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  • Writer's pictureToula

Back to school...Kinda

I decided to take the plunge! I am starting a BizzyBee Organizing blog. This isn’t my first blog actually. I had one about 8 years ago, when my daughter was a baby. It was called Belle Lessons and was all about the lessons I was learning as a new mom. That feels like ages ago.

While I love my Instagram page and connecting with my followers on that platform, sometimes I have so much more that I want to say about getting organized, motherhood, and living a more purposeful life. So here I am.

If you have been following me for a while, you know that I am also an elementary speech-language pathologist (SLP). It’s a great job (minus the paperwork) because I get to help children find their voice and communicate with their friends, teachers, and more. I am also blessed because my daughter Izzy attends school with me and I get to see her throughout the day. That was also the plan for my youngest, Madi, who is entering Kindergarten next month, until something called the Coronavirus completely changed life as we knew it. Whenever we return to the school building (at this moment it won’t be before February), she will be in the building with me. However, like many other parents, we are now going to be working from home and also helping our kids navigate distance learning.

Like anything that is unplanned, it can feel scary and stressful at the beginning. Heck, even planned decisions can feel that way! I actually deal with a lot of unspoken anxiety, and have a bit of a never ending dialogue in my head about all the things that could go wrong. However, I like to call myself a rational anxious person, because after going through all the ‘what ifs’, I eventually think of what I can control and I come up with some solutions that may make a more stressful situation feel less crazy.

Enter playroom turned into playroom/classroom! When we moved in almost exactly 3 years ago, I knew I wanted the front room to be a playroom. But we kind of just put the furniture in there without a real plan, and I have been wanting to change it around. I think it’s so odd, that this situation gave me the push I needed to get the project going. So this past Sunday, my husband and I tackled the room. I knew I didn’t want to spend too much money (we are working on becoming debt free!), so I set the budget at $150. With the help of a friend who is great at rearranging furniture and designing rooms for her own kids, we came up with a plan that allowed me to stick with this budget.

Before I share the plan. Here is a before pic.

The plan included creating a Classroom Zone and a Play Zone.

  • Ikea Kallax bookshelf - Plan: Move it in between the windows. I actually really like it in this spot so much more. After moving it, I took some time to declutter the books and got rid of a lot of baby/toddler books, which created more space. I needed a little bit of extra space because the plan is to sell the armoire.

  • Armoire - Plan: Sell it. I used to keep the girls’ princess dresses in the armoire. I moved these to the ottoman (yay for hidden storage) and the toy bins inside now sit on the bookshelf where the books used to be. The armoire was helpful in our old home when my daughter didn’t have a closet. I never really liked it in this room, so time to let it go.

  • Play kitchen - Plan: Move this in a little nook by the front door. This worked out well, because now this area serves as the beginning of the Play Area in the room.

  • Dollhouse - Plan: Move it upstairs. The girls have been sleeping together in Izzy’s room since March, and this actually gives them something to play with before bed and when they wake up.

  • Desk - Plan: Move it downstairs. Izzy’s desk was in her room. We switched it out with the dollhouse.

  • Chestnut kid’s table - Plan: Paint it white and use it as a ‘desk’ for Madi. Initially, after looking at Pinterest, I really wanted to buy another desk to match Izzy’s, but I knew that it wasn’t necessary. From working in an elementary school, I know that the kindergarteners don’t sit at desks anyways. I already had the paint on hand from another project so this didn’t cost me anything.

  • Ottoman - Plan: Move it near the bookshelf. I honestly can’t remember what I stored in here before, but the princess dresses fit perfectly in here. I also like it in it’s new spot, because it looks like a reading nook to me!

Here are some after pics!

We were able to achieve most of our look without buying anything. Here is what we ended up purchasing:

  • A bookshelf to store their school supplies ($22)

  • Curtains to add some color to the room ($50)

  • A chair for Izzy’s desk - something we needed to buy anyway.. I scored this one for $10!

  • A rug - I wanted one that would add a bit more color to the room. ($50)

  • I also want to buy some frames to add more decor to the wall. This will put us a bit over budget, but will be made up when we sell the armoire.

I’m pretty proud of the outcome. The girls giggled and squealed when they saw the finished product! We are trying to teach them that though life can be scary, sad, and disappointing at times, our home is our base, where we can be safe and happy. We know these last few months have been so hard on them, but I hope this little room makes them excited about learning and that it also helps us as parents create some order in a situation that we cannot control. Now, we are pretty fortunate that we had the space to make this room for the girls, but I realize that everyone doesn’t have a whole room they can dedicate to learning. So, over the next week, I’ll be sharing some tips any parent can follow at home, to get ready for back to school, even though it will be virtually for many. I think when life gives you lemons, all you can do is try to make good decisions for your family with the resources you have.

Until next time,


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