Back to School Organizing Tips for A Happy, Healthy Year


The back to school season is exciting…and, let’s face it, frantic. But with a little extra organization in key areas of the home, and a few tweaks to your family’s daily routine, you can make the transition with ease. Read on for my favorite ways to get organized for a happy, healthy school year.

Back to School
Parents Magazine

A happy, healthy school year begins with some smart preparation, so set aside some time over the weekend to get a few key areas of the home in order:

- Help your child choose outfits in advance for the first week or two of school, and stow them in an easily accessible spot.

- Set up a “command center” near the front door with a clock, family calendar, paper organizer, and drop zone for backpacks and other belongings.

- Avoid the frantic morning rush by stocking the kitchen or downstairs bathroom with a spare hairbrush and toothbrushing supplies.

- Don’t forget to label backpacks, lunchboxes, water bottles, and sweatshirts with your child’s name!

Ore Studios

Ease new-school-year jitters with a peaceful morning routine. Roll up a few yoga mats and keep them in a basket near a cleared area or floor to make it easy and tempting to sneak in a few simple yoga poses or a guided meditation. Even five minutes of gentle stretching or deep breathing before the rush of the school day begins is worth it: your child will feel calmer, and you will both feel more connected and ready to face the day. After school, kids are tired and may be feeling overwhelmed from all of the new experiences at school, so try to schedule something fun and relaxing for right after. This is a great time for a trip to the park or sports practice.

Once your child is back at home, aim to get in the routine of putting their backpack in the same spot, emptying out their lunchbox, and looking at any papers they brought home together.

Celebrate the new school year by treating your hardworking entryway to a fresh rug (find four of my favorites below) and bring on fall!


Rug shopping guide: (Clockwise from top left) Liora Manne Front Porch Birds in beige and brown; Liora Manne Front Porch Owls in night; Martha Stewart Rugs Hand-Tufted Autumn Woods in Francesca Black; Nourison Waverly Greetings Accent Rugs in Red.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®


5 Crafty Weekend Projects

Take advantage of these sunny summer weekends — or extra time off — to spruce up your abode with one of these creative, weekend-friendly projects, including color-blocked lockers for the mudroom, cute no-sew trivets to brighten up the kitchen table, a hairpin-leg breakfast tray with serious mid-century cred, and more.

DIY No. 1: Color block storage lockers. With back-to-school right around the corner, creating more storage for all of the backpacks, school papers, and shoes is pretty high on my to-do list right now. But even if I didn’t have kids at home, I could easily see using these storage lockers in the entryway, mudroom, or office! The lockers themselves are purchased, so all you need to do for this project is pick your colors, tape off sections, and paint away. Get the full DIY at Sugar and Cloth.

DIY No. 2: Rainbow rope trivets. All you need for this super-cheerful DIY is upholstery cording, a bit of acrylic craft paint in the colors of your choice, and a hot glue gun. To create your trivet, first dip portions of the cotton cording in colorful paint for a color-block effect. Once completely dry, begin to coil the cord up, glueing in place with a dot of hot glue every few inches.Then place on your table and enjoy! For complete instructions, see Brittni Mehlhoff’s tutorial on Momtastic.

DIY No. 3: Mood board organizer. If you’re looking for a unique addition to take your home office or creative studio from bland to wow, this is the DIY for you. A large piece of plywood is cut into a house-shape and painted in two hues to form the base. Next, you can customize your mega-inspiration board with a copper basket for books and magazines, a rope and s-hooks for hanging tools, or even a section of pegboard. Lean against a wall, and let the inspiration-gathering begin. Find the how-to at Paper & Stitch.

DIY No. 4: Mid-century breakfast tray. Make Saturday mornings special by savoring breakfast in bed on your own gorgeous wood breakfast tray. With mid-century inspired hairpin legs, and a smooth wood top, you would never guess this was so simple to make. All that’s required is a pretty wooden tray, a set of hairpin legs (easily purchased online), and the ability to work a power drill. Leave as-is, or kick it up a notch by cutting a piece of leather to fit inside for a luxe touch. See A Beautiful Mess for the details.

DIY No. 5: Shibori tea towels. These deep indigo tie-dyed towels make a statement in the kitchen, and hide stains, to boot. This is a great project to tackle on a sunny summer weekend outdoors, and if you have kids, they’ll love to get in on the action, too … just be sure everyone is dressed for the mess! You’ll need to follow the instructions on your dye kit, but the basic idea is to create areas of resist by using rubber bands or clothespins to create a pattern before submerging plain towels in the dye bath. Read all about this project on A Beautiful Mess.

Once you’re done with your weekend of DIY fun, accessorize your newly spruced up home with one (or more) of the fun, colorful throw pillows shown above. Then pour yourself a tall glass of iced tea or fresh lemonade, sit back, and savor your space!

Shopping Guide: 1. Kate Spade New York Yorkville Pillows Tassel in Pink; 2. Kate Spade New York Yorkville Pillows Dobbins in Red and Pink; 3. Surya Abstract Pillows Southwest Delight in Beige, Salmon, Charcoal, Burgundy; 4. Surya Southwest Pillows Dip Dyed in Light Gray and Cherry; 5. Surya Beth Lacefield Pillows Kilim in Magenta, Beige, Burnt Orange, Chocolate; 6. Kate Spade New York Yorkville Pillows Embroidered Dot in Pink and Tan.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®


Father’s Day Gift Idea: Outdoor Makeover for Dad

From cheering on soccer games to being there with words of much-needed advice, Dads do so much. Think beyond the tie this year, and gift dad something he can really get excited about — a cool makeover for his outdoor space! Read on for 5 awesome backyard additions that work for any price point (and any dad).

Domino - hammock
Domino Magazine

Hang up a hammock. Just the sight of a hammock gently swaying in the breeze is relaxing. Give dad a hammock to call his own, stationed in a shady spot on the porch, or strung between two trees in the backyard. Be sure to include a small table nearby where he can set his drink, and at least one cushy pillow.

Domino - outdoor bar
Domino Magazine

Domino - outdoor bar 2
Whitney Leigh Morris via House Beautiful

Rig up an outdoor bar. What could be cooler than a backyard bar where he can hang out with friends? If you want to go all-out (and have the budget for it) you could hire a pro to install a backyard wet bar, complete with built-in fridge to keep his beer frosty cold. But even on a shoestring budget, you can still put together a cool setup like the ones shown here: start with a freestanding bar or table (check Craigslist listings for affordable options), and deck it out with his favorite drinks, and a cool new set of glassware. Bonus points for adding a record player!

Domino - bbq
Domino Magazine

Grill something. Whether you upgrade his entire grill setup, or just add some cool new accessories (like a grill basket and quality tongs), optimizing his outdoor kitchen is always a hit. Want to spoil him? Spring for a new gas grill, or a specialty item like a pizza oven. Then help break it in by bringing over fixings for a backyard feast to cook and enjoy together.

Domino - fire
Domino Magazine

Light a fire. What dad isn’t just a little obsessed with fire? Treat him to a fire pit, and you can look forward to many summer nights gathered around the blaze! Freestanding wood-burning models tend to be the most affordable options, though some propane-burning fire pits are fairly budget-friendly and have the advantage of being portable. The big splurge would be on a custom built natural gas fire pit, surrounded by seating for a crowd. No matter which option you choose, don’t forget to throw in a pack of s’mores fixings!

Camille Styles - movie night
Camille Styles

Host a backyard movie night. With digital projectors coming down in price, buying him his very own isn’t too far out of reach (especially if you make it a group gift). But even if you’re not ready to buy him his own projector, you can still make a night of outdoor movie magic by renting a digital projector (many office supply stores rent them, as well as some libraries) and rigging up a white sheet for the “screen”. Gather the whole family, pop some popcorn, cue up a family favorite on the laptop, and kick back for a Father’s Day movie night under the stars.

Man Cave Rugs

Man-cave worthy rug picks (clockwise from top left): Shalom Brothers Durham Kilim in Gray; Safavieh Kilim in Blue and Ivory; Liora Manne Capri Ropes in Navy; United Weavers Modern Textures Cupola in Harvest.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®


Mother’s Day Gift Idea: A Sanctuary for Mom

Lovingly made macaroni necklaces, breakfast in bed, bouquets of flowers, a locket filled with treasured photos: these gifts from the heart are all sure to be well received on Mother’s Day. But every once in a while — when she’s had an especially trying year, for example — it feels good to go above-and-beyond for mom… and you can’t go much more above-and-beyond than a home makeover! From a party-ready patio where she can sip wine with her friends, to a solo spa-like bath retreat, read on for giftable home makeover ideas to suit every budget (and every mom).

House and Home
House & Home

Quiet retreat. Moms who love nothing more than a quiet afternoon curled up with a good book would certainly appreciate a cozy place to do just that. Upgrade her space with a comfy place to sit, a soft throw blanket, a subscription to a new-to-her magazine or a stack of books tied up in ribbon, a lovely mug and selection of great coffee and tea.


Patio. For the mom who loves hanging out with her girlfriends, what could be better than a spruced-up, party-ready patio? Use her existing patio furniture, but give the space an upgrade with outdoor curtains, hanging lanterns, plenty of candles, and exotic textiles. Round things off with a bottle or two of her favorite wine, and a colorful outdoor rug.


Glammed-up closet. Getting ready for the day doesn’t have to be a wild goose chase: make it a pleasurable experience for mom by injecting her closet and dressing area with glamorous details and smart storage. Add removable wallpaper to one wall for a budget-friendly (yet high-impact) focal point, swap out jumbled hangers for a full matching set, and add a pretty perch where she can sit to put on shoes.

Emily Griffin
Emily Griffin Design

Craft room. If mom loves to craft, give her a space that will fuel her inspiration and keep her organized, too. A table with built-in storage paired with comfy stools makes a great workspace for all sorts of projects. Bring some style to the space with a bold painted or wallpapered wall, fresh flowers, and new lighting.


Spa-like bath. Even if you’re not going for a full-fledged bathroom remodel, there are still plenty of ways to give mom a spa-like experience at home. Think high-end bath products, lovely shower curtains, new artwork, a rug, a pretty little stool, and a vase of fresh roses by the sink. To top things off, why not treat mom to six months of a weekly cleaning service, if she doesn’t already have one?

Final tips: To be sure she loves the end result, consider printing out inspiration photos and wrapping them up with a note that you will treat her to transform the space of her choice. Working on the project together may end up being the most fun part of the gift!

Mom-worthy rug shopping guide (clockwise from top left): Surya Irina in Red; Jaipur Rugs Ceres Eris in Gray, Silver, Blue and Pink; Kaleen Relic in Gray, Ivory and Pink; Kaleen Relic in Pink, Hot Pink and Rosewood.

For more inspiration from Laura, follow along with her at!

Copyright © Rugs Direct ®