Between the math assignments, art supplies and ever-mounting piles (backpack, sweatshirt, soccer cleats—wait, what is that green thing?), it can be tricky enough to organize your kids, let alone your entire home. In the spirit of students going back to school, I created a homework-ready desk with a few stylish, savvy ideas to aid busy households, keeping clutter at bay and necessary supplies within easy reach for any bustling young student.
>>Seven-year-old Xander Kramer, a second-grader at Adams Elementary School in Ballard, sits at the colorful desk station, complete with a funky U.S. map, a stylish Lucite chair and wall mounted storage (see image below). Kids will love writing on the teal-tinted chalkboard wall, which provides high contrast to a bright orange Ikea desk. Simple hardware mounted underneath the floating shelf provides an out-of-the-way spot for white-paper supplies; budding artists can tear off pieces from the roll as needed, eliminating space-wasting paper stacks.
>> Old paint cans (each mounted with a simple screw) provide storage for pens, markers and the latest must-have back-to-school accessory: take-apart erasers in food, animal and plant shapes, found in the Kinokuniya Bookstore at Uwajimaya Village in the International District.
>> Get creative: Masterpieces, reminder notes or favorite Pokémon cards can be attached for easy access to the kid- and grownup-friendly clip-on wire tree. A balancing cactus game (kids can assemble the cactus from the base up) doubles as a stylish place to store pens and pencils.
WORKSTATION & DESK SUPPLIES: Orange Micke desk, $79, Ikea; blue metal bookends, $19.95, Crate & Barrel; Books: Dinosaurs Roar, Butterflies Soar by Bob Barner, $16.99, I Know A Lot of Things by Ann and Paul Rand, $16.99, For Just One Day by Launa Leuck, $16.99, all from Tottini; teal spiral notebook, $3.95, Target; pencil holder made from industrial pipe vent cap, $8.55, Home Depot. In holder: black no. 2 pencils, $2.59/dozen, scissors, $9.95, orange flex ruler, $1.49, Office Depot; giant pencil, $5.95, The Land of Nod; Clementine art soy crayons, $5.49, Tottini; balancing cactus toy, $24.95, Planet Happy Kids; rubber band ball, $2.09, Office Depot; Tallvik table lamp, $24.99, Ikea; Umbra Fotofalls 55-inch wire clip-on tree, $54.95, Storables. On tree: Charley Harper alphabet board book cards, $14.95/Tottini. Tobias Lucite desk chair in clear and chrome, $99.99, Ikea.
WALL ACCESSORIES: United States canvas wall map, $99.99, The Land of Nod; Rust-Oleum chalkboard paint in deep teal tint, $11.60/quart, and empty quart-size paint cans with lids mounted on wall, $2.97 each, Home Depot. In cans: Mala chalk, $1.99/pack, Ikea; Eco-Kids colored pencils, $12.95/dozen, Planet Happy Kids; take-apart erasers, $8/pack, Urban Outfitters, also available individually at Kinokuniya. Mounted 12-inch RE white wall ledge, $14.99, Target. On ledge: school bus pull toy, $7.95, The Land of Nod; giant red clothespin holder, $9.99, 6-inch-long RE white wall ledge, $6.95, Target; Like Clockwork silver alarm clock, $24.95, The Land of Nod. Mala drawing paper roll, $4.99, Ikea, hung on wall by 2-foot-long threaded rod, $2.98, secured on sides with eye bolts, 46 cents each, and metal fasteners, $1.94 each, Home Depot.
*stores with multiple locations
Crate & Barrel*
601 SW 41st St.
525 S Weller St.
The Land of Nod
2660 NE 49th St.
Planet Happy Kids
2914 NE 55th St.
South Lake Union
259 Yale Ave. N