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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

DesignWrite Wednesday - Tchotchke Monster Control for Back to School? Or Just Run Away From It All?

designsponge via pinterest.com
 I have two teen sons. And like all teens, they can be insufferable and know

...it all. If I could just remember that I know nothing (except laundry, cooking, and coughing up money), life would be good for all of us.

Or perhaps I should just retreat to a little darling Airstream in the backyard, like this one.
I could deal....

But my kids - and my Hero - probably wouldn't last three days. Not to mention Duchess.

So here are some organizing ideas for all the school clutter to come. If you're a crafter or a writer or a mom with busy preteens, tweens, and teens, these are some great ideas for you. Some are repeats of favorites I've posted already ( everybody must have clipboards on their walls by now! ), some are new, but all of them are doable with thrifted buys or upcycled items.

These laminate cubes are availble at every department store, as are the canvas bins that fit inside. A hollow core door from the home store makes a good worksurface if you have the space; otherwise, any plywood surface will do. Cover it with a large vinyl tablecloth, stapled to the bottom to make the edges neat, and you've got a wipeable, inexpensive surface that can be replaced easily. 

 Paint Cans... Coffee Cans... Plastic peanut butter jars-- If they're all the same size and washable, they're perfect to glue together on their sides to store pens, scissors, stickers... all those indispensible llittle tchochkes that seem to multiply in the night.

If your cans or jars are big enough, they'll also file notepads.


It's a drawer! Glue cork to the bottom, ...er, back, and cover again with pretty fabric to make a shadowbox bulletin board. 

If you're like me, there's a mystery drawer filled with USB cables and cords for cameras, phones, and whatever else the tchotchke monster spawned overnight. Yes, they're inelegant, but TP rolls are uniform and disposable and there are way too many of them in the landfills. Repurpose them for cord control.... Tchotchke Monsters hate control, even from TP rolls. 

Kitchen storage ideas from houzz.com 
Ikea rails system from poppytalk blog. Simple and clean and space saving for a kitchen or laundry room office spot. 

 Two ways to use chicken wire! The top is from nom-nom-nom.tumblr.com, and the bottom is from a crafter on houzz.com. I made my own version of the bottom one using a thrifted frame (empty and ornate)  and attaching the wire with a staple gun. Easy Peasy!

The Classic Clipboards Idea: One tip: Use a level! This idea is most effective in tight spaces and small walls. Tutorial on making 'CutiePatootie Clipboards at http://christyscuties.blogspot.com/2011/08/cutie-patootie-clipboard.html


I don't know the answer to my teens' attitudes. I'll be deep in thought, and in walks one who needs to talk about his day, or another who can't find the junque food he prefers. So, I believe I'm going to talk my Hero into building me a gazebo like Mark Twain's, just to get away from it all: 

                                                                       Blazona MD100 from treehugger.com
MyHomeIdeas.com Michael Pelkey's Key West Cottage 

Which one is YOUR favorite? The Airstream, the Blazona MD100 (from Michael Blazona, architect), or the Key West Guest Cottage? 

A bientot! 
butterfly boards


  1. Great tips! I like the toilet paper roll cord organizing idea. We have such a tangled mass of cords the Grizwalds would be jealous. Love the pics of the backyard retreats. Ohh to escape into a peaceful haven of my own...

  2. This is awesome. Can I live in the Airstream until I can get my house in order?

  3. Thanks Vicki! I know-- Even if it's just a treehouse.

  4. Sally, mi casa es su casa. Si?
    (I only took french in school - the Insufferables know the espanol.)

  5. OMG!!!! We just moved our office so we can stage the formal dining room as what it is supposed to be so we can try to sell it. In the move I found a ton of cords!!!! That toilet paper idea is just what I was looking for. Am starting to collect them now.

    ALSO, the top clipboard idea is in works for my new desk space. I have to finish painting the dining room first, then will get to work on my desk. I'll post a picture when I get it finished. It won't be much since we are on a TIGHT budget til the house sells. But you will see quite a few of the ideas I've taken from your site!

    Thank you!!!!

    Tami (who seems to be in the mood for !!!! tonight.) :)

  6. Tami!!!
    I'm over my limit of !'s too, but I just can't seem to get enough!LOL! Yep, everybody needs cord storage, & TP rolls work and are free!!
    So glad you found something useful and free!


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