Five Organization Tips to Prep for Back to School

Morning All and Happy Wednesday! I have been MIA from the blog this Summer which, in truth, has been amazing in that it has given us much needed time for family adventures. And now, as we move into the latter half of August, I am still in denial that Fall is lurking,  despite the IG feeds and blog posts harkening its arrival with plans for Fall decor, Fall Style and everything back to school!

Nevertheless, it is time to look ahead and get ready. Full disclosure- that means finally sorting through what came home from the locker at the end of the year, as that pile still remains. Sigh. So here are some great organizational tips and hacks if you find yourself needing a slight overhaul but don’t want to use the last moments of Summer to do it!

#1: Create a Homework or Project Center

Having everything in one place can save minimize many headaches… I do realize that you may have everything ready and in one place, but you still have to get them to do the homework!

This fabulous Art Cart from Fun with Mama can be modified to hold whatever kids need for their grade level so that all supplies can be found, just wheel it over and voila!

organize home work station

I love this gorgeous project area featuring Caitlin Wilson wallpaper- clean, organized, perfection!

homework project area

Here is a fabulous DIY homework caddy from Paint Yourself a Smile, that can travel with you if you don’t have an entire area or room to designate for school projects.

homework caddy

#2.  Organize Outfits to Get Out of the House on Time

Now take this one with a grain of salt. I have tried this, but I have two girls…. so inevitably if I pick out Outfit A for Monday, they will want to wear Outfit C. It’s Murphy’s law. So if it works for you to designate certain outfits for certain days and the kids actually wear what you choose- winner winner chicken dinner! But, if like me, they require ahem options, then perhaps just creating organized drawers and closets leads to the gold star.

Here are some awesome days of the week free printable tags from Making Life Lovely to affix to hangers with outfits for each day:

closet organization tags

Just being able to see things to pull together outfits, like in this closet from I Heart Organizing, will save precious time in the morning:

organization for kids closet

Here is another layout option from Beneath My Heart (check out the “before” as well). The point is to be able to see everything at a glance, match it up, and go!

closet organization

#3. Up Your Snack Game

So if your kids are like mine, Summer has been a blur of never ending snacks, snacks and more snacks…and I am fooling myself if I think for one moment that our snack quotient will decrease. Don’t forget- the “snack after school” is actually either the lunch replacement because, “I was too busy to eat, Mom”, or is just the fourth meal of the day….naturally.  Moreover, I have a sickness when it comes to my LOVE of organized pantries, so I will share you some of my favs…you know because the snacks need look amazing:

From Eleven Gables:

pantry organization

and from Bright on the Day:

pantry organization

#4.  Car Organization

OMG, my achilles heal. I live in my car during the school year schlepping to a myriad of activities, and will find myself needing a Thank you note, a bandaid and a ziplock at a moments notice on the fly (true story).  So I have taken to leaving the aforementioned things my car, along with stamps and gum and half my medicine cabinet because hey, you just.never.know.  As a result of the aforementioned confession of the stuff I lug around, I will not be using my own car for organizational inspiration as it is, shall we say, a work in progress.  Here are some cool items I found to help you!

First, a space for the cell phone that ends up under the seat when I brake too quickly:)

organization for the car

And I definitely need this for back seat organization!

over the seat organization

And this trunk organizer just might be big enough to tackle the sports equipment:

organizer for trunk

**All items sourced above are from New Chic. I am not affiliated, just wanted to share these items with you!

#5.  Paper Organization

Now this one is less about the kids, and more for your own sanity.  I debated whether an organized coffee station or even a well appointed bar should be included, but having a solution for all the paper that comes into my house actually trumps both of those.  It is an immense amount that needs to be sorted, shredded and recycled daily. If it doesn’t get done, and I let my guard down for one hot second, it all multiples during the night and forms crazy piles on the dining room table….the center of our house that I have to walk past millions of times on a given day. So long story short…sort, shred, recycle the moment it crosses the threshold- you will thank me later:)

I love theses set-ups to accomplish this seemingly mundane task because they elevate it by making it beautiful and functional such as hiding your shredder in a basket like See Jane Work:

shredder storage

Or incorporating everything into a family command center with a shredder from Houzz:

shredder hidden in cabinet

And Studio Dearborn  created this beautiful desk area near the kitchen to shred, sort and store…

pullout drawer with shredder


Good Luck with all your back to school prep! I hope these five quick tips help you get organized  as we march toward Fall and Back to School!


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Mud Season

Good Morning All! AAAAK, it’s mud season here and I cannot keep up! I know I know….before you can have a beautiful Spring, you have to literally go through the mud… but with two dogs and young kiddos I am pulling my hair out! SO, in an effort to save my sanity, I took a look back at the reno photos of our mudroom.

Our little mudroom is definitely not big enough to accommodate a crowd all arriving at once, but it is helpful in corralling the mess as close to the back door as possible!  When we renovated there was no option to make it bigger, so we kept the same layout, utilizing the existing storage and bench that was already there. I don’t think we have ever actually sat on the bench in the seven years we have lived here, but it does come in handy to set groceries and backpacks on!

I remember that we began this project in late September and didn’t get it finished until right before Thanksgiving. We use it as the main entrance of the house, so it was tricky to keep walking through a construction zone.  We started by getting all the built-ins painted and worked around the room from there. Like many of my projects I started with gusto, even painting inside the built-in cubbies.  However, I can tell you that the insides of the doors still need a second coat of navy because the enthusiasm  quickly waned as my husband and I stayed up nights while the kids were sleeping to get it all knocked out.

BEFORE- Built-ins
BEFORE- Flagstone Floors
BEFORE- Built-ins and red gingham wallpaper
BEFORE- Red door peek-a-boo
BEFORE- Red door peek-a-boo

The flagstone floor would allow moisture in and there was little to no insulation before we started.   We added some additional insulation where we could while we have the walls were ripped apart, and then had radiant heating installed under the new floor tile. Best.Investment.Ever.  It helps to keep the small room toasty in the winter and we have not noticed an increase in our heating bills.

DURING- Built-ins
DURING- Built-ins
DURING- Navy paint
DURING- Navy paint











The bright aqua paint was a color match to a jacket my daughter had. After searching and buying way too many samples, I took the jacket into Lowes for a direct match and love the vibrant result.  The navy paint is Admiralty by Olympic- a perfect match to the wallpaper and it hides the dirt well!

The wallpaper was a tough find at the time, and turned out to be really hard to hang! My mom is an expert wallpaper-er and we were both spouting expletives a few minutes in.  The wallpaper is a large scale trellis pattern from York which can be found here. I would still recommend it because it gave me the look I was hoping for without busting the budget, but just give yourself extra time to get it up.  Or better yet, hire it out!  The paper is very thin and tended to shift and rip easily so go slow and definitely recruit friends to help!

The Aqua Door
The Aqua Door
Starting the wallpaper
Starting the wallpaper










Here is the final product.  I still have ceiling trim to add FIVE years after the fact, and am still looking for the PERFECT blind that can stand up to a sunny mudroom window, but these things take time, right?  I love the overall look and it makes me happy coming home everyday, so all in all, mission accomplished!

Trellis wallpaper
Mirror from Ballard Designs











Have a wonderful day all! We are getting closer to Spring!



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