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Courtney’s Corner: Fall into organization

Fall is right around the corner! Why not start the school year on the right foot with an organized home? Interior designer and blogger Courtney Lake shares tips on how to get you and your family organized with easy and inexpensive tips.

fall Family organization

Courtney's corner

Fall organization tips
Photo credit: Kirsten Tamme
Fall is right around the corner! Why not start the school year on the right foot with an organized home? Interior designer and blogger Courtney Lake shares tips on how to get you and your family organized with easy and inexpensive tips.

Many a parent can attest to the frustration that comes with stepping on a wayward Lego and the subsequent resolution to get the house organized before some self-imposed deadline. With the start of school looming around the corner, now seems like the perfect time to stop procrastinating and implement these easy-to-follow tips to organization.


Smooth exits and entries

Creating and maintaining a system that allows you to quickly leave in the morning is important. But it is equally vital that you create systems that facilitate an easy return once you are back at home.


Create a dedicated “landing strip”

If you have the luxury of a dedicated mudroom or coat closet, put it to good use by creating zones that both children and adults can follow using baskets, hooks and storage bins. Organize shoes, umbrellas, sunglasses and accessories in cubbies. If built-in storage is outside your budget, consider mimicking the look by using a cubby storage unit from a school supply vendor and painting it your favorite color.

If space is limited, you can still create your own landing strip using either a magnetic board with hooks or a small side table. A decorative bowl can hold keys and loose change, and a small calendar can serve as a quick at-a-glance for your week’s events. And be sure to make to-do lists fun — no one wants to be greeted by a laundry list of projects on plain paper. Investing in a pad of festive paper can make a world of difference, not only to you as the organizer, but also to those who you are trying to organize.

Mud room organization

Photo credit: Kirsten Tamme

Organize by day

Group belongings by day in quick-to-grab baskets marked with cute tags. It’s an easy way to organize the plethora of sports equipment, clothing and other essentials families need for a particular day. When the day is complete, place the items back into their respective bins, even if dirty. Come laundry day, it’s easier to go to central locations than tearing the house apart looking for a misplaced jersey. Rather than buy expensive tags, make your own. The ones photographed were made from vintage hold tags picked up at a garage sale and decorated with stickers purchased from the dollar store. This is the perfect kind of project to include children on to get them excited about organizing.

Organize with tags

Photo credit: Kirsten Tamme

Office politics

You’ve tackled ensuring that you and your family can get out the door easily, but what happens once they get home? Today’s home office is a misnomer, as it really has become the central hub for many families’ lives. From schoolwork to taxes, the home office is often serving multiple duties, so it’s time to treat it like the multifunctional space it has become.


Clear the decks

Whenever possible, remove extraneous clutter from your work surface. Use a tray to gather all your office essentials. Corral writing utensils and other office supplies in containers to make for easy storage. Remember that storage containers can be anything you want, as long as they do the job! Dollar store glass vases were used to house markers and colored pencils, while fun containers from big-box stores were used to store everything from paper clips to rubber bands.

Organize your office

Photo credit: Kirsten Tamme

Kick it old school with a clipboard

Sometimes you need to break out an oldie but goodie! Clipboards are a great way to combat piles and keep paperwork organized. Give each family member their own clipboard to track bills, homework and other important documents. At the end of the week, gather the boards up and file as needed.

Organize with a clipboard

Photo credit: Kirsten Tamme

Form & function

Sometimes it’s possible to merge form and function to great effect. This living room is a testament that the best designs are sometimes the easiest ones.


Think deep

Extra-deep built shelves not only hold books and collections, but because of their depth, they also provide functional storage for toys. When the toys are grouped together and arranged on the shelves, they become art pieces themselves.

Organized your living room

Photo credit: Kirsten Tamme


Organization doesn’t need to be overwhelming and all consuming. By following some of the above tips and recommendations, you and your family can kick fall off in organized style!

More in home organization

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7 Home office organization tips
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