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back to school

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.

Organized School Station

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.

DIY Craft Caddy

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.

DIY Book Caddy

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.

DIY Calendar

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.

Homework Station Paper Roll

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.

DIY Clothing Dividers

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.

DIY Drawer Dividers

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.

DIY Lunch Bags

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!

DIY Pencil Pouch

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!

DIY Paper Organizer

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.

Paperclip Page Flags

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.

DIY Color Block Pencils

Courtesy of The Crafted Life

Another charming and simple way to dress up everyday school supplies is with a little craft paint!

DIY Wall Cubbies

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?


14 Amazing Office Makeovers

Trend: 14 Amazing Office Makeovers

School is right around the corner and it might be time to makeover that old office. If you don’t already have an office, maybe you need to make space for one? Below you’ll find 14 inspiring office spaces from around the blog world. Some are complete room makeovers, and the others are office spaces for small spaces (that would be my category).


Amazing home office room makeovers:

1) This home office makeover is so amazing! I love how it turned out, from Centsational Girl.

This home office makeover is so amazing! I love how it turned out, from Centsational Girl.

2) I love everything about this office makeover, on Oh, I Design.

I love everything about this office makeover, on Oh, I Design.

3) The change in the paint color really made a difference in this makeover, from Style Girlfriend.

The change in the paint color really made a difference in this makeover, from Style Girlfriend.

4) A catchall room was turned into the perfect office, on Design Sponge.

This catchall room was turned into the perfect office, on Design Sponge.

This catchall room was turned into the perfect office, on Design Sponge.

5) A colorful makeover turned this office into a beautiful and inspiring space, from The Crafted Life.

This colorful makeover turned this office into a beautiful and inspiring space, from The Crafted Life.

6) This room really needed some love and storage, from Better Homes and Gardens.

This room really needed some love and storage, from Better Homes and Gardens.

7) A total office makeover might be what you need. This one is pretty darn amazing, from Curbly.

This total office makeover is pretty darn amazing, from Curbly.


Are you lacking space to actually put an office? Check out these small space office makeovers:

8) I love the idea of turning a tiny closet into the perfect mini office, from Sew Dang Cute Crafts.

This tiny closet is the perfect mini office, from Sew Dang Cute Crafts.

9) Give a gloomy computer armoire a makeover and you’ll have a little contained office, from Centsational Girl.

Makeover a computer armoire and you have a little contained office, from Centsational Girl.

Makeover a computer armoire and you have a little contained office, from Centsational Girl.

10) Another amazing closet turned beautiful tiny office. I love that they kept the door on this closet office, from Design Sponge.

Another amazing closet turned tiny office, from Design Sponge.

11) All you need to create this small office space: a bookcase, two table legs, and a tabletop, from At The Picket Fence.

All you need to create this small office space: a bookcase, two table legs, and a tabletop, from At The Picket Fence.

All you need to create this small office space: a bookcase, two table legs, and a tabletop, from At The Picket Fence.

12) If you’re really short on space, this wall mounted desk could be for you, from A Beautiful Mess.

If you're really short on space, this wall mounted desk could be for you, from A Beautiful Mess.

13) This might just look like a wall mirror, but it will fold down and turn into the perfect desk, from Home Story.

This wall mirror will fold down and turn into the perfect desk, from Home Story.

This wall mirror will fold down and turn into the perfect desk, from Home Story.

14) I’m really inspired by this small closet space turned office, it has seating! Found on Remodelaholic.

I'm really inspired by this small closet space turned office, it has seating! Found on Remodelaholic

I hope you are very inspired by all the offices I shared. Have a wonderful Thursday!

- Chelsey, The Paper Mama

P.S. the images in the first photo are from: Home Story, Centsational Girl, and The Crafted Life.


Trend:  Romantic Grunge

It is time to start thinking school-like thoughts again and romantic grunge is popping up everywhere!  Florals, plaids and whimsey prints paired with dark neutrals, worn leather and edgy elements create this fresh back to school look.

With school days lingering in the near future, it is time to design an organized study space to set your teen up for success!  Here are a few simple tips to putting together a dedicated work zone that will keep your teen organized throughout the entire school year.

 

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Consider using a desk that offers enough surface space to double as a vanity for hair and makeup in the morning, and study sessions in the evening.  Add storage that will accommodate both functions separately; such as a cart of drawers below for beauty supplies and drawers and organizers above for office accessories.

 

 

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Let’s face it, teens don’t always do homework at their desk (sometimes the bed or couch is more appealing), so keep favorite writing supplies and homework tools within portable zippered pouches.  This keeps small items corralled within a backpack at school and ensures your child is ready to do homework no matter where they land.

 

 

When it comes to organizing supplies at the desk, shop the home everyday items that can double as free storage.  The kitchen is typically a jackpot of storage solutions, everything from leftover food packaging to muffin tins and mugs can be utilized to corral paperclips, stamps, erasers and pushpins.

 

 

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Place a memo board nearby to offer your teen a place to pin up important notes, photographs and homework.  The visual reminder will ensure that important details, dates and papers are not missed during busy mornings and sports seasons.

 

 

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Add decorative hooks near the workspace to hang backpacks, handbags, hats, umbrellas and lunch totes.  Keeping all school related items near the desk will create efficiency during study time and in the morning when heading off to class.

 

 

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A simple wall pocket is another workspace storage solution that will ease the daily school routine.  Fill the pockets with the items your child uses on a daily basis, such as jewelry, lotions, journals, lip balm, etc…  By keeping favorite daily necessities corralled in a single location it reduces the risk of rummaging through drawers and slowing one down.

 

Additional quick tips:

  • Assign each class subject a specific color to use for organizing folders/notebooks.
  • Find a good wall calendar or portable planner to keep track of important dates and deadlines for tests and extra curricular activities.
  • Invest in a good task lamp to take care of the eyes during late night study sessions.
  • A good set of headphones works great in reducing noisy distractions.
  • With technology being front and center in our daily lives, take advantage of the different organizational applications available on the market.
  • Attach a USB drive to a keyring or clip it to a backpack to ensure that important data being transferred from school to home is never misplaced.

 

{ wallpaper / document box / task lamp / accessory box / laptop tray / bicycle / smartphone case / backpack / magazine file / caddy / notebooks / washi tape / label holders / desk / tablet sleeve }

 


In just a few short weeks the OFFICIAL start to Fall will be here. That means school starting, less vacation, and yeah… less sunshine (at least in Oregon). I don’t know about you, but I needed a small update to my calendar and work area. That’s what inspired my Calendar Work Station.

For this creation I wanted to use ALL materials I already had at my home. Some leftover plywood from building our chicken coop, old jars, rubber bands, and some spray paint that was almost gone; all this went into creating this project. Technically this calendar work station cost me nothing, but if I really calculated the original cost for all the needed items: under $15. This is a very relaxed and easy to recreate DIY. Hopefully very little stress. Here’s how I made it:

 

Supplies needed:

- 13 inches wide by 30 inches high piece of plywood

- Two small shelf brackets

- Some wood that will have a final measure of 11 inches long by 6 inches wide

- Mini document clips

- Four large rubberbands

- 3  small canning jars with bands and lids

- E6000 adhesive

- Screws

- Contact paper

- Painter’s tape

- Small amounts of primer + paint spray paint

- Free Printouts: Weekday Letters, Monday through Sunday Calendar, Sunday through Saturday calendar, and Notes

 

Directions:

- Cut your wood. We had some leftover wood pieces that I started with, but you can always go to Lowes and they’ll cut a couple sizes for you.

- Print out the Weekday Letters printout. Place the letters under the contact paper, then trace with a pen.

- Cut out the letters with a sharp X-acto knife. From here you can decide if you’d like your calendar to start with Sunday or Monday. Just move the S’s around to where you need them. I chose to go with Monday – Sunday, so both S’s were at the end of the letters.

- Peel the paper off the sticky contact paper and apply it to the plywood. Press down the contact paper very well, to hopefully prevent bleeding when painting.

- Tape off the rest of the plywood to prep for the spray paint. I used a paper bag and painters tape to create a couple of lines to spray gold on the board.

- Spray the letters and lines of the board. I chose black for the letters and gold for the lines. Let dry, then peel off tape/contact paper.

- Optional: Spray paint the shelf boards, shelf brackets, and jar bands. Let dry.

- Screw the shelf brackets onto the bottom of the shelf boards.

- Prep the jar lids for hanging under the shelf. Use E6000 to adhere the jar lids to the jar bands. Let dry.

- Evenly arrange the glued jar lids on the bottom of the shelf. Screw them into the shelf.

- Center and screw the prepped shelf onto the bottom section of your plywood board.

- Print out the calendar and notes (trim as needed). On the calendar, number the days of the month you are currently in.

- Space out the the four large rubber bands on the plywood board and place the calendar + notes. Secure with the mini document clips.

- Fill your jars and screw them under the shelf.

- Add some goodies to the shelf.

 

- Hang, enjoy.

Also, let your little kiddo help you decorate your shelf… and you may have a fun shark added to the work station. Hee.

Happy organized Fall!

- Chelsey, The Paper Mama


 

Milk crates are sort of storage’s dirty little secret: They hold a lot, they stack, they’re inexpensive, but they’re shamefully unattractive. Until now! Jenny Drinkard, a 25-year-old design student in Atlanta, had the genius idea to create a la carte add-ons to make Ye Olde Milk Crate even more of a storage powerhouse (with good looks, too): drawers, shelves, hooks, casters, wooden legs, corkboards…you name it.

 

Dorm rooms, kids’ rooms, even kitchen desks and mudrooms are about to get an upgrade.

 

Crates, $20, all add-ons sold separately. Available at Quirky and select Target stores beginning July 1.

–Joanna Linberg, Assistant Editor


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