How To Make A Functional Drop Zone

May 13, 2013

Every home tends to have a couple of drop zones. Some people have figured out how to set up a dedicated drop zone so that it’s an efficient area and one that is welcoming and functional. An organized, efficient drop zone should be the place you put your things neatly so you can find everything when it is time to run out the door and so clutter is contained to that area when you come home. Here’s how to make a functional drop zone:

What is a Drop Zone in Your Home?

Where does everybody shed their coats, leave their book bag, and stash their stuff when they come into the house?  That’s a “drop zone” or a “drop spot” and they are usually a source of irritation and complaint.  Oftentimes, these areas are near entryways and exits. Coats, scarves, shoes, keys, mail, and more can all accumulate in these areas and it can quickly become cluttered if there is no method of organizing or containing all the stuff.

A well-designed mudroom is a popular option for creating an effective drop zone. A table or bench and some hooks near the front door can create a good drop zone there. What makes a good drop zone for you all depends on you and your family’s lifestyle, schedules, and what tends to happen to all of your stuff when coming home or leaving.

How to Make a Functional Drop Zone

1. Create Space for Clothing

Coats, jackets, gloves, hats, etc. can become a messy pile quickly. How many people come in this door? Think about how much space you’ll need and then design a space that has hooks and cubbies. This will ensure that there is a place to store the extra layers people need to remove as they enter. Custom cubbies or lockers are popular with families, a coat closet is a classic area that can work if you use it right, and hooks are faster and more manageable than hangers.

Boots, cleats, and shoes are often shed upon entry and tend to pile up as well. If you have a bench for sitting to remove them and include a logical place to put them, shoes are more likely to stay organized and out of the way. Benches with storage cubes or racks underneath are a good option for some extra storage in your drop zone area that also keeps clutter tucked out of the way.

2. Include Storage for Sports Equipment

Sports fans and athletes tend to have a lot of sports equipment. If you plan to include a mudroom in your custom home design, that’s a great place to build in some extra storage for sports equipment. If you don’t already have space dedicated to it, corralling equipment to your drop zone is a good idea, especially during practice and game season.

3. Consider a Landing Counter

Most grocery trips include products that need to end up in different places in the house, not just the kitchen. Wherever the drop zone is for your groceries, having a landing counter there can make unloading after a grocery trip much easier. For some homeowners, this is the kitchen.

Designing the kitchen in your custom home to have plenty of counter space and a kitchen island as well can give you a “landing counter” for your groceries without having to build in something completely separate somewhere else. Having a place to set all the groceries on the counter makes it easy and efficient to sort and put things away from there.

4. Install a Charging Station

Drop zones tend to be where things collect, including phones and other tech devices. Consider adding a charging station or two into your custom home design in these drop zones to accommodate everyone’s charging needs.

This can be built into storage areas or under counters to keep charging devices secure and out of the way. There are plenty of ways to incorporate charging stations throughout your custom home; you just have to think about what makes the most sense for you.

5. Make a Mail Station

Although inboxes can be overflowing with emails, we all still get plenty of paper mail, which often ends up as part of the pile of clutter in a drop zone. A great way to manage the mail is to create a mail station near that drop zone.

You could include a slot for each person’s correspondence along with a shredder and waste can nearby. This lets you deal with the day’s mail in one place. Some people even add a bill-paying element to this area, including a filing cabinet and a laptop or tablet for easy management. 

A custom home builder can help you take your irritations at the mess in your current drop zones and come up with solutions in the new house. Your custom home design could include a mudroom, with the washer and dryer included and located right off the garage; so, the athletes can come in from the game and shed all the uniforms and equipment right there.

One wall could have bulk storage behind nice doors and the grocery landing counter can also be where clothes are folded. There are plenty of ways to build multi-purpose areas and extra storage during the design phase for less clutter-fueled headaches later.

Other families don’t need a whole room dedicated to being a drop zone, but could really use an elegant cabinet that holds the charging station, mail sorting station, and keys with space for book bags and a tray to put papers that MUST be signed. The key to a well-designed drop zone is working with the way we naturally function. If it isn’t easy to do it right, the stuff will go on the chair or the floor and end up as clutter around your home.