A Family Drop Zone

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A mud room or hallway outfitted with built-ins is the one room that might actually keep your busy family organized! I’ve run across some amazing examples that elevate your secondary entry into a true command center.

The trend to include functional space in new homes is growing. Sometimes combined with laundry rooms, private bathrooms and garage or outdoor entrances, these utility rooms don’t even have to be rooms. They can be a wide hallway or an area off the kitchen.

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Unlike your foyer or entryway, these hard-working spaces are usually used exclusively by your family so they can be a place for organization. As you’re planning your drop zone, keep in mind your family’s needs; kids kick off shoes and shrug off coats; sports equipment propped against a wall will inevitably slide down; ski boots are drippy – so are dogs.

Rather than trying to tame your family’s stuff, I think the best drop zones are ones that embrace it.

If your kids are in and out all day, plan hooks for jackets rather than closets with hangers.

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If everyone has a different sport, plan for large baskets or bins to contain each kind of gear.

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If stuff comes home wet or dirty, plan drying racks, boot grates or a utility tub to catch it.

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Built-ins make the most sense for family drop zones. Lockers or cubbies for each person (and your pets!) keep things separate and give items a place to go home.

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Photo by Jeffrey Brown and Stephanie Ciak of J.S. Brown & Co.

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Cupboards, closets and drawers store items out of sight and can hold organize out-of-season items. If you love open storage, then plan for a door on the room!

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Wall units with a bench have room beneath for storage and offer a place to sit while taking off shoes.

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Tile floors with radiant heat can keep the area looking – and feeling – good underfoot, while overhead lighting as well as task lights in lockers and closets makes sure no one loses a soccer cleat.

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And a countertop or island can be used for folding clothes or craft projects.  Just imagine how organized you’d be in all that space!

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If you have to deal with actual mud in your mud room, new open shower stalls are a great way to wash feet or pets.

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Other great additions to keep you on track:

  • A command center with a family calendar and board for notes
  • A charging station and cords
  • A mirror for last-minute hair checks before you fly out the door
  • Hangers or a shelf for purses, wallets or backpacks

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Source for both pictures