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Ask Maeve: Contain Your Day in the Drop Zone

UntitledI’m a busy professional and when I come home at night I am tired and I dump stuff all over the place. Can you help?

I hear this one a lot. I’ve seen many clients who come home from work tired and so they tend to dump things around the home.

I can relate! I, too, dump stuff at home from time to time (see Flinging Clothes). But I do so without worry as I have a system in place that I’m going to recommend to you here.

I call it a Drop Zone. It’s a spot nearby the front door where you can quickly and easily dump bags, coats, hats, groceries, you name it, whatever needs to get out of your hands as soon as you enter your home. A Drop Zone can be a table, a chair, a strong shelf, a hook or a piece of furniture. What it is matters less than where you place it, and if it’s large enough to hold all the things you need to put down.

It works like this: when you enter your home give yourself permission to dump whatever you want in your Drop Zone. In fact, make it your new habit. Once you’ve had a chance to settle in at home – like start dinner or change your clothes – you can go then go back and put things away more orderly in where they belong. Putting this in place will keep you from trailing things into all the rooms of your home.

The best way to figure out what type of Drop Zone works best is to take a test run. The next time you come home tired, stop yourself the moment you enter your door. Observe your habits. Note what you do, what you carry, and most importantly, what you normally put down in other parts of your home. This will inform what type of Drop Zone you need to introduce.

I love this system and I’ve used it for years! The photo above is of my own Drop Zone, enhanced with a bowl for dropping small items, like my keys and wallet, a basket for dropping mail, and a space between for dropping any small bags I have on hand.

Give this system a try, and if you have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Do you use a Drop Zone? Share your solution in our comments below.

Maeve Richmond is the founder and head coach of Maeve's Method, a home organization system based in New York City. She specializes in parents & kids, couples, small space solutions, space planning and decorative elements for the home. Contact her at or @MaeveRichmond.

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