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. 



I designed a room for a pre-teen that would last until he/she leaves for college and would even see your student through law school.

Yes, drawers turn into a mess, but, still, you need to put the stuff someplace.  Choices are only limited by your creativity.  Of course, you can just go into The Container Store pr Staples and buy different kinds of containers from ones that turn and hold everything to round metal mesh holders or square/rectangular ones, all of which  can hold writing tools, rulers and scissors, but you and your child may choose to be more creative and allow for changing taste through these school years.

How about tin cans, held together with different colored duct tape?  Duct tape has gone wild – hot pink, neon green, even leopard and zebra prints.  Kitchen drawer organizers have gone designer as well and now come in bright colors.

Thinking further outside the box – oh, wait, actually in a box – what about Chinese food containers.  These can actually now be bought in different colors.  Whatever your student chooses, the idea is to be able to have them attached or be arranged on a tray so that they can easily be removed if more flat surface is needed for project work or research books.

For some reason, a standing lamp with adjustable lights Is better than a desk lamp.

To continue with our “In Your Face” these, bulletin boards are good to hold a calendar (I know they have them on their lap tops and phones, but this way they are in his face and yours too.)  Homework can be posted here too until all of it is done and is ready to be put in a notebook, folder or whatever system your student is using to transport work.

Bulletin boards can be bought framed or make out of cork squares or Homasote, purchased at Home Depot or a similar store.  Obviously, carpet squares provide a wide variety of color and pattern, and your child can go as crazy or conservative as you allow.  Other options are pasting or stapling scrapbook paper or wallpaper to the board.  Duct tape can divide the board into sections – homework, research, papers to be signed.

Your students can label the tabs with days of the week or subjects.  If there is a big project or research paper assigned, another one can be bought to handle these papers.  At $14.99, this is a real bargain.

Wow!  Your “grown up” student is ready to start a new year – organized and living in an “up-graded room.”  In September, I’ll guide you through the executive functioning skills your student will need.  In the meantime, enjoy the summer.

If you have any questions or need help implementing these ideas, please leave comment or e-mail me at

Remember, your younger child needs to be organized also.   Buy a School Doodle and have fun buying the items that fit in the pockets.  Get them reading now by buying a new book to place in the “Messenger” pocket.  And remember, right now when you purchase a School Doodle, we will send you a free book to get the reading started.





That’s for babies.  Your 12 year old might be right.  If your child is starting high or middle school, it might be time for an upgrade to his/her room.  Most likely, they will now change class rooms and have more teachers.  Acknowledge change and new responsibilities in your child’s life by making physical changes to their room environment.  You can do it easily, and you can do it on the cheap.   Take advantage of college sales.  I tend to be conservative about having kids be kids, but I think your guy has probably outgrown superhero sheets if not the posters and the movies. I tend not to recommend desks with a lot of drawers because things tend to get lost in the mess that will form.  Although I generally believe in having good furniture, the teen years are one time I don’t think it is necessarily wise.  Target advertised a Home Essentials Parsons black or white desk for $34.  You can choose a 6 drawer dresser for $119 or a 4 drawer for $89, depending on which fits his/her floor plan better.  There is even a night stand on sale for $49.


If your son is on the preppy side, TJ Maxx had Ralph Lauren blue and white mattress ticking or red and blue plaid (they could be used together) bedding.  Pink and green plaid for girls with a white Target desk is great.  There is a pink or green round hamper and other accessories as well.  Girls would like a white framed bulletin board for notes or use it to hang jewelry.  Boys might prefer a magnet strip (available at The Container Store or use a knife rack). An area rug or a bean bag chair make great spaces for entertaining friends or reading.  Bed Bath and Beyond has bean bag covers and the beans so you can make your own.  Bed Bath and Beyond has a 5 light floor lamp, as does Target for $18 or go more traditional with a white drum shade and a chrome base.  Bed Bath and Beyond also has a 5 shelf black tower with a peg board back (10” wide x 11.8” deep x 69.5” tall) or black with a nickel finish (16.4” X 11.8” X 62.66”).  It can go in a closet or next to a desk. An upgraded room is a signal to you and your child that they are starting a new period in their lives.  My next blog post is going to help you and your student keep their school life and study environment organized before school even starts again. (Yes, it can really happen.)




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.


Second animated story with a fierce red head. (Is read hair the thing now?)  A teenage sword fighting, arrow slinging feudal princess is having trouble accepting the traditional princess role.

The Queen is portrayed as a woman who, while she does the expected crewel work, knows how to handle her brave strong dunce of a husband and insists her daughter, Merida, conform.   Merida seeks the help of a witch to change her mother with unpredictable consequences.

  A longer discussion than one might have expected ensued after watching this high end cartoon.  How strong is the need for teenagers to rebel against their parents to grow into their own person?   What message did “BRAVE” send to our daughters?  If you try to be too different, bad things can happen?

Caution – the 8 year old girls sitting behind us was scared by some of the scary bear scenes.  Every parent knows their child, but I’d be cautious about  bringing children below the age of 7.

Please tell me about what you think the movie is portraying about the role of girls and leave a comment.

Please remember to click the icon on the top right to vote for us on Top Mommy Blogs.  It’s back to school time – get organized now.  You can order The School Doodle and the Clothes Doodle by clicking on the Doodle Noodle icon below the vote icon.


Go to the KIDS AND MOMS tab at my website ( for information on getting your child ready for camp in 2012. Not sending a kid to camp? Read it anyway because it will help turn you into either an SOM – Super Organized Mom or an SOP – Super Organized Person.

Then, move on to THE ORGANIZED DOODLE for tips on backpack management. Ah, yes, THE DOODLE METHOD OF ORGANIZATION works for handbags as well.

It also worked very well for the cabinet portion of my antique wash stand which was DOODLEIZED by my husband (I’m still recovering from the accident, so, I can direct but not do.) last night. It’s empty now and will hold one bag for things to donate, things to go to the car and shopping bags that have to be emptied. Voila! – Neat Foyer.

Drawers are next


Been to Barcelona? It’s a fun walkable city that’s bringing their stroller to America in the fall. Expect to see Jane strollers on our streets.


The Nong umbrellas stroller will sell for around $220. It has a peek-a-boo rain cover, a removable bar and an under seat basket. Your child will be able to lie flat. It folds easily, but the kick stand doesn’t prevent it from tipping.


The Mum, comes in at around $450. It has a better padded seat and comes with a 5 part connection safety belt and a hand brake. It folds easily and is stable when standing. The frame comes up with one hand. The wheels are big and provide a very smooth ride.


The Rider at $700 has a hand brake, a smooth cover on the handles and a bigger basket underneath the seat. There is no peek-a-boo window, but the hood zippers off with ease. The seat is plush and soft as is the interior of the hood, one of the nicest I have felt.


The bassinet, the price of which has yet to be determined, fits any of the frames and is also a car seat. Press a button on the handle, and it comes right off.


Look forward to their 3 wheeled running stroller.


The Quinny Moodd is what you might expect to be the celebrity stroller. It’s pink and white and very girly. $699 buys you a “push of a button” hydraulic unfolding system. Another push reclines the pink seat to a 35 degree angle. The handle is adjustable, and the air tires make for a smooth ride.


Unlike the seat, the $149 bassinet is not reversible, but it is simple to remove with a press of a button. Adapters for the bassinet, the Maxi Cosi infant seat, are included. It adapts to fit several other car seats. It also comes in black on black for a classic girl or guy.


The Quinny Buzz at $579 also has a hydraulic folding system, but if you use two hands, the seat, which is not as comfortable as the Mood, folds down flat. Air filled tires make for a smooth ride. It also accepts the bassinet, which comes off with the push of a button, and a car seat.


The Quinny Zapp Xtra is for the “Oh the places you’ll go” parent and child. It’s perfect for the plane if you buy the travel bag too. The rear and forward facing seat removes easily. The stroller folds in 2 steps, and the accompanying strap makes it into a tight slender package. The four wheels, which revolve 360 degrees, make for quick and easy turning. It adapts to fit several different car seats. It has a sleek style with a black and silver frame and fabrics shades of black, grey, red and pink. The Zapp Xtra is the perfect stroller for grandma’s house.