Bring Sanity to the Video Game Room

Whether your "Game Room" is a room all of its own, or simply a time slot in your family room, there are many ways to bring sanity and civility back to that space. It all starts with a game center, which works to keep games and equipment neat and tidy. Video game organizers make great gifts for kids and teens (while benefiting the grown-ups in the house at the same time).

Read on for our best picks to help you take back your family room!

Centipede Game Storage and TV Stand
If you are lucky enough to have a space just for gaming, you will need a place to put the TV (or monitor) as well! Choose from a wall mounted TV contraption or an all in one Centipede Game Storage and TV Stand like this – perfect for the corner of the basement or the kids room. Read more

Back to School Organizing for Every Room

Have you been bitten by the back to school clutter bug? I know we have! The thing I seem to forget every year is that it is not just the kids' room that suffers. It's more like an explosion of papers, shoes, bags and lunchboxes all over the house for the first month that the kids are back in school. Here are some great new products to help minimize the damage throughout the home:

12 Drawer Rolling Cart
Dining Room: For us, homework, arts and crafts take place in the dining room. This 12 Drawer Rolling Cart has see-thru drawers of differing sizes, perfect for supplies and all of the paperwork that comes home. It is a great size for the early-grade crowd, but can work with them throughout their full 13 years of schooling and beyond. Read more

Closet Organizing Kit Does the Work for You

Organization Kit by Honey-Can-DoThis week's featured product takes the guesswork out of closet organizing, especially for the younger crowd (sending a kid off to college, anyone?) The Organization Kit by Honey-Can-Do is an all-in-one clothing organizer for the bedroom, dorm, studio apartment and more.

Here is a breakdown of what is included with the set, and tips on how to use it:
-Over the Door Shoe Rack – this handy, space-efficient shoe organizer can hold more than just shoes. Use it to organize scarves, jewelry, accessories and even school or office supplies – a multi-tasker, for sure. Read more

Healthy Meals in the Dorm – Back to School Solutions

Send your teen off to college with tools for healthy eating whether they are in the freshman dorms or sharing their first apartment as a sophomore.

Here are our finds for the best in Dorm Appliances this season (and how to use them):

Kalorik 3 Tier Food Steamer
The Kalorik 3 Tier Food Steamer takes healthy eating for students to a whole new level, with a rice bowl and 3 steamer baskets for cooking up fresh vegetables, fish and more. The base measures just 9.5" x 7.5" space-friendly, safe and fast. Read more

End of School Year Clutter Control – Kids Storage Breakdown

Are you ready for the summer? I sure am, but I wasn't quite ready for all of the wonderful "stuff" my kids would bring home from school on the last day. And let's face it, the package that comes home on the last day of the school year is the good stuff. It's not the day to day worksheets that "accidentally" end up in the recycle bin throughout the year (oops!). These are the keepers (at least for another year).

Start by hanging new artwork on the walls of their room. Think of the art that kids bring home as free room decor. Choose the biggest, bold-colored pieces for them to enjoy. Next, weed out any books, whether they are decodable readers (recycle?), books made by the student, or portfolios. These should go on a bookcase in their room. And lastly, any unfinished workbooks or sheets tossed in there by the teacher should be kept where they normally do their homework. (But ONLY if you actually think they will do those sheets during the summer. Otherwise, do yourself a big favor and recycle them now.)

Wicker Night Stand Basket
When looking for a storage vessel for your kids masterpieces, think big. For artwork, 8 1/2 x 11 is probably not going to work. This oversized Wicker Night Stand Basket does the trick at over 22" x 15". And it's pretty, perfect for leaving out in plain view. Read more

Kids Sports Stuff – Tips for the Season

6 Bin Storage Shelf CubbyWith Softball just starting up in our area this weekend, I am reminded last soccer season and all of the stuff that these extra-curricular activities bring into the home. You've got cleats, shin guards, uniforms, huge socks, and three kids…what do you do with them to prevent yourself from going bananas looking for little Suzi's shirt or little Fred's guards ten minutes before a game?

We tried many methods: A big plastic bin to dump everything into, special sports uniform drawers in the dresser, and even keeping all of the equipment in the car (don't know what we were thinking with that one since you can't really get dressed in the car). Read more

How to Display Kids Artwork

Kids Art on Clothespins
I've got 3 young children, and I know how difficult it can be to part with their countless masterpieces.
One way I deal with this dilemma is by a simple system of string and clothespins. I have these hanging over their beds and also in the playroom. All you do is tack a piece of twine or yarn to the wall and the artwork can be held up by clothespins – simple, cheap and easy! You can do as many levels as you like, adding to it over the years to cascade down to the floor if you want. The kids can move things around and easily do the hanging themselves.

Here are some other Ideas for storing/saving/using kids art: Read more

Toy Storage: Think Outside the Box

toy boxWhen you live in a smaller home with kids, the challenge is always how to store all of their toys, artwork, video games and other kid-like items without having primary colored boxes infringing upon your grown-up style! What mom or dad really wants to look at those red, blue and yellow plastic bins while catching up on their favorite shows at night after the kids are in bed? Yet we all know that toys in the living room are a fact of life once you have kids.

Here are some clever ways to incorporate toy storage into your decor without sacrificing your style:
1. Storage Ottomans - Choose from microfiber, faux leather and more to match your style. For maximum toy storage you will need either two cube ottomans or a long, rectangular one. Be sure to look for lids that lift off completely or safety hinges to protect little fingers. Read more

A Nursery for the Sweetest Dreams…

It’s easy to create a calm, quiet dreamland for baby with the right baby furniture. The ones pictured below are all convertibles, a must-have design element for taking your little one from infancy thru the toddler years with (relative) ease. Remember when choosing a crib for your baby, look for lead-free, non-toxic and no drop-side models for safe slumber!

Windsor Crib
I love white cribs, myself, as they allow you to go bold with wall color in the nursery!
Read more

Coat Racks are Not Just for Coats

hooks in laundry roomIf you could see the walls of my laundry room you would think I was on some kind of jacket-shopaholic kick, as I have no less than four 5-hook coat racks mounted to the wall. Yet I don’t have a single coat hanging from these hooks. Turns out coat racks are one of the best and brightest organizers in town, and I happily make use of them all over my home.

In the laundry room I have them mounted one right over the other in two rows, which allows me to best utilize the vertical space on what is otherwise a wasted wall. I hang everything from my gym bag to jump ropes, lost and found items and more on these 20 hooks. Since it is the laundry room, aesthetics are less important. Read more

Teaching Kids to be Organized

kid's hamperTeaching your children to clean up after themselves gives them pride, lifelong skills, and keeps you sane! Here are some tips for busy moms and dads on how to get your kids to keep their clothes and toys neat and tidy!

Tips For the Younger Crowd:

• Look for kid-friendly organizers (hampers with animals on them, coat racks with ABCs, etc.) A great example is the Kids Clothes Sorting Hamper – it has two sections and a corresponding picture for sorting light and dark clothes for non-readers.

• Let them pick one type of toy to put away (Legos, play kitchen, trains). Read more