What is on your back to school “to do” list? For me, it’s just getting organized and figuring out a way to maintain it once the kids are out the door (and back in again). Because we all know that the best laid plans can quickly be derailed. I feel that it is so important in life to be organized. It reduces stress and really allows things to flow. So I try to teach my children to be organized. Everyone does it differently but I really believe in the importance of a family drop zone. Sounds simple enough, right? Giving them a place for their school things and knowing that they will be there when they need them is a very simple lesson in organizing.
Our family drop zone is located in the laundry room, which is right by the entrance into the house from the garage. It’s kind of in the perfect spot, if you ask me. But when we bought this house, it was just a laundry room. Our last house didn’t even have a drop zone! I just hung hooks by the door. So truly you can create one anywhere. A drop zone gives the family a space to place their things when they walk in the door and to always know where things are when they need to leave. No more losing the keys!
Some of you may think that I am a little OCD on this, but hear me out. My husband and I hang our keys on small hooks in the drop zone. They are always right there…. no more asking if anyone has seen the car keys! And there are larger hooks for things like bags, coats and hats… all the stuff you take off when you come in and need when you leave. There is also a special hook for the dog leashes!
Now, when I designed the built-ins, I wanted space to hide stuff too. There’s nothing I dislike more than tripping over shoes! So I had cubbies built in under the bench. Then I found baskets that fit into the cubbies and we toss our shoes in there. Again, no more asking where the “missing” shoe is. Because usually if a shoe is missing, one of the dogs has chewed it!
The family drop zone, like I said, is a shared space with the laundry room so it has to pull double duty. The cabinets above the drop zone hide things like winter gloves and hats, umbrellas, baseball hats, etc. Anything that can easily get lost behind the dryer! But it also allows space to hide cleaning supplies or laundry detergent, if needed. Oh, and dog supplies. We keep the dog stuff in the cabinets as well.
Are you starting to catch on to the importance of a family drop zone? Whenever I ask one of the kids to walk the dogs, they know the leashes are right there. When I ask for their lunch box to refill, it’s there too. And so on. I have seen people create drop zones by their front door, in hallways and even in the garage. If you have the luxury of starting from scratch, here are a few things I recommend thinking about. First of all, the dirt factor. Try to have a floor installed that can withstand (and hide) dirt. I used a Montauk slate tile for our drop zone/laundry room with a dark grout and it is great! Even when it gets dirty, it just looks aged. Also, give it a little style. Because it will get disorganized from time to time and in those instances, you still want to find the pretty.
Give yourself plenty of space to hide stuff. Life can feel cluttered sometimes, but if you find a place for the things you don’t always want to look at, it will make you feel calmer. I truly believe that!
So with thoughts of your kids screaming “Mom! Where is my homework?!” and “I can’t find my shoe!” five minutes before the bus arrives, perhaps you now see the importance of a family drop zone. Get out there and create a beautiful space for your family!