Home » Blog » Method For: Taming Summer Madness

Method For: Taming Summer Madness

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Summer is here! The littles are out of school, the college kids are back home and your house is suddenly over-run with all of their stuff.  And all of your stuff that they leave everywhere. And some of their friends’ stuff that somehow made its way to your house and never left. Kids of all ages have zero respect for a tidy home. Indeed, summer has arrived in all its cluttery glory!

In between reminding your kids that they do in fact need to put their dishes in the dishwasher and tripping over the pile of wet towels and goggles that got dumped on the floor of the mudroom you may also find a few minutes here and there to accomplish 3 bite-sized organizing projects that will help keep the inevitable Summer Kid Clutter at bay.  All 3 can be accomplished in 20 minutes or less and the systems should hold up to almost anything your summer (and kids) throw at you. I call them the Family Hot Spots – tame them and they will work hard for you all summer.


Family Hot Spot #1: The Drop Zone

If you don’t have a drop zone you need to create one immediately.  The drop zone is the designated home for the things that we need when we leave the house and when we return.  Not the big things like shoes or clothing but the small things that tend to get misplaced when they do not have an official place to be.  Your Drop Zone should be as close to the most-used entrance in your home as possible.  It should have some surface area at an appropriate height for dropping things (get it?) And while you may have a category of your own to add the following 4 categories should live here: Keys, Sunglasses, Masks and Mail. I recommend a basket, drawer or decorative bin for each category.  This will prevent lost keys, forgotten sunglasses, disappearing masks and a pile of mail on your dining table.  Of the 4 categories the mail is the one most likely to build up and requires some vigilance but at least you have an official spot for mail triage.  My high-school and college-age kids like to retrieve the mail for some reason (perhaps because it’s grad season) and while they leave all kinds of kitchen-related items in every room but the kitchen, they do manage to leave the mail in the Drop Zone, along with their car keys (super-helpful when a family of 5 is sharing 3 cars!)


Family Hot Spot #2: The Useful Things Drawer (which my family insists on still calling the Junk Drawer, though it is not at all junky!)

You may call yours the Junk Drawer but I urge you to consider re-branding.  The Useful Things Drawer should be full of useful categories that any family member (small or grown) may need – usually in or in close proximity to the kitchen. If your Useful Things Drawer is not organized then it will look junky and people will toss junk in it and you will not be able to find the useful things when you need them. People keep a wide variety of things in their Useful Things Drawer, but here is a list that should comprise the core of the offer.  You may have an additional item or two but it is best to keep the list tight; an edited offer is the most useful! Scissors, stamps (for all of those grad-season Thank You’s), pens, box-cutter, notepad, flashlight, small screwdriver, extra house-keys and rubber bands.  If you employ a drawer organizer(s) to keep things neat then it will stay neat longer and be easy to tidy when it does start to look junky.  All hail the scissors that can always be found!


Family Hot Spot #3: The Mudroom – this one is a blank slate!

The Mudroom dressed for summer should be the place where towels are hung, caps are grabbed and leashes are hooked.  In order to accomplish this you need to stow away anything that isn’t seasonally appropriate (winter hats, outerwear, school backpacks.) Your mudroom needs to have available hooks to hang things, cubbies to fling flip flops and some sort of storage solution for baseball caps (you could hang them but I find a basket or bin to be more practical, especially if your family is on the bigger side.) Hopefully your dog(s) has the opportunity for many summertime adventures (our Gus loves swimming in the lake and Puppachinos from Starbucks), if so it’s a good idea to have an area dedicated to canine-related items.  At my house we’ve migrated from Swim Team to Lifeguarding, in either case a small bin for water-related items like goggles, swim caps or fanny-packs will prevent any of you from wasting precious summer minutes looking for them when it’s time to go.

Keep your Family Hot Spots cool this summer with a little intentional organization! It was a long, gray, wet spring here in the Pacific Northwest so I am very excited to prep my home for summer and the invasion of my children!

Similar Posts