Thursday, January 17, 2013

Organizing the Entry/ Drop Zone

I don't know about you, but at our house we have so many moving parts (bodies!) and each one comes with its own pile of clothing, food, and mail.  Yes, even my 19 month old gets mail (thanks, PJ Library). And with winter clothing, the piles are even bigger!

As the kids have gotten older, our incoming piles have gotten busier and less tidy.  Here are some ideas to help organize that "drop zone" in the entry.

  • Bins by person, tucked under something like a coffee table or bench, or in a row in the hall.   After asking my husband (ahem) again and again to put his coat into the coat closet when he gets home, he finally explained why he won't do it.  He said the closet is by the front door and he comes and goes from the garage.  Our garage entry is too small for a wall coat rack.  So we put out a rolling bin from IKEA for him and he can put his work stuff in it, then we roll it under the coffee table for the night.  And now we can sit on the whole couch.  There is room for two bins under there.
  • Coat rack.   You could do a hanging rack or a classic free standing coat rack in the entry.  Everyone has their own hook, and their clothing goes there.  Bags also go there until they are emptied, or when you are packing to go somewhere.
  • Hanging key place - high up.   We have a row of hooks with a little shelf above it.  Keys go on the hooks the instant you come home, and wallets and sunglasses go on the shelf.  It is too high for little hands to help reorganize, and if the same thing is in the same place every time, you always know where to find it.  Pretty essential concept with lack of sleep and one zillion things to think about at the same time (like why Junior and Junior like to poke each other when it is time to go to the grocery store then burst our giggling). 
  • Wall bins for mail.   This is the same concept of keeping mail from helpers until you have a chance to read it. You could do bins by person, or incoming and outgoing.  We find that if we have the same items in the same place all the time, there is rarely frantic searching.
  • Wall bins for other items~ like the remote or cell phones, iPads, etc.   In the same vein, we hung a little (slightly ugly but immensely useful) plastic wire coated bin and ran a cell phone charger to it.  When not in my pocket, that is where my phone lives.  The remote control (the one that works, not the other 8) and a key for our outdoor shed go there.  The key is tied onto a clip so it has double security there.  iPads could also easily go somewhere like this: in the main room, but out of touch and near a charger.
  • A Designated Shoe Place.   We have a box by the door, and all the shoes go in it when we are coming and going. The kids can reach their shoes, and they always know where they go. It also signals to guests to please remove their shoes.
  • Put things in their places before the next activity.  This is an attitude shift that really helps.  If we put our things away right when we are done using them, right before the next activity, then we can always use the kitchen table and kitchen counter... even if the "next activity" is going to the bathroom.  Piles will stay small, and it is always easier to keep clean and organized then to get clean and organized.  Once a pile is out of control, it is so much harder to manage.

With one area of the house organized, it is so much easier to keep the rest of the house tidy.  I actually find that if my stuff is tidy, it is easier to think and breathe and I feel calmer and more centered.  It did take until my older son was 2+ years before I hit the point of needing to keep the house organized, and the piles in the entry and toy piles do sometimes still get out of control.  But I like having a few key places for things, and keeping on top of things.  Especially now that there are so many more things than ever before. Pin It

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