Every home has a dumping zone where school books, tennis racquets, coats, and umbrellas are dropped off when the family arrives at home in the evening.
Stairs are another unintended collecting place for items like folded laundry, roller skates, books, newly purchased bathroom supplies like shampoo and toothpaste – anything that needs to be transported upstairs. (I’ve often thought that it would be great if every two-story home had an elevator because more things would make it upstairs much more quickly.)
The laundry area can also become a catch-all zone that loses its ease of use because it is crowded with so much clutter.
If you can conquer the entry way, the stairs, and the laundry area, you will be a lot more organized, feel better about how the house looks, and get more accomplished.
If there is a chair in your entryway, relocate it another room. This will help your family to learn that coats, umbrellas, school books, briefcases, and the like do not belong in the entryway. Now clean out your entryway closet. The only things that it should house are coats, hats, and umbrellas. Don’t store holiday decorations, plastic bags, old clothes, or sports equipment in this closet. Your entryway closet is for storing coats, hats and umbrellas to get them out of sight – nothing more.
Take a trip to Big Lots, Pier One Imports, or a thrift store and purchase a small table and two or three attractive storage baskets big enough to hold the debris that always ends up at the bottom of the stairs. Place the small table next to the bottom of the stairs and put the basket on top of it. This will forever serve as the holding zone for items that need to be taken upstairs and distributed. The next person traveling upstairs is responsible for carrying up the basket of upstairs items and distributing them where they belong. The next person to go downstairs is responsible for carrying the basket back downstairs and putting it back on the table. This solution to the stair-clutter issue will give the house a more organized look.
You want the laundry area to be as functional and clutter-free as possible. Buy two plant hooks and install them in the ceiling above the washer and dryer, one at each end – parallel. Tie a four-foot rope to the end of each. Then tie a five-foot long wooden dowel to the end of rope, and voila! You now have an improvised hanger for clean laundry! (The measurements of the rope and dowel are adjustable to your particular situation.) You can also invest in a rectangle-shaped folding table for clean laundry. Install some easy shelves to the wall in back of the washer and dryer for detergent, dryer strips, clothes softener, bleach, and other laundry supplies. These are the only items that should be in the vicinity of the washer and dryer. Avoid making the laundry area a dumping zone for yard tools, bicycle parts, and other hardware. By keeping the laundry area clear of other debris, you can use it for what it was designed to do – laundry.
Problem areas in a home develop when parts of the home designed for one purpose are used for another. Then you run into disorganization and a buildup of unrelated clutter and frustration. Create areas that are designed for a purpose and stick to it. With a little bit of coaxing, your family will learn how easy it is to help.