Organizing + Lifestyle

How To: Drop Zones

July 22, 2022

Where are you constantly tripping or generally overwhelmed by mess? It’s time for drop zones.

I'm HEATHER!

I'm a professional organizer, wife, mom, and South Carolina native passionate about making women's lives easier. I'm so glad you're here!

hello,

As a professional organizer, clients and friends often assume my home is magazine-ready at all times. Uh, no. I live there! We ALL have places in our home that continuously get messy. 

And that’s where I want you to pay attention. 

Where are you constantly tripping over items on the floor, bending over to pick up clutter, or generally overwhelmed by the mess? We’re going to transform these areas of chaos into purposeful “drop zones.”

Here’s your personal roadmap for creating a drop zone:

  1. IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM AREA
  2. CHOOSE A CONTAINER + PLACEMENT
  3. IMPLEMENT

IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM AREA

This is the easy part! Your first instinct is probably correct – you know those places you ignore because they’re just. so. overwhelming.

In addition to those physical places, what activities do you want to be easier? Getting kids out the door for school? Your morning quiet time? Drop zones can be solutions for messes AND activities! (See my personal example below about feeding our doggo.)

CHOOSE A CONTAINER + PLACEMENT

Reflect, reflect, and reflect again.

Get out a piece of paper or a voice memo. Share with a friend or your partner. Sleep on it for 24 hrs. Repeat. Spending extra time on the questions on the frontend increases your chance of having a longer-lasting system that works for YOU.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What type of things are left out around this space? Are they the same or different from one another? 
  • What items does my family often ask me to help them find?
  • Do I need easy access to none, some, or all of these items in this area? 
  • How often do I need access? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? 
  • Does my family need access to these items? Are there any items that should be kept away from kiddos?
  • Do I need to be able to see these items or would I prefer they be hidden? (visible keys by the front door vs. hidden playroom toys)
  • When do I want to use this drop zone? (this will help you determine location)
  • Do I have any limitations
  • What’s my budget?
  • What general style is my home? What styles do I like?

Check out THIS BLOG to see our favorite drop zone products. These solve common frustrations and are examples of basics that can be customized to your taste, budget, and needs. For custom product recommendations, book a decluttering + organizing package with our team.

IMPLEMENT

After all that hard work, it’s time to reap the rewards! Set up your new container(s) in the space you’ve identified.

As life changes or you begin to use the new system, you may find you need to tweak things. That does not mean you’ve failed – it just means that life has changed and is inviting you to go along with it!

PERSONAL EXAMPLE: BACK DOOR ENTRYWAY

A few years back, my problem area was the back door.

I wanted to find a functional place for our dog to eat and drink. The back door was a great solution – easy access to water in our kitchen, main entry point from the yard, and potential floorspace for their food and water. But the crazy clutter at the backdoor was making it impossible.

Walk through the reflection questions with me to create an intentional solution for my family:

  • What type of things are left out around this space? Are they the same or different from one another? 
    • Shoes, purses/backpacks, dog supplies. Different categories. Multiple items in each category.
  • What items does my family ask me to help them find?
    • Shoes!!!!!
  • Do I need easy access to none, some, or all of these items in this area? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Does my family need access to these items? 
    • I need easy access to shoes daily and weekly. I need access to certain bags weekly and my husband needs access to his bags daily. I will make these easy to grab and visual so that he can get these.
    • I want to train my son to help with caring for our animals, so the dog supplies will need to be accessible to him in some way. 
  • Are there any items that should be kept away from kiddos?
    • No. 
  • Do I need to be able to see these items or would I prefer they be hidden? (visible keys by the front door vs. hidden playroom toys)
    • I need to be able to see these items for regular access. They do not need to be hidden, but I do want them visually corralled. 
  • When do I want to use this drop zone?
    • When I’m coming through the back door. 
  • Do I have any limitations?
    • Yes. I have limited floor space when accounting for opening the door and the open flow I would like to maintain in my kitchen. 
  • What’s my budget?
    • $100 
  • What is the general style of my home?
    • Vintage. Eclectic. Rustic. 

Based on these answers, I created an open-concept mudroom storing shoes, bags, and a dog feeding station. Wall space maximizes floor space. The low height is accessible for my young child. Categories are visually distinct but still visible for easy access, especially shoes.

The result? Jack helps with our animals; I’m not always tripping over shoes; my family asks me less where to find things; a general sense of sanity is restored.

I reduce my mental load when I don’t have to make a decision everyday “Where do I put this?” The drop zone answers that question for me, my husband, and my son, taking one thing off of our minds and leading us into real, real living. 

What are YOUR places of frustration?! I can’t wait to see how you transform your space. Email me at heather@upstateorganizedliving.com with your success!

P.S. Tried drop zones and you’re stuck? You may need to upgrade to a more intentional and detailed system. We can help! Contact us to schedule your free consultation call.

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I'm a professional organizer, wife, mom, and South Carolina native passionate about making women's lives easier. I'm so glad you're here!

hello,

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