Simple DIY Organization Hacks and Ideas For Back to School

My youngest is heading to middle school this year and nope, I am not going to cry. (Oh, not to worry. I will. Just not yet.)

Nope, I am going to start getting organized so back to school will be a bit easier hopefully as we transition from elementary to middle school.

Yep, I will be distracting myself with projects like cleaning and organizing their closets, figuring out what school supplies they will each need, and how to organize all those school supplies. (you would think that by now, with one kid going into the seventh grade and the other in high school already that  I would have this organizing school stuff well under control. Sadly, I do not.)

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These 10 back to school easy organization hacks are either DIY or really inexpensive ideas that I have come across as I search for ways to keep myself busy so I don't think about my baby starting middle school.

1. Create a Backpack Drop Off Area in Your Home.

This does not have to be fancy, but the backpack drop station has to have a designated area in the house where kids can put their backpacks when they get home from school each day. Otherwise, in our house anyway, backpacks end up on the floor, behind the couch, under the bed, or under dirty clothes in the kids' bedrooms.

2. Organize School Supplies Before The First Day of School

Instead of tossing out soup cans and other tin cans in your pantry, repurpose them into colorful holders for school supplies. Carefully remove lids from the cans, and make sure there are no sharp edges.

Clean the insides of the cans, and decorate the cans using fun colorful washi tapeThese make perfect cheap cute ways to store supplies like pencils, pens, scissors, rulers, paper clips and glue sticks.

(The Crazy Coupon Lady)

3. Create an Easy Morning Routine By Eliminating Bathroom Fights

hairbrush organizer in bathroom

Have a caddy for each child that has everything they need in the morning to get ready for school. Like hairbrushes, ponytail holders, combs, hair gel, etc. This idea should help eliminate those crazy morning bathroom fights. (The Crazy Coupon Lady)

4. Organize School Lunch Packing

Create a handy lunch-making station in the fridge using a plastic basket. (iHeart Organizing)

5. Plan Weeknight Dinners in Advance

Keep weeknights running smoothly between homework and after school activities by planning easy weeknight family dinners in advance. Schedule time to sit down on the weekend to plan the menu for the coming week. And don't forget to write down your grocery list at the same time, so you will be completely ready for the week ahead.

6. Help Your Middle Schooler Stay Organized At Home 

It is one thing to be organized for beginning the new school year, BUT it is a whole other thing trying to get kids to keep things organized for the entire school year. Especially middle school kids. 

To me, the best way I have found to help my son keep his supplies, papers, even socks, and clothes organized is with an over the door organizer. Believe me, this helps keep everything from clothes to papers from being dropped on the floor or stashed under the bed.

He can put things away easily. And easy is key when trying to get older kids to be organized. Plus, there is the added bonus of being able to see everything, so it is quick and easy to find things for school.

Kids can even use the pockets to stash socks because socks magically disappear never to be seen again once kids take them off their feet, don't ya know?!

These over the door holders with pockets are my favorite cheapest organizing hacks ever. And one of the best ways to help middle schoolers stay organized at home.

7. Help Your Tweens Stay Prepared and Organized With an Easy To Use Planner

One Mom's Daily Drama has an excellent free printable Planner, To-Do Lists, and Schedule Organizer Printable that your tween can use to stay prepared and organized.

She suggests keeping a copy of your child's class schedule at home in a binder (along with other pertinent school papers and information.)

Since middle school will likely be the first time your child has to follow a class schedule, the more practice they can have ahead of the first day getting used to the new schedule, the better prepared they will feel.

8. Keep Extra Last Minute School Supplies in Your Car

It never fails that something gets forgotten or a paper needs to be signed or something needs to be glued once everyone is in the car and headed to school. Even a missing school snack can be a reason to have to turn around and head back home.

Skip those crazy hectic trips back home for forgotten school items by keeping an emergency school supplies kit in your car filled with items like pencils, pens, glue sticks, tape, paper clips, safety pins, dollar bills, and even snacks like granola bars, raisins, and chips. (Crazy Coupon Lady

9. Make a DIY Homework Lazy Susan 

This cute DIY Lazy Susan Homework Station is made out of empty paint cans (and is adorable). This is a perfect solution for keeping homework supplies organized and easy for kids to use.

Get inspired and create your own Lazy Susan homework station, or head over to HomeStoriesAtoZ to get the directions for this one.

10. Turn Cereal Boxes Into Magnetic Storage Container

Can I say I love love love this genius DIY storage container project?? Seriously, our pantry hosts several empty boxes of cereal most days as cereal goes quickly around here. 

This is such a cute DIY organizing hack for school paperwork kids bring home from school. But you can, of course, use these upcycled cereal bins to store and organize just about anything you want.

And it is easy-peasy. Find out just how easy it is to make these back to school organizers - you will want to make one today!

18 Budget Friendly Solutions For Keeping Kids and Tweens Busy This Summer

Wondering how to keep your kids entertained this summer with activities that are cheap or free?

Trying to keep kids and tweens from getting bored during summer vacation is always challenging, no matter what. But if your family is on a tight budget, it can be extremely stressful.

I mean, there are only so many walks to take and board games to play. And if there is simply no money for vacations and trips to expensive amusement parks, being able to successfully find inexpensive or better yet, free, family activities to keep the kids happy during summer vacation is like finding a left-over chocolate bar from Halloween. (Just saying.)

So what to do when kids start complaining that they are bored?  Which usually happens when the second day of summer vacation rolls around. HA.

list of inexpensive summer kids activities kids can do at home

Here are some summer cheap Diy crafts, projects, and activities for kids they will love. These activities will keep kids entertained so busy moms get a break now and then. At least for a little while, so you can catch your breath and go countdown the days till school starts again, and you are picking up backpacks off the floor !

Get my  Free Printable Summer Checklists For Kids. There are Two Printables to Choose From  (or Just Print Out Both Checklists!)

kids playing tag on summer night

1. Flashlight Tag

Take advantage of the longer summer nights by grabbing a delicious summer drink, and heading outside to watch the kids play Flashlight Tag. Not only will they have fun, but it will also help burn off some energy before bedtime.

child playing hide and seek

2. Hide N Seek With a Twist (or The Sardine Game)

This version of hide-n-seek has only one person hide, while the other kids all search. When someone finds the child who is hiding, they join him. As more kids find the hiding spot, they get more squished. Just like sardines in a can.

The game continues until the last 'seeker' finds the kids that are hiding.

kids summer at home activity mystery drink challenge

3. Do a Mystery Beverage Challenge

Have kids and their friends guess what drink they are drinking while wearing blindfolds. Just like those soda challenges, we would see on TV a few years ago. But instead of soda, use juices that have been mixed together with other juices, lemonade mixed with juice, flavored waters, chocolate milk mixed with strawberry milk.

Get creative and invent different kinds of fun drink concoctions so kids will have even more fun guessing what drinks they are drinking.

4. Have a Daily Family Skill Challenge

Yep, this is one for parents too. It is always more fun when everyone in the family is involved, right mamas? Pick a new skill for each week, like the hula hoop, juggling, standing on one foot the longest, playing an instrument, or whatever you can think of.

Have everyone takes turn demonstrating how well they are doing with the new skill every day (keep the kiddos busy!)

Then have a family contest at the end of the week to proclaim a champion of the new skill.

Photo Courtesy of Red Ted Art

5. Make Crafts With Bubble Wrap

When my boys were younger they used to love playing with bubble wrap. They could never get enough of popping those bubbles.

But kids can use bubble wrap to make adorable bubble wrap crafts as well. Yep, bubble wrap is not just for jumping on anymore.

 Get some creative ideas for bubble wrap crafts kids will love making this summer.

6. Toilet Paper Mummies

I know, this uses up the toilet paper. So yea, a little money may be needed. Buy cheap toilet paper for the game. And well, you could probably recycle some of the toilet paper if the kids don't destroy it all as they play the game.

But the good news is that the kids will have fun. And you, busy mama, will get a break.

Wrap toilet paper around them until they are covered, just like mummies. Then listen to them laugh as they try to walk around the house.

Photo: Courtesy of Our

7. Play a Game of Freeze Tag

Do you remember playing freeze tag? If not, it is a classic game for kids of all ages and can be played indoors or outdoors. Freeze tag has many variations as well, such as dance free tag and team free tag.

Get a quick refresher on how to play Freeze Tag if you have never played or forgot the rules of the game.

Then next time your kids moan about having nothing to do, suggest a game of freeze tag for an instant boredom buster.

8. Set Up a Kids Car Wash for Bikes and Scooters 

Turn up the water and suds and let the kids soak each other as well as their toys.

9. Have a Feather Challenge

Give kids a feather, and have a contest to see who can keep their feather in the air the longest by blowing on it.

10. Hunt the Thimble

This old fashioned indoor kids game goes way-way back but countless variations of this game are still played today.

One person will hide the thimble in a room (or any object will do the trick) and the other kids will, of course, try to find it. The winner gets to hide the object in the next round.


11. Let The Kids Make Their Own Summer Checklist of Things to Do

Have the kids write down all the ideas of free things they can do this summer. They can write their ideas on paper, or get creative with Legos as a fun twist to paper, and put them in a large jar.

I have two free Bucketlist Printables with more ideas for stuff kids can do this summer to stay busy. And you can also print out a blank version that kids can fill in themselves. Or print out both!

Brainstorming different fun activities should keep kids busy for a while itself.

Then, whenever you hear "I'm Bored!", get out the jar and let your kids pick an activity.

12. Make a Mini-Golf Course in the Backyard

You may need to let the kids do a little digging (but, hey, that is another awesome free thing that will keep them un-bored.) The point is to make holes that small plastic cups can fit inside.

Those will be the holes kids will try to hit golf balls into. Have fun "designing" your own backyard golf course with as many holes as the kids want to dig (or until you do not want any more holes in your backyard. Whichever comes first.)

Dollar stores usually sell plastic golf clubs for kids, especially during summer, so if you need some, head to your local dollar store.

13. DIY Toy Parachutes

Remember those little parachute men toys that seem to be in every birthday party favor bag there for a while?

No Time for Flashcards has a great tutorial that shows how kids can make their own toy parachutes. It is a pretty simple craft for summer or anytime kids are bored and you need an alternative to screen time.

Pretty much all that is needed to make a DIY toy parachute are paper napkins and string. Oh, and a little volunteer person (i.e. a lego guy??) to hold on to the parachute of course.

With a little supervision and help on your part, and kids can build their own toy parachutes in no time. And then you get a break while they play.

Photo Courtesy of artful

14. Make Salt Puffy Paint

This salt puffy paint recipe uses ingredients you probably have at home already: salt, water, flour and food coloring (or tempera paint works too.)

Then you get to relax while your little Picassos get busy creating amazing masterpieces.

Maybe you can even walk away from all the activity for a minute if your kids are old enough.

(Not too far, of course. Maybe to the kitchen to get a well-deserved quick delicious mocktail??)

15. Make DIY Funny Face Flip Books

 This summer activity is perfect for older kids. It is easy to put together this funny face flipbookand everyone in the family is going to love them.

The younger your kids will need help making their flipbooks, but that is okay because these funny face flipbooks will keep kids happily entertained for hours.

Photo Courtesy of Mel's Kitchen Cafe

16. Make The. Best. Ever. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Sandwiches

If this chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream sandwiches recipe doesn't chase away the summer boredom blues, then I don't know what will.

They. Are. Amazing.

Tweens will love (I mean, who wouldn't??) making this recipe. And of course, they will love eating them even more.

Why not make these special treats and celebrate with a tween summer slumber party??

You will get a break from the "I'm Bored" mantra for a while. And a delicious dessert.

Photo Courtesy of Made With Happy

17. DIY Easy Orange Bird Feeder

As far as DIY bird feeders go, this orange bird feeder is pretty darn cool. Even big kids will think it is a cool project (I think, anyway.)

And an additional perk that comes with this easy summer craft for tweens and kids, (besides eating juicy oranges) is that the kids may just become avid bird watchers over the summer.

Okay, maybe avid is a bit much to hope for. But you know, looking out for bird visitors may keep the kids busy here and there.

Photo Courtesy of Little Bins For Little Hands

18. Make Watermelon Volcanoes

Science projects can make awesome boredom busters, especially if they are as cool as this watermelon volcano experiment.

Gather the supplies for this experiment, which you likely have at home in your kitchen already, and watch for the oohs and aahs this summer activity gets from the kids.

5 Refreshing Mocktail Recipes To Celebrate Summer

Refreshing fruity mocktails are awesome on hot days. They are also perfect drinks to enjoy at special celebrations this summer or anytime at all.

The best part about enjoying a cool invigorating non-alcoholic mocktail, besides skipping those extra calories that come with alcohol, is that instead of feeling all headachy and foggy the next day, you feel great.

Plus, you can drive yourself home after the party ends.

1. Grapefruit Citrus Sparkling Mocktail

Photo Courtesy of A Beautiful Mess

I love mocktails recipes with Sprite in them because they are fizzy and light tasting. This gorgeous grapefruit mocktail recipe is a perfect summer drink to go with tasty healthy summer appetizers and finger foods.

All you need to make this summer drink at home is grapefruit juice, simple syrup (totally optional, btw) some Rosemary or Thyme, and a splash or two of lime and lemon.

Get the Recipe at A Beautiful Mess.

2.  Simple Strawberry Granita Lemonade

Photo Courtesy of A Pretty Life

A cool refreshing slushy mocktail that is going to have everyone asking you for 'just a sip, please!'

I say, don't share - it is too yummy. ( am I being selfish? maybe....)

Strawberry ice cubes. Strawberry infused ice cubes. YUM.

Maybe just make a big pitcher of this perfect summer drink so you can share it with everyone if you are feeling generous. Even the kids can enjoy some because there is no alcohol in this drink, yay!

Get the Recipe at A Pretty Life.

3. Kiwi Lemonade Spritzer

Photo Courtesy of Woman's Day

If you love a drink that has the perfect balance of sweet and tart, then this Kiwi Lemonade mocktail is for you.

Blend, chill and enjoy at your next summer barbeque.

Get the Recipe at Woman's Day.

4. Peach Bellini Mocktail

Photo Courtesy of Tablespoon

I love Bellinis, so this 3 ingredients alcohol-free version of my favorite drink really makes me happy.

Because sometimes you want the flavor, but not the alcohol so much. KWIM?

To make this drink extra tasty and delicious,  freeze the ingredients a little before blending.

Get the Recipe at Tablespoon.

5.  Watermelon Lime Mocktail

Photo Courtesy of Eat Yourself Skinny

One of the best refreshing healthy mocktails you should try this summer is this watermelon lime mocktail.

This refreshing drink is made without sugar. Yep, it is naturally sweet and yummy without any sugar being added.

If you are counting carbs this summer drink is low in carbs and calories as well. So you can enjoy this drink guilt-free all summer long!

Get the Recipe at Eat Yourself Skinny

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