Do you lose your keys? Does mail pile up on the counter? Do time-sensitive papers get buried in piles of paperwork throughout the house? Do you need groceries, but forget what they are because you didn't write them down? If so, then you need a HOME COMMAND CENTER! Choose an area near the front door and designate that as your catch-all place for keys, mail, receipts, coupons, bags, lists, and those items you don't have time to put away.
It's easy to use what you have around the house to create your command center. The only things I bought for my home command center were the letters for our last name, the hooks for our keys, the wooden plaques for labels, and the peg rail for our bags. I think everything cost less than $10. Check out your local thrift stores; I bet they have lots of great baskets, file folders, hooks, and frames! It can still look nice even if you don't have a huge budget!
Memo Boards | Shopping List & Calendar
I used two picture frames for my memo boards. These work GREAT with dry erase markers! I created a template for a shopping list and calendar, and I printed them on card stock (so I wouldn't see ripples in the normal printer paper through the glass). I keep a marker in the mason jar below the frames (see #4). For a while, I tried to use an app on my phone for my shopping list, but it became a burden to get out my phone to add one thing to the list. Now that I have a board in my command center, I can walk around the corner and quickly write down what I need.
I also had other boards before I redesigned my command center, but I found these two were enough. I write menus, special events, and other things on the calendar and don't have to erase it and update it weekly. Other things you can use a memo board for:
Weekly Menu, To Do List or Chore List, Upcoming Events.
DOWNLOAD PDF TEMPLATES
File Folders | Mail, Receipts, Coupons, Etc.
I used clear wall files that I used in my classroom when I was a teacher. I added my own custom file folders (made with scrapbook paper and clear contact paper) and hand-painted wooden labels on the front. This is VERY easy to do, very cheap, and is my favorite part of my command center. We can quickly throw paperwork, receipts, mail, and papers to file away into their place, out of sight, and deal with it when we have time. My files are labeled:
File Away: This bin is for papers that we need to keep, but I'm not in the mood to immediately file away in other parts of the house. Every month, I go into this folder to deal with the papers. Things found in this folder: Owner's Manuals, Doctor's Visit Summaries, Warranty Information, Bank Statements, Pictures, etc. My husband and I hate paper and clutter, so we've managed to digitize just about everything. We recycle anything we can download online, and we scan in papers that we may need to reference. We use an app on our phones/tablets called Scanner Pro. It is fantastic and I highly recommend it.
Needs Attn: This bin is for papers that need attention and I need to deal with. Often, I have bills, mail that needs my attention, and paperwork we need to sign or fill out in this folder. I just have to make sure to check this at least every week so I don't forget about time-sensitive stuff.
Our Mail: Mail goes straight into this bin. It doesn't sit on the counter; it doesn't pile up on the table. Until I am ready to deal with it, it stays out of the way! I LOVE this.
Receipts & Coupons: In our house, we save every receipt, and we save coupons. (If you think that's crazy, you probably have lots of disposable income to splurge on whatever you want, or you don't have a way to manage your money and have no idea how much you're actually spending...not good in my opinion.) Every month, I reconcile my receipts to my statements, itemize my purchases, and review our family's budget (we use Mint.com). I can tell you exactly how much we spend on any category of items, and we can track where we spend and where we can cut back. This is a MUST for anyone who wants to stick to a budget, get out of debt, live more simply, or simply save money for the future. If I didn't have a place for my receipts, they'd be everywhere (or in the trash), and that would make reviewing our spending much more difficult.
Gram's Mail: Gram now lives next door to us, but some of her mail still comes to our house. This is an easy way to sort it and deliver it to her.
I picked up some simple white hooks from Home Depot and some unfinished wooden plaques from Michael's craft store (that I spray painted gold) and attached them to the wall to hang our keys. They are up high enough that kids can take them off. So simple, but so important if you lose your keys often!
Wall Storage Bin
My handy hubby built this bin and mounted it on the wall. We designed it to fit pint-sized mason jars and to be the same width as the collage above. It is PERFECT for dry erase markers, scissors, pens, pencils, sunglasses, wallets, headphones, a flashlight (just in case!), a jar for spare change, and more!
Hooks for Bags
I found this small peg rail at the thrift store for a buck! I painted them and now they hold purses and bags. It could easily hold school backpacks. Or it could hold canvas bags labeled with a child's name if you want to throw their belongings in them. The child can then take the back to their room to put stuff away each night.
This is used for special notes, reminders, artwork, or anything that we want to display.
I think this is what makes a home command center FUN! There are so many fun frames and art out there (or you can make like I did). It brings your family's personality into the space. I added some framed scrapbook paper, a canvas I painted, some family photos, and even the letters of our last name.
Choose a color pallet and style and get started organizing your home command center and your life!