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Solve it. Back to School

Y'all, it's here...back to school. I love, love love summer and can't get enough of the pools, swimming holes and spontaneous plans that just happen more often when it's sunny until 9 pm and everyone is more relaxed with their schedules. That said, if we have had a great summer (we have!) and done it right, I'm almost always ready for the shift back to a routine, not to mention having a car that isn't constantly functioning as a traveling locker room. Does anyone else feel me on this? Can't stress the locker room on wheels thing enough.

This year feels especially back to school-y since our daughter starts real school for the first time...kindergarten in less than 2 weeks. Insert all the cliches about it's not at all possible for 5 years to have passed since she was born. It's not.

Now I may be a newbie when it comes to navigating the halls of kindergarten but I certainly know my way around getting organized for the coming school year and setting up zones around the house so all of the stuff that comes with back to school and the general transition to fall can stay maintained and accessible.

Step 1...the fun part...figure out your backpack/lunchbox/school supply plan. This means taking those supplies from years past and laying them out for a real look-see. Not planning to use them again? Fine, then gather together in a bag and take to your nearest Goodwill so another family can reap the benefits. Pro tip - you aren't allowed to purchase the new stuff until the oldies have been accounted for and assessed.

Step 2...figure out and make a strategy for your entry plan. What's an entry plan? Think about where you enter your house (front door? mudroom via garage? kitchen?) and how do you want to deposit all the stuff once you walk through your door. This is key...are you...

The exposed but organized landing pad type (see A)

or...

The want it easily accessible but all tucked away candidate (see B).

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Gal A...exposed but organized...i.e. I want a mudroom feel without having to actually build a mudroom.

Find a space or clearing (make sure opened doors or nearby furniture aren't in the way) near the door where you enter your home and take measurements. Luckily there are lots of great options for these spaces nowadays as everyone seems to have happily jumped on the entry bench bandwagon!

The bench or shelf you choose will set the boundaries for this space so make sure it's the right size for what you need to accommodate. Boundary being the key word - you are going to create an area with limited storage and space for very specific items - backpacks, light jacket, a few pairs of shoes (maybe), work or workout bag, seasonal gear. Each kid or grown up gets a hook (or two) + nested bins on said bench or shelf to contain (and hide) the stuff you want to have at an arm's reach. Honestly this is a fun puzzle to put together!

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Gal B...accessible but tucked away...i.e. out of sight, out of mind.

Find a small closet, back of a door or a few large and deep drawers that are free and clear to function as your landing pad storage. Note - this won't work if you cram everything into an already full space.

If you go the small closet route stacking bins and drawers with labels + hooks will create structure and eliminate the piles.

Only have the back of a door? No problem! I am obsessed with Elfa's back of the door storage solutions as they are meant to be customized, don't require drilling and still manage to remain sleek and modern. Don't worry nothing like the "back of the door hook" disasters from my college days ;)

Decided to set aside a few deep (er) drawers in your pantry, kitchen or laundry room? Awesome. Insertable clear bins + expandable dividers will maximize your space.

Now get to work!

Modular Bins // Nordic Baskets // Mega Hook! // Elfa Shelves // Chalk Labels // Chalk Pen (removable!) // Opaque drawers // Mod hook // Behind the door rack // Another example (all are custom!) // Expandable dividers // Clear Bins //

Top photo from my Instagram, middle photo by Kady Dunlap and bottom photo by Katie Jameson