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Organizing A Family Command Center

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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– 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.

 

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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!

 

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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.

 

Shared with Craft-o-Maniac Monday, Motivate Me Monday, Monday Funday, Better Mom Mondays, Made By You Monday, Make the Scene Monday, Give Me The Goods, Project Inspired, Mix It Up Monday, Show Me What Ya Got, Anti-Procrastination Tuesday, From Dream to Reality, One Project At A Time, Tutorials and Tips, Tuesday Treasures, Whatever Goes Wednesday, The Inspiration Exchange, Thursdays Are Your Days, The Party Bunch, Link Party Palooza, Strut Your Stuff Saturday, That DIY Party, Inspire Me Please, Work It Wednesday, Nifty Thrifty Tuesday, Take a Look Tuesday, Live Laugh Linky, The Weekly Creative, Wow Us Wednesday

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  • Rachel Thompson

    I made a family command center, looked awesome and then it fell apart. Stopped filing, kids took all the chalk markers and I still have January 2013 on it. Your post reminds me that I can start again.

    • I always find myself losing steam with the family command center a few months into the school year and then again in the summer. The nice part is how easy it is to just pick it right up again!

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  • Krista

    Oh, isn’t the paperwork of life such a constant battle? You did a fabulous job organizing it all into your command center- I have been working towards developing a similar system at our home. Thanks for sharing this at Work it Wednesday this week.
    ~Krista from the happy housie

    • Thanks Krista 🙂 Paperwork is a clutter killer for me. If I don’t stay on top of it I will drown.

  • Abby F

    This is very cute and functional. I know it’s hard to stay within budget when you have an idea in your head, but you did a great job!

  • Chelsea J

    I love this! I would love to have a command center, but those beautiful ones on Pinterest look so expensive. Yours looks still looks expensive and beautiful but is cheaper to do! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I’m so glad I clicked on your 31 day series!! Now, I’m stalking it until I catch up on reading all of your posts. We seriously have a clutter problem I can relate to EVERYTHING you’ve posted so far. Well, except that you’ve already tackled it. I also have five kids but we homeschool which makes our amount of books and papers tenfold more. This year, I am trying to do more online learning with the kids to cut back on books. I always struggled with calendars. I’d have a large one that no one would update their schedule on, and then another in my purse that didn’t contain the same info. We now use Cozi app. All of us (except the 6 and 14 yr olds) have it on their phones. And the best part? It’s color coded which is how I’ve always organized my kids’ stuff.

  • SimplySaidMom

    Awesome! I’m a busy mom of 3 full-time and 3 part-time children. We are in desparate need of a central command center for our family – thanks for sharing pics and such great ideas! http://vintagehousewife.org

    • It’s made such a difference in our household. No more rushing around searching for that one field trip form that disappeared into thin air the day it was due!

  • rorybore

    I have one of these – although no where near as pretty or big as yours — but right now it functions for us and it is a Life Saver. Especially the Mom’s Big Family Planning Calendar and the hanging magazine folders. But I like your hanging file folder system for everyday papers etc. That’s one I will have to add. great idea.

    • I love that hanging magazine holder. It’s so effective in our house. Everyone knows where to put papers and where to find papers they need to return! Lifesaver!