David-Papazian/ShutterstockA drop zone, set up near the door you use most often, is that much-needed temporary storage spot to stick stuff until you have time to sort it out later. It’s unrealistic to think you’ll walk in the door and have time to immediately put away all the things from your day. You don’t have time run the incoming bills to your upstairs home office while hanging up your sweater in the bedroom and, at the same time, putting away groceries. Which is why you need a place to sort and store all that “I’ll just put it here for now” stuff until you get in, get settled, and have the time to deal with it all, later. (Here are 50 more declutter tips from organized people.)
Keep it super-simple—your drop zone doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive. In fact there is a good chance you already own something you can re-purpose to get the job done. Look around your home to see if you have a storage solution that fits the space near the door you use most often. Even if the item was originally intended for another room, it just might be a perfect fit! Check the kitchen for an underutilized baker’s rack that might make more sense in your entryway (by the way, here’s how you can finally organize your kitchen counters). How about an extra bookcase or sofa table from the living room, a slim sideboard from the dining room, or even a child’s bedroom dresser? If a piece of furniture will take up too big of a footprint in the space, then opt for something as simple as a few hooks on the wall and a pretty basket or lift top bench; one of these items might be all you need to create your own drop zone.
Next, notice what you carry inside with you and make sure to give each item its own space in the drop zone. Assign one hook for your purse or tote bag. (If you need to declutter your purse, check out these tips.) You should have a slot or drawer for mail, for example, and a place to stow shopping bags. Other clutter categories include loose change, store receipts, and phone charging cables. Then pay attention to all those everyday essentials like your car keys, sunglasses, and even the dog’s leash. Finally, other items are the ones that need a place to be stored until you need them; like books to return to the library, a bag of donations to drop-off, or a gift you need to bring to a party a week from today. Once you have your life-changing drop zone in place, your clutter will diminish: You won’t be scattering stuff all over the floor, tables, couch, and counters anymore! Plus, no more running back inside to grab whatever you forgot on your way out the door—everything will be right there, ready to grab and go. Need some more organizing ideas? Check out these secrets from personal organizers you need to know.