Where are my keys?
Has anyone seen my soccer cleats?
I need the notes for my meeting!
Whether you are heading out to work, taking the kids to school or getting ready to go to an appointment, you can often find yourself doing a last minute scramble. You are almost ready to go when you end up looking for an important misplaced item, wondering where you placed the papers you were supposed to take along, or even searching for the address of your destination. Wouldn’t it be nice to be organized and prevent that uncomfortable and stressful rush out the door?
Creating Your Launch Zone
An easy way to get organized is to create zones. You may already have some zones set up in your home. You may not call them zones, but you probably have them. Zones are designated areas where items for similar activities are stored together. Maybe you have an area for your DVD collection close to where you watch TV, so this is your entertainment zone. A reading zone might be an area set aside for all your books and your favorite reading chair.
Have you considered setting up a launch zone – a specific area for items you’ll need when you leave each day? Creating a launch zone helps with the last minute dash. This space is designated as a landing area for items like backpacks, keys, sunglasses, and anything that goes in and out the door on a regular basis. These items “land” in this area as you or your kids arrive home. They have a defined place to be, and you don’t have to stop and think about where they should be placed. These items have an assigned home. When it’s time to leave, the items in the launch zone are easy to locate and ready to “take off” again.
Your launch zone should be located close to where you usually enter your home, whether that’s by the side door, in the front hall, or another convenient area. Storing these items farther away from your entry point is not recommended because it will not only require more time and energy but also may allow distractions to side track you on the way to leave them in the zone.
Organizing Your Launch Zone
The launch zone can be even more effective when you add the right containers to the space. Small items like keys and sunglasses are best contained in baskets or on hooks, preventing them from getting mixed in with other items. Large items such as planners, backpacks or purses can be stored on shelves, placed in bins, or hung from sturdy hooks.
If one of your common “in and out” items is sporting gear, you know that it can easily cause clutter and chaos. Due to the size of this gear the landing spot may be a little further from the entrance but should still be in a consistent, convenient and contained location. Large bins are great for holding sports bags, athletic shoes and accessories all in one place. If you have more than one athlete in your home, try using a labeled bin for each person.
There may be other items that are not “regulars” to take with you when leave the home. Things like library books to return, a purchase to exchange, papers for tomorrow’s meeting or a casserole dish to take back to your neighbor. Your launch zone is a great place to put these things the day before. When they are located in your launch zone, it will serve as a reminder to take them along, and you will have them at your fingertips for an on time departure.
Getting Everyone Involved
It is important to have the whole family involved in this process. Make sure everyone knows exactly what should and should not go in the launch zone. Remember that in order to make this system work well you should be sure to place only items that will be “taking off” again in this area.
Creating specific zones, such as the launch zone for your “in and out” belongings, organizing the zones, and getting the entire family involved in the launches and landings will ease the stress of daily departures and help you get out the door on time each and every morning!
© 2013 Beth Giles