Welcome back to my 31 Day series! Today I want to talk about something that has made a huge impact in our family- the family command center. I know you’ve seen all the amazing pictures on Pinterest showing pretty and organized command centers. I used to see those pictures and wonder if real people ever used those areas. I’d contemplate making one and then I’d see a yummy brownie dessert recipe and promptly forget all about the command center project. Yummm….brownies.
When I redid our family room space this summer I saved a little nook in the corner of the room where I wanted to make a family command center. I drooled over all the pretty pictures on Pinterest and had grand plans for this space in my head. Reality intruded- and by reality I mean my budget. Talk about a buzz kill. Sheesh. I managed to use a lot of what I already had on hand and still was able to create a pretty fantastic and super functional command center for less than $50.
I had to narrow down what was most important to my family. Our biggest issues include paper clutter, a full calendar of events, and a bunch of scraps of paper with random thoughts and appointments written on them. After I made a small list of the most important problems I wanted to solve with our command center I moved on to the planning phase.
1. Paper Clutter. With 4 kids in school and a husband who brings work home with him on a regular basis, we are those people who make trees cry. The sheer volume of paper in this house is astounding. I gave you 5 tips to control the paper clutter the other day and I’m happy to report that I’ve seen a definite decrease in the amount of paper that gets tossed in the recycling bin each week since implementing those tips myself. But there’s still a lot of paper. I decided I needed to have different sections for the different types of paper. I’ll be going more in depth about each of these sections in another post but for now I’ll give a brief overview.
– The School Papers: this is where approximately 90% of my paper clutter comes from. I bought a hanging magazine holder with 5 slots from IKEA for $15 and based my entire command center around it. I numbered each slot 1-5: one for each of the kids and one for general school stuff like PTA info or fundraisers. Whenever the kids come home with papers that need to be acted on or kept- those papers go in their slot. No more field trip forms getting lost in piles of junk mail.
– The Everyday Papers: stuff that needs to be kept for reference but I don’t want to look at it all the time. This is the first stop for papers that need to be kept before they are filed in my master household file box- such as school papers, household repairs, etc.
2. The Full Calendar. Our kids have so many activities and meetings and trying to remember and coordinate all of them in a full time job at this point. Those little teeny cute planners do not help when you have a large family. So I bought a large calendar to hang on the wall. It’s big enough to hold everyone’s activities with room to spare. Now the whole family knows who has to be where at what time on any given day. Plus, with it being actually on the wall it’s so easy for me to write down appointments and new activities immediately.
3. The Paper Scraps. I’m the world’s worst for ripping off a little piece of paper and writing down a reminder on it. Then I lay it down somewhere and forget where I put it. I do this a lot when I’m on the phone and need to jot something down quickly. I solved this problem with a dry erase noticeboard from IKEA that only cost me $19.99. It hangs on one wall and is large enough that I can jot down whatever I need and still have room. I keep a little pencil holder full of dry erase markers on the top of the desk so I can grab one quickly. Right beside the dry erase noticeboard is a little hanging magnet board. I found it in the $1 section at Target and grabbed it. I had some magnetized clips that I’m using with it told hold little pieces of random paper that I need- such as phone numbers, business cards, reminders, etc. It works perfectly!
So those were my solutions to address the main problems we were having but I also added a few more key pieces to my command center. I recently hung a clipboard on the wall that holds my weekly schedule- phone calls I need to make, errands I need to run, etc. I also hung a bulletin board to hold some family photos, Christmas cards, wedding and birth announcements, etc. I also found a space to hang the kid’s chore charts from the dry erase noticeboard so they are always in sight and close to the dry erase markers. It’s amazing how making an area for everything in your house saves so much time in the long run! It’s been a few months now and my family command center is still working perfectly for us. I’m sure over time I’ll find things I want to add to my command center to help it continue to function for our family but for now- I have the basics covered!
You can see all of the posts in my 31 Day Series HERE. New posts are added daily.
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