If you’ve got kids in school, you’ve probably also got backpacks. My three children’s backpacks usually end up in the middle of the kitchen floor, their contents spilling out. If I don’t kick them out of the way quick enough, I will trip over them. My solution? A simple backpack station.
When my kids were smaller, their backpacks were smaller—and weighed much less. They could usually fit wherever I tucked them. Now that they’re older and they’re transporting laptops and text books to and from school, their backpacks are quite heavy.
Simple hook solutions, like small hooks in drywall or even command hooks stuck to the wall, just aren’t strong enough to withstand the weight of heavy backpacks being hung on them every day.
When we created our mudroom (it was formerly a laundry room between the kitchen and the garage) we knew we needed a solution for backpacks, so we created a backpack station. It was really quite simple.
Backpack Station Materials
Your simple backpack station only takes a few materials and some tool knowledge.
We used the following materials:
- 1×3 board of wood (the length will depend on your space)
- hooks (ideally, the same amount as the backpacks you have to hang)
- spackle & sand paper (optional)
- paint (optional)
- caulk (optional)
We used all the materials above since we painted over the wood. If you choose to leave the wood natural and don’t mind the screws showing, you need even less than I mentioned.
Bookbag Station Installation
The back wall of our mudroom is 36″ wide. Our 1×3 was 8 feet long. We cut one board down into two 36″ pieces.
To determine the heights to hang the 1x3s, I grabbed the backpacks and tested out a few options. I wanted the first board to hold the backpacks off the floor so it would be easy to clean the floor, but I didn’t want them too high.
After finding studs in the walls, we installed the lower board at a height of 29″ using two screws.
While sometimes using screws and anchors is a suitable alternative to screwing into studs, we didn’t go that route this time. Since the backpacks are heavy, I didn’t want to risk the screws coming loose and pulling out of the walls.
To determine where I wanted to hang our higher board, I again tried it out with the backpacks. I held a backpack up to where I thought I wanted the hooks to make sure. I didn’t want the backpacks on the top to hang on top of the bottom backpacks—that would make them hard to grab. When things are hard to grab, it usually ends in mess.
Maintaining a few inches between the top of the bottom backpack and the bottom of the top backpack, we screwed the second board into the wall.
After installing both boards onto the wall, we spackled over the screws and then sanded so the wood was smooth.
After the white paint was dry, we installed two simple black iron hooks into each board. I would have liked three hooks on the bottom board, but there wasn’t quite enough room.
Why the Wood?
The board of wood is essential to the simple backpack station—it provides a nice strong anchor for the hooks so they can hold the backpacks. The wood also allows you to hang the hooks where you’d like.
Plus, it adds a nice decorative touch to this space.
Where to install a Backpack Station?
While we installed our simple backpack station in the mudroom, you really can install yours anywhere. Backpack stations work anywhere you’ve got a few feet of wall space. A side wall of your kitchen, a long hallway, a garage, next to your front door, or even along the side wall of a closet are all great locations — choose one that’s convenient for you and your home.
These homes for backpacks are also nice for weekends and extended school breaks. The backpacks are up and off the floor. They’re where my kids can reach them, and they’re always there—they’re never lost in a closet somewhere.
Simple Backpack Station
While I’d like to tell you that my simple backpack station magically made my kids remember to hang their backpacks up so I’d no longer trip over them on the kitchen floor—I’d be lying. The backpacks sometimes still end up on the kitchen floor, but now they’ve at least got a home where they’re supposed to be and I can encourage my children to hang them up where they belong.