Prepare your Home for a Successful School Year

a funny child girl doing homework writing and reading at home

It’s ‘Back to School’ season and even if your kids are already in school, it’s still a great time to get your home in order so everyone has a successful school year. Follow these tips to get your home organized and ready for the busy days ahead!

Organize the entryway

Set up the entryway of your home to withstand the morning rush out the door, whether it’s the front door or garage door. Use hooks, cubbies, or a drawer unit to stash your kids’ belongings so you don’t waste time looking for that missing mitten or jacket. Get your kids into the habit of placing their backpacks in their designated places once their homework is finished so they’re ready to go in the morning.

Update your kids’ closets

A new school year usually means a brand-new wardrobe. Make room for their new clothes by going through their closets and purging old clothes they’ve outgrown, are in poor condition, or just don’t get worn anymore. Donate anything that’s still in good condition or passed down to younger siblings. Once you’re finished, organize the closet by clothing type to make getting ready easier in the morning.

Organize the kitchen

If making lunches is your least favorite part of going back to school, a little organization can make that task a breeze. Pick a spot in your kitchen dedicated to lunch construction and set up some containers in the pantry, cabinet or the fridge that holds lunchtime favorites like yogurt, fruit slices or cups, crackers, granola bars, etc. That way all you need to do is grab something from each section and lunch is ready! Or better yet: let your kids put their own lunch together.

Create a family command center

Keep track of everyone’s schedule by creating a family command center. This can be a bulletin board, large calendar, or even just a basket for each child. Use this area to keep important papers, like permission slips, lunch menus, or schedules.

Designate a homework zone

After weeks of homework-less days, getting back into the homework routine can take some time. Make the transition back to completing homework easier by designating a place for homework. Whether it’s the kitchen table, the home office, or their bedrooms, make sure this space is fully stocked with the supplies they’ll need and do your best to limit distractions so your kids can focus on completing their studies.

With a little preparation, you can make sure your home is organized and ready to ace this new school year. At Hayden Homes, we build brand new homes in cities throughout Washington, Idaho, and Oregon that are close to all the things our homeowners prioritize, including great schools. Let us help you find your dream home today!

Common Organization Mistakes that Make Your Home Look Messy

Do you wonder why your home still looks messy even after you spent time cleaning? Don’t worry; not only does this happen to a lot of people, it’s also easy to fix! Here are the most common organizing mistakes that actually make your home look messier than it is and how to fix them.

Confusing ‘clean’ with ‘organized’

The most common mistake is confusing clean with being organized. Oftentimes we clear off a surface and stack everything in a pile thinking we’re “organized.” But what we really did was make a new pile.

Piles are sneaky. They seem innocent but quickly grow to epic proportions. What started as a small neat pile of paper or mail on the kitchen counter quickly becomes a larger pile of every single sheet of paper in your home. Then maybe there’s a pile of clothes in the corner that is mostly clean, and don’t forget the pile of random things you still need to sort through. See what we mean?

Fix: Assign a ‘home’ for everything and be diligent in putting things away immediately instead of waiting for ‘later,’ which may never come.  

Attaching notes to the fridge

Our refrigerators can become the family message center, filled with art projects, party invitations, photos, or important notes. But eventually, it gets overwhelming! The fridge is the focal point of the kitchen so if it gets too cluttered, the entire kitchen will look cluttered!

Fix: Instead of attaching notes to your fridge door, use a separate magnetic or bulletin board to hold notes, artwork, and invitations. And just like your mail, when the invite has passed, remove it from the board.

Overstuffed shelves

Shelves and counters are great multitaskers; not only can you display decorative items, but they’re also a great storage option. However, filling them with stuff can make them looked cluttered, regardless of how neatly everything is placed.

Fix: Limit the number of items you place on a shelf or counter. If you are filling a bookcase, leave some space between items to give them room to breathe.

Shopping without a plan

Have you gotten bit by the organizing bug and then immediately rush out to buy all the baskets and bins, only for them to add to the clutter? You’re not alone! Unfortunately buying a bunch of organization products isn’t enough to get organized. Those products will help you stay organized but, you need to put in the work to get organized.

Fix: Start with decluttering and removing unneeded items first and then figure out what storage tools you’ll need for your remaining items. You may find that you already have what you need at home!

Skipping labels

Bins are a great way to efficiently store multiple items. However, it’s easy to start tossing anything that fits into the box or forget what’s in a specific container, forcing you to dig through several different bins to locate what you’re looking for (and not to mention the mess that’s been made in the process). Save yourself the frustration by using labels.

Fix: Take time to label each container so you can quickly and easily find what you’re looking for. This will also make putting things away a breeze too.

Keep your new home looking great

These common organization tips are easy to fix to keep your new home looking great all the time.

If you’re on the hunt for a new home Hayden Homes can help. We have brand new homes for sale in the Northwest, and we’re ready to get you moved into your dream home. Contact us today for more information, whether you’re buying your first home or upgrading to a bigger one.

10 Ideas to Help You Store Your Summer Toys

Get an Organized Garage - 10 Ideas to Help You Store Your Summer ToysThe first day of fall has officially passed, which means that summer is over and colder months lie ahead.  It also means that if you’re a homeowner in the Northwest, it’s time to start thinking about where you’re going to store away summer equipment and toys. Here are 10 creative ideas for storing toys in your new home or garage.
1. Put Up Some Shelves
The easiest way to store your belongings is to add shelving in your garage. This way, everything has a place, and your toys (or your kids’ summer toys) are easy to spot. If you already have shelves on your walls and need additional storage space, consider building shelves in the ceiling corners to take advantage of those dead spaces.
2. Invest in Storage
If you don’t have the space to keep your summer toys in your home or garage, or you simply want to clear up some room inside, check with your local home improvement store to see if they sell outside storage sheds.
Protip: spend the extra time to ensure that the ground surface your storage shed sits on on is completely level and compact.
3. Hang Around
One of the best ways to store summer gear like bicycles is to hang it from the ceiling, or even to mount it on the wall. This is a fantastic storage method for large, bulky items that you don’t plan to use until the weather warms again, although it can be used for numerous other types of gear.
4. Buy Some Bins
If you want to keep smaller toys out of sight and out of mind, opaque bins with lids are the best idea. You can stack these bins in your garage, basement, or even in a large closet within your home.
5. Use Labels
Labels aren’t only a great way to keep bins, buckets, shelves, and drawers organized, but they also look great in your storage area, too. The last thing you want is to be half-way through the summer and realize you forgot to pull out a certain summer toy because it’s been out of sight and out of mind!
6. Attic Space/Under the Stairs
If you have an attic, big or small, you can use it to store a variety of seasonal items including summer supplies such as an inflatable swimming pool. Typically, the biggest deterrent from using attic space is accessibility. Sometimes they can be cumbersome to access and get in and out of, but there are ways to improve accessibility such as installing a new attic ladder or replacing your old attic ladder with a new and improved one. If you don’t have an attic, some homes have under the stairs storage spaces. This is a great alternative for storing the items that you would normally put in an attic.
7. Kiddie Parking
One ingenious idea for storing kiddie vehicles, including plastic “push” cars, tricycles, and even powered mini-vehicles, is to create an outdoor parking “garage.” You can easily do this using PVC pipe and inexpensive materials (like plywood) to serve as a garage frame and roof, and curtains that can be opened and closed to serve as garage doors. Your kids will love this so much they’ll want to put their toys away.
8. Outdoor Storage
Don’t assume that all of your gear and toys have to be stored inside; there are many things that will be fine outdoors during the wintertime, especially if they are protected from excessive moisture. Consider setting up some outdoor storage bins paired with outdoor shelving.
9. Bungee Cord Ball Storage
If you have kids that are constantly leaving out their basketballs, soccer balls, bouncy balls, footballs, and more, you need to find a storage solution that works. The bungee cord ball storage idea is brilliant. To make this, simply create a 90-degree angle using 2x4s in a corner of your garage wall. About three feet under, create another 90-degree angle. Then, string bungee cords from one angle to the other, ultimately creating a bin.
10. Inexpensive Basket and Bucket Storage
Finally, if you need a quick solution for toy storage and you don’t want to spend a fortune, head to your local hardwood store and purchase an array of five-gallon buckets and basic baskets. You can make these more attractive by getting your kids involved in bucket and basket decoration. Throw some labels on them, and you’re good to go!
Keep Your New Home Looking Great
If you have recently purchased a new home in Idaho, Washington, or Oregon, you want to keep it looking great. The right storage solutions can help! If you’re still on the hunt for your dream home, Hayden Homes can help. We have brand new homes for sale in the Northwest, and our home builders are ready to get you moved into your dream home. Contact us today for more information, whether you’re buying your first home or upgrading to a bigger one.

Getting Organized

Do you have room, a closet, a garage or any other space in your home that you would love to have organized? Maybe it’s bothered you for a while but you haven’t had the time or desire to spend countless hours pulling, sorting, cleaning and organizing this space? Well, you’re not alone!

Spring is the perfect time to look at the rooms and spaces in your home and determine what needs to be organized. Or if that seems too overwhelming… and you don’t have the time, you may even want to hire a professional. Here we share the journey of one of our team members who decided to have a professional help organize her pantry, for the very first time, and the tips and tricks she learned from the organizer herself!

Here is a photo of her pantry BEFORE Karin Ferris, Professional Organizer in Central Oregon, came into her home and worked her magic.

Before Messy Pantry

Tip from the Professional – “First make the decision you want to get organized. Then take all of the stuff off the shelves and lay it all out.”

Here is all of the food in the pantry laid out on the counter.

Pull items to organize

Next, they cleaned up the pantry.

Empty Pantry Ready to be Organized


Tip from the Professional – “Make sure you have a place for the items you want to donate or toss. You’ll want to decide want you want to keep and what you want to toss.”

Then, begin to sort whatever it is you’re keeping into categories. This was the most interesting part of the process to see what categories they ended up with! Karin’s comment was that, “Every job is custom, due to the different categories you will end up with, it will change the labeling, size and type of containers you use for the various categories.”

Tip from the Professional – “When you’re organizing a pantry. Take your food items out of the box. If it’s possible the item might go stale- wrap it in a zip lock bag to keep it fresh or use clothespins (they make great sealing clips for bags). Taking items out of the boxes and packaging, as soon as you get home from the grocery store, will create MORE space and allow you to see the items better.”

Next, as you’re sorting and putting items into their categories, sort the items that you use most frequently and put them in a place where you have the most ease to access the various items. If it’s easy to use your newly organized space, it will help you stay organized in the long run.

Then, label your containers by category, put them back in the pantry and voila! You have a super organized space.

Here is her pantry AFTER the experience, nice and organized!

New Organized Pantry

You too can get organized. It’s easy, use these tips to help get the spaces in your home organized this spring!

A BIG Thank You to Karin Farris for organizing our team member’s pantry. If you live near Central Oregon and you want to experience a professional organizing your home or messy space, you can call or email her at: Karin Farris 503-505-0585