Back To School Organizing

Back to School Organizing

By now everyone is back at school; which can be a drag on many levels. It means the summer is over, bedtime has gotten earlier, and the house is just a little bit messier. A couple years ago my sister introduced me to a system they use in their house – and it has really helped. There are two parts to the organization, and both can be done relatively inexpensively.

  • Hall Organizer – Whether you have one child or multiple, set up an area – whether in the entry or a back hallway, specifically designated for school “stuff.” We stopped by an art store, and a big box store and got all the supplies we needed. First, hooks – each child gets two – one for their backpack, and one for their coat. Second, each get a “mail holder,” basically a wall organizer, that holds paper – where they can store notes they’ve brought home and need to bring back, or homework (depending on their age and how much they have!). Third, I let them pick out supplies to write their names – which hang above their “section.” We debated on wood blocks they could paint, cardboard letters they could color, or mini white boards that they could update. We decided on the whiteboards for ourselves, and also use them to write down any activities happening during the week.
  • Room organizer – Days of the week bins. We ended up getting plastic drawers, but my sister used hanging closet organizers. Anything with five separate shelves will work – just depends on how much space they have in their rooms. On Sunday night, have your kids lay out five outfits for each day of the week. At this point you can make sure they have anything they might need – a belt, specific shoes, or hair accessories. This has been my favorite part of the organizing. Not only does it take the task of picking out clothes in the morning off my list, but it keeps me on track of doing laundry so it’s ready Sunday night.

The best part about both of these organizers is that it’s makes it easy for your kids to do a little more themselves, and get into a habit. Happy Fall!


Fall Organization

Fall Organization

Since you should probably organize more than once a year when “spring cleaning” comes along, in my house I also have “fall organizing.” I basically use fall as a time to go through the house, and get rid of anything I don’t need, while forcing myself to do a more thorough cleaning as I go.

  • Summer Clothes/Shoes – One thing that we seem to hold on to for longer than necessary are worn out swimsuits and flip flops. Make sure to sort through any of these items before you store them away for the winter – if chances are you won’t wear them again next year – just throw them out now. At the same time, when you pull out the warm weather clothes, if there is anything you or your kids grew out of – donate them now – someone who needs these items will be very grateful.
  • Outdoors – Similar theory as with the clothes, but sort through both swimming/toy related items as well as gardening items. Anything that looks like you will need to replace next year, toss now, and make a list of things to replace during the year – chances are you’ll get better deals on these items over the winter when they go on clearance too!
  • Bathroom – In my house, the counter under the bathroom is a catch all for products – whether first aid or beauty related. Take an hour, and sort through. Anything expired, toss, any beauty item you’ve had for a more than a year, toss. Just using this criteria the space will double!
  • Kitchen – Fall and winter are when I do the most cooking, and definitely when I do the most baking. I always try to do a thorough cleaning of the pantry so I know what I have and what I don’t. There is nothing worse than going to make a pie and realizing the spices are three years old – after you’ve already started baking. At least if you’ve already tossed the old items, you’ll know what to add to your shopping list.
  • Windows – As much as I hate cleaning windows, they are always on my list during spring and fall cleaning – if for no other good reason than not forgetting to do it every six months! But in reality it is also the time you generally change your window treatments, so why put clean curtains on dirty windows.

Don’t forget to clean as you go – it goes by a lot faster when I focus more on the organizing, less on the cleaning!


Fall Decor on a Budget

Fall Decor on a Budget

A new season is here, totally time to redecorate and bring some fall into the house. Only problem is, most of the gorgeous pieces advertised, are always out of the budget. Luckily, we have the internet to provide us with some great DIY tips. One of my favorite ideas I’ve used over the last year is buying things from the dollar store and redesigning them to look a little more high end. Not only does it save me a lot of money, its a fun challenge to see how I can customize things.

On my first trip to the dollar store this season, I found quite a few things to stock up on. I got some plastic pumpkins (they come in a variety of different shapes and sizes), fake leaves, candles, felt cut outs (shaped like leaves, acorns, and pumpkins), a whole bunch of silk flowers (in fall colors of course), and a vases. A lot of items can be reused when you change it up for the season, but some pieces you might want to keep for the following year (depending on how good they come). I also stocked up on some hot glue, spray paint, and glitter paint (a lot of which I had leftover from my last crafting project).

My first project was the pumpkins. I chose to go with a white theme – just to match the colors that I have in my living and dining room, but you can chose whatever matches. It took a couple coats of paints, but it magically transformed the pumpkins into high end looking pieces. Some of them were open at the top (to be filled with candy) so I filled those up with the flowers, and some of the pumpkins didn’t have the holes in them.

I was able to use the felt shapes to create the effect of a runner on my dining room table – hot glued the pieces together just to make sure they didn’t move around too much. I then coated the insides of the vases with glitter spray, and used them as candle holders – really high end look for only a few dollars – and likely a piece I can use again during the holidays.

The best part is, it really gives you a chance to make it your own. When you head to the store, don’t pay attention to the colors/materials things are made out of – just imagine what you can make them look like. And have fun!