Part of last years Spring Organizing & Cleaning Challenge, this is one of my favorites. Easy to do and every family needs a drop zone!
This is one of the most important things I have ever created in my home. It stopped the “Has anyone seen my keys? My wallet? My sunglasses? My _______?”. Today on our spring organizing & cleaning challenge we are creating an area for keys, wallets, sunglasses, and things you use every day. I’m making this a weekend project since it can take up to two days depending on how elaborate you get. If you are just doing a simple drawer as your drop zone then a couple of hours will work. Otherwise, if you are creating a bigger one then you might need the whole weekend.
I have called this a Drop Zone in the past because it’s the place you drop everything when you come in the door. Whether you enter your home into the kitchen or front door or back door, the drop zone should be set up near that door. It’s a good idea to give each person in your home a basket or container for their own little things, but if you don’t have the space for that then just have one central place for everything.
1. Ask yourself: What are the things always in my arms when I am coming in the door? Normally these are: Purse, a bag, mail, kids, keys, phone, etc.
2. Your drop zone should be easy to use and functional. Using a table, a dresser, a set of cubes, or anything that will allow you to “drop” your stuff, set it up with the following guidelines: A mail station, a place for keys, a charging station for phones and other electronics, hooks or a closet for jackets and umbrellas, backpacks, purses and briefcases, and a place to put shoes.
3. You can also have a basket or cube for each person in the family to drop all their stuff and not separate out each item.
4. Mail station: have a small trash can, a small bin for recycling, and a shredder. Immediately sort mail-throw away all unnecessary mail or toss into the shred pile. Put bills or expected mail into the “keep” mail area.
5. Keys: Use either a small set of hooks, a basket, or a decorative container for all keys.
6. Charging station: Set up an electrical strip so that each device has a place to plug in to. The cord stays plugged into the strip and when you walk in the door, you simply plug the device in!
7. Hooks or closet: If you have a closet, clean it out so that it’s easy and simple to hang jackets up. Add a basket at the bottom for shoes. If no closet is present, add a row of hooks to the wall. Use these hooks for jackets or anything else you want to hang up (purses, backpacks, umbrellas, etc.). Below the hooks or nearby, have a basket or trunk for shoes.
8. Bulletin board or message center: In the drop zone, add a bulletin board or some type of message center for important information. Things that you may need to remember or grab on the way out the door can go here. Also, the family calendar, phone lists, babysitter info, etc. can go here.
9. Out-the-door-box: Place a container in your drop zone that is easy to bring in and out of the house. Place items in it that you need to take with you when you leave your house. Items to return, things for the kids, library books, etc. Fill it up as you remember what needs to go in there and when you leave the house, grab it and place in the car. Then you will have all those items with you when you are out!
10. Shoes: Trunks work great to hide shoes. Try a large open basket or a set of cubbies for each person if you don’t mind looking at the shoes.
Here is a video I did a few years ago on The Hampton Roads Show. It will help you visualize how to set up your area and some ideas on what tools to use.