Create a “Staging Area”
by Lori Hursey
No matter how old your children are, they have specific “gear” that they need throughout the day. For little ones, the list is longer to include diapers, wet wipes, extra clothes, etc. For older children your list might include sports/dance equipment, backpacks, electronic toys, etc. I recommend that everyone have a “staging” area near the entrance of your home that you use the most often (garage door, mud room, etc.).This area should provide a place for backpacks, diaper bags, and purses to hang. It should also have a place for extra supplies when you need to restock.
I use a clear over-the-door shoe organizer (about $7.50 at Lowe’s on the closet organizing aisle). My shoe organizer hangs on the inside of the coat closet door. I have filled the pockets of this organizer with travel Kleenex packages, travel wet wipe packages, gloves and hats, Tide To Go pens, and other things that my children and I might need throughout the week. I keep these things in a bag in my vehicle, in my purse, or in each child’s backpack as well. Everyone in the family knows where to find items to restock their bag. I can quickly take inventory when I make out my weekly grocery list because the pockets are clear. If your children are younger, your pockets might be filled with a handful of extra diapers, extra wet wipes, a spare outfit or onesie, burp cloths, a receiving blanket, and maybe some snacks/food or pacifiers. If your children are older, your pockets might be filled with pencils, batteries for their electronics, lunch money, etc.
If you have built in locker/cubbies in your entry area instead of a door, you can cut the vinyl shoe organizer into long strips and hang them within each cubby using screws. If you don’t have built-ins or a closet door, consider hanging the organizer directly onto the wall using wall anchors and screws. After you get your staging area set up, get in the habit of restocking your diaper bag or backpacks when you return from an outing instead of waiting until you’re trying to hurry out the door.
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