19 DIY Solutions for Busy Families

A place for everything, is how we all wish things ran in our homes, but it's hard to get there. Here's one family's DIY solutions on how to keep the kid-chaos at bay.

With three kids and one mischievous golden retriever, Kelly and Colin Smyth’s family was quickly outgrowing their small, three-bedroom home in Toronto. “The lack of space for shoes, coats, backpacks and other assorted kid junk drove us mildly insane,” says Colin.

After viewing a house with larger rooms and a good layout on a quiet cul-de-sac in nearby Oakville, Ont., they knew they’d found a space where they could get in the front door without tripping on an errant backpack or running shoe.

Still, with a full-scale renovation out of the budget, it’s taken a whole lot of elbow grease, creativity and patience over nearly three years to make their new home work well for their growing kids. “We wanted to live in the house for a while to figure out how we use it,” says Kelly. “Having a space for the kids to off-load their stuff after school was essential for us.” That meant relocating the washer and dryer to a new third-floor laundry room to make space for a generous mud room—designed and built by the Smyths—right off the garage. Here and throughout the home, budget-savvy organizational ideas abound.

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