Here’s a true mom anecdote for you: during quarantine, our kids asked for a glass of water 19 times a day, but the filtered water from inside the fridge was too high for them to do it on their own. It became a constant interruption and annoyance (I empathized because they got the “need cold water” gene from me). Fed up, we bought one of those filtered water systems on a stand – at a 5-year-old level, and BOOM – problem solved. It was a good lesson – that if we set them up properly to do things on their own, to meet their own needs, they can and will, AND it makes our lives easier. So when we were brainstorming with Target about their new organizational products as it pertained to my kid pain points we came up with some ideas, hacks, and areas to set them up for doing things for themselves, empowering them to be self-reliant, while hopefully keeping the house more organized for us.
A Utility Closet Turned Family Zone
Large Black Wire with Natural Wood Handle 2 in 1 Milk Crate | Make-A-Size Paper Towels| Toliet Paper | 3 Wire Drawer Organizer | Rustic Rivet J Decorative Hook Black | Red Backpack | Flower Backpack | Black Square Backpack | Navy Pencil Case | Active Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones
Depending on your space, you might have the problem that I did – a hall closet that needed to house both the vacuum and the crafts. So considering the product that we wanted to feature, Emily Bowser came up with three different ideas that you can steal – A homework station, A craft cart, AND a chore cart (in addition to the hanging vacuum). Now in a perfect world for me, these would all three-match (I’d choose the white cart) because I like things to look streamlined, but they sent us different samples and we decked them out differently to feature more colors and ideas.
The Homework Station
When Emily B. presented me this homework station I thought what a dream – could this really happen? It’s one drawer per kid (three in this case). It includes textbooks, noise-canceling headphones, pouches full of pens/tools, and yes, even a charging station on top for them to put down their devices to charge while doing homework (!!!). Part of me was like no kid would ever do this, and the other part of me thought hold up woman, kids will do anything if you train them properly. It’s likely an “if you build it they will come” situation. Maybe for you it’s not this curated or designated, but the idea of an organized homework drawer/cart in a closet near the family room feels pretty attainable.
Small Natural Wood Handles Crate | Tall Kitchen Trash Bags | Spray Bottle | Soft White Light Bulbs (set of 6) | 5 Pocket Open Top Expandable Folder | 1″ Fashion Flex Ring Binder | Square Dry Erase Calendar Board | Magnetic Dry Erase Weekly Calendar Board | Magnets (set of 8) | Adjustable Face Mask (set of 2) | Broom | Refillable Spray Mop | Cordless Stick Vacuum | Broom Gripper
The Craft Cart
White Metal Utility Cart | Plastic Kids Tall Tumblers | Gel Pens | 91pc Go Go Studio Mixed Media Art Set | Crayola 4ct Big Paint Brushes | Long Cart Divider Cups (set of 2) | Washable Markers | Watercolor Paint Set | Pink Lined Notebook | Elmer’s Washable School Glue | Washable Glue Sticks Disappearing Purple ( set of 3)
I’m so excited about this – crafting is Birdie’s and my love language. Target has had this cart for a while, but now they added accessories that you can add onto it, including that pegboard with containers that easily mount and move for all your accessories (including clips to hang work). There are larger ones on the side for markers, tools, and custom-sized containers for the top. If you wanted you could even have this be your homework cart so you have three that match.
Magnetic Paper Clip Holder | Paper Clips | Binder Clips | Green Small Storage Trays (set of 4) | Quarter Circle Divider Cups (set of 2) | Stapler | Ruler | Pink Erasers (set of 3) | Pencils | Pencil Sharpener | Agua Spiral Notebook
The Chore Cart
Magnetic Dry Erase Weekly Calendar Board | Magnets (set of 8) | Green Cart | Gray Reusable Cleaning Glass Spray Bottle | Orange Reusable Cleaning Glass Spray Bottle | Green Reusable Cleaning Glass Spray Bottle | Spray Mop Microfiber Refill | Mini Hand Broom and Dust Pan Set | Round Airtight Canister (set of 3) | Premium Dry Dog Food | Tall Kitchen Trash Bag | Handheld Dust Wand
If you are a mom, you are either laughing or nodding in approval. Pre-quarantine I would have laughed because our kids were so bad at doing chores. But during lockdown, we had more time to really teach them and suffer through them doing their own chores. I bought them each little cleaning carriers of their own, stocked with their own gloves/sprayers/sponges and while Sunday chores were still a struggle, they felt ownership over the tools and it made them feel like big kids (and they were awarded sundaes on Sundays). For older kids, this chore chart is GREAT and having everything in one area I think is genius. Also, I want my kids to spend the summer at Auntie Emily (Bowser, our stylist who came up with this chore cart). And fun fact, Target has a ton of green and eco cleaning supplies, including bio-degradable and recycled sponges.
Digital Multi-Purpose Timer | Orange & Rosemary Multi-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate (set of 2) | Orange & Rosemary Glass Cleaner Concentrates (set of 2) | Citron & White Rose Tub & Tile Cleaner Concentrates (set of 2) | Magic Sponge Cloth (set of 3) | Medium Storage Trays (set of 3) | Cart Divider Cups (set of 2)
The Family Calendar Station
While I did push back and say that I was unsure putting a calendar in a closet would work for convenience reasons, for the sake of our shoot I loved including it here to help show all the ways you can organize your life, whether it’s in a hall closet or even better, a large pantry. I really liked how this was just for the week – we have most of the events on our shared google calendar, but not the little stuff (like repeating soccer practice or library books due back) so I ordered this after this shoot.
The Snack And Kids Drawer/Cupboard
All Purpose Storage 1/2 Storage Bin | White Top Airtight Canisters (set of 5) | Light Blue Lunch Bag | Stainless Steel Colby Kids’ Water Bottles | Green Long Storage Trays (set of 3) | Green Medium Storage Trays (set of 3) | Creamy Peanut Butter | Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Spread
If you are designing your kitchen now and have kids or might want kids, think about “the snack drawer” or cupboard. It needs to be low and easy to access. We styled this below the microwave and decanted all their snacks (something I for the most part kept up within the pantry).
YumEarth Organic Cummy Fruits | Apple Butternut Squash Organic Applesauce Pouches | Apple Spinach Organic Applesauce Pouches | Organic Chocolate Chip Whole Grain Baked Bars | Dark Blue Lunch Bag | Plastic Kids Tumblers | Tumbler Lids | Reusable Silicone Sandwich Food Storage Bag | Reusable Silicone Snack Food Storage Bag | Bamboo Melamine Kids Dinner Plate
The new Bright Room line has these wonderful stackable acrylic containers perfectly sized for cereal and snack boxes. Then on the bottom, we gave the kids a full drawer for their lunches – everything from lunch boxes, water bottles, snack bags, sandwich bags, and bread/PB & J for them to make their own sandwiches (which we would do except that we have to leave for school at 7:45 am which is CRAZY EARLY).
The idea is that they have ownership over that drawer and can make themselves lunch or a snack when they need it. Our rule in our family is that if they make their own lunch they can choose what they eat (they have to at least have a couple of carrots or apple slices to ensure we don’t feel like the worst parents). We give up control over this in exchange for them feeling autonomy and competence (and yes at times it’s more work but we are playing the long game).
In the same line, they have fridge containers – that hold everything else for lunches that need to be refrigerated – condiments and fruit. We have fridge drawers for this exact reason – so they can reach, but if you have french fridge drawers or a fridge column it helps give them access to this stuff. The whole Bright Room collection is super versatile with the goal of making our lives easier and to control the chaos.
Like the wise Kevin Costner once said, “If you build it they will come” and in a world where I’m seeing competence and self-reliance become increasingly important (and less normal), setting them up to do things for themselves in a way that is both pleasing to the eye and helps calm the family clutter is a really good thing. For those of you interested, here is what we used, and please go check out the whole new Bright Room collection on Target.com.