How to Organize for Back to School

Back to School Organization

My mind is filled with lists: school supplies, lunches, snacks, conference times and open houses.  Starting school is a whirlwind of paperwork and emails. I’ve color coded my calendar, hung new hooks for backpacks, labeled lunch items, and attended events at two different schools.

All in an effort to attempt to organize this new life we are headed towards I’ve been setting up command center type areas.  I thought I would share some inspiration I’ve found to help me head off the avalanche of school stuff.

Command Centers – Check out these inspiring command centers and then I will show you my solution below.

 Paper Command Center by Homey Home Design

Homework Station by Mom 4 Real

I love the idea of having everything in one place, but for our house it worked out better to split it up a little bit.  My chalkboard calendar wall is our main command center area.  It has the calendar, plus a fabric covered corkboard, plus room to keep track of our freezer meals.  I started color coding with our chalk, each child has their own color and family stuff is white.  That makes it even easier to see what’s happening in our world.

Backpack Hooks and File Folders – I placed hooks at the kids level on the wall right next to our shoe closet.  It should add a nice flow to coming home from school.  I’m also going to hang a wall file and color code it as well for their folders and paperwork.

DSC_0251

Homework Station and Art Gallery Wall – I believe that children should be proud of what they create and I want to inspire them to create more so I wanted to give them a space to hang their artwork from school.  I’m going to add another row above the ones hanging already.  Once it’s full then they can decide what they are ready to switch out.

I’m having them share a homework desk which I may end up regretting.  But since we homeschooled they are used to seeing each other all day long and I think they are going to miss each other.  We’ll see how it pans out!

Homework Station

Lunch Organization – I really like the idea to have buckets of lunch items in the pantry and refrigerator.  I want my kids to be responsible for packing most lunches and this would make it pretty easy.  They can even help me fill the buckets.

Lunch organization by I Heart Organizing

I feel like having these little areas in place will make my life seem easier once we are in the swing of things.

What are your best back to school tips?

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Everything In It’s Place

Having things organized in our homes leads to more intentional living.  When I know exactly where the stamps are or a screwdriver or a certain spice to cook with it saves me time.  Saving time leads to less stressful moments and smoother days.  For me anyway!

I recently organized our junk drawers, yes plural, it was that bad.  Are you picturing yours in your head right now?

We have been in this house a little over a year and this is the first time I actually went through the stuff that had collected in there.  I realized half of it belonged in other places and that led me to believe I could purge some more and condense it all into one drawer.

The spice problem is what started all of this.  I needed the baskets in this drawer to hold the spices so then the drawer ended up even messier and I knew there had to be a better solution.

Here’s the before:

Those two drawers were condensed into this one:

That’s a lot of batteries!  We aren’t usually stocked so well but my mother in law was just in town.

What I purged:

  • pens, markers, and highlighters that weren’t working anymore
  • items that belonged in other areas of the house (printer labels, an extra drawer organizer, kid pens, random nails and screws)
  • old printer ink
  • extra calculators
  • old budget sheets

Once I had purged those items it was really easy to organize it into one.  Now I have an empty drawer, which is awesome, but I need to figure out a purpose for it or it could become overflow junk again.

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Pantry Organization

I tackled my kitchen pantry area since last week and I am so happy to show you the results.  All it took was some fresh paint, a couple of baskets, and purging to make a huge difference.

This project all started because of a cabinet that needs to hold baby stuff in a few months. The spices were one big problem.  They took up so much room in there and it was hard to see what we had.  The mixing bowls and colanders have already found a new home in another cabinet that was recently purged.  The only thing left is the medicine area, yay!

I noticed some long skinny baskets in the junk drawer and decided to hang them on the pantry wall to hold the spices.  It was an awesome solution.  Now I can see what I have and duplicates could go on the baking shelf.  But, look how dirty the wall is to the right. Since I had leftover paint from the kitchen I decided it was a great time to give it a fresh coat.  Plus, since it was the end of the month the pantry was pretty empty so easier to purge!

Here is the before and I apologize in advance for the wonky pictures.  My pantry is situated in a little hallway and it’s super difficult to get decent ones, but we’ll go with it.

Semi organized, but when it’s full it’s kind of a mess.

The baking shelf was the worst, not organized at all!

After some fresh paint it already looked better!

I added a basket to the second shelf down to hold opened bags of snacks so they aren’t just laying everywhere anymore.  Then I found some stacking shelves at the dollar store and used them on the baking shelf on the bottom.  It freed up so much space I was amazed!

I think those baseboards need a fresh coat as well, yikes!

Here are the spice racks again.

Grand total spent on the pantry makeover equals $2 for the stacking shelves.  It’s amazing what you can do when you look around for new purposes for items that you already have.  Using the baskets for the spices led to a junk drawer reorganization as well, but I’ll save that for another post.

Could your pantry use an easy makeover?

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Day 23 :: Fabric DIY

Yesterday we saw how easy it is for paint to transform a space, today let’s take a look at fabric.  Fabric is one of my favorite things to use to give something old or boring a new look.  For my new chalkboard wall command center I started with some cork tiles I found at a yard sale.

I decluttered what was actually on the fridge, but there are still some things that need to be readily available.  Instead of the fridge I wanted to use a bulletin board.

The cork boards are the perfect size, small enough that I can’t keep all the junk unnecessary items.  But on my pretty new wall I didn’t just want plain cork board.

I dug through my fabric stash and found a cute green print to use (pretty sure it’s from Joanns).

Quick and Easy Fabric Recover Tutorial

Materials:

  • 1-2 fabrics of your choice
  • staples and a stapler
  • cork tiles

1. Lay your fabric wrong side up on the table and place cork tile in the center.

2. Pull one side of the fabric up and around and start stapling the edges down.

The piece of fabric I had was just a tad short, oops!

The cork tiles were really thin so I ended up stacking two together.  To cover the bottom I grabbed some white fabric I had and cut a strip.

Staple again and voila!  The selvage edge actually came in super handy in this project.  I was going to cover the staples with ribbon, but I actually like the funky look of them so I left it alone.

So cute and so easy.  The whole project took less than 30 minutes.

Is there a space in your home that could use an update with paint or fabric?

Check out the whole 31 days series here.

This post is being linked up to Tatertots & Jello and Home Stories A to Z.

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Day 22 :: Intentional Creativity

I had a revelation this past week about my home and my creativity.  William Morris inspired me.  Making my house look pretty is so much fun, I just never realized how much more functional it can be too.  I know that everything should have it’s place, but let me show you a little declutter experiment I am working on.  The difference between being functional only and between being pretty AND functional.

This area of my kitchen has been making me stressed out just looking at it.  There is clutter everywhere around the counter and refrigerator.  Have you ever noticed how clutter multiplies like rabbits?

Some essential things about this space that I do actually use often:

  • calendar (if it’s not written down, it doesn’t get done)
  • meal planner board (that’s the dry erase board, we do freezer meals so it’s helpful to know what’s left in the freezer to eat)
  • to do list/shopping list (used to quickly jot down random items we need on the next trip)

Those are the biggies.  I started taking pictures of this space to see if that sparked any ideas on how to make it more functional.

I have a small wall where the door to the garage is.  This has some possibilities!

Idea 1: Focus on function only

I cleared everything off the refrigerator, tossed some, kept the stuff I needed.  I swapped a bulletin board for the magnetic fridge surface, same purpose.  Here is what came out of it.

Functional? Yes. Beautiful? Not even close!!!

Idea 2: Functional AND beautiful

This looks interesting!  I may have figured out the conundrum of clutter that is my kitchen.

Chalkboard paint to the rescue!!

I am so excited about this wall!  It will have an erasable calendar, to do list, and meal planner board.  The bulletin board area will be added, but in a prettier way that I will share in another post.  I may even leave some space at the bottom for the kids to use for fun. Once the paint is cured and I can actually write on it I will show you the completely finished result.

Lesson for the day?  Be intentional with your creativity.  Look around your house to see where you can add some beauty to the functionality of the day.  I’m going to have so much more fun looking at this chalkboard wall than the previous ugly cluttery mess!

Check out the whole 31 days series here.

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