Keep them home, happy and studying: Creating a kid-friendly space

(BPT) – Would a great stud18959506_weby space ease your child’s transition from summer to school? Perhaps an awesome lounge area could convince your teens – and all their friends – that your house is the best hangout spot ever. Whatever your objectives, a few design and decorating tricks can help you create a kid-friendly space in your home.

The basics of good design that make grown-up spaces appealing also work for children’s spaces. When designing a kid-friendly room, however, it’s important to keep in mind not only the purpose of the room (study, fun, sleep, etc.) but the age of the occupant, his or her interests as well as incorporating fun into the design. Here are some tips to get you started:

* Consider creating a theme. Kids of all ages love themes. To decide which one might be right for your project, consider things your child has shown an enduring interest in. For example, she may be into princesses right now and hate the theme next year. On the other hand, if she’s always loved the color pink and has a passion for animals, those elements could be worked into a theme that she’ll appreciate for years to come.

* Choose flooring that fulfills multiple needs. Carpeting absorbs sound (for when kids play loud video games or music) and is comfortable for youngsters who like to sit or lie on the floor while they do homework, read, watch TV or socialize. What’s more, it’s available in virtually every hue and pattern imaginable, ensuring you’ll find something that appeals to both your design sense and your child’s tastes. Stain-resistant formulas and durable fibers ensure modern carpeting can stand up to the rigors of use in a child’s room. And, according to the Carpet & Rug Institute, properly cleaned carpet can maintain indoor air quality, making it a viable choice for families impacted by asthma and allergies. To learn more about carpet, visit www.carpet-rug.org.

* A child’s space needs layers of lighting, just as adult spaces do. As you’re choosing lighting, keep in mind how your child will use the room. If he will be doing homework, task lighting and desk lights will illuminate study areas. Will the room be a movie room or a “hangout” for older teens? Recessed and dimmable lighting may be appropriate. Don’t forget to include natural light in your illumination plans. Avoid heavy drapery. Instead, opt for bright colors and lightweight materials for window treatments so windows admit ample light. If you have a larger budget, consider adding a skylight to provide light while preserving privacy.

* Organization is key in a child’s room, and ample storage facilitates good organization. Depending on the size of the room and how it will be used, shelving, portable cubes, book cases and other furnishings can provide plenty of storage space. For desks, look for desktop organizers that will keep important papers and supplies tidy and close at hand. By helping kids stay organized now, you’ll be laying the foundation for a lifetime of good organizational skills.

* Remember the fun factor. Whatever the purpose of a child’s room, fun should be a universal ingredient. You can infuse fun in a room in many ways, from creating a video game center for lounge rooms to choosing colorful, texturally appealing carpeting for a bedroom. A touch of whimsy, such as a swing hung from the ceiling or a wall mural of your child’s favorite cartoon character, can produce smiles every time kids see them.

With some creativity and the right decorating materials, it’s possible to create a space that will make children comfortable, happy and ready to tackle the new school year.

Post Holiday Cleanup

The holiday season has come and gone, and it’s now time to begin packing away your holiday decorations. While cleaning up after the holidays can be a drag, it doesn’t have to be. Follow these simple post-holiday clean up tips, and your home will be back to normal in no time.
Organizing your holiday decorations when you pack them away is a good way to save yourself the hassle when you go to decorate next year. Using large plastic containers can help you organize your decorations. They can also save you space in your basement or attic. Be sure to pack your decorations away in groups and mark each container, this way you can easily find each room’s decorations.
When packing away tree decorations, pack fragile ornaments in bubble wrap or shredded paper and place them inside smaller boxes. Tree lights should also be neatly packed away; a good trick is to wrap them around a piece of PVC piping. Artificial trees should also be cleaned of all tinsel and garland and stored in the original box making sure not to crush or break any of the branches.
Wreaths can be easily stored by attaching the wreath to a heavy-duty clothes hanger. Cover the wreath by cutting a small whole in a trash bag and feeding the hook of the clothes hanger through the hole. You can then easily hang the wreath to prevent damage and ensure use year after year.
Taking down your holiday decorations doesn’t mean sacrificing a lot of time. Keep in mind these tips and remember to stay organized and you will be on your way to enjoying a new year.

Back to School Home Organizing

Back to school is always a struggle. After the first couple of weeks, things are bound to be lost, forgotten or “eaten by the dog.” Eliminate the confusion by following these great tips for keeping your home organized (and your brain un-frazzled) throughout the entire school year.

Color Coordinate Your Kids
Use each child’s favorite color to color code all of their belongings. The blue folders belong in the blue backpack with the blue pencil case, and so on. Keep a color-coded folder for yourself and include updated immunization records and other vital documents and store it in a convenient place. Photocopy the form the school sends home every year and file it away — no more wasting time looking up phone numbers and addresses year after year!

Create Calendar Central
As the school year goes on, your kids will sign up for various extra curricular activities. Most of the time, they can’t keep their own schedules straight, however, you’re expected to be responsible for everyone. Invest in a pre-printed wipe-off board (with plenty of room) and use color-coded markers to keep everyone’s schedules straight. Post it at a central location, like the refrigerator or the front door, and make sure everyone checks it either before going to bed or walking out the door in the morning.

No More Lost Papers
Each child should have their own three-tiered wire basket located near calendar central. Tell your kids to sort their papers into forms needing signatures, important documents (fund-raisers, school policies, PTA info) and art and awards. Make sure they empty their backpacks of these papers as soon as they walk in the door.

By following these tips, the school year should fly by smoothly, and your home should stay organized and clutter-free. And you’ll have more time to enjoy life without worrying about lost documents or forgotten schedules.