A couple of weeks before Hadley started school, her teacher sent me a large packet of paperwork in the mail. Included in the packet were lots papers that I was instructed to "keep on hand." Soon thereafter, I started gathering all of the stuff Hadley would need each day for school: a backpack, lunchbox, change of clothes, blanket, sheet, diapers, and lovie. Then, being type A and all, I had a major panic attack and freaked out about where I was going to store all of this STUFF! And it wasn't just school stuff giving me nightmares. We routinely have shoes, bags, purses, hats, and other assorted stuff that ends up hanging out in our kitchen until I can filter it all to its rightful home. Enter my newly-organized laundry room/ mud room/ command center. It's the brains of this operation.
This is it. It's small, but it's the first room you come to when you enter our house from the garage. That makes it the logical spot to store things you either want to drop off when coming home or grab when running out the door. It's the "landing pad" for all of our junk.
Our laundry room was also the first room in the entire house that I decorated. I stole the design wholly and shamelessly from an issue of the now-defunct Domino and love it. I painted the back wall a pretty robins' egg blue and searched high and low for the black and white ironing board cover. I ended up ordering it from a little shop in New York because I couldn't find it anywhere near where I live.
It was worth the trouble.
So here's how I've organized my life, literally, in our teeny, tiny laundry room. That basket on top of the dryer works overtime. It generally holds odds and ends, like clothes that need to be ironed (since I generally try to avoid ironing at all costs), the giant pack of D batteries for Brynn's swing, and a couple of things I need to return to Target. The basket neatly keeps things out of sight while also keeping them close at hand for when I need them. The blanket in the basket was there because I was planning to take it with us on a picnic the next day.
One thing that was driving me crazy every winter was the inevitable pile-up of jackets in our kitchen. Since we come and go from our house through our garage door, which opens into our kitchen, we naturally dropped our jackets off on kitchen chairs instead of walking them to the coat closet on the other side of the house. Enter our makeshift coat closet in the laundry room. Last winter, we hung this set of hooks. Right now, the hooks hold Hadley's backpack and my diaper bag. Once cool weather sets in and we start wearing jackets again, these hooks will hold jackets, and the bags will be moved to the little shelf between the washer and dryer. I'm thinking ahead:-). It's that Type A thing.
We also recently hung the dry-erase whiteboard next to the coat hooks. I'm using the board to keep me sane. It holds school paperwork, school calendars, and other fliers that I need to reference often. I also snagged a set of 3M sticky folders at Target, and so far, they've made organizing assorted paperwork, coupons, and fliers easy. This system has worked wonders on my organizational anxiety!
Luckily, out tiny laundry room also has a closet, which I have stuffed full of everything from canned goods to shoes. Wanna little peek inside? On the inside of the door, we hung another set of hooks. This one is dedicated to our hats and umbrellas during summer months and to the girls' jackets and hats in the winter months.
Inside the closet, I added two baskets, one to hold Hadley's crafts, like sidewalk chalk, Play-Doh, bubbles, water guns, and paints, and one to hold her shoes. It's so simple to have Hadley's shoes handy by the garage door when we are ready to head out. It's one more thing I don't have to remember to get from her room when I'm trying to wrangle the kids out the door. On the remainder of that shelf, we store Hadley's lunch box and small insulated bags. The shelf above holds craft paper and coloring books in an office sorter, Hadley's markers in a clear, plastic cup (love the simplicity of this!), Hadley's watering can, and my recipe box and cookbooks. The shelf below the baskets holds our emergency canned goods supply and Brynn's baby food.
Below that shelf is one that holds the Bumbo (a small chair that Brynn sits in when we feed her) and below that is a small shelving unit we snagged at Target that holds our frequently-worn shoes. This gets the shoes off of the kitchen and laundry room floors but makes them so convenient for slipping on as we are running out the door. I love organization that makes life simpler!
Whew! That's our laundry room! I'm loving my organizational system and the fact that I was able to squeeze so much function into such a teeny, tiny room. Now, when we come home, we can easily drop off our shoes, bags, jackets, and hats as soon as we walk into the house. This keeps everything from piling up in the kitchen and ultimately, keeps me from going c-razy trying to keep everything put away. I'm all about simplicity and ease of design and this little room fits the bill!
Do you guys have "organizational hubs" in your house where you keep all of the things you use on a day-to-day basis? Or, am I the only one who worries about these things???