Dropped, Plopped and Stopped!

Great tips to organize those important drop-zones by guest blogger, Janna Lufkin. 

Let’s face it, we all have those unsightly areas in our homes that seem to catch everything as soon as we hit the door. The kids drop books, backpacks and lunch pails. We adults plop down our briefcases and/or purses, our shoes - even our mail. These spots grab it all and often not in a very orderly manner. You might have a mudroom for this purpose but a good number of us carve a “drop zone” out of hallways, overstuffed closets, stairways, laundry rooms and sometimes even valuable kitchen countertop space.

This summer (before the new school year starts) why not create an organized, efficient area for all of these daily essentials?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Mudrooms. If you’re fortunate enough to have such a designated space, make it work for more than just your shoes, boots and coats. Add hooks for each family member and encourage them to hang backpacks, purses and briefcases. If your mudroom has a bench, slide labeled bins underneath for each family member to hold books, sports equipment even pet supplies. Hang a simple file organizer for mail and add a key hook underneath so you won’t spend valuable morning time searching for your keys.
  • Hallways. If a central hall area space works best for your family, add a bench and use the space underneath for storage. Labeled bins or baskets work well. Add a coat rack or install hooks. A simple tall container (clear glass cylinder, vase or galvanized flower bucket) makes a great umbrella stand. A basket to catch the mail, and another for pet supplies (leashes, collars, toys, towel).
  • Hall Closet. Install efficient, adjustable shelving and a hanging coat rod. My favorite system is by Elfa. It adjusts by the inch! Measure typical items that would go into the closet (how long are your coats for example?) and adjust accordingly. Sort and stack hats, gloves, scarves, shoes and other daily essentials and purchase bins for each family members stuff. Slide a basket or two onto the floor and use for backpacks and sports equipment. Don’t forget to use the inside of the closet door for storage too. Small hanging shoe bags work great for keys, glasses, sunscreen, etc. and a file holder for the daily mail.
  • Kitchen Area. If you must use valuable kitchen space for these items, try to designate a cupboard close to the door. Purchase bins for books and backpacks; label them and place on the cabinet shelves. On the countertop above, place a letter basket for mail and a free-standing accordion file labeled with each family member’s name for important papers (homework, bills to be paid, etc.) If space allows, add a bulletin board for notes and a calendar. A cute flower pot holds keys and another for pens, pencils and stamps.

So stop the morning chaos. Spend a little time this summer carving out an efficient drop-zone in your home. Before you know it, you’ll be spending valuable time enjoying an extra few minutes of shut-eye or another cup of Joe.