How to Create and Organize a Drop Zone for Kids Backpacks

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Beat the back to school chaos with a drop zone! See how we used a closet to create and organize a drop zone for kids backpacks to use before and after school!  We are already loving how it keeps everyone’s things accessible and easy to find each day!

Well, the school year has begun!  I can’t say that everything is running perfectly smoothly yet.  However, our efforts to organize a drop zone for the kids backpacks are already paying off big time!  I feel so much better not having backpacks and lunch boxes strewn across the back entryway.  The kids are more efficient in the mornings…so far at least!  Having their things in one place, easy to access, is so helpful!

You might think, well, how  can this post help me?  I’m out of the “back to school” season of life!    I imagine, however, that you still have bags, umbrellas, jackets, rain boots, or shoes that tend to want to live inside the back door.  Am I right?

No matter who lives in your house or what season of life you’re in, it can be super helpful to organize a drop zone for kids backpacks…or adult stuff too!

What is the drop zone concept?

A drop zone is the same idea as a mudroom or entryway.  However, I think of a drop zone as maybe a little smaller space, specifically designed to “drop” those things we bring in when we come home from work or school.

A drop zone may consist of hooks, shelves, hanging space, drawers, baskets, or other ways to organize things that you need quick, easy access to most days.

For us, the drop zone is ideal to organize kids’ backpacks and school items.  However, a drop zone would also be perfect for:

  • Keys,
  • Purses,
  • Work tote bags or briefcases,
  • Frequently used gardening supplies,
  • Appropriate gear for your weather, and
  • Outdoor shoes or boots…

Just to name a few things!

What is the difference between a mudroom and a drop zone?

Really, the two rooms serve the ultimate same purpose and homes may interchange the verbage.  However, to me, a mudroom is more of an actual room.  On the other hand, a drop zone is a specific organizational spot.  The drop zone could even be inside the mudroom!

Ultimately, no matter what you call it, having a space to organize a drop zone for kids backpacks or essentials you use frequently when coming and going from home is incredibly helpful!

Does this organization sound great to you?!  It definitely did to me!  You don’t have to have a fancy or large room to designate as a drop zone.  In fact, we used a small hot water closet!  If you’re looking to create a drop zone space, here is what you need to do:

How do you make a drop zone at home?

  1. Identify a space.
  2. Make a priority list of needs.
  3. Measure carefully.
  4. Shop and research options.
  5. Install the drop zone system.
  6. Organize a drop zone.
  7. Teach kids how to use the drop zone.
  8. Make a weekly plan to tidy up the drop zone space.

How to Create and Organize a Drop Zone for Kids Backpacks at Home

Identify a Space to Organize a Drop Zone and Mudroom

Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a designated, built-in space that is designed for a mudroom.  It could also be called an entryway.  For my purposes, I am trying to organize a drop zone that is specifically for the kids’ backpacks and school-related things.

If you are like me, you might need to think outside the box in order to create a specific drop zone or mudroom space.  However, it is worth the extra effort!

We took the extra space in the hot water heater closet and made it over into our drop zone.  Previously, we had shelving in there but it really wasn’t being utilized to it’s best potential.  I’m all about every inch of real estate in our homing meeting it’s full potential!  Right?!

Here are some other outside-the-box ideas to consider:

Make a Priority List of Needs to Organize a Drop Zone

What do you need in a drop zone?

Your list of needs will differ from mine.  However, maybe this list will help you get started with thinking through your own prioritized list to create and set up your mudroom entryway space.

  1. Heavy hooks to hold backpacks
  2. Designated space for school shoes
  3. Hanging space for school jackets and rain jackets
  4. Storage for kids’ instruments
  5. Extra hooks to hold lunch boxes and music bags
  6. Shelves for bins to hold each child’s papers and space for extra school supplies
  7. Spot for other items that I still need a little bit of the closet for: gift wrap, bin of table cloths that I need to keep but aren’t used often, extra paper goods, like paper towels (utilizing height in the closet allowed for these extras that we don’t need to get to often)
  8. TOP PRIORITY: Easy for the kids to use, accessible, and looks streamlined and clean.

Your needs will be different than mine.  However, listing everything you want to use the space for will help you choose the best organizing solution, furniture, or system for your specific needs.


Take measurements first before trying to organize a drop zone for kids backpacks.

This step is extremely important in order to maximize the space.  We took really detailed measurements before heading out to get inspiration for our drop zone.  Our measurements had to take into consideration access to the hot water heater, the electrical breaker box, and a pipe that sticks out a bit from the wall.

By taking detailed measurements, we were able to use every single inch of available space!

Tip: Take into account baseboards and door openings too!

Shop and Research Options to Organize a Drop Zone or Entryway Space

A recent trip to The Container Store had given me some inspiration and new ideas for how we might better use and repurpose the hot water heater closet!  So, we headed there with our measurements and a tape measure in hand.

Much to our delight, a professional organizer was able to put our detailed measurements and wish list right into the computer to generate a plan using the Elfa system.  Since we had some unique needs with the breaker box, hot water heater access, and pipe, having some professional help that knew the product so well was extremely helpful!

If you do not have a Container Store nearby, THIS SYSTEM is almost exactly the same.  I love the versatility and that we can rearrange the shelves, tracks, hooks, and rods to meet our needs as time goes on.

For your sake, hopefully your situation is a lot more simple!  You may be able to just order a great piece online that fits your space.  Easy breezy!

I have linked several great options in my Storage and Organization Storefront, found HERE!


It’s time to install your drop zone for kids backpacks or mudroom entryway!

You’ve already done the hardest part of prioritizing the needs, designating a space, getting detailed measurements, and researching the best option for your space.

Next, it is time to install your drop zone or mudroom entryway!  Our system took Robb a few hours.  You’ll want to read instructions carefully before purchasing to see what the assembly time and level of difficulty will be, if that is a factor in your decision!

How to organize a drop zone for kids backpacks:

Now your drop zone is ready to be filled up and organized!  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Put items within easy and convenient reach of the people who need to use them.
  2. Use hard to reach spaces for “extras” or things that you do not need to access often.  It’s great to maximize this storage, though, so don’t discount the high shelves!
  3. Include a variety of organizational items such as bins with lids, baskets, shelves, and hanging space.  You may also choose to include a small command center to leave notes or important reminders.
  4. Invest in containers and organizers that all blend and look nice together.  It just helps the entire space feel more cohesive, even when adding in everyone’s different personalities…aka…backpack styles!  Haha!
  5. Come back and tweak the things that just aren’t working.  I don’t usually nail organization perfectly the first time around!  It’s okay to try something and rearrange if needed!

Teach kids how to use the drop zone you’ve created.

Guess what?  Kids are able to organize and keep things tidy!!!  It’s true!  However, it won’t come naturally to most of them.  Your newly organized drop zone is a perfect teachable lesson in simple organization.  At the same time, kids can learn responsibility for their things.  They can also take pride in helping your family unit operate more smoothly and efficiently

However, kids may need you to show them (more than once) how to use the space you’ve created.  I know I will need to have patience as we all get used to the new system!

Here are a few tips from a mom and teacher:

  1. Repetition is key; showing them one time probably isn’t enough.
  2. Involve kids in setting up the drop zone so they feel ownership of this new, pretty space.
  3. Experiment with different ways for organization to see what works best for them.
  4. Have patience and grace!
  5. Make the drop zone part of their daily chores and or routines to help keep it tidy.

Create a weekly plan to keep the new drop zone organized.

Guess what else?!  I know our drop zone is going to get really messy sometimes.  It’s just the nature of busy family life with three kids and all of their things.  I am scheduling a time into my weekly routine to take a few minutes and freshen it up.  At the same time, I will involve my kids in the process so we are working together as a team.  This is just another way to help them build organizational skills too!

Scheduling a time to do this each will helps me keep on top of it.  Otherwise, it would build up until it was driving my crazy  and then I would be soooo frustrated!  So, I’m going to try and work ahead of that and stay on top of it.

Disclaimer: If you come to my house, don’t look too closely, please.  I know it won’t be a perfect system!

Are you inspired to do some organizing?!

I’ll be honest, once again, and say that our home is not a picture of perfect organization.  However, any effort is better than nothing at all.  For me, the efforts to create a tidy and organized home are well worth it.  I feel so much more restful and peaceful in a tidy space and I want my family to be able to have that same experience!

I hope our little hot water heater closet…turned drop zone…offers some inspiration for you to think outside the box and inspiration to make even a small space in. your home work more efficiently for your family!

I’d love for you to follow me on social media!  You can find my home decor inspiration on Instagram, Pinterestand Facebook!  











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