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back to school

Organize This: Back To School Teen Study Space

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.



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.




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.




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.




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.




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 }


DIY-ify: Calendar Work Station for $15

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



- 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

just in: crates modular storage


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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