School Bags! And Everyone’s Bags! How To Keep Them Organized So That It Is Not A Hassle To Put Them Away

My boys loved their school bags when they were in kindergarten. That time, they were into Avengers superheroes, because their Papa is a huge fan of Avengers, telling them stories of his childhood and his superheroes stories. So, they always wanted bags which had their favourite superheroes on them. When they saw other children at school were using the school bags with rollers, they also requested that same kind of bag. So, we were at the stores picking out the school bags, they picked their own bags with rollers and superheroes.

After we bought the bags for them, they proudly carried the bags to school from the car walking to the entrance of the school, and then dragging the bags using the rollers when they were inside the school grounds.

However, when they reached home, it was not a happy moment for me anymore because they would throw their bags anywhere on the floor. For a temporary solution, I asked them to keep the bags on the steps of the staircase.

Jun climbing the stairs to reach for his bag to retrieve his books.

But, one day, an unexpected disaster happened. One of the straps of the bags was hanging over the steps. When Hao was running down the stairs, his foot accidentally tangled in the strap and he fell downstairs. It was fortunate that he was not seriously injured. But the incident left me blaming myself for not providing a place to keep the bags and putting the children in danger by asking them to leave the bags on the stairs.

After that dreadful incident, I started to plan and research on how to have a nice shelf for keeping bags. Here were the steps to my thinking process on creating the space for keeping bags:


1. Visualization

Before I started anything, the first thing I did was to visualize what I wanted the shelf to look like, and how I wanted the shelf to function to serve its purpose. After much consideration, in my mind, I wanted a shelf which was cozy, easy to clean, bags were easy to store, easy to retrieve, everything could be viewed at a glance, and a centralized place to go to for all the bags. With these requirements in my mind, I started to research online for ideas.


2. Space Required

After knowing what I wanted for the shelf, I had to check out how much space I can afford to allocate for it. These were all the questions running through my mind:

  • How much space I needed
    • My plan was to have a shelf which could accommodate our needs. I did not want the shelf to be too big because it would take up too much space. I wanted something compact, yet trendy.
  • How many cubes were needed
    • My plan was to have one cube for each member of the family.
  • Where to put the shelf
    • I wanted to put the shelf in the entryway of the living room. Putting away and collecting the bags when entering or leaving the house would be easier and I no longer needed to nag and scold.

3. Color Coordinated

The color of the shelves is extremely important to me. I love my home to be warm and natural in color. So, anything white, natural, beige, or wood grain would easily match the theme of my home. I picked wood grain as it was the color that was available in the furniture store, IKEA. The color fitted perfectly and it turned out to be nicely coordinated with other furniture in the living room. I was particular in picking the right color because then all the furniture would create a harmonious environment at home.


4. Plan Execution

After the 3 main steps, the execution to get the right shelf was carried out. I chose an IKEA Kallax shelving unit because it fit my space, colour, budget, and functions. During the purchase, other factors listed below were also considered:

  • Budget for the shelf: The pricing of the shelf was within my budget, i.e. below RM500.
  • Timing to purchase the shelf: I had my husband babysit them so I had some time to go out to buy it.
  • Location to get the shelf: I was very familiar with the place, at IKANO, Damansara so it wasn’t a big issue to get to there and find the shelf in the big store.
  • Delivery of the shelf: I was still able to fit the boxes inside my car; hence, I didn’t pay for the delivery service.
  • Installation of the shelf: Because the installation was easy, I decided to do it myself instead of paying people. Plus, because I was doing an IKEA hack, I needed to do it myself.

I did an IKEA hack on the shelf whereby I removed some boards in the middle to create more vertical space for storing bigger bags.

Installing the shelf all by myself.


5. End Product

After I finished installing the shelf, I let the children chose their cubes because I value their decision making. The boys were given the opportunity to make their own decisions, it fostered their negotiation skills to negotiate among themselves to pick the cube they wanted and respect each other’s selection. When they had made their choices, I put labels, with their names, on the cubes. Labeling was important because it gave them the sense of ownership, a place to put away their bag and the responsibility to take care of their own belongings. I also used some boxes to store their other things such as helmets, caps, gloves, safety goggles, drawstring bags. Baskets or boxes could be suitable inserts in the top and bottom cubes because it would work like drawers in a shelf if more storage space was needed.


Voila, the completed shelf!


Labeling the shelf to ensure everyone keeps their own bags in their respective cubes.

This is how the shelf looks like when the bags were put in.


When the shelf was set up, the boys were excited to see it. It took us quite some time to get used to it since we had been putting their bags on the stairs or on the floor for a long time. Despite that, the system was simple for any children or adults to follow. After we started using the shelf, we fell in love with the new system and cannot live without it. It has become effortless in keeping away our bags. Whenever we have guests at our house, they will definitely give the feedback, “Wow, your home looks like a kindergarten!” Well, I always take that as a compliment!






Hi! I’m Josephine Yap and I’m a clutter liberation expert, a wife, a daughter, a homemaker, and a mom to my active triplet boys. I’m super passionate about decluttering. My wish is to share my decluttering journey so that everyone get inspired to reduce the clutter, make their life at home easier, and enjoy the comfort of their space at home with the people their love.

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