In this post I will be sharing the single most important home organization system to help keep you and your family organized not only at the start of a new year, but throughout the entire year!
With the holiday season just behind us, new things have probably made their way into your home. Some you love, some you like and others that feel like downright clutter! Having a designated drop zone will help you quickly sort and organize everything avoiding the pesky overwhelming piles.
But first, what is a drop zone?
A drop zone is an area in your home that is set up to hold everything you typically walk in and out the house with on a regular basis. Think backpack, purse, keys, wallet, shoes, hat, water bottle, loose change, etc.
Certain things may live in this space full time while others will stay here temporarily.
It is also a space that can permanently house items you need to use or grab on your way out the door (sunscreen, hats, keys) and serve as a temporary landing zone for things that come into the home every once in a while (goodie bags from kids birthday parties, gifts, new clothing items that need to be washed, etc.).
If you have been following me for a while, I say this often, no two households are the same.
Where and how you set-up your drop zone will depend on you and your home’s unique needs.
How to set up your drop zone?
Set-up your drop zone in a space where daily clutter naturally accumulates. You are probably laughing out loud and thinking, “clutter gathers everywhere in my house.” Don’t worry, I’ve got you.
The space I’m referring to is where you set down your work bag, purse, phone or keys every. single. day. Or it might be the space where your kids drop their backpacks and shoes.
Can you implement your own mini mudroom in this area so that daily items have a place to rest overnight? A drop zone doesn’t have to be a full scale interior design moment. It can be a drawer or the back of a door, or a simple bench with baskets below.
Imagine a clean countertop every single day! A drop zone is a key component to living a clutter-free and organized life.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself BEFORE you purchase organizing supplies:
- How many household members are there?
- What do all the members of my household typically carry out of the house each day?
- What do they use every morning before heading out the door?
- Are shoes allowed in the house? If not, how much space will I need to house them?
- Where does mail and packages get processed?
- What are the little things that end up on the counter every day?
- Is there a closet or a wall where I could add hooks or baskets for each member of the household?
- I already have a mudroom or drop zone but no one uses it. Why?
After answering the questions above, you will be armed with all the information you need to make informed organizing supply purchases. For example, if you have 3 household members that each carry a bag, purchase 3 bag hooks and so on.
Looking for a little inspiration? I made a list of some of my favorite drop zone products.
Be flexible and adjust according to how you actually end up using the space. For example, you may have added hooks for your kids’ backpacks but find that a shelf works much better. Not all installations work perfectly out of the gate. Give the new design a little time and then modify it as needed.
Any and all systems require a collective force for them to work well. When you see someone hanging up their bag or keys in the space you’ve created, celebrate it! Encourage rewards and use words of affirmation when you see the system being utilized. The power of positive reinforcement works wonders.
The key to the drop zone
The key component to a well functioning drop zone is the designated “the take me home basket.” This basket can be left in your drop zone and used to pick up all the items around the house that need to be relocated as well as any new items that need to find their way home!
Designating a day + time to put all the things that have accumulated in this basket away will ensure that clutter doesn’t start to pile up on the counter and table tops.
What about all the holiday or special event items?
Around the holidays many things come into our spaces that we don’t normally have on hand. Trust that over time things will get to where they need to go whether it is food that will be consumed or presents that will be given. These items can live in a closet, laundry room or in a special temporary holding place.
I’ve come to realize that having a landing zone for your dailies as well as the things that are in flux, is the best way to truly relax and enjoy your home all year long. When you set up your home for success by creating a simple drop zone, the rest of life’s unpredictable moments should feel easier to manage.