How To Create a Homework Station

For many, today is the first day back to school.  I see the moms doing the happy dance as the kids drag themselves to the school bus.  I don’t know about you but finding a good spot to do homework was always an issue at our house.  I wanted the “perfect setting” – desk with no noise while Belinda liked to do it sitting on the bed or couch with the TV or music on.  Homework can be a stressful affair for both kids AND parents.  But while homework is a fact of life, the daily chaos which  results doesn’t have to be.

Want to make your family’s after-school routine a little less stressful? A dedicated homework station is a must!

Homework stations keep supplies on hand and distractions to a minimum, providing kids with a quiet, supervised, place to study. When your kids are older and the workload becomes heavier, a centrally located workspace can help reduce feelings of isolation, allowing them to spend time with the family as they work. A shared workspace can also go a long way toward keeping your teen safe as they begin to spend more and more time on the computer.

I know you may think you don’t have the space for this, right?  The truth is you can create an attractive and well-organized study zone for your family. Have a large living room? Consider dedicating a wall to a row of mini workstations. Tight on space? Why not convert an upstairs landing or hallway into a homework zone? You’ll be surprised what you can pull together when you think outside of the box!  Here are some great ideas

The first thing is to find a room or space in your home which works for your child.  Depending how much assistance they will need, this could be in the kitchen or family room or at a desk in their own room.  The ultimate goal is to get them working in a proper set‐up with a table and chair instead of working from their lap – this way they establish good habits, can properly work on their handwriting and have room to spread out all their materials.

1) CLIPBOARDS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND

Clipboards are a good way to display important papers your kids may bring home from school, and can help stay on top of due dates and deadlines. A quick glance at the clipboard and you immediately know there is SOMETHING they need to work on – even if it’s a spelling list or a book report which isn’t due for a few weeks. These can be picked up at the Dollar Store or Target or Walmart.  Wherever you get them, definitely jump on-board the clipboard bandwagon!

2) INCLUDE A CALENDAR

Calendars are ULTRA important. It’s a great idea to hang one in your homework station to keep track of homework projects, upcoming tests, homework assignments, and all other important dates.  There are a lot of different types of calendars you could use.  But a simple paper one you can easily hang is tops on my list.  Like the clipboards, you can get these practically anywhere (even for free).  As much as I love a great dry-erase board, you don’t have to worry about anything you write down accidentally being erased.  Which is always a huge plus!

3) MAKE SPACE FOR BACKPACKS

Do your kids walk through the door after school, take their backpacks off and throw them on the ground. So fun, right? *Rolls eyes*. To avoid breaking an ankle and unnecessary messes, designate a space for backpacks! Cubbies  are ideal but if you are limited on space have them hang their backpacks on the back of their designated chair at the homework station.  This way things can be added to the backpack as they are done and nothing is forgotten at home.

4) STORE IMPORTANT PAPERS

Loosing important school papers is the absolute worst! Some basic hanging wall baskets or hanging wall file organizers are really helpful. Just designate one basket per child (or person in your family) and keep anything important pertaining to that person in it.  Or, you could divide your wall file organizer by designating the bottom space for homework that needs to be done, the middle for homework to be checked/signed off by you, and the top for school forms/fliers.

5) ORGANIZE YOUR SUPPLIES

Ever have one of those homework moments when you couldn’t find a pencil or calculator for the life of you? Yeah. Not so fun. I recommend keeping common homework and art supplies within arm’s reach of your homework station so there is NO excuse for them to not do their math!

Here are some simple DIY homework organization ideas:

  • Cutlery Caddy –You can get these inexpensively at pretty much any big-box store, or even your local dollar store. Then assign each compartment in the caddy for a specific homework supply like crayons, scissors, glue, pencils, etc. Note: Usually the caddies from the dollar store only have two compartments.  So one thing you could do is also purchase six plastic drinking cups from the dollar store, put three on eachside of the caddy and then place your various homework supplies in the cups. This plate rack caddy is also a great way to organize school supplies.  Simply buy some buckets, cans, mason jars, or whatever to store each of your supplies in and you’re good to go!

 

  • Door Organizer –This could be something like an over the door shoe holding organizer you can get at Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, or anywhere else selling home organizing products.  Just make sure to get a clear one so the kids can easily see what supplies are in what storage pocket.

 

  • Art Cart – Find rolling utility carts at most big craft stores and home stores (even Amazon has some!).  From there you can begin to fill your art cart with not only supplies like crayons and pencils but also notebooks, counting aids, flash cards, books, and so much more!

What is YOUR best tip for setting up a homework station?  Share your back to school pictures with us…..

Have a blessed day!

 

Teacher Solution Sets

I can’t believe Summer is almost over.  It won’t be long (maybe a week or so) before many will be leaving the sunshine and sand while they head back to school.

Summer may be leaving BUT  it isn’t so bad when there’s so much fall fun to look forward to! Cozy sweaters, leaf piles and of course the hustle and bustle of back to school are right around the corner. I can see many moms doing the happy dance now.  LOL!

Who knows more than teachers about starting the school year off right? From classroom heroes to bus duty buddies, here are eight of  Thirty One’s top styles to create save-the-day solution sets for the ones who put the cool in school (or anyone else who needs to get organized)..

For taming the desk mess

From paperclips and pencils to staplers and snacks, teachers ask a lot of their desks. Make it more manageable with the desktop organizing combo of a Littles Carry-All Caddy (or two), Get Creative Slim Pouch and Get Creative Rectangle Pouch.

This durable, wipeable caddy is perfectly sized to fit a small box of tissues or extra coffee pods for your morning brew, while its exterior mesh pocket can stow paperclips, sticky notes and rubber bands at hand. Pop your markers, pens and pencils into the slim pouch, and use the rectangle pouch for large index cards or to keep loose bits and bobs in one place. Plus, both pouches are made of clear PVC, so you’ll always be able to see what’s stashed inside!

 

For manic mornings and laid-back lunches

One of a teacher’s many superpowers is getting up and ready before the sun, so make mornings a little brighter with a tote-ally perfect pairing that’ll pull double duty. The Crossbody Organizing Tote is one of our top styles for the season, and teachers know why! With all the pockets you could ask for and a spacious design, this tote is an organizing dream. Perfect for the ones who have to take their work home with them (we’re talking grading papers galore), plus the adjustable crossbody strap means hands-free organization, even on the go.

This functional work tote only gets better when paired with our tried-and-true Thermal Tote, its lunchtime partner in crime. Make lunch hour sweeter with an insulated tote in tons of fun prints, and add a personalized embroidered design for a thermal tote that’ll be the talk of the teachers’ lounge. Getting up early might be tough, but packing your lunch in the morning doesn’t have to be!

For classroom clutter

With kids comes mess, but that mess doesn’t have to equal stress. Meet your new all-star organizing team: the Large Utility Tote (our #1 style for the season!) and Double Duty Caddy. With its top handle and two side compartments, the Double Duty Caddy is just the structured sidekick teachers need to store cleaning supplies, art materials, papers or even plates, napkins and plastic utensils for classroom parties!

You already know there are a thousand uses for the LUT, so here are just a few ideas fit for the classroom. And don’t forget to add a custom embroidered message or design in Thirty-One’s personalization studio – just click the “personalize” button under Large Utility Tote to see your design come to life!

  • Stash toys and stuffed animals for indoor recess
  • Fill with books for a portable classroom library
  • Stow pillows and cushions for story circle time
  • Tote playground equipment to and from recess
  • Organize craft supplies for art projects
  • Make a portable lost-and-found!

For after-school fun

When the backpacks are packed and students are on the bus home, it’s time for teachers to take some time to unwind and focus on themselves. No matter the after-school destination, whether it’s a dinner out with the family, running to a yoga class or going out for drinks with the girls, the Boutique Backpack and Perfect Cents Wallet are your go-to duo.

Backpacks are perfect for the ones who are always on the go, and the Boutique Backpack’s faux leather finish elevates it to a statement piece that can also hold all your essentials with ease! And we can’t forget a coordinating wallet to keep your cash, cards and ID neat and organized.

For even more great back-to-school solutions, browse our hand-picked collection of school-ready gift ideas!

Must Haves for Back to School

Some may already be back to school BUT for those in NJ, they still have some time to soak up the sun.  I honestly don’t know many who think back-to-school shopping is an exciting time of the year except those who graduated from crayons and glue sticks to a college campus!   I am sure many wish colleges and universities sent out a handy school supply shopping list like they did during the first 12 years of school.  This way we could put together the must-haves for those first time college students….

School in style

Good grades are important, but who said studying can’t be stylish, too? Whether you’re hitting the library, meeting a project group at a local coffee shop or running to class, there’s a Thirty-One bag for every student.

Are you a nothing-but-the-essentials kind of person? The Call Me Crossbody is the perfect size for your smartphone and a few cards when you’re on-the-go. If you need to pack a little more but still love the convenience of a hands-free bag, a Boutique Backpack can hold a few books, a water bottle, keys and more while also adding a chic pop to a casual outfit. And if you need to pack for a day’s worth of classes or need a work bag for your internship, the Around Town® Tote is perfect for books, folders and your laptop.

Dorm organization hacks

Space is limited in a college dorm room, so maximize every inch by investing in utility products which are durable, functional and come in the cutest prints.

Stow a Large Utility Tote  (LUT) under your bed to hold shoes or seasonal clothes that could take up space in your closet. With tons of prints available, from staple neutrals to whimsical cacti, you can match your LUT to your bedding or wall art. A Stand Tall Bin is the perfect size for a hamper or laundry basket, plus it comes in handy during move-in and collapses for easy storage. Guess what?  The Stand Tall Bin is on SALE this month.  Get TWO with a $35 purchase!  Finally, organize your desk or study space with a  Fold N’ FileTM, Double Duty® Caddy or Littles Carry-AllTM Caddy to hold documents, pens and office supplies.

Lunch break

You may not be packing PB&Js for the cafeteria anymore, but every busy college student needs to eat – and chances are you’ll be doing it on the go. Make snacking between classes a breeze with a lunch thermal that matches your personality. Choose a Thermal Tote in a bold, bright print or go for the Lunch Break Thermal Ltd. in elevated fabrics and finishes. With so many options, there’s a great lunch bag for every student.

Not your average backpack

You don’t have to leave your trusty backpack behind in grade school. In fact, when your classes and meetings are on opposite sides of campus, there’s no better way to stay organized and prepared than with a backpack for every occasion.

Heading over to the rec center for a quick workout? Grab a Cinch Sac or Sling-Back Bag to carry your water, headphones, deodorant and a change of clothes. Looking for something a little roomier for class? Go with the Adventures Backpack, complete with a thermal pocket for drinks and snacks, or the Crossbody Organizing Tote for organization on the go.

Weekend reset

After you’ve worked hard all week, it’s nice to have the weekend to relax, have fun and take some time for yourself. Whether it means staying on campus to hang out with your roommates or heading home to see your family for a few days, these stylish, versatile solutions will have you covered. Opt for an All About the Benjamins® wallet for a lunch date with friends, or choose a Retro Metro® Bag to bring along to the store or while running errands. If you like to spend your weekends at home, pack up an Away for the Weekender with all your overnight essentials.

What’s on your back to school shopping list? Can’t decide what bag will fit your needs, I’m happy to help you find the perfect solution for your organizing or back to school struggles.

Have a blessed day!

Who Needs a Care Package?

Giving back has always been one of my favorite things to do in my business…Whether it’s showing support in a time of crisis, to help someone start a new phase of life or just to let someone know you care, sending a care package is like sharing a piece of your heart.  The blessings you receive from just one simple act of kindness is AMAZING!

Whether it is a few small items found at your local grocery or drug store or a card with a gentle reminder they can carry with them….it all makes a difference in someone’s life.

Want to do something but don’t know where to start?  Have a cause near and dear to your heart…..Here are a few simple care package ideas for six special groups:

Service Members

Send your loved one in the Armed Forces a taste of home with their favorite nonperishable snacks – especially ones with extra protein like nuts and energy bars. They may be experiencing a lot of downtime, so board games, cards, movies and even video games are always appreciated. And because they may be on the move, easy-to-carry items like travel-size toiletries and instant coffee or cocoa packs are preferable to full-size. With the help of some local kids, we sent a batch of Zipper Pouches filled with yummy treats to a battalion stationed in Iraq.  Don’t forget to check your country’s regulations for sending items overseas (here’s the info for the U.S.)

Cancer patients

Every year, my AMAZING customers do Chemo Care Bags for those who are newly diagnosed and receiving treatment at the Cancer Center at the local hospital.  In addition, I have was able to bless a friend on her cancer journey with items to help her stay comfortable, like warm blankets and socks, lip balm, water and snacks. Puzzles, books and movies can keep her busy during long treatment sessions. Add wet wipes and hand sanitizer so she can stay germ-free when she’s out and about. Tuck it all inside a versatile Thermal Tote or All-In® Organizer or a Zip Top Organizing Tote.  Be sure to include a personal note letting her know you are always there for her.

College students

Is your baby all grown up and on her own for the first time. Whether it is at college, or in their own apartment, a care package it ALWAYS appreciated. Help them tackle “adulting” tasks with items like cleaning supplies, laundry pods, a first aid kit and microwave-safe cookware. Encourage them to connect outside of text messages with pre-addressed, stamped postcards to send home. Healthy snacks and single-serve foods will fuel late-night study sessions. Pack it all in a Crossbody Organizing Tote, which – bonus! – doubles as a great school bag.  There are some great totes options for the boys who are growing up too.

NICU parents

I was blessed with a healthy baby but I know some who have had to spend numerous days in NICU.  It can be a long and stressful experience for new parents. Most-wanted items for parents of preemies include gift cards for local restaurants, gas cards to pay for trips to and from the hospital and snacks for long days at the NICU. Fill a Double Duty® Caddy with self-care items for mom like essential oils, a water bottle and a hardcover journal to document their journey.

Children’s Mental Health Unit

Did you know one in five children is living with a mental illness?  The stigmas surrounding mental and behavioral health mean these kids often don’t receive the visibility and support they need. Why not put together care packages for kids in your local children’s mental health unit with books, puzzles, art supplies and games to help break the stigma and support these kids on their journey.

Looking for more ways transform children’s mental health and support life-changing research? Round Up! your order to the nearest dollar or make a donation of any amount when you shop Thirty-One this month.

Random Acts of Kindness

Make a difference in someone’s life today.  Your small act of kindness can be the ONE thing which brings a smile to their face.  Whether it is holding the door, saying thank you or even paying for someone’s coffee.  Those small gestures can make a difference.  Check out my “A Simple Act of Kindness” page for more details on how I would LOVE to help you make a difference in someone’s life.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Spend Your Me-Time

Thank you Thirty One for today’s tips…

The kids are off from school this week and maybe you will be able to grab a few minutes of ME TIME.  The ever elusive “me-time” is the key to great self-care. Even 15 minutes per day doing something just for you will go a long way toward keeping you mentally strong and healthy so that you can give your all to your family and career.

Depending on what you enjoy, how much time you have or even the kind of day you’ve had, me-time can look different from day to day. But one thing’s for certain: Me-time will help you rest and recharge both physically and emotionally. Here are five fun and easy ideas to try for meaningful me-time this month.

1. Write in your journal

Taking some time to write in a pretty journal (like our beautiful Keepsake Journal) is a great way to reflect on your day, express gratitude or plan out your intentions for the day, week or month. If something is troubling you, try writing about it. It may help you let go of the problem or come up with a better solution.

2. Take a bubble bath

A nice hot soak with your favorite bubbles or bath salts will have you feeling relaxed in no time. Add in a fun novel to top it off. To make things even more relaxing, fill a Double Duty Caddy with beauty essentials like a facial mask, scented moisturizer and some nail polish to indulge in an at-home spa treatment afterward.

3. Treat yourself to lunch

Head to your favorite coffee shop or restaurant to enjoy a peaceful lunch all by yourself. Have fun people watching while you’re there – and why not order dessert, too? Choose a restaurant within walking distance to get the added benefit of some fresh air and exercise.

4. Dance to some great tunes

Dancing is fun, therapeutic and great exercise. Put on some songs you haven’t heard in a while and dance like nobody’s watching! Besides being a great mood booster, dancing on a regular basis can help improve your physical fitness.

5. Get your craft on!

There’s just something about losing yourself in a crafting project – maybe with your favorite movie playing in the background and some yummy snacks – that can be oh, so satisfying. Grab your Get Creative Carry-All packed up with your knit or crochet project to amp up the fun and relaxation!

One way to give yourself more freedom to indulge in me-time is to control your own work schedule. If you’re interested in a great work-from-home idea, consider starting your own business with Thirty-One Gifts! Working YOUR way as a Consultant means choosing your own hours, enjoying the flexibility to earn on your own schedule and having a blast sharing innovative and stylish products designed to make life easier – and more fun!

Whether your idea of relaxation is spending time alone at home or getting out and meeting new people, it’s important to choose something you thoroughly enjoy. Taking some time for yourself every day will help you feel happier, have more energy and experience less stress. To find out how you can enjoy me-time while meeting new people, setting your own work hours and the opportunity to earn some extra income through direct sales, check out our Consultant program today.  Have some questions, I’m an open book….. send me a message and I will answer your questions.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!.