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.

 

Run Your Errands More Effectively Today!

KBB_fancy_starbucksOne of my friends recently took on a new part-time job; it’s not a permanent thing, but it helps her get her foot in the door in the particular field in which she wants to eventually work. A couple of extra shifts a week though meant drastically reorganizing her well-crafted schedule so much so that all of her routines were thrown off balance. When I asked her how her weekend was the other day, she was responded with the usual complaint that she never felt she had enough time to herself. “I spend most of my time off doing chores and running errands,” she complained. “I’m always popping out to do one thing or another and it’s starting to get to the point where I feel like I’m a jack-in-the-box.”

Have you experienced this too? Girl (guy), I know the feeling. As a freelancer my schedule is all over the place and I’ve had jobs where I’ve found myself working at all sorts of strange hours while still trying to have a life. It’s sad that so much of what should be vital personal time is eaten up by mundane daily tasks, but I do have some tricks for taking back that me-time. One of them is trying to running my errands more effectively.

Running “errands”- going to the post office, marketing, picking up and dropping off gift items, donations, prescriptions, dry cleaning- all of these things are necessary evils in order for our lives to run smoothly. But if I left the house every time I needed something, or every time another task popped up, I’d be leaving the house constantly. There’s nothing fun or productive about it.

That’s why I keep track of all of my errands in an ongoing list I have stashed at the back of my agenda and try to group similar tasks to suit my needs and my schedule. I work a lot from home, so I try to save my errands for times when I’m already out of the house so I don’t have to make special trips for specific items. Where possible I try to delegate my tasks or incorporate them into a dog walk. (That is, of course, providing the errand in question is dog-friendly. My dog has been known to shoplift. I wish I that was joke.) As a last resort I will put aside a chunk of time to complete my errands and plan the most straightforward route ahead of time.

A little bit of preparation can help you fit these pesky tasks into your schedule in a painless way, but a little behind-the-scenes work can help as well. I always like to make sure my bag is packed ahead of time and I always try to make sure I pack whatever I need to complete any errands I might do on my outing.

And if there’s one rule that I live by, it’s: never, ever leave the house without a list. (Anyone who has wandered around the grocery store after work starving knows what I’m talking about.) The key to running your errands more effectively is to make sure you’re prepared and there’s nothing more productive than a list that’s able to keep track of what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what you need in order to do it.

Who knows? You might even make you enjoy getting out of the house for once.

KBwB-Flower-50

Is there one errand that you absolutely hate doing? Mine is going to the post office. I’d love to hear yours when you drop me a line at keepingbusyb@gmail.com. For more suggestions on how to organize yourself, get yourself over to my Busy page.