The Drop Zone

 

You don’t have to be a detective to figure out exactly what I’ve been up to when I first come in the door to my apartment. My shoes will be kicked off somewhere near the door; my keys will be on the nearest flat surface I can find. My purse gets stashed just about anywhere (which, believe me, can cause a great deal of panic if I don’t remember exactly where that is). No matter how clean I leave things, when I come back in everything inevitably looks like it’s been in a tornado. (You should see what it looks like when I try to get out the door in the morning- it’s like a tornado in reverse.)

There’s only one good explanation for why this happens to me and why it might sound familiar to you as well: I (we) don’t have a drop zone.

At least, I call it a drop zone. You could call it anything really: a mudroom, hallway, entryway, foyer, or nook in your house (that’s preferably near an entrance). Any place that acts as a transition area between your life indoors and your life outdoors is your “drop zone”. We have so much gear and equipment that play an integral part in our daily lives. Creating an area where we can store these things in ways that are useful and accessible to us is imperative to an organized, productive and stress-free day.

Here are some of the things that you may want to include in your own “drop zone” (when seasonally appropriate, of course):

  • keys (and a spare set, just in case)
  • leashes, treats, waste bags, or towels for pets
  • reusable grocery bags/tote bags and bins
  • sand toys/beach bags
  • gardening tools for quick access (i.e., gardening gloves, trowels, spades, pruning shears)
  • sunscreen, sunglasses and hats
  • lunchboxes/reusable food containers and water bottles
  • winter accessories (i.e, hats, gloves, scarves and mitts)
  • umbrellas and other rain gear
  • shoes and shoe repair accessories (i.e., extra laces, shoe polish, replacement heels, protective spray)
  • first-aid kit
  • bus passes, bus tokens, membership cards, spare change

Storage is not the sole purpose of a “drop zone”; it’s also place that can act as a “command central” for all of your errands and activities (especially if you’re the kind of person who needs visual cues as reminders). You could use it as a place to store your stuff in the morning if you need to get out of the door in a hurry. Other items you may want to leave as reminders could include dry-cleaning, mail, library books, or borrowed items that need returning. In the past when I have had a drop zone, I used it to leave myself lists of things I wanted to pack in my bag in the morning, or things I want to double-check before a weekend away.

Don’t take my word for it, though- here are some people out in the blogosphere that are totally rocking it:

I’m so jelly for Jennifer’s remodelled mudroom over at Style & the Suburbs.

I never knew I needed Dutch doors until I saw Rebecca’s mudroom on Boulevard West.

I love Teresa’s solution for transforming the narrow hallway in her home into something pretty and functional on Sweet Farmhouse Dreams.

Tina from Inspired Reality turned her tiny entryway into something really classy.

Becca at Embracing the Simplified has proof you don’t need a huge budget to create an organized entryway.

What changes have you made to your mudroom or entryway to make it more functional for you? I wanna know all of your secrets (with pictures please!). You can send them to keepingbusyb@gmail.com or comment below with the link to your blog so you can show off your mad organizing skills with everyone else.

Having problems getting out the door in the morning? I’ve got some solutions here to make your mornings more stress-free, and how to stress less when you’re running late. For more inspo on a drop zone that’s both fashionable and functional, check out my Pinterest to see what I’ve been digging up.

 

My New Wardrobe Rule

KBB_clutchesI used to play this sad little game with myself whenever I was having a bad day- I would go into my closet and I would pick out my most hated outfit and wear with an angry kind of pride, as if I wanted to project to all of the world that I was having a bad day. I was determined to make myself look as ugly on the outside as I felt on the inside.

The worst was whenever I received a compliment at the office or out on the street about the outfit that I had chosen. I couldn’t understand how clothing that I felt made me look frumpy and bloated could be admired by a stranger. Maybe they were just being nice in order to mock me, or worse, pity me. Then I’d get angry and think, “How dare you try to ruin my bad mood with your kind words!”

I am so twisted.

One day I was explaining this weird little habit to a friend of mine when he held up his hand to stop me. “Wait, hold on. Why do you keep clothes that you don’t like?”

So maybe he was a guy and he didn’t really understand. Or maybe I was the one not getting it. After all, I had half a closet’s worth of clothes that I didn’t wear half of the time because I had grown sick of them, or because they were old and had fallen out of fashion.

I think I said something crazy like I needed variety and we both thought it was weird so he dropped the subject, but ultimately in this scenario I really was the crazy person because I could not let go of things that made me feel badly about myself.

It took a lot of soul-searching but I eventually decided that I did not want to be that person that held on to things for the sake of having “things”. I wanted, I deserved, to fill my home with only the things that I loved. Why shouldn’t that ultimatum apply to clothing and accessories as well?

So I purged my closet of all of the things that no longer fit, were bad choices, or- let’s face it- were just plain unflattering. My wardrobe was decidedly slimmer, but I was satisfied- it was actually really easy to give up an abundance of choices in favor of a smaller wardrobe full of favorites that made me look and feel good.

It may seem silly to think of re-organizing or purging your closet as something that can improve your life emotionally, but paring down my wardrobe using my new rule has given me a boost in my self-esteem. I still have the occasional bad hair day (like, pretty much every other day) but I’m buoyed by the knowledge that even though I might feel like I’m dying on the inside, outwardly I can project an image of competence and self-confidence and show people the best of myself even when I’m feeling at my worst.

Plus, it makes getting out of the door in the morning way easier for this night owl. Trust me on this one.

KBwB-BFlower-50Have you undertaken a closet re-organization lately? I want to hear all of the grisly details. Indulge me below or drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. And if you’re looking for even more inspiration on how to get your wardrobe just the way you want it, I’ve got some best practices for organizing your clothing and more here.

Cleaning Out My Closet

KBB_mess_of_clothesIt was getting to the point where I couldn’t close my drawers. I couldn’t even get dressed in the morning. I had had enough.

It was time to follow in the footsteps of Eminem, and begin cleaning out my closet. Literally speaking- I’m not so sure how I feel about that metaphorically.

Ideally, editing your closet is something you should do regularly. I like having garbage bags or laundry hampers at hand to use for sorting, extra hangers, and a pen and paper for jotting any notes. Make sure you’re near a mirror!

Put on your favorite radio station or make a fashion show mix for your iPod. Pour yourself a glass of wine, dim the lights- why not invite a close gal pal for a second opinion?

Make sure you have a clean space on your floor or bed and get started! If you’re overwhelmed, start small– choose to empty one drawer, or start big by emptying all the things off your hangers. Then it’s just a matter of going through every piece of clothing you own. Don’t forget your laundry basket! (Just remember to put the dirty stuff back afterwards.)

I like to stick to one major rule: nothing goes back into your drawer or closet unless you are absolutely sure you want to keep it.

The stuff that doesn’t go back into your closet can be divided into two piles:

The discard pile should include things that you’ve outgrown, shrunk, and are stained, ripped or faded. (That includes any socks or underwear!) Check your clothes for funky odors. Retire anything you haven’t worn in a year or more. Try things on and be honest with yourself about what looks good. If the cut or color of something isn’t flattering, or doesn’t make you feel beautiful, it can find a better home elsewhere.

Sort as quickly as you possibly can to avoid lingering over decisions. When you’re done, stick the discard pile into bags to be donated- because that’s what you’re doing instead of throwing out your clothes. Right? RIGHT?

I also have a “pending” pile. It usually includes anything that I like that needs mending, as long as the repair is feasible and I’m willing to devote time to fixing it (or the money to pay someone else to).  If I have multiples of one type of item, I usually throw them on the “pending pile” too so that I can come back to them for re-evaluation.

Really try to keep only the things you’d use, or you’ve promised yourself to use. If your wardrobe seems to be missing certain staples, or you find yourself letting go of basic wardrobe items that need replacing, jot them down.

At the end of my cleaning frenzy, I was left with five shopping bags of donations, and a list of the gaps in my wardrobe so the next time I go shopping, I know what to look for and where to cut myself off.

And I can close my drawers.

KBwB-Flower-50

How did your last closet organization session go? Got any tips and tricks for us people who like to hoard a crazy amount of T-shirts like I do? Drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com and tell me how you got your closet from bomb-site to bombshell. Want tips from our fashionistas for wardrobe basics that will help flush out even the most label-starved lady? My sister L writes a great fashion blog that has tons of practical tips on how to incorporate the fashionable into any wardrobe.