Where To Start When Organizing Your Home

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When you feel like your house is wreck, sometimes it’s hard to even know where to start with organizing your home. I don’t know about you, but our house gets hit HARD in the summer. Now that the kids are back in class, I have some time to organize our home for the back to school season. But…. every room is in need of cleaning up.

Organize Your Home + Figuring Out Where To Start

I can’t do it all. I’m one 1 mom, with 4 kids who specialize in undoing all my doing, and a husband who is away at work and comes home tired. If you are like me, focus on 3 areas that are going to be the most helpful to you if cleaned up. I am focusing on  the 3 rooms in my home that will effect my kids having a great school year:

  1. mudroom
  2. pantry
  3. kitchen desk / homework station.

how organize home for kids schooling on a pinterest image

1. Organize Your Mudroom / Coat Closet for Back to School

Cleaning up our mudroom right off the garage was the best idea when I started organizing the home. This was the first spot in our home to organize for the back to school season because I wanted my kids to be home to help.  😀  I mean, it is their stuff that makes it so messy, right? Here is our “before” but it’s really a “in the middle”.  This doesn’t even show all the stuff hiding in their cubbies and the closet.

mudroom that needs organizing for back to school

Our mudroom has two closets for overflow storage. Building the home I thought they might end up being too much, but I am glad of course now we went with two.

Take Inventory of Shoes / Backpacks, etc.

The kids brought out their school backpacks / lunch boxes. We did a inventory check to see what kind of shape everything was in.

I also found the hamper I keep in here when its not summer. This is for sweaters and socks that get taken off and left on the floor. The idea is they get put in the hamper. Usually they are left next to the hamper. 😀

Organize Off Season Items

We rounded up flip flops that wouldn’t be worn to school, and pool towels, goggles etc. Those items got corralled in a closet basket for now until the hot weather is completely gone.

A Mudroom organized and functional for back to school - organize your home

Baskets for Everything

A while ago I found the small sized baskets to go in the top cubby. I love the leather handles and they are a nice fit- although right now they are annoyingly overflowing. In the summer we keep their goggles, sunglasses, little odds and ends they use frequently  up there. Now it’s where they stash their lunch box on weekends and any extra school supplies / library books / show and tell items etc.

We still can’t leave too many shoes out because Zion is still a puppy.  I’ll be glad when the shoe chewing stage is over! For now, the shoes are in one giant basket. This works because we can bring out the whole basket if needed, and easily stash away in the mudroom closet.

statement lighting in the organized mudroom with shoe organization

Did you guys catch the installation of this black pendant light on Instagram stories? I saved it in a highlight. It is so affordable and I installed it myself! I love that it is a statement piece and has just a slight industrial vibe.

Mudroom Sources:

Tall leaning mirror /  small baskets black hooks black pendant light / small rug is vintage

2. Organizing Your Home Pantry for Back to School

(Read about organizing the pantry initially here).

Does your pantry get trashed when all the kids are home? This is how mine looks by August.  I can’t get the kids to stop eating inside the pantry- if you have any solutions let me know. One of the downsides to a walk in pantry!

Here is the before:

Disorganized pantry

If you are wondering why the pantry is listed in my tips on how to organize your home for the back to school season…. Its because we pack 19 lunches a week right now! How can I even find stuff in here?

Take It All Out

I found homes for the items that don’t belong. We put Zion’s cage in our attic. He is trustworthy in the house- whoop whoop! We do have a baby gate so he doesn’t go upstairs unless invited.

organizing your home and figuring out where to start- the pantry

Clean / Organize / Buy What You Need

My pantry got a big scrub down before anything else. I put up a bulletin board for loose flyers and cleaned off the chalkboard. I love this cheap turn table for large bottles that don’t fit with the spices on the shelf. It could also be used for under the sink organization.

clean organized pantry - organizing your home and started in the pantry

spice rack organization in a walk in pantry

labeled jar in the pantry - organize your home for back to school

Click to shop: OXO Pop Top Plastic Food Canisters  (and here on Amazon)

You guys! I got a new label maker- how you like me now? I don’t know if I actually AM more organized, or I just feel that way. This is the label maker I use- it has great reviews. I found it to be simple to get up and running. I also use this clear tape that fits the label maker, because I like how clear tape looks better than white tape.

chalkboard and bulletin board in walk in a organized walk in pantry

The kids know their after school chores, but it won’t hurt to have them written down, will it?

Pantry Sources:

Dog Food Cannister (Similar) /  OXO Pop Top Plastic Food Canisters  (and here on Amazon!) / Bread Box  (Get a clear one so you notice the bread before it turns moldy!) / Turn Table for Bottles & Large Spices / 3 Tier Can Shelf /  Woven Storage Basket /

 1/2 Gallon Glass Jar / Cake Bin / white metal baskets / bulletin boardchalk boardwood and white dustpan set / white bentwood chair / gray checkered apron

3. Homework Station / Our Kitchen Desk

With the daily drudgery of homework about to begin, first priority is to find a dedicated homework station when school starts

Dedicate a Zone

We no longer do homework at the kitchen table. Sticky homework with grease spots and papers on the counter tops become a problem quickly.

If you can find a space in your home to carve out a homework station, I encourage you to do it! It doesn’t have to be big- ours is tiny and we share it. Our homework station is our kitchen desk.

Robbie is in middle school now and he does almost all of his homework on this computer. It is nice that he has a study zone in a communal part of the home. At this point, he doesn’t find it distracting.

boy at kitchen desk working

Moms of teens…. will I end up wanting a desk in his room? I really don’t know! I like that for now, he doesn’t feel isolated while he works here, and its still a well organized homework station. Plus, I am always nearby to answer questions (like I know the answers anymore! Ha!).

our study zone / kitchen desk

This post is about when I first organized this space. Because of that, it wasn’t a big mess at the end of summer. All it needed was a little picking up to get it ready for back to school!

Make Paperwork a Priority

First things first – make your main priority to establish a “home” for all of the kids’ paperwork. It is always the paper that creates the biggest mess! Each child/dog has a labeled folder with their name, and the folders sit in this magazine file holder.

labeled folders

I considered using this pretty box for the family’s paperwork. But the idea of taking the box down, taking off the lid every time sounded dumb because we use it so much. Keep it simple!

I labeled the basket that keeps my blog paperwork, and the basket for general office supplies we all use. I especially love the labeled fabric baskets with the tops- one has loose chargers and cords all together, and one has all our checks etc. Keeping it out of the way from little hands helps too.

Homework station organize home for back to school with labels

organized homework station / kitchen desk

mudroom that needs organizing for back to school

I was looking for a letter paper holder that would fit with the open side on the longer side to fit inside cabinetry. I saw this one at the Container Store and someone had it all labeled, and I knew instantly this was the one! You can stack the trays all on top of each other.

Homework Station Sources:

Balboa Arm Chair / (similar) Plastic Woven Baskets / (similar) Magazine File Holders / Boxes with Lids / Paper Tray /plant basket / labels / label maker /

Grab the tissue box for the happy/sad tears! Happy back to school everyone!

When YOU are organizing your home, where should YOU start?

It doesn’t matter if you feel like your entire home is a mess. I think we all feel this way from time to time. The point is you can find out where to start by being aware of  the 3 areas / spaces will be the most beneficial to you organized in the season you are in today. Each season will have different areas that are more important- I know in January I always like to clean out my closets.

Are rooms too big and that feels overwhelming? What about 3 closets? Or try the 3 junk drawers/clutter spaces that bother you the most. Good luck!

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Pinterest image for getting organized when kids are back to school

I hope this helped you figure out where to start when organizing your home. Just the fact that you are reading this is a great start to getting your house in good shape!

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