Imagine.  Imagine a 6 year old getting ready for first grade.  Some of his clothes are in a plastic bag, some in his mom’s suitcase stuffed with all their belongings.  Maybe his underpants are sharing room with pencils, broken crayons and cookie crumbs in his backpack.  He is homeless and living in a shelter.

Gail Paris, an award winning educator and founder of Doodle Noodle, LLC, designed The School Doodle and The Clothes Doodle to help children live more organized lives and parents have less stress.  Although her products will benefit all children and families, they are of critical importance to homeless children.

Retired as an Assistant Principal from the New York City School System, she chose to spend her career working in schools where children did not have the financial or educational benefits of kids in more affluent neighborhoods.  She understands what children need.

The School Doodle consists of two panels designed to fit into any standard backpack or to be used independently as a “desk.”  It is an organizer which features pockets designed to hold standard school supplies, such as rulers, pencils and other school needs.  The Messenger part, with one pocket marked “To School” and the other “To Home,” has enough room to hold a notebook, library book or tablet.  Notes from the teacher will get to parents and notes and permission slips from parents will get to school. The School Doodle is the perfect organizational product for elementary school age children.   The retail price for the School Doodle set is $19.95.


The Clothes Doodle has pockets labeled for each day of the week and will hold an entire day’s clothing securely. .   It consists of 2 organizers which can be hung by their handles on hangars or hooks.  It relieves stress in the morning as kids get their own clothes, or mom easily gets them for younger kids


Unlike “shelf” organizers, it saves precious closet rod space, and, because of its closed pocket design, clothes won’t fall out.  There is even a “Sleep Noodle” pocket containing a tote bag to keep a toothbrush and other necessities for a sleep over or short trip.    The retail price for the Clothes Doodle is $29.95.

Unfortunately, for homeless children, every night is a “sleep over.”  For them, The Clothes Doodle can be folded and placed in whatever space the shelter provides.  The School Doodle has a place for everything they need, whether they are doing homework on a bed or on the floor.

The bright and cheerful colors are bound to bring a smile to their faces.  The fact that they can manage their school stuff and their clothing will give them a sense of independence and responsibility.  They are going to “own” their attractive well made organizers literally and figuratively.

We are starting The Doodle Noodle Shelter Kids’ Program to bring these unique products to children who need them most but whose parents can’t afford to buy them.  You can purchase one or more School Doodles and Clothes Doodles on our website ( and indicate that you want them to be donated to deserving children in a family shelters in New York City by typing in SHELTER when you check out.  We will tell the shelter that you gave them this gift, and a letter indicating that they have received it will be sent to you for tax purposes.  You can click the link to “OUR STORE” at the bottom of this post to go right to the Doodle Noodle Shop, and don’t forget to click the Vote For Us link to help us get back into the top 10 at Top Mommy Blogs.

We know that all children can learn.  Some need a little extra help because their families cannot provide the things they need to be like other kids to learn skills and have a sense of self worth.   We are offering a 10% discount for each donation, plus we will include a new children’s book with each School Doodle and Clothes Doodle.  Just type SHELTER in the discount section of your order, and we’ll take it from there.

Thank you for joining Doodle Noodle in this effort to support homeless children and their families. 



Curiosity on Maris – great.  I’m more curious about how the greatest city in the world has 17,619 homeless children living in shelters.  That’s not counting those living 3 in a bed at relatives’ houses or some that may live in a car or a truck.


Priorities?  In a national budget – yes.  In a municipal budget – absolutely.  Mayor Bloomberg, it’s beds before bikes (On the Upper West Side where I live, the street bike lanes are barely used.)  Maybe every co-op or condo that sells for over 2 illion dollars should have homeless child tax.


The mayor is concerned about our health, and so he wants to limit the size of sugary drinks we buy in restaurants.  I know that we all pay for people who develop diabetes and other weight related health problems.  But, Mike, have you crunched the numbers on what a homeless child costs us – more years of food related health problems, lack of academic skills, maybe drug use.

We focus on our greatest at the Olympics.  While NBC/Universal has tried to force us to watch by eliminating all other programs and showing reruns on its cable stations, let’s pay attention to those who face a challenge every day of their lives.  Each child who survives being homeless deserves a gold medal.







Most of my friends don’t know what staging is.  Okay, some know now because I , an HGTV junkie, told them.  I watch HGTV .  What would you expect from a woman who, at age 10, used a black and white composition notebook to tape pictures from her mom’s HOUSE BEAUTIFUL magazine?

True, I’ve moved more than a lot of people I know, not all close friends.  But I am always amazed that people don’t realize that their environment affects them, even if they are not interested in “decorating.”  Really, why do you think so much money is spent on designing cereal boxes?  They influence how we feel, therefore, they influence our choice, even if you’re not a member of the visual mob squad like I am.  Sorry, just like Lady Ga Ga, I was just born that way.

This blog post was inspired by my long held conviction that we should live well where we are living and my last Sunday New York Times article on staging in the real estate section.

As reported in the article, sometimes staging can be so effective a seller decides to “buy” their own apartment and take it off the market.

Obviously, if you are not selling your apartment or house, not all staging tips will apply to you.  You are not going to remove all family photographs.  On the other hand, having too many surfaces – tables, bookshelves, pianos – cluttered with too many pictures of too many different sizes in too many different frames doesn’t work either.

So, here are 5 tips to stage to stay.

1, Try things – it’s not permanent.  I sometimes consult long distance with my daughter.  She’s in Miami.  I’m in Manhattan.  She’s chosen wonderful furniture for her first married apartment, but now it’s time to add the details and place

some of the wedding presents.   I suggested that she move the shiny stainless steel bar tool holder and shaker to the bottom of the bar cart and put her beautiful martini glasses on a tray (try a baking sheet first for effect).  She tried it and

agreed.  She doesn’t always, but she only lost 10 minutes, and nothing is permanent.

2.  If you’ve had the same window treatment for over 12 years, try something new.  Bed Bath and Beyond and Home Goods allow you to buy things more on the inexpensive side, and you can always return them.  Use Velcro to hold things

up so you can get the effect without doing anything permanent.

3.  Attack just one bookcase or table surface.  Remove everything and look at the objects critically.  Women don’t wear the same dress to every party or dinner.  Why should your bookcase look the same for 10 years?

4.  Declutter.  Look around your living room or dining room and take away 5 things.  Donate them or put them in a closet to be used for a future staging.  I bet, in 2 weeks, you’ll find another

items that could “party” someplace else.
5.  Move one or 2 pieces of furniture.  You don’t have to do a whole new floor plan. (Maybe later)  Sometimes, shifting a couch  just 2 feet opens up space.  Switch the chairs  that are on either side

of the table.

Small changes can sometimes have significant impact on a room.  Try it.  If you don’t like it, you can always change it back.  Happy staging.  Happy staying.


Bloomberg may have lived in a studio for 10 years, but now he is so out of touch with average people that he thinks a 300 square foot studio with no closets is a bargain at $6.67 per square foot. Hello, Mike. You can rent an Upper West Side 2 bedroom, 2 bath with 6 closets (2 of them double ones. So that’s really 8) a stacked washer/dryer and supplies for $4.65 per square foot. Did I mention this apartment building has full time doormen, a gym and a pool. The studios you are suggesting come without a closet, which means the more money for an armoire and less space.

Former SROs (single room occupancy) are now boutique hotels, while the homeless are, once again, appearing on our streets. And what is the largest demographic that is going to need housing. Expect to see more homeless as people living on Social Security and whatever is left of their retirement saving after Wall Street crashed going can’t find smaller affordable space. Baby Boomers are not their immigrant parents who lived under almost any condition to be here in America.

This apartment is only 7 times larger than the crypt I bought for $5,000 (40 square feet). The air and light in the apartment is limited to one wall, and we don’t know if more air and light be blocked by window air conditioners?

No wonder we see people living in Starbucks and hanging out at bars. More personal space and a place to entertain.

Homesteader Mike would have us living in log cabins again. Except in those days, at least, we could cut down trees and build our own log cabins.