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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?


Full disclosure. I am a new mom to the most wonderful little boy who is six months old this week. Am I becoming that designer who is now obsessed with all things kids design?? Maybe…a little. Even though I have a background in kidswear design, something changes when you have one of your own. The good news is that design for kids has reached new amazing heights as of late. There are some seriously lucky little people out there! Some of the spaces we see for kids today would be equally amazing for any grown up! This is what I love about the current landscape for kids – there is a new playful sophistication available if you have a more modern aesthetic. These fresh looks are more likely to be able to grow with the little ones and fit into the overall look of the home. Don’t be surprised if the big people in the house find themselves gravitating to these fun spots in the home too!

pattern for kids

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Pattern drives the core of my design aesthetic (surprise) so let’s talk about all the amazing options available for creating a colorful, pattern filled, and super stylish space that any little person would love. Geometrics for kids are really leading the way. Simple patterns of circles and triangles in fresh colors are great because they are ageless. Executed in fresh colors they are flexible enough to read gender neutral which is a bonus for many families. Woodland and safari themes have turned up the chic factor when expressed in two color or more grown up palettes. There is something intriguing about the juxtaposition of juvenile themes colored in sophisticated palettes.

pattern for kids

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Don’t be afraid to use a few dark features in a space for kids. High contrast patterns are great for them! This woodland wallpaper would look equally great in a nursery as in a big kid’s room. Depth and lots of highs and lows create big of visual interest!

pattern for kids

via + via

Layer, layer, and layer some more. As always vary the scale and ground colors of your pieces with pattern. Wall decals are a great low commitment way to add some unique pattern to your walls or spruce up old furniture.

pattern for kids

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pattern for kids

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What a great way to add a splash of color and pattern to a simple piece. This is easy to do with contact or decorative paper.

pattern for kids

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When my husband and I decided to finish the basement playroom in time for Christmas morning, we discovered that we had completely different visions for the playroom. I wanted a wall of cubbies (a place for everything, and everything in its place!) and a cute art table, and he wanted monkey bars and a kid-sized climbing wall! The room ended up being a beautiful compromise–I got my cubbies and he got his climbing wall. You can find great inspiration all over the internet for cool DIY climbing walls.

indoor kids climbing wall

via Fun at Home With Kids

DIY indoor kids climbing wall

via Oh So Savvy Mom (this site has great, detailed instructions on how to make your own climbing wall)

DIY indoor kids climbing wall

via Finch Found

My husband put ours together in a single afternoon in a little over two hours. Some of the materials (3/4″ plywood, a couple of 2×4′s, and the bolts that anchor it to the wall)  came from the hardware store, and all of the climbing holds came from Atomik Climbing Holds and included all of the mounting hardware. These aren’t directions by any means, but the steps are pretty simple.

DIY indoor kids climbing wall

Mark and drill your holes on the plywood…

kids indoor climbing wall DIY

Pound in the t-nuts from the back…

DIY kids indoor climbing wall

Screw some 2×4′s into the studs with 6″ lag bolts…

indoor climbing wall kids DIY

Screw the plywood into the 2×4′s with 2 1/2″ lag bolts, and attach the climbing holds!

kids indoor climbing wall DIY

The kids started scrambling up and down the wall before my husband was even finished bolting on the holds. They really love it, and it adds a fun pop of color to one end of the playroom.


 

 

Hi!  My name is Lo, creator of A Lo and Behold Life, a blog about all things that make my house a home.  I’m constantly searching for thoughtful and creative ways to add charm, style and organization into my family’s life.  My passion is to breathe a little innovation into ordinary items giving them life and inspiring others to do the same.  I was honored to be chosen to have my favorite and most popular DIY car garage project featured in the Better Homes and Gardens January I Did it! section.  As if that wasn’t fabulous enough, to have my sons included in the article showing off their beloved toy car collection was the proverbial cherry on top!

 

 

Since the 1950′s, children have been captivated by Matchbox® and Hot Wheels® cars. My boys are no different. Their infatuation with all things on four wheels started at a very young age, and I can hardly find a baby picture without one of them holding a toy car in his little hand.

My husband and I found ourselves using these cars as an inexpensive reward system, “If you are good for mommy in the grocery store you can pick out a new toy car at the check-out counter.” Before we knew it, the overwhelming toy car collection was growing up and over the broken & warped storage basket in the playroom and migrating to all parts of our home!

You’ve been there, right?  In the last week how many times have you heard, “Mom, where’s my car?”  How many minutes have been wasted trying to find that one favorite toy car that always goes missing?  Can you count the number of times you’ve stepped on those toys cars that never seem to get put away?

 

I searched high and low for a functional and affordable storage solution for these cars, but everything out there was either really expensive or just not practical for a 2 year old, never mind two of them.  Then I discovered that with a little ingenuity and creativity I could repurpose a shoe rack to create a wall unit that would organize their entire toy car collection and look really cool too!

What I didn’t expect was how enthusiastic my toddlers would become in keeping their toy cars organized.  Not only was this rack a total space saver but now the boys were taking responsibility for cleaning up their cars, becoming independent in finding that favorite car on his own, and taking pride in their beloved toy car collection.  It was a Matchbox miracle!

There has been an overwhelmingly positive response to the Do-It-Yourself car garage project on A Lo and Behold Life.  Clearly parents are in need of a practical organization solution to solve their household storage dilemmas.  Knowing that not everyone out there has the time, resources, or interest to be a DIY’er I thought, “How can I get this car garage to the masses?”  And so with a little encouragement from family and friends the Mom! Where’s my car? wall garage was put into production.

If you told me two years ago that this seemingly simple idea would be as popular as it is and could potentially be the little engine that could clear toy car clutter forever I would have laughed.  But if my family and I can bring some peace, independence, and organization into your home then all our efforts to bring it to you will be worth it.  Come along with us to put the brakes on toy car clutter at www.momwheresmycar.com

 


I’m super excited to be back on Style Spotters writing about our new Dream House! When we moved in the first weekend of November, there were still quite a few things that needed to be finished: the fridge and freezer were on backorder, as were the master bathroom medicine cabinets; there weren’t any window coverings; the paint needed to be touched up in every single room; and several light fixtures still needed to be installed. And let’s not forget the basement! My husband and I both look at the basement as something of a gift–we both grew up in places where basements are rare. So when we were designing our house, we wanted the basement to be made up of little luxuries, spaces that we wouldn’t normally have room for, but that we desperately wanted and would use a lot. A dedicated guest bedroom, a studio space for me, an extra bathroom, a playroom for the kids. Since these spaces were luxuries and not necessities, we opted to leave the basement unfinished for the time being. And then we realized pretty quickly, when all of the toys were left in unopened boxes in the dusty basement while our kids started going stir crazy upstairs, that we really needed that playroom finished, and quickly! We had some friends help us finish it in time to surprise the kids with a beautiful playroom on Christmas morning! You’ll have to wait just a bit longer for the big reveal, but here’s a gorgeous playroom inspiration board to tide you over…

playroom rug wall paint color inspiration cubbies

  • Our goal for the playroom was to create a bright, colorful space that was fun for all the kids, that wasn’t too girly or too boyish, and that the older kids would’t find too babyish in a few more years. And that could house all of the toys, of course. Photo from 6th Street Design School
  • We spent a lot of time “researching” light fixtures for the playroom, which means I had fun looking at cute light fixtures on the internet for a few hours. We considered barn lights, vintage-inspired schoolhouse lights, and really colorful lights, but opted for some affordable industrial-style lights for a couple of reasons. #1) They had wall sconces and a matching semi-flushmount ceiling fixture, which were the two types of lights we needed, and I’m a sucker for things that match. #2) They have a wire cage covering the glass shade, so in case blocks or balls go flying, the lights are sort of protected. #3) Cute and affordable? Sign me up! We ordered the lights from Home Depot’s website.
  • You could probably guess what wall color we went with even if I hadn’t included a paint swatch–I guess I like light blue! It is a great playroom wall color: light, bright, peppy, and peaceful. Our playroom is on the side of the basement with no windows, so we tried to find a color that wasn’t too dark because there won’t be any natural light to brighten it up. The color we chose is Water Squirt by Sherwin Williams, and it’s the perfect light, icy blue.
  • One of my favorite things about our new house is all of the storage. I truly believe that if there’s a place for everything to be put away, the house will just naturally stay cleaner and neater. I’ve dreamed–and yes, this is very nerdy–of a playroom with a whole wall of cubbies. Not only does it look good, but it also keeps all of the toys, blocks, dolls, and puzzles neatly organized and off the floor. Photos from BHG and Young House Love
  • What’s a playroom without some colorful accents? I love these rainbow lights from Bright Lab. They look great even when they’re not plugged in. I’ve also had my eye on this “Amazing” wall hanging from Children Inspire Design for a few years now. I love that it’s got bright colors on a black background–such a nice change from all of our other playroom prints that are on white.
  • I can’t resist a good DIY project, and when I spotted this ABC wall art installation a few days ago, it knew I had to make it for the playroom. I’m not always good at finishing the DIY projects I start, so wish me luck! Photo from Project Nursery
  • The mini climbing wall was my husband’s idea. We didn’t have a chance to put it together before the big Christmas morning reveal for our kids, but we have all of the materials and will hopefully get it up soon. Our kids love to climb, and I’m excited for them to have a place where they can climb to their little hearts’ content. Photo from Fun At Home With Kids
  • Last but not least, the playroom rug! This was probably the thing I spent the most time researching. We wanted a big rug (8×10′) that was colorful, good quality, soft, affordable, and not babyish. That’s a surprisingly tough combo to find, but we managed. We love the rug we ended up with, this rainbow chevron rug from Mohawk, which we got for a steal from Overstock.com. Photo from Makely School for Girls

Stay tuned for more playroom details from the Dream House!


Even if your child was not born with the fictitious “organizing gene”, there are basic things that can be done to keep a child’s bedroom tidy and easy to maintain.  The key is to implement systems that are simple enough that your child feels confident in using.  It is also important to consider the number of steps any single chore will take.  Here are my top ten favorite tips for maximizing storage in a kid’s bedroom, as well as providing them with systems that they will enjoy and be able to utilize with ease.

 

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1.  Down under:  Add a set of drawers below the bed to hold off-season clothing, extra bed linens and even toys.  This is especially helpful in shared bedroom set-ups, in which floor space is much more limited.

 

 

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2.  Think up:  Not only does it benefit a space to tap into the unused area under a bed, but it is also smart to think up, and make the most of the space above and around the bed.  Shelving and cabinets provide ample storage for books, collectables and hobby supplies.

 

 

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3.  Keep it accessible:  As I mentioned, the golden rule is to keep organizational systems simple for your child.  When determining storage for items you wish for your child to both access and pick-up, consider their height.  Be sure they are able to easily reach shelves, bins, hooks, hangers, etc… Bookshelves and cubbies are ideal for toy storage as they are low to the ground and will grow with your child over the years.

 

 

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4.  A clothing plan:  Mornings are busy and hectic enough.  Avoid morning struggles of determining your child’s daily wardrobe, by utilizing hooks, labels or shoe pockets to lay out clothing in advance.

 

 

5.  Work it:  As children progress through school, they will begin bringing home more and more homework.  To give them an impactful place to study, mix and match tools and accessories to maximize their given workspace; a pin board for school memos and future assignments, a calendar to manage schedules and dates, plenty of surface space to spread out books and write, a clock to keep track of time and storage for accessories such as pens, pencils, paperclips and headphones.

 

 

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6.  Book club: Kids and books go together like peanut butter and jelly.  Especially if your child enjoys reading in bed while trying to fall asleep.  Slim picture ledges or spice racks allow books to not only be stored in a simple fashion, they also double as playful room decor.

 

 

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7.  Take a seat:  Not only do storage ottomans shine within entryways and living rooms, they boast as storage within children’s rooms as well.  Not only do they provide your child (or their friends) with a place to take a seat, they are great for hiding bulky and unsightly items.  Everything from toys to shoes to extra bedding for weekend sleepovers, ottomans are always a winning solution.

 

 

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8.  Little treasures:  My kids are always collecting things.  Marbles, action figures, rocks… and as they get older, those collections evolve into awards and trophies.  Instead of fighting the growing collections, showcase them on decorative shelves or bookcases.  Smaller items should be displayed out of the reach of little fingers and appreciated from afar.

 

 

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9.  Take a stand:  Create a bedside surface for reading lighting, an alarm clock and a place for a nightly glass of water.  If room space is restricted, a dresser or desk make a great stand-in, multi-functional option.

 

 

10.  Label happy:  Labels work wonders in any organizational situation, but they are especially helpful in kid spaces.  Keep the labels easy to understand with single words or simple images.  The labels create a consistency for your child, and after awhile, putting things back in the correct spot will be second nature.

 

 

 

Honeycomb Shelves / Underbed Drawer / Desk / Storage Bin / Memo Board / Nightstand / Basket Labels / Wire Shelves / Storage Ottoman / Bookshelf

 

More from BHG.com:

Must-Try Organizing Tricks

Free Printable Labels

13 Storage Spaces You’re Overlooking


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