With a few inexpensive changes, your family's comings and goings can be less hectic and more fun.
Thrifted Memo Board
We can all use extra reminders placed right where we'll see them. To make this can't-miss-it message center, comb thrift stores and yard sales for a funky frame with its glass and backing intact. Remove the glass, backing, and any artwork. In a well-ventilated area, spray-paint the frame (an adult's job) and let it dry. Wrap a piece of fabric around the backing and secure it with duct tape. Replace the glass and backing, then hang the frame with hardware suitable for your wall. Use dry-erase markers to write reminders and love notes on the glass.
Go Bold With Labels
Prominent personalization makes it simple for everyone to keep track of their gear. To initialize these puddle-stompers, we used a stencil and oil-based paint pens (mistakes or wobbles can be cleaned up with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol). For boots with a finish that resists paint, stick-on decals will do the trick.
Use Kid Appeal
They're not called "mudrooms" for nothing; these spaces attract dirt like crazy. Inspire your crew to keep things tidy with adorable cleaning tools.
Dollhouse Brush and Dustpan Set, $15, fredflare.com
Hang It All
Mount some hooks or pegs, then put up these hard-working, space-saving feed buckets, made with a flat side that sits flush against a wall. In several sizes and colors, they'll organize hats and flip-flops, keep eat-on-the-run snacks at hand, and hold pet supplies.
DuraFlex Flat Back buckets, $4.99 (8 quarts) to $19.99 (20 quarts), southernstates.com
Prettify Where Possible
To store sneakers and sandals, pick up a cushioned storage bench (we found ours at Target for about $60), then play up your family's personality with a no-sew seat cover in a fun print. With pinking shears, cut a length of fabric that is 6 inches longer than your cushion and wide enough to go around it with 2 inches of overlap. Center the cushion on the fabric, wrap the cover around it, and run two lines of fabric glue where the edges overlap. Cut three sets of slits on each end (as shown), then thread 12-inch lengths of cotton twill through the slits and tie the ends together.
Give Them a Ring
Save your voice! Summon the troops at carpool time or call them in from the yard for dinner with an old-school clang.
Lodge Original Finish Chuckwagon Dinner Bell With Striker, $14.99, amazon.com