Jump Start January: Declutter Week: Day 2

If you tackle your household’s ‘crash zone’, it makes your home feel more relaxed the second you walk in the door. It also creates a better atmosphere for having guests around, and makes it easier to get out of the house without fuss in the morning.

The crash zone is wherever you automatically dump your keys, bag, post, coat, shoes etc the second you walk through the door when you come in from work. Take a second to think about your personal routine. This zone will be different from person to person: it could be a hallway, the dining table, a kitchen counter top, or behind the door in your bedroom. It’s led both by the ‘shape’ of the home, and your own habits.

The trick to this declutter is to think about how nice/stylish you’d like this functional setup to look once it’s sorted out. Don’t fight your habits too much, work with them to create a system instead, and try to make it look and feel welcoming as well.

Before you start, think about design, think about your budget (you’ll probably need to buy one or two new things), and think about safety/security – you don’t want to leave things like keys and utility bills in plain sight to tempt potential burglars. You also need to think about how everyone in the household uses this space, so get people on board if you’re introducing a new system.

The declutter goes like this:

  • Gather up coats, keys, mail, shoes, umbrellas, bags etc and move them out of the way
  • Clean the space (or spaces) that this leaves
  • If you’re planning on using a new spot, clear and clean that too
  • Add in storage and organisation: letter rack, shoe store, coat rack or stand, key holder, small table, shelves, box file, bag hooks, umbrella stand etc
  • Put your belongings into their new homes
  • Optional: add one or two pictures or ornaments
  • Get into the habit of using your new system

If you have a lot of bills or unopened mail, allow extra time for this declutter. Sort your post out first.

In my house, the crash zone is the dining table. Coats and jackets ended up over the chairs, there were receipts and flyers all over the table top, and opened and unopened post was mixed up together. Shoes, keys and bags were put away neatly elsewhere, so fortunately they weren’t adding to the problem. There were some handy coat hooks in the cupboard under the stairs, but I couldn’t get to them due to an incredible amount of mess and clutter left by a previous resident.

As part of my crash zone clear-up I had to sort out the cupboard under the stairs, which was grim to say the least. It was worth the effort though – we now have four easy-to-reach double coat hooks to use, which tidies all coats and jackets away perfectly. We picked up a smart letter tray in TKMaxx to hold fresh post as a sort of in-tray, and I might go back and get a matching one later in the week to use as a second ‘put away later’ store for opened letters and receipts.

I’ve also become ruthless with the recycling: unsolicited take away menus go straight into the recycling box when they arrive, and unwanted mail goes into the shredder box as soon as it’s opened. The space looks much calmer, simpler and cleaner, and creates a better first impression. Like I said to The Beau, it looks like grown-ups live here now.

Next time I get paid, I’m going to treat our crash zone to a vase or a fruit bowl, or some candles. Now the junk’s gone, there’s room for something pretty to look at instead.

Where’s your crash zone? How do you want it to look?



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