They’re back….To School That Is!

First day of kindergarten to first day of college

First day of kindergarten to first day of college

Well, if your house is anything like ours, it’s been a week of excitement, anticipation, denial, and procrastination (yup at least one of my kids went to class today with just a pencil and a piece of notebook paper. My minimalist!)

Whether you are sending your last off to college (that would be us, sniff sniff) or your first off to kindergarten, the rhythm just changes.

This week we thought it would be a good idea to share some survival tips and tricks to keep you and your home sane and happy.

Empty Nesters and what to do with that Nest!

So, we would be lying to say my husband and I have not been fantasizing just a little bit about what to do with a house that stays clean, a washer that isn’t pressed into service 24/7 or that extra room (or two). We are struggling with idea of changing her room into a wine cellar. If we leave a fold out bed, we’re good right? OK, maybe we need to wait until she’s 21.

If you have recently waded into this new pool of freedom, you maybe wondering about your options.

Many of our clients have turned that extra space into a gym, craft room, media room, or a much needed home office. A few pointers for that transition room is that it really might need to pull double duty and sometimes they come back home!

We love the multi-purpose design ideas from Studio Creative Juice. I think my kids would thank me for turning their room into a media space!

Studio Design Space

Studio Design Space

trundle bed and office

From Simples Decoracao

Fabulous multi purpose space

Fabulous multi purpose space













We love the use on Murphy beds as they can provide the bed space, but then stay out of the way for everyday activities.




Murphy bed conversion from This Old House

Murphy bed conversion from This Old House

If you are feeling particularly handy, try this DIY Murphy Bed project from Addicted to DIY

DIY Murphy Bed

DIY Murphy Bed











If you find that you may not even be using parts of your house now that everyone is gone, consider installing something like a Nest that can control your temperature and save on your energy bill.


The Nest

The Nest

If your empty nester phase will allow you to travel more, consider a system that you can control remotely from your phone. You can set an alarm, check in on the systems in your home and even operate your lights.


High School and New Independence

So for a lot of our clients, there is this new sense of freedom as the kids are now in high school and can drive. They are coming and going on their own to classes and practice and, with any luck, an after school job.

It also means that you and your partner may be working more, so setting up a home to work for you and the kids is also crucial.

Again we love those remote systems that allow you to check to see when your kids come home from school.

If meals need to be prepared ahead, think about enlisting the tried and true crock pot. One of our favorite recipes is for making oatmeal. Ready to go first thing in the morning.

Click here for the recipe:

All Recipes

Slow cook Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Slow cook Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

How about considering some hard working appliances that can help get a meal started or finishing with just a push of a button. GE’s Smart oven series allows you to program everything from the touch of your phone.

Breville’s smart toaster oven (available at Crate and Barrel) can speed up or slow down your food and have it ready and waiting for you and the kids.


GE's Smart Oven Series

GE’s Smart Oven Series

Breville's Porgrammable Toaster oven

Breville’s Porgrammable Toaster oven











Young At Heart

If you are still in the thick of things, organization is the name of the game.

Whether it’s lunch making, back pack hanging or a bedtime routine, little ones have a habit of multiplying the mess.

Having a designated place for unloading is critical in controlling chaos. Make sure your mudroom is conveniently located. If the masses need to pass through the family room and the kitchen to take off their shoes and drop the back pack, you may as well have them hand it to you at the door!

Courtesy of Decorpad

Courtesy of Decorpad

If you have the space, we love when each kiddo has their own space that

upcycled mudroom for our barn reno

Upcycled mudroom for our barn reno. Photo from Mandeville Canyon Designs

they can personalize and be responsible for tending. Bonus is a place for grown ups to dump the day as well. Make sure that there is a seasonal purging to keep things from piling up. Nobody wants to wade through a sea of sandals to find the snow boots (or be reminded of the lazy days of summer!).

Don’t feel like you have to build in the space either. For this barn reno we salvaged corbels off of an old building in Massachusetts and used old boards from a discarded armoire and created a easy spot for dropping the day.


If building a custom system isn’t in the budget there are some fun ready made systems out there that can adapt easily to almost any space.



Crosley Bench from Bellacor

Crosley Bench from Bellacor


Whatever stage you are at with your kiddos, nothing beats the feeling of a fresh start, except of course if it’s also an organized fresh start (even if it only lasts a few weeks, you still get full credit for trying!).


Pop on over to our pinterest board for even more creative ideas on how to manage the Back to School Rules!