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My “Kitchen Kid Clutter Drop Zone” Problem, SOLVED (ish)

When we designed the house and put the kitchen here (because it’s the best southern light) we knew that we were asking for kid clutter. My genius plan to train the kids to go around the house to the mudroom (expertly executed by locking the kitchen door and giving them candy each time they dropped their stuff in the mudroom) lasted approximately 2 days. Not because they didn’t want the candy or because they couldn’t be trained but because they, like many kids, would hold it all day if you know what I mean, and getting inside IMMEDIATELY was the priority. Plus when it’s raining this entrance just makes more sense. Also, if they did drop everything in the mudroom, in the morning when we are scrambling to get them out the door, they would have to go backtrack to get their stuff, walk around the house, and blah blah. We are always scrambling so adding inefficiencies doesn’t make sense. That’s all to say that this is our defacto kids drop zone and it’s not just them – twice a week we have anywhere between 4 and 7 kids over to play. So this area has to work MUCH HARDER than other areas in the house to help my sanity.

How We Styled It For The Reveal

from: farmhouse kitchen reveal

When we styled it for the OG photo shoot a year or so ago, I styled it to be pretty also not knowing how much use it would get. You see since the outside was under construction until last June we couldn’t even ask them to go around the house to the mudroom (and the plants helped mask the construction out the window). But yeah, that big plant quickly died (under my sister’s watch, sorry Katy to publicly out you LOL) and while I loved the other stuff there, we needed the space for backpacks and coats.

The Kid Clutter Problem SOLVED (LOL, It’s Never Solved But BETTER)

Coat Rack | Switch Plate | Wall Shelf

So here’s what we did – First, we hung those hooks into the fridge cabinet (which I was terrified to do, TBH). I bought this vertical hook set last year from Target for the front entry but since no one uses that door, I stored it and then installed it here. The lower ones are great for the kids and since there are multiple we can really load it up (and we do). The shelf is for their Gabb watches which they pop off as soon as they are home, stick them on their chargers, and the last thing they put on before they leave the house. The bench is now for their bags (no pretty tray for mail, that happens in the pantry and our vintage secretary).

Baskets | Rug

These three baskets have SAVED US. Two are for shoes and one is for our day-to-day sports stuff that we are ALWAYS scrambling to find (basketball shoes, cheer shoes, ultimate frisbee gloves, frisbees, basketball, cleats, etc). Does that mean that the kids always put things away in the right spots? NOPE. But they are so much better. And when I go to put things away I can re-org the sports stuff which sets us up for a better week (when we had just one basket it was all too mixed up).

Coat Rack | Hat | Purse | Gabb Watch | Wall Shelf | Duffle Bag (unavailable) | Planter | Baskets | Rug

Now obviously it doesn’t look like that – there are usually 4-6 coats on the rack and big bulky backpacks on the bench, but the kids had those at school and I’m a stylist so there was no way I was going to style with ugly coats and hats. Sorry!

Here is what it looked like before I did this all:

On the left is what it looked like on a random Sunday and on the right was the clean version later that day. I was NOT set up for success, y’all.

I thought that the coats blocking the window might bug me, but it doesn’t AT ALL (we clearly have a lot of light in here). The only thing that still happens is that longer coats can knock the kid’s Gabb watches off their chargers easily. But with a few cord tacos and velcro stickers, the chargers stay in place without falling off or looking messy.

The plant pot is a recent Target purchase (SO CUTE) and the new to me vintage rug actually goes in the hallway but I wanted to show it off because it’s so beautiful (thank you Sheba from Blue Parakeet!). All in all it’s a solid 60% better. I still have to remind the kids to put their shoes in the basket, and not just throw their coats on the bench but it’s just so much less of a thing. And if you are wondering if we are glad that our mudroom is where it is, we sure are – we need it for all of our pasture boots on that porch (full of mud and literal shit) and its where the kids dry off and hang their towels after getting out of the hot tub.

While the first shot is more eligible to be in a magazine and is more fun for your eye to look at, the third is far more functional for our family. CLUTTER PROBLEM (mostly) SOLVED.

*Photos by Kaitlin Green

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6 days ago

I love the inclusion of the process shot. Thanks for keeping it real, ha!
The coat hook/outlets/small shelf seem super practical. Great idea for expanding the functional space.

6 days ago

Very nice! Two questions: Would a hanging plant in the corner instead of on the bench give everyone more room to sit down to put on their shoes? Also, there are probably good reasons not to put the hook rack at a diagonal, but could doing so help reduce the coat on coat pile up?

6 days ago
Reply to  caroline

Or a horizontal rack?

6 days ago

Love this area of your kitchen. Those windows are so beautiful! I feel like no matter how many extra rooms you have (mudroom, pantry, dedicated entryway, garage that enters into kitchen, etc) there is always some drop zone somewhere that is always a problem to keep clear and clean!! Mine is our kitchen peninsula. We have a garage, a decent sized front entry and a small closet tucked into an area just behind it and still that peninsula gets trashed!!! Even with organization! Life is happening and that’s the good part about it! In my house, everyone’s threshold for clutter is different and different in certain areas so sweeping through the house is just one of my chores and my kids when asked!

6 days ago
Reply to  D


6 days ago
Reply to  MBJ

Me too!!!!!!! See photo carefully framed to hide a giant tower of kids school papers on the left and dishes on the right, lol. Perfectly styled citrus ONLY.

6 days ago

I worry for the wood under your plant! You might consider adding one of those cork things that will protect the wood. I have ruined carpet before with a plant that sat on it and I would hate for your bench to have any kind of damage to it.

6 days ago

Do your baskets block the heat vent?

6 days ago

I love it! To me it’s even more appealing than the OG styled shot (though that one is beautiful as well). It’s very pleasing to the eye with the three baskets underneath the bench.

4 days ago
Reply to  Stephanie

Same as you, I prefer it. Chiming in, as well, on the window consensus.

6 days ago

i will never get over how beautiful those windows are. LOVE LOVE LOVE

cynthia inda
6 days ago

Thank you! How do you like the Gab watch? I have an 11-year-old daughter, think social media is horrible for young children, and don’t plan to get her a “regular” phone anytime in the near future. Please consider a post. Thank you! (Been reading for years, and love your blog!!)

6 days ago
Reply to  cynthia inda

for anyone else interested – em wrote a mini review of the gab watch in an august link up! we’ll make a note about doing a long-form review in the future, too 🙂

6 days ago

I love the realness of this. Universal problem and an area that is beautiful in nobody’s house. Thanks for sharing. This makes me feel much more settled about what’s happening in my own space.

6 days ago

Have just been trying to find the floor plan to understand why the kitchen is the drop zone but the post that comes up in search, with floor plan 11 as the final, has the kitchen in the middle of the house. So is the entry used? I thought that would be the de facto dump zone. I can’t remember where the mud room is. Not really important I suppose but just curious.
I’ve got to say, it looks beautiful. I love pictures of houses as they are actually used. It always has a more cosy, welcoming vibe.

6 days ago

I absolutely love how real and relatable your approach is! It’s refreshing to hear about the ups and downs of finding solutions that work for your family. Your honesty about the challenges and adjustments makes it so much more relatable. Thanks for sharing this glimpse into your everyday life!

6 days ago

Sharing this for laughs, I saw the clutter phot and thought dear God I cannot have kids. Enter skinny French man accent..eet is ‘ideous! Hah overreaction and potentially offensive to the French, but these were my first thoughts hahahaha

6 days ago

i only have one in school (two in daycare). My oldest hangs his book bag on a living room door and everything else goes in the front closet. This doesn’t bother me since it’s just one bag. I’m now thinking of emptying one of our basket to make room for both bags (my middle one starts school this September). Thanks for helping me prepare for that!

5 days ago

Nice solution. I always thought it would be cool for your house to put a sort of greenhouse structure with a covered connection to this kitchen door. The greenhouse structure would look like a sweet English garden shed, but create a space for dropping shoes and sports equipment that wasn’t in the kitchen. Especially if the shoes were recently involved in caring for livestock. 🙂

5 days ago

I’m still laughing my head off about the training program.

5 days ago

This is so great! Like others, I appreciate the inclusion of the progress/real photo! I’m wondering where all of your stuff goes? You are probably walking in at the same time as your kids – do you and Brian have to walk back and forth to the mudroom?

Merry Stuber
5 days ago

The OG styling shot is beautiful, but I like the current styled shot with the coat rack and the three baskets even more. Beauty in good organization that works for your family. I also appreciate the inclusion of a progress shot, it’s educational to see how your spaces look when they aren’t “perfectly styled”.

5 days ago

It looks great! What are the dimensions you’re working with on the bench? We have yet to build in our entry way; 3 baskets worth of stuff is just about all our family should have by the door and I just might plan around that! And your coat is adorable!

1 day ago

Love this! We have a very similar drop zone by our garage door so this is so practical! One idea I got from Kendra at the Lazy Genius is to designate a basket for “things that are leaving the house” – mostly Amazon returns and library books for us. It has worked really well along with shoes and sports stuff like you! ❤️

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