CHIC, by Claire Livingston - "Create A Launchpad for perfect lift off Everyday"

School is just about to begin and now is the time to get organized to make the daily routine run smooth and
stress-free. Here is one of the best ideas Iíve seen for getting your family out of the door each morning with
everything they need for the day: a Launch Pad!
Just as the space shuttle needs a specific structure to support lift-off, family members need a
launch pad to prepare them as they blast out the door. A Launch Pad is a dedicated space for each family
member that contains all the out the door stuff they will need for the day.
Setting up a Launch Pad can be as simple as clearing a shelf in a bookcase and designating the
area as the family’s Launch Pad. Add some dishpans or canvas bins and you’ve got a well-functioning
station. If you put the Launch Pad in a convenient location, such as the mudroom, at the back door, or in
the kitchen, your family is much more likely to use it.
Assign each family member a dishpan or bin by putting his/her name on it. Be sure to give mom
and dad their own containers, too. So that they look stylish and uncluttered, get bins that are all the same. I
saw some great organizing pieces in a large chain store over the weekend; when put together, these
storage pieces had cubbies into which canvas bins, sold separately, could fit. The canvas bins came in
different colors so that each family member could have a different color. There are also furniture pieces
which hold baskets that serve the same purpose.
These bins become the repository for permission slips, lunch boxes, homework, projects, and
library books. For older members of the family, the Launch Pad holds handbags, car keys, return videos,
coupons and the day’s ration of Slim Fast.
Once you set it up, hereís how you use it:
When the kids get home from school, the homework assignments, papers that need to be signed,
and returned artwork get tossed in the bin. Dad comes home and tosses beeper, cell phone, keys,
sunglasses, receipts and pocket change into his dishpan. Get everyone into the habit of stopping by their
bin first thing upon entering the house and emptying their pockets and backpacks. There things stay, safe
and segregated, until they are needed next morning. The easier it is to “put away”, the more likely it is that
belongings will be put away.
In the evening, after the kids finish their homework and projects, tell them to gather their
backpacks, papers, and anything they need for school the next morning and put it in their bin. Make sure
mom and dad put all their important ìthings to doî in their bins, too. Establish the habit of putting tomorrowís
stuff in the bin tonight.
In the morning, pack lunches and put them in the bins. Get each family member in the habit of
checking their bin before they leave the house in the morning. This makes each person responsible for
their things and creates a sense of control, easing the stress and chaos of the morning rush.
Of course, you’ve got to periodically clean out the bins. Old papers and artwork need to be filed or
tossed. Odds and ends that collect there need to go back to their homes in other parts of the house. Donít
let this spot become a cluttered eyesore that no one uses after awhile.
Establishing a family Launch Pad can go a long way toward easing the morning madness of
looking for misplaced items when running out the door. Make like NASA and set up a Launch Pad for your
family members to give them a smooth morning countdown and an easy liftoff to school and work!
Claire Livingston is an interior designer, public speaker, and workshop facilitator. Send
your ideas and comments to her at

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