If you’re the type of person who is constantly wondering where your keys, cell phone, coupons, wallet, camera or mail is, you need to learn how to organize a launch pad in your home's entryway. A launch pad is your go-to spot to store all those small, easy-to-lose-but-essential items like your keys and cell phone, the paper you deal with every day like coupons, incoming and outgoing mail, and notes for work and school, and the things you need to remember to take with you when you leave in the morning.
Why you should organize a launch pad.A launch pad establishes a common space to store small, important items you use everyday.
- It creates a designated space for keys—an item that tends to get lost easily. (See How to Remember your Keys)
- The launch pad will establish an “Inbox” and an “Outbox” for each member of the family so you know exactly where to put their papers, cell phones, keys, and mail, etc.
- It corals and organizes items that you are constantly bringing into, and out of, your home.
Most important, a launch pad establishes a habit. Once you have this space set up, both you and your family members will get in the habit of checking into that space before leaving the house, making it harder to forget things like important school and work papers, keys, phones, chargers, coupons, etc.
What to store in the launch pad.A quick checklist of what you’ll want to store in this area.
- Cell phones
- Papers for school and work
My launch pad contains the following:
- Cell phone
- Small notebook
- Make up bag
- Go-to file (basically a clear plastic folder where I store any paper documents I need to get through the day like mail to mail, bills to pay, etc.).
If I need to bring something to work the next day, I put it in the Launch Pad so I don’t forget it the next morning. When I come home in the evenings, I have a go to spot for mail and paperwork (see How I Organize Mail).
Declutter this space.First, gather the items you bring in and out of the house on a daily basis. Go through your:
- School bags
- Mail center sorter
Purge, recycle and shred (see What to Shred Checklist) anything you no longer need. This will include gum wrappers (toss), receipts (shred), newspapers (recycle), mail (file/shred/toss/recycle), keys (store), etc.
Organize and store the items in the launch pad.Next, sort and group the items by person. Each person should have a designated launch pad to avoid confusion. This is especially valuable for roommates, but if you’re in a 2-person household, or a 2-person household with a small child, you can probably get away with one tray to share.
Consider using a bin or a tray, or if you have enough wall space, many households like to use bulletin boards and wall organizers as well.
- If you use a wall organizer. Make sure it’s very clear whom each paper, note or message is for in the household.
- If you use trays and bins. Label them by family member, roommate, etc.
Storage Tip: You, or your children, or roommates, can also DIY and personalize your launch pads by painting a cubby, lining the back with fabric or paper, or tricking it out with different baskets for each individual cubbyhole. This is especially fun for kids who tend to have as much gear as adults.
Maintain Launch Pad OrganizationNow that you’ve got a spot to store small but very important items, it’s important to maintain that newfound organization. You will be touching this area daily, so make sure to keep it neat by taking the time to either store or toss items. If you can’t manage that during the week, incorporate Launch Pad decluttering into your Weekly Organizing Routine.
All About Entryways
Read more about organizing and storing items in your entryways.