ProSource | 9/26/2016 | Project Tips
When the first space you enter in your home is disorganized, it can be stressful. Coming home should be relaxing, not messy and chaotic. Developing a smart “mudroom” – whether it’s an actual room or a well-designed entryway – will change the way you come and go and make your life run oh-so-smoothly.
Katie McCann is a coach with Maeve’s Method, which provides expert home organization advice for “happy people inside happy home and work spaces.” McCann offers easy-to-implement tips for creating a space that can work for any family.
Create A Drop Zone
Every home needs a spot where family members can quickly and easily dump bags, coats, hats, groceries, mail… whatever you want to get out of your hands upon entering your home. “A drop zone can be a table, a chair, a strong shelf, a hook, or a piece of furniture,” says McCann. “What it is matters less than where you place it and whether or not it’s large enough to hold all of the things you need to put down.”
McCann encourages homeowners to not only give themselves permission to dump whatever they like in their drop zone but to also make a habit of it. “After you’ve had a chance to settle in at home – starting dinner, changing your clothes – then you can go back and put things away where they belong. This will keep you from trailing things into all the rooms of your home.”
Not everyone has a bona fide mudroom, so where should this space be situated? “The best way to figure out what type of drop zone works best is to take a test run,” says McCann. “Observe your habits. Note what you do, what you carry, and most importantly, what you typically put down in other parts of your home. This will determine what type of drop zone you should introduce into your living space.”
Utilize Cubbies And Cabinets
Countless schoolteachers use cubbies to establish routines and create order in the classroom. It’s easy to develop something similar in your own entryway.
“Teach your children that the cubbies are where they can store anything they bring into the house or plan to take back out for play or for school,” advises McCann. The cubbies take advantage of a child’s daily school routing by mirroring it at home.
“The cubbies in a drop zone help to curb that chaotic time when you are getting your kids out of the home and will also prevent things from being dropped into the middle of the floor when they come home.”
Cubbies work nicely with benches, which are always useful in tight spaces. Slide the bins right underneath the benches – or use the cubbies themselves to create the “bench.”
If you have space, consider creating a more permanent solution with cabinets. Assign specific homes for various mud room items and, before long, putting things away will become as second-nature as putting away clean dishes.
Invest In A Shoe Rack
Few things pile up the way shoes can. From flip flops and sneakers to winter boots and soccer shoes, they present one of the biggest mud room challenges.
“Having a shoe rack on hand will help corral your families’ endless parade of shoes,” says McCann. “It will also help your family make a habit of removing their shoes at the door and avoid tracking dirt, mud, or salt into the house.”
Hang A Hook (Or Several)
So many minutes are wasted looking for misplaced keys. Designating a hook or two for house and car keys just makes sense. “This helps you get in the quick and easy habit of leaving your keys in the same place so you’re never left searching frantically for them.”
Hooks are great for other items as well. Utilize them for handbags, backpacks, even dog leashes. And for kids who are unable (or perhaps unwilling) to hang jackets and coats in a closet, hooks present an easy put-away option.
Establish A Message Center
A corkboard is a simple way to keep busy families on task. Placed near the door, it’s the perfect spot for hanging keys, permission slips, grocery lists – anything that you might need to grab on your way out the door.
Hanging a chalkboard or white board next to the corkboard provides a place for jotting down reminders, appointments, and sweet sentiments to your family. All you need is a bit of wall space to establish this “message center” that will keep everyone on the same page.
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