Kelly Whalen is the founder of The Centsible Life, a blog where motherhood and money meet. Her goal is to help readers live well on less. Kelly is a mom to four and loves that she can stay at home with her kids and still pursue her passions for writing, personal finance, and social media. You can often find her on Twitter and Facebook talking money and motherhood.
Even if you've already gotten the kids ready for school—or you've already sent them off on their first day—it's never too late to get your home organized for the back-to-school craziness. Here are my best tips and product picks for corralling school clutter.
The first step to figuring out how to organize things for back to school is to find the 'hot spot' in your house. It may be right inside the front door or the mudroom, but most likely it's wherever your kids come in from school. You know the moment they come through that door they drop off shoes, toss down backpacks, and of course leave today's lunch remnants in their lunch bag.
To tackle the mess the key is to have two things—a spot for everything and a rule that no one can use screens (computers, phones, TVs) until their things are put away! See below for some products that help organize your home's "hot spot."
My kids always have 'homework' for me: forms to fill out, tests to sign, and notes from the teacher to read. Making a spot for my 'homework' and theirs makes it easier to find in the mad morning rush.
The rustic style letter organizer(above left) is perfect for all the paperwork that comes home with a spot for three kids, or mix it up with a spot for mail, one for magazines, and one for homework for the whole family.
An indoor/outdoor rug is perfect for the messiest spot in the house since it will be easy to hose down after a rainy (or snowy!) day. Here are three of my favorites. Rug 1 has a fun color that brings some life to an entryway or mudroom. Rug 2 is an affordable and easy-to-maintain striped rug. Rug 3 has a trendy diamond pattern that also hides dirt and mud.
A hall tree is perfect for a smaller home or one that doesn't have a dedicated area for coats, shoes, and gear. They're stylish pieces of furniture that are packed with function. You can combine items like a dresser and wall hooks with a nearby bench for the same effect, but when space is at a premium a hall tree is definitely the way to go.
The storage area above the hooks in hall tree 1 can be stuffed with baskets for items like mittens, scarves, sweaters, and hats.The hooks are perfect for hanging bags, leashes, and coats while the bench doubles as shoe storage or a place to stuff backpacks.
Another option is the hall tree 2, with its rustic finish and three shelves. The shelf adds a place to drop keys or charge up cell phones while the hanging rack in the center may make it perfect for a laundry room entryway since it doubles as a hanging rack.
Hall tree 3 offers a more expensive but chic coastal look. It has plenty of storage with bins below, hooks in the middle, and a shelf up top.
Do you have a hot spot in your house you'd like to see better organized? Or if you have an organized 'hot spot' what do you use to stash/store all your stuff?