School worksheets, art projects and activities to put on the calendar. Pictures to order, fundraiser to sign up for and field trip permissions to sign. This is my back to school reality. Soon it will become winter and I will need to help my little ones keep track of their coats, hats and gloves. Especially the one pair that is their favorite because all the others are itchy. My blood pressure is already rising. How can one mom bring some order to the chaos? Something magical called the drop zone.
The Drop Zone
In preparation for this school year, I am trying something new. I am updating my already beautiful drop zone to make it work for my family. I set out to buy some organizational pieces to make a command center of sorts and I am excited to share them with you!
Here is a photo of a relatively average day in the life of my drop zone (before the makeover):
As you can see, there are lots of pairs of shoes all strewn about, some coats on hooks and some other things that have been dropped there. At least the space is true to its name right? But as it is currently used, I feel as though I have to clean up the drop zone when company comes over. It is not functioning well for my families normal rhythms.
So in adding organization, I have a few main goals:
- A dedicated space for each of our shoes, coats, winter items and backpacks/laptop bags.
- My kids need to be able to use the organization I install (and be able to reach it).
- I need strategic places for mail, incoming school papers and permanent papers I want to reference throughout the year.
- It has to be pretty and vibe with the rest of my house.
Making a place for coats and bags
One of the problems I have encountered with the drop zone layout, is that my kids claim they can’t reach the hooks and then don’t use them. To address this, I hung a set of hooks at their eye level (in a wall stud so they can bear the weight of full backpacks). I absolutely love this set of hooks because the words “stay awhile” are something my grandma would say every time we visited her. It makes me smile.
Secondly, I wanted to make a space for easy off winter gear. Finding a place for winter items didn’t prove so easy. At first, I thought I would add a shelf and give each individual a dedicated bin above the existing structure but quickly realized that would have the same problem as the tall hooks. No one would be able to reach them except me! For now, I decided to just buy one cute bin that all the hats and gloves can be stored in.
The next problem I solved was to make a dedicated cubby for each of the family members’ shoes. Fabric bins were the obvious choice. BUT in the past my bins just collected all the shoes until they overflowed and we wasted time every morning digging through the bin. Instead of bins, I had my husband add a shelf in the middle and each of us now has a shelf dedicated to their three most used pairs of shoes. For summer: an easy pair of flip flops, a dressier pair of sandals and tennis shoes. For winter, a favorite boot, tennis shoes and a warmer wet weather resistant boot.
School Paper Clutter
For school papers, I decided that I need a couple categories of organization. I need short term, medium term and long term storage for our drop zone.
First of all, I found a holding place for the papers that come home daily. As much as I want to sort them everyday I know that will not happen in reality. So, I wanted a bin that could hold a week of papers. For this, I found those neat gold wire bins. They match the modern vibe of my house so well. My daughter advised me on the height that they could access.
I also need a place to store papers that I have to keep track of for the next couple of weeks (flyers for family fun nights, permission forms, order forms etc) and a place to store permanent information (medical forms, classroom guidelines). I hung those floral clipboards for medium term, easy access papers. For permanent papers and mail I installed a sorter around the corner out of sight. Because I am sure no amount of organizational tools will get me to be a better mail sorter. No one wants to look at the mail pile or the papers that just stay nearby.
Organizing the Calendar
The final two things I wanted were a large calendar that I could color code and I place where I can keep track of the kids specials schedule. I found this awesome dry erase calendar at Home Goods and the gold square surface doubles as a magnetic dry erase board. I am excited to put it to use! Here’s to a more organized 2019-2020 school year mamas!