That dreaded drop zone in the house where all members of the house seem to dump all their stuff as soon as they walk in the door! I do not know any one who has not got one! and like most people I have tried all sorts of things over the years to corral the items or at least get some sense of control. Using containers, baskets, big bowls, or boxes just meant that the got filled up with all sorts of junk; lost buttons, safety pins, dead batteries, 2c and 5c and most annoying of all pens that don't work!!! However of recent times I have had some success with some changes I have made and a sort of "command centre" that I have created....
What is a Command Centre?
Now you may well laugh at the name command centre (yes it's a US term) however it makes sense for any one managing a busy household to have one. It is essentially an area in the home that is easy to access and has all the important stuff that the household needs on a daily basis such as:
- Note paper
- Pens (that work)
- School and work notices
- Documents, flight tickets, concert tickets
- Cell phones
- Household information
- Bags and backpacks
- Other important daily items
- Coffee money
Generally these "command centres" are near where people go to when entering the house, mainly the kitchen or dining space.
My Command Centre
We have used a an area in the kitchen bench for a few years now and I have recently streamlined it as we slowly adjust from a four to two person household. I have kept it as simple as possible, only housing the items we do use on a daily basis. I have created three zones i) bag zone ii) mail and calendar zone iii) Central zone.
We both use backpacks, daily, during the week and they need to be easily housed. There was no way that I could get Mr P to put away his backpack in a cupboard, and in fact it mostly got dumped on the floor by the kitchen bench. So in the end I came up with a very simple and easy solution by placing two chairs side by side on which we place our bags on when we come home. These bags always stay on these chairs. We always know where they are. There is also just enough space to place my weekend shopper on the chair. I place my handbag in the tray in the central zone as it fits perfectly.
Mail and Calendar Zone
Above the bag zone, on the wall, there is a calendar (my Mum makes one each year for us from her beautiful photos she takes) and a mail board where any mail that comes into the home is placed.
The central zone
Next to the bag zone and just under mail and calendar zone I have placed a wooden tray. In the wooden tray I have got a folder divider and a very small bowl. The folder divider holds the pens, note book folder, Home folder and RnR folder. The small bowl holds keys, it's only just big enough to hold the key and no more and when the phones are not on charge they are placed here.
This central zone houses all important items together that we use;
- Cell phone
- Household/home folder (holds all our important information)
- Pens and notepad
- RnR folder
- My handbag
The notebook compendium I have had for a while and got it from Kikki-K . They do not seem to have it in stock anymore however still have a couple of options here.
WHY it works
The most successful thing about this command centre is that I have developed it just for us. I thought about what are the most important things that we need to access and how can I make it easy for Mr P who still likes to dump.
As we walk in the door we naturally go over to the chairs, dump our back packs, keys and cells, sort the mail. I have created functional and obvious space that works well with how we live and does not require us to change a lot. I also believe by keeping the spaces small and specific and no room to put other items, it keeps it clear of clutter gathering. That's not to say that from time to time things do gather however it's easy to clear out the space and maintain a nice tidy area.
ADDED BONUS - COVERS FOR FOLDERS
In my previous organising and planning posts I have taken your through how I created our Household folder, Budget folder and Recipe folder. We also have a RnR folder (Rest and Recreation), Mr P is in charge of this and it is for planning our mini breaks and other such exciting adventures.
I was getting a little bored with how they looked so thought I would jazz them up a bit with new covers. It was very easy. All I used was;
I just cut the card stock to size, stuck the gold stickers on and then placed the sheet into the shelve of the folder. I also placed the same card on the spine and a plain type paper for the back. Very simple, fun and good way to take a boring folder and make it look interesting.
The best part of this was how I managed to match the two folders in the command centre to the notebook compendium, if you are stationery obsessed like me you will appreciate this.
So how is your "drop zone" ? Is it the entire kitchen bench top? or the kitchen table? Or just anywhere where there is clear space? Maybe try out some of these ideas I shared, or take inspiration to make it meet your needs, either way have a go and you might be surprised what you achieve.
Happy organising my friends