Constantly tripping over shoes and bags in a tight space gets old. Having a dedicated drop zone will ensure that the area where you enter your home isn’t quickly overrun with clutter. So, I’ve got 5 simple steps on how to declutter a drop zone for streamlined efficiency.
“What’s a drop zone,” you say?
A place in your home through which you enter and exit and therefore “drop” your items when you come in the door.
It’s a key area to declutter and organize for maximum orderliness in your home.
Whether the drop zone is located at your home’s entryway, in the garage, or near the back door, it can help your day go much smoother!
STEP 1 | Identify the space.
First of all, if you don’t already have a drop zone area, then take some time to consider the best spot to create one. It doesn’t have to be big, elaborate, or fancy. If you have one already, consider if it’s in the prime location or could be moved elsewhere. The main factors for a successful drop zone are:
- Ease of use
STEP 2 | Clear the space.
Completely empty the drop zone area of everything. Set yourself up for success by starting with a clean slate.
Create a pile for items that don’t belong in the drop zone, a pile for trash, and a pile for things that DO belong in the drop zone.
Drop zones can quickly become cluttered with items that don’t belong there.
Look at the pile of things that don’t belong in order to identify what clutters up your drop zone the most. Then, create a home for those items if you don’t already have one.
For example, if desk supplies somehow always end up in the drop zone, decide whether or not they need a permanent home in the drop zone area. Create a home for these items accordingly.
STEP 3 | Be intentional.
The third step for how to declutter a drop zone is to be intentional about what goes in it.
Since drop zones vary by household needs and seasons of life, make a short list of all the main items that you need to quickly access in your household’s drop zone.
It may look something like this:
- Small items (sunglasses, keys, phone, etc.)
- Papers (artwork, homework, mail, etc.)
- Family Calendar
- Charging Station
Prioritize these things.
Now, survey the piles of items that were in the drop zone.
Remove any and all items that don’t fall into the categories on your list. The items that you listed should take up the prime real estate in your drop zone.
STEP 4 | Designate areas according to habit and behavior.
The fourth step for how to declutter a drop zone is to designate areas for each category according to your habits and behavior.
Each item that gets dropped in the drop zone should have a definite home. These homes should also make sense for your daily habits.
Do a test run by walking in the door to your home as though you just got home and see what your natural tendencies are. Do you automatically drop your purse first or take off your shoes first? Do you drop your keys or mail as soon as you walk through the door?
Setup your space to match your natural tendencies so that the organization system you create compliments your habits.
Put the things that you use the most in a way that is easily accessible.
This way the space will work in your favor.
Otherwise, if the function of the space makes it too difficult to quickly and easily put away your shoes, then they’ll end up piling at the front door. That would be a system fail.
Do a test run to help you to figure out how to better streamline the drop zone.
REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE: A Slim and Minimal Entryway
This was our entryway when we lived in 626 square feet with 2 kids. Although we did store items in the entry closet space just behind the mirror, it was an awkward space that we couldn’t optimize for a drop zone. It was smaller than a typical closet and the door was high above the floor. We found that it didn’t easily hold the usual items that we wanted our entryway closet to hold. I did, however, store my purse in there on a daily basis.
The IKEA wall shoe holders were a slim and effective way to keep our shoes off the floor. In a tight space, keeping items off the floor is critical so that the home doesn’t become an obstacle course.
How do we own so few shoes?
We don’t. We had more shoes than could fit in the two wall shoe holders, so we only put the shoes that we wore most often in them. We then stored the rest of our shoes on the top shelf of our closet in shoe storage boxes to keep them from cluttering up the drop zone.
QUICK TIP: Ikea wall shoe holders don’t have to hold shoes. They’re perfect for organizing a myriad of items! You can use them to store mail, schoolwork, coloring books, or other paper paraphernalia.
STEP 5 | Perfect your system.
After you declutter and set up any home system, you definitely want to reassess it in order to further perfect it.
Try the new set up for at least a couple of weeks before you reassess it.
Take note of sections that frequently become cluttered or even unmanageable. Brainstorm ways in which you could improve upon your new set up.
Maybe adding a few strategic hooks or baskets will do. Maybe swapping the location of certain items will help. Maybe another overhaul or deeper decluttering is needed.
Oftentimes what is the most difficult aspect, for many people, is the simple act of just putting things back where they belong.
After all, life gets busy and building new habits is hard. But if we’ve made a place for everything, then why not put everything back in its place?
Want more help decluttering?
I hope you found this post on how to declutter a drop zone helpful. If you’d like to tackle more areas of your home, then here are some great articles to read for more decluttering help: