by Brian Kramer
Professional organizer Lorie Marrero shares three strategies for dealing with stuff the moment you walk through the door.
If you collide with piles of personal detritus every time you enter or exit your home, stop stumbling and stressing. You can have an efficient, attractive entry area without spending days reorganizing your life or a fortune on fancy fixtures. Indeed, the space just inside the doorwhat professional organizer and ClutterDiet.com creator Lorie Marrero calls your destination stationis an ideal project to tackle in a weekend. Follow Marreros three key principles to create a drop zone that looks great and functions beautifully.
1: Identify the essentials.
Start your makeover by analyzing the stuff clogging your entry. Things you use daily merit prominent storage spots; items you use less frequently dont. It makes sense to store regularly used forms and papers to be signed or returned (such as permission slips) near the door, but important documents that you want to keep for your records should reside where you would file them, perhaps on a tray near the filing cabinet in your office.
However, just because you use something every day, it doesnt automatically deserve a spot in the entry. Sports equipment, for example, needs to air out and is better stored in a garage or on a porch or patio. Stash backpacks or briefcases near the table or desk where you go through them. Transport a musical instrument to the spot where you practice. Worried youll forget an important item when you leave? Affix a note to the door frame or hang a related item (your sheet music bag, your gym ID on a lanyard) on a hook near the door to trigger your memory.
2: Keep an eye on things.
Ironically, open storage can help your entry feel less clutteredespecially when you assign specific spots to every item. Marrero recommends that all open storage solutions follow the acronym VEO: The solution must be Visible, Easy to use, and Obvious to everyone. Thus, your kids are more likely to set their shoes on a shelf or drop them in a bin than open up a lidded shoe bench or place footwear on a complicated rack. Reinforce VEO by choosing transparent, lidless containers and adding meaningful labels.
3: Get in the habit.
Making behavior changes is as important as any storage product you purchase. Change is easier when you build on your existing habits, Marrero says. If you already drop your keys on a table near the door, start putting your glasses and wallet there as well, perhaps in a small leather tray. In a week to 10 days, the behavior will be a helpful, clutter-inhibiting habit.
In an entry, choose storage solutions that you can use with only one hand, because youre usually carrying things as you enter or exit. Open containers are perfect. You can throw something in and then walk away.
Lorie Marrero, CPO, creator of Clutter Diet.com
Reinforce your clutter-free entry area with a nightly clutter patrol. Everyone spends 5 minutes before bed putting things in their proper places.
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