Posts by Jen Jones
We are smack dab in the middle of back-to-school season and with it always comes the need to start fresh with organization. It is time to get back to daily routines, lunch packing and nightly homework, which I always find a bit welcoming after a few months of lazy yet playful summer days.
Back-to-school season typically comes with a bit of shopping for new supplies, clothing and gear to ensure everyone is well equipped for a successful year. However, all of that shopping can get expensive, and when it comes to finding ways to organize the papers and schedules, I like to try my hand at some creative DIY solutions. Often times, there are fun crafts and activities that can be done with the kids to be sure everyone is involved and on the same organizing page.
Here is a lovely round-up of DIY school related projects that are sure to help your family transition into the best school year yet.
Courtesy of Centsational Girl
Grab a quart of paint and give a dated piece of furniture a whole new life and function. Above, an old media cabinet was transformed into a functional homework station complete with paper, supplies, a computer and calendar. Homework stations create a cozy and consistent place to focus on daily studies, keeping all of the essentials within reach.
Courtesy of Fynes Designs
If you don’t have a specific homework station carved out, this DIY caddy is a fantastic alternate solution. Fill it with tubes and jars with daily homework essentials such as pens, pencils, highlighters, glue, scissors, etc… and you have yourself a portable homework station that can be used at the dining table or kitchen counter.
Courtesy of IHeart Organizing
Who knew dish racks could be so versatile? Sure, they are great for drying your daily dinnerware, however, they can also double as file storage and as the sweetest book organizer around.
Courtesy of The 36th Avenue
School and busy schedules go hand-in-hand. Keep the entire family on the same page by creating a large DIY calendar. Whether you utilize dry erase paint or a chalkboard decal, by creating an oversized version that can be mounted in a centralized location, everyone will know when baseball practice lands and what day the final exam takes place.
Courtesy of IHeart Organizing
Another way to manage daily homework assignments and chores, is to install a roll of paper on a towel bar just above their desk. By adding chalkboard clips, your child can easily check off his or her daily tasks.
Manage the morning mad dash to the bus by being prepared a few days ahead of time. Day-of-the-week clothing dividers can be made from cereal box cardboard to organize pre-planned clothing attire.
Courtesy of IHeart Organizing
Looking for more ways to re-use empty food packaging? These colorful DIY drawer dividers will keep daily school supplies nice and tidy.
Courtesy of The Purl Bee
These DIY lunch bags are sure to be the talk of the lunch table! And although we are talking back-to-school, I am about to sew one for myself because they are just so charming!
Courtesy of Kireei
Small zippered pouches offer endless versatility and can store everything from charging cables to coloring pencils and work wonders for keeping a backpack organized. And bonus, they are something that you can make at home with your sewing machine!
Courtesy of Crazy Little Projects
How about creating a portable desk with the help of some fabric and elastic? This DIY on-the-go organizer has the ability to hold a phone or calculator, notes, pens, a tablet and paper! This little setup is fantastic for students studying at home, at school and even in the car or bus.
Courtesy of Paper & Pin
For those of you that prefer lighter DIY projects, these little paperclip flags may be just what you are looking for. Simply pair washi tape with paper clips and you will create some very functional yet fancy page markers.
Courtesy of The Crafted Life
Another charming and simple way to dress up everyday school supplies is with a little craft paint!
Courtesy of The House of Wood
And last but not least, these stunning DIY wall pockets are the perfect solution for managing the abundance of papers and books that come home from school each day.
How are you getting creative with your back-to-school organization this year?
When it comes to storage and organization, space saving solutions is the name of the game. Of course the first step to any organizational project is to declutter and say goodbye to unused items, but the next step is determining how to creatively store what is left. “Go To” solutions typically include utilizing vertical space, maximizing overlooked nooks and taking advantage of the backs of cabinets and doors. But one more solution should always be considered during space planning, and that is pull-out storage.
Utilizing drawers and gliders to pull items out from cabinets, nooks and crannies, will make day-to-day living so much simpler. Pull out storage solutions allow you to maximize your given space, prevents items from becoming lost in a dark hole and saves your body from awkward reaching positions. Most importantly, getting creative with pull-out storage solutions can make the most of the smallest and tightest of areas.
Below you will find a plethora of pull-out storage solutions for areas all around the home.
In the mudroom or entryway, placing shoes on shelf that slides out of a cabinet allows them to be stacked a few rows deep.
By adding pegboard inside of a pull out cabinet, you can create a storage packed in-home gym locker.
How to make the most of an area under the stairs is always a conundrum, but the opportunities for this awkward space are truly endless. Special thanks to pull out cabinets, an entire mudroom can be created where there once was none.
In the kitchen, one of the most common ways to maximize deep cabinets is by adding pull-out drawers.
But how about an entire pantry that pulls out? This solution makes the most of a narrow space between cabinets and the fridge.
Narrow cabinets are also ideal for narrow kitchen supplies. Cutting boards, baking sheets, spices and linens are all the perfect candidates for these hard working cupboards.
It is always nice when you can save on counter space by storing your kitchen appliances behind cabinet doors. However, keep them easy to access and use by placing them on slide-out drawers.
Pull out drawers allow you to stack trash and recycling bins two deep. They also keep the contents (and smells) hidden under a sink or in a special cabinet away from curious pets and kids.
Speaking of pets, the space below cabinets is probably one of the least utilized spaces, yet offers so much potential. A pull out drawer with inset puppy bowls allows you to easily stow away their dishes between feedings.
These secret storage spots are also great for tucking away craft supplies, baking sheets, lids for pots and pans and extra linens.
When kitchen surface area is at a premium, it is always amazing when you can find ways to double the work area. This slide out island counter creates an ideal location to bake the day away.
A slide out cutting board has a similar impact! More work surface and a place to chop up a salad or slice up a side of bread.
Seating above, storage below! Benches are a prime location for adding baskets and drawers in kitchens, dining rooms, entryways, bedrooms and bathrooms.
The goal with pull-out storage is to keep everything easy-to-access and easy to put things away. That is especially important with children to encourage them to be helpers at pick-up time.
Adding casters or drawer glides to bins is a toy-friendly option, and making the most of unused wall cavities? That is simply genius.
Once again, storage on glides allows you to make the most of the back of a cabinet. These games stack two to three deep on each drawer and they also prevent the need to remove seven boxes to retrieve the one on the bottom. I just added this to my “must do” list.
Although laundry is done daily or weekly, we don’t want to think about it all the time. Pull out storage solutions for the win again! Toss your dirty clothes in a concealed cabinet hamper.
Dry your clothing on a rack that can be pulled out and adjusted based on how much you need, and then retract when not in use.
Although it looks like a drawer… Surprise! It is actually an ironing board concealed behind a drawer. What closet or laundry room couldn’t benefit with that superstar storage solution?
How have you utilized drawers, glides and casters to make the most of the storage around your home?
Do you ever wish that you had more storage? I think we all have at some point in time as having proper storage typically relates to a clean and orderly space. Home storage closets and cabinets are commonly referred to as “prime real estate”. It can feel unfortunate when your home doesn’t boast the amount of storage you are after, but the bright side is that just about any piece of furniture can be altered to pack quite a bit of storage punch.
The bedroom is one area of the home that can often times be limiting in the storage department. Clothing, linens, pillows, seasonal items, shoes and books are just a select number of the items that are generally living inside of bedroom closets and wardrobes. If your bedroom doesn’t offer the amount of built-in storage you are after, there are many exciting ways that you can modify your bed to achieve maximum bedroom organization. Here are a few examples of how your existing bed can store more!
By lining the wall behind the bed with a row of bookcases, you are making the most of the vertical space and dramatically increasing storage for books, baskets and treasures. The shelving can also double as a nightstand in rooms that are too narrow to accommodate the extra furniture.
2. Floating Shelves
Another option is to stretch a piece of shelving from wall-to-wall to create modern and simplified “built-in” storage. This option also doubles as a place to set a glass of water and your favorite bedtime reading material.
3. Built-In Bed
Modular storage units can be pieced together around the perimeter of the headboard to create a custom wall of built-ins. The image above incorporated the nightstands right into the design which really makes the most of the wall space. To go the extra mile, consider lining the bookcases with a decorative paper or fabric and capping the furniture with a piece of decorative crown moulding.
4. Create a Closet
Apartments and homes that don’t offer any type of closet space in the bedroom can be especially tricky. How about framing out the bed with a custom wardrobe? By placing the nightstands and bed on rolling casters, you can provide easier access to the clothing and accessories being stored behind the bed. This is a prime solution to fitting an entire bedroom on a single wall.
5. Divide & Conquer
It is a headboard in the front and a clothing closet in the back! Such a sweet and simple solution to not only act as a beautiful room divider, but to also provide concealed wardrobe organization in a studio space.
6. Under-Bed Drawers
As important as it is to utilize the vertical space in the bedroom, it is equally as important to make the most of the space below the bed. There are a variety of options for adding drawers under a bed; casters can be added to crates or old dresser drawers or the drawers can be built right into the bed frame for a seamless look. Under-bed drawers are ideal for stashing away bulky bed linens and off-season clothing.
7. Basket Case
Not only do over-sized baskets provide a bounty of concealed underbed storage, they also give the room decorative character.
8. Under-Bed Storage Bins
The easiest way to utilize the area under the bed is with rolling totes that are designed specifically for under-bed organization. These bins are lightweight, compact, roll, are easy-to-clean and are readily available at most home department stores. You can really maximize their storage capacity by pairing them with expandable drawer organizers.
What is your favorite way to create bedroom storage where there once was none?
It is no secret that pegboard is about as versatile as it gets when it comes to storage and organization. Most commonly found in the garage for storing tools; it typically comes with a reputation of being basic and unnatractive. However, any kitchen can benefit from the endless variety of organizing options that pegboard offers.
Pegboard is slender, can be customized with pegs, hooks and baskets and takes advantage of vertical space. In fact, pegboard is a prime solution for small kitchen spaces and even rental homes. I am here today to convince you that pegboard in the kitchen can be fabulous, beautiful and endlessly functional.
Paint it! Just because pegboard comes in a white and brown finish, does not mean it has to stay that way. A quick coat of paint and it becomes a shining storage star.
Another painting option is to do a chalkboard finish. This allows you to trace the items you are storing to be sure everything finds a way back home.
Frame it! By adding decorative moulding to the outside of pegboard, it offers a nice finished edge and instantly becomes artwork that doubles as storage.
Don’t be afraid to tuck small pieces of pegboard in small nooks and crannies to truly maximize your storage opportunities. Think about the backs of bookcases, behind shelving, on the sides of cabinets and behind doors.
Bring the kids into the kitchen by installing a wall of pegboard paired with pockets, baskets and organizers to create the ultimate crafting zone.
Are you a big coffee drinker like I am? I love the idea of adding pegboard to display mugs above a kitchen coffee station.
Selecting pegboard with larger pegs and holes creates an entirely different feel, yet still offers the same amount of storage and flexibility.
If you are still not convinced that you love the look of pegboard out in the open, consider adding small pieces to the interior of your cabinets. This is a great solution for creating hidden memo stations, hanging keys or storing small baking tools.
Another way to conceal pegboard is to put it on casters and create a tucked away rolling system. It slides out when you need to access your items, and then hides away in-between uses.
Pegboard really does make the most of wall and cabinet space, but did you know it can also maximize your drawer storage? Add pegboard to the floor of the drawer and when paired with pegs, you can create an endless combination of drawer organizers.
Cleaning is chore enough! Adding pegboard to your kitchen cleaning closet will keep all of your supplies right within reach each day.
So what do you think, are you ready to add some colorful pegboard storage to your kitchen space?
Let’s head to the beach and catch some rays and waves! It is definitely that time of year to spend hours playing in the water and soaking up some sun!
The point of a trip to the beach is to have a blast and also take some time to get away and relax. The process should be easy breezy and leave you feeling refreshed, not stressed. Here are a few tips as you head off to your favorite sandy hot spot.
- Keep your beach bag prepacked. Beach days are weather permitting so be ready to go when the moment strikes. Select a beach tote with ample storage pockets, and keep it filled with all of your favorite essentials such as a beach towel, swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, a first aid kit, etc… This will ensure you always have sun protection and the basics on hand, even when you head out in a rush.
- Speaking of first aid, load up a small container filled with basic care items for those “just in case” moments.
- Rolling your towels will save space in your beach tote.
- Small pouches will be your best beach friend. Add pencil and toiletry pouches to your beach bag to hold all of your smaller items, such as sunscreen, hair accessories, gadgets, etc…
- Make sure to bring the baby powder! It is a great way to rid your body of sticky sand.
- Add a wet sack to your beach tote arsenal. This will provide you a place to store your damp swimsuit without effecting the rest of the items in your bag.
- Shopping/Utility carts are a great way to haul your beach umbrella/shelter, chair and bag all in a single trip. Many can handle the sandy beach with ease, and they collapse down nice and flat when not in use.
- Use clear pouches to protect your phone/tablet while still offering the opportunity to utilize it.
- Be prepared for the heat with a well packed cooler. Stock it full of water and healthy snacks, which should be pre-chilled if possible. Glass containers are ideal for keeping foods fresher for longer, but plastic is less likely to break on the beach. Don’t forget the utensils and dishes, they can attach right to the lid of the cooler with some Velcro!
Do you have essential beach items that you won’t leave home without?
sunscreen | lip balm | radio | umbrella | towel | powder | chair | tote | sunglasses | snack container | water bottle | gadget pouches | sun hat | facial spray | wet sacks | magazine | utility cart | paddle game | mini first aid kit | cooler
‘Tis the season for grilling, picnicking and eating outdoors! The evenings are warm and it really is the best time of the year for outdoor entertaining and family gatherings. The goal is to enjoy your company, not to spend hours preparing, cooking and cleaning up. Here are a few tips to keep you prepared for dining outdoors anytime the mood strikes!
If you cook outdoors frequently, it may be beneficial to create a secondary outdoor kitchen to prevent frequent trips inside. Whether you build something custom or utilize a nearby potting bench, consider adding a few hooks for hand towels and grilling tools, as well as shelving to corral outdoor dining supplies. An often forgotten treasure is an outdoor trash can for quick cleanups. These units provide storage below and work surface above, making the most of both space and time.
If a larger work surface is not an option, think about adding a smaller bar cart to act as a hot spot for storing frequently used dining and grilling supplies, while also providing serving surface. Select a piece that can hold up to outdoor weather conditions, wood and steel tend to be the best options. Plastic lidded bins will keep dishes and linens protected from moisture as well.
A little lattice goes a long way in the storage department with this DIY utensil holder. Although compact, the organizer packs a lot of punch with hooks holding frequently used grilling tools and a shelf for holding a grilling basket and condiments.
Create a portable caddy that can hold cups of flatware, dishes and your favorite condiments. This will keep it super simple to transfer your indoor dining to the great outdoors.
An upcycled tool box also has the ability to become handy and organized dining storage.
If you love to take last minute trips to the park, keep your picnic basket pre-packed and stocked with outdoor dishes, flatware, linens and a cutting board. Lidded jars work great for transporting side dishes while wax paper, baking liners and treat bags work wonderful for dried goods.
Stash a picnic-ready blanket in your vehicle for impromtu outdoor dining; an easy solution is to roll an oversized quilt and tie it up with ribbon.