How to Make a Home Departure Station



Before you leave the house, you want to make sure you're prepared for the day. I made the Home Departure Station, which sits on the back of my front door, to let me check my appearance and offer reminders about the day.

To make a home departure station, you will need the following items:


  • 1 full-length mirror
  • 2 transparent plastic mats (I used the kind intended to protect the carpeting in your car, but you could also use, say, placemats)
  • Clothesline
  • 1 metal push plate (you can find these in hardware stores; they are intended to offer a surface to push on a door.)
  • 1 wide belt
  • Several plastic cups
  • (optional) cord to match your belt
  • 1 whiteboard (add hanging hardware if needed)


  • 1 ruler
  • 1 pushpin
  • 1 thin permanent marker
  • 1 hammer
  • 1 candle and lighter or matches
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 knitting needle (about the same width as your clothesline)
  • 1 power drill or leather holepunch

Once you have your tools and materials, you're ready to begin!

Step 1: Create Two Over-the-Door Hooks

The first step is to create some over-the-door hooks so that you don't have to drill holes in your nice front door. You can buy a premade hook, but generally they are designed for interior doors, which are thinner than front doors, so you may not be able to find one that fits. Our hooks also have the advantage of being very sturdy, so they can easily hold a lot of weight.

  1. Use the ruler to measure the thickness of your door.
  2. You want the part of the hook on the outside of the door to be at least as wide as the door is thick, so measure that many inches down from one end of the push plate and draw a straight line across it using your marker and ruler.
  3. Bend the push plate along that line to make an 'L' shape; you should be able to do this with your bare hands, but if you're having trouble, you can score a scratch along the line with the tip of your push pin to make it easier to bend.
  4. If the bend in your 'L' isn't quite square, you can place it on the edge of the door and hammer it flat.
  5. Now that you have the back of the hook, you need to bend it again to create a squared-off 'U' shape that will fit over the door. The distance between your first and second bends should be the thickness of your door, or even slightly more (better too big than too small).
  6. Next, decide how long you want your hook to be. You probably won't want to use the full length of the push plate. You can remove the excess length by bending the plate back and forth until it breaks (but don't use more than half--you'll need the other part to make your second hook.
  7. Bend the remaining length into a hook, making a vague 'S' shape.
  8. You're done with the first hook! Hang it over the top of your door.
  9. Repeat steps 2-7 to make a second hook with the remaining piece of the plate. This one needs to fit through your belt buckle, so you may have to break off a piece along the side to make the strip narrower before starting.
  10. Hang your second hook over the top of the door.

Step 2: Make a Sling for the Mirror

Because the hanging hardware that comes with most mirrors requires drilling holes in the wall, we need a different way to support our mirror. Therefore, we are going to use our plastic mats and our clothesline to rig a sling for the mirror.

  1. Cut your mats into two rectangles, each 6-12 inches by [the width of your mirror] plus 3-4 inches. You are going to fold them around the ends of the mirror and tie them in place.
  2. Fold the mats in half around the ends of the mirrors and poke two holes, 2-3 inches apart and going through both layers of the mat, on each side of the mirror. Use your push-pin to get the holes started, then use the knitting needle to widen them. If your mirror came with plastic corners, you should keep them on--they will keep the corners from damaging the sling.
  3. Cut two lengths of clothesline, each twice the length of your mirror plus two feet. Light your candle and hold the cut ends an inch above the flame for a few seconds to melt them together and keep the ends from fraying.
  4. Each cord will go on one side of the mirror and will be woven through both the top and the bottom mat. The middle of each cord should go at the bottom of the mirror, on the outside of the mat; thread both ends of a cord in through the bottom holes on the front and back of the mirror, then cross them and thread them out through the top holes.
  5. Tie a knot at the top of the lower mat, then continue lacing through the top mat. Pull the cords tight and tie another knot to keep the mirror from slipping out of the sling.
  6. Tie all of the ends (there should be four in total) together at the top of the mirror, then hang the cord over your first hook.
  7. (Optional) You may want to use painter's tape or poster putty to lightly stick the bottom of the mirror to the door so it doesn't swing when the door is opened.

Step 3: Attach Your Cups and Whiteboard to the Belt

You are going to use your belt as a strap from which to hang your cups (for storage) and whiteboard (for writing yourself reminders).

  1. Lay out your cups and whiteboard next to your belt on the floor to decide where along the belt you want them to hang. Mark the top of each item on the back of the belt with your marker. You may be able to use some of the existing holes.
  2. Use your power drill or leather holepunch to make holes in the middle of the belt at each mark. If you choose the drill, you may want to lay the belt over a couple of shoeboxes or have a partner hold it up for you, since you need enough space behind the belt for the drill bit to go through without damaging anything. Drills go through leather slowly, so be patient.
  3. Tie a cord or clothesline around the top of each cup and then through the corresponding hole on the belt. Do the same with your whiteboard (if your whiteboard doesn't come with hanging hardware, you can screw a small metal loop, available in hardware stores, into the frame).

Step 4: You're Finished!

Hang the buckle on your belt over your second hook, then step back and enjoy the organization.



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