry).

What's the right solution? Who gets to have a doormat?


Doormat Covetor


Dear Doormat,

This is a tricky one.  The Canadian in me says no one gets a doormat--so that everyone is equally miserable--but the New Yorker in me says take the opportunity while you have it.

Are you absolutely certain that you can't get an over-sized doormat (a square one perhaps) that will satisfy your desire for a doormat and 'WELCOME' your new neighbor to the building? Thanks to internet-shopping, this no longer means schlepping around the neighborhood in search of the perfect mat. 

Another alternative is bringing over a 'welcome-to-the-neighborhood basket' filled with local treats, menus, neigborhood tips like the best dry-cleaner, etc., and then politely broach the subject of the mat: "We were wondering if you would mind terribly if we used the hallway space for a doormat?  Feel free to put out an umbrella stand for yourself!" 

Hopefully their mouths will be so full of delicious cupcakes that they can't help but nod.

From one (sometime) doormat to another,

Ms. Demeanor

Ms. Demeanor is channeled by a longtime Manhattan vertical dweller and real-estate voyeur who writes under the pen name Jamie Lauren Sutton. She is here to commiserate, calm and correct. Please email your quandaries to [email protected] and put "Dear Ms. Demeanor" in the subject line.

See all of Ms. Demeanor's advice here.


Brick Underground articles occasionally include the expertise of, or information about, advertising partners when relevant to the story. We will never promote an advertiser's product without making the relationship clear to our readers.