As a large family of 5 kids, we use what we have to organize kids stuff as much as possible. I hate to say it, but I find Murphy’s Law too often applies when I buy new organizing stuff. If there’s any possibility something will break, it will. Just this week, I bought wooden crates for the kids bedrooms at Home Depot. Within an hour of having it in his room, my middle son damaged one of the wooden slats on the crate. Really? Only an hour?
With multiple kids to get out the door in the morning, having a shoe rack by the back door works the best. No one is looking all over the house for their shoes because everything is right by the back door. If the shoes are dumped by the shoe rack, I delegate tidying up the shoe rack to the nearest child.
I found this shelf at Target and spray painted it espresso brown to make it blend in with the oak desk. Since space is limited in this corner of the kitchen, I tucked the shoe rack under the desk. Always make use of existing space instead of leaving something in a new spot.
While I love the idea of using lockers like the ones from the Pottery Barn for organizing my kids back packs and coats, I simply don’t have the wall space in the kitchen. Instead, my husband took a leftover piece of molding, painted it white, added hooks, and installed it by the basement doorway. On the other side of the basement door, we installed a scrap piece of lumber with more hooks.
Each child has a hook for their back pack and one for their coat. Yes, in the winter, it gets a little tight in this space. We keep the hats and mittens in baskets just below these hooks. I always try to group the kids’ items together to prevent things from migrating around the house.
I store lunch boxes on shelves by the back door. Three lunch boxes fit in the basket on the bottom shelf; the remaining 2 lunch boxes go on the middle shelf.
After school, my kids drop their lunch boxes on the counter by the sink. I unpack them and put the lunch boxes into this storage spot. In the morning, after breakfast, I line up the lunch boxes on the counter and put in that day’s lunch. My kids pick out their snack and any additional foods, fill up their water bottles and put their lunches in their back packs.
This year, I ordered new flip top lunch boxes from L.L. Bean. Each box has enough room for a small water bottle (also from L.L. Bean) in the top and a sandwich, side, and snack in the bottom. Even though it’s January, the lunch boxes still look like new, even with a few washings after spills. I wrote my kids names inside the lunch boxes with Sharpie markers. I used my Brother PTouch labeler to label their water bottles.
Organize School Papers and Homework
Setting up inboxes for my kids homework and school papers has been one of my best organizing ideas ever. I took 4 letter trays and stacked them on a shelf in the dining room since we do homework at the dining room table. My kids know to place their homework lists and books from school in these bins which usually hold everything. I review the homework lists and keep them by me while checking my kids homework.
Next to the inboxes is a homework supply caddy. I reused a Shaklee cleaning caddy. I grouped the supplies – pencils, scissors, glue sticks, and markers – with plastic cups. This keeps stuff from getting lost at the bottom of the homework supply caddy. We’ve also taken the supply caddy to Girl Scouts since it’s so portable.
Share your best tip for keeping your kids stuff organized.