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Tag Archives: command center

Keep It Simple, Stupid

My sister-in-law over at Winged Wisdom (homeschool mom extraordinaire – someday she will be on a speaking tour and publishing her own curriculum), made a comment on my previous post that made me think. She asked whether anyone used an old fashioned desk for their “command center” anymore. I don’t have a desk, but I had to admit that maybe I was getting a little carried away with my plans (again).  Why not just keep it simple? So, rather than going with my somewhat elaborate ideas (see previous post), I kept a lot of what I already had with a few added touches.

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The wall above this little piece was already complete with the shelf for keys and magnet boards. I simply added the blue desk organizer, then cleaned out the top drawer to make it my new “junk drawer”. It previously held bibs and wash-rags for sticky little faces and fingers. My kids have outgrown both so it was time for the clean-out.

I did have two little moments of creativity (or complete cheapskate – you decide). First, I wanted pretty file folders, but I already had a big box of regular file folders and just couldn’t justify the purchase. So I made my own. I took wall paper samples from a discontinued wall paper book I was given, all in the same color scheme, and pasted them onto the front of the files. Boom – pretty file folders!

Plain files     Wallpaper books     Pretty Files

Second, I wanted some drawer organizers for my “junk drawer”. Rather than buy fancy organizers I decided to use something I already had. I found these unused plastic pencil boxes in my school room.

Plastic

Open them, place them in the drawer, add some labels. . . Boom – drawer organizers!

Drawer

Thanks for the inspiration, Julie!

Commanding Inspiration

I have been slowly working out my updated command center. I have, once again, gone searching to see what others have done that might suit my new space more effectively.  Here are some that I am drawing inspiration from.

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This from Clean and Scentsible is just plain clean and sensible. I plan to incorporate a wall file holder as she has done.

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Here is another straightforward, clean and simple command center from Simple As That.  My take from this is that I will be downsizing the visible command center components and incorporating a chalk or white-board for menus and grocery lists (that part of the project will probably be added next week).

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Finally, this command center from Organizing Homelife has inspired me to make use of the ample cabinet space I have in my new kitchen, so my paper trail is not always visible. I will be busy this weekend.

Back in Command

This week I am revisiting my “command center“.  The “command center” is the latest word for that place in our homes from which we keep track of and manage what is important – schedules, homework, budgets, bills, etc.  This is what I came up originally:

DSCF2332 DSCF2036 DSCF1921

After living with mine for well over a year, I have a few issues I need to deal with. First, in our move from one house to another, the spaces just didn’t transfer well. What was in reach and functioning well in our previous house is not compatible with our go-to space in this house.  Second, there are some things I simply don’t like about the way I set up my home-management system. For example, I don’t like having everything in a home-management binder, especially bills. It may sound terribly lazy, but when I get a bill in the mail I want someplace to just quickly toss it until bill-paying day rather then getting out my binder, finding the right tab for bills, then filing it. Some aspects I will keep, but this week I will be fine-tuning and changing things up a bit.

30 Minutes or Less – Command Center Maintenance

I love my new(-ish) command center. The great thing about it is that it cuts down on my maintenance time for all my paper work. But it does require some servicing from time to time. For today’s less than 30 minute task, I hit my “in-use” box. This is the box where I store all the things that I am using and want to keep at my finger-tips — Bible Study materials, magazines and books I’m reading, and the home-management binder.  My first task was to sort through and pull out what I am no longer using. I admit I kept throwing magazines in there, and I had a stack I had long-since finished.

I quickly sorted into “Recycle” and “File”, then did accordingly. Next I attacked my home-management binder. When short on time, rather than hole-punching and filing under the appropriate divider, I had some papers I stuck in front.

I quickly sorted these, hole-punched and inserted them into the binder. Then I went through the binder and pulled out papers that were out-dated or I no-longer needed. Task complete, it only took about 15 minutes, and my command center is looking neat again.

The Command Center is Finished!

Boy, I’m getting tired of that phrase, “command center”. Probably because I just spent three weeks thinking about and working on it. Regardless, I vote for coining a new phrase . . . “family go-to board” or “the place we get our junk together” (not as catchy, that one) . . . I’ll work on it. Whatever we call it, “it” is now complete at my house!

Last week I showed you my binder, along with the three baskets for sorting our paper-work: to-do, in use, and to file. And now, I will reveal  THE WALL. . . .

At the top I placed my home-made magnet boards. These will be used for all those little things that used to clutter the refrigerator – grocery lists, spelling lists, the art project I need to display. . .

Directly under those I mounted a shelf with hooks for our keys, “stuff” jars, and a recipe book just because I liked the way it looked.

The “stuff” jars are for my husband. The minute he walks in the door he takes off his glasses, sets down his wallet, then empties his pockets of change and guitar picks — all onto the hutch I’m trying so hard to keep organized. We already have a change jar, but here is my solution for the rest.

   

There is even the perfect amount of space for him to keep his wallet on that shelf.  I think I may make a few more “glasses” jars so we can have one in every major room where he does his reading. They tend to get lost frequently.

At the bottom are the cork-boards; one for each child.

These boards will serve dual purposes. I will be able to pin weekly school schedules and other important child-specific notices; and I will have laminated chore-charts for each to check off. The chore-charts are part of this week’s project, but are still under construction. Tomorrow I will have those up, along with my organizing challenge for next week. If you have any ideas for that “command center” name change, let me know! 🙂

 

A Confession and a Random Act of Organization

I’ll start with the confession. I’m not going to meet my deadline this week with my “Command Center” wall. My intent is to complete on project each week, and well, it’s Tuesday. Also, I haven’t been using my To-Do List. Hmmmm . . . I wonder if there is a correlation there? So, I’m placing my little day-planner back in its place of honor on my night-stand tonight and writing out that list for tomorrow.  As for my wall, I’ve made some progress, but have had some set-backs. I had a bubbling paper incident with one of my magnet-boards. Then there is this:

I found these cork-board squares in a four-pack at Target, used my Mom’s Cricket to cut out the kid’s names, and planned to mount them to this piece of panelling I picked up at ReStore for $1. (If you have never been to ReStore, you need to.  They sell used or surplus building supplies cheap, and proceeds benefit Habitat for Humanity). This is where I ran into my snafu. I cut it to the wrong size. It will be a few days before I can get back to my dad’s workshop to make the correction. My wall is still under construction.

On the bright side, I did some spontaneous organization today. Truthfully, it was my husband that spear-headed this one. We have a little freezer in our garage where we store mostly meat. In order to feed our large-ish family, we purchase part of a beef from a local farmer and other types of meat in bulk when the price it right. As we were rifling through it today, my husband said, “Why don’t we organize this so we can find the meat we want?”

‘Nough-said. I pulled out some boxes I had been saving for just such an occasion, we sorted the types of meat, labelled the boxes and placed them back in the freezer.

It’s a little difficult to get a good picture inside a freezer, but that’s one of the boxes. . . my “roast” box.  There you have it.

Although I haven’t finished the week 8 project, I am going to add another one for this week. My goal this week is to fill those cork-boards for each of my children. I’m going to be working on chore schedules for my children. Oh, they are going to be so happy. Wahahahaha (that’s my evil mom laugh). 🙂 Of course, I also hope to finish that wall!

My Crafty Magnet Board

I’ve been a little slow on my “command center” wall this week. Today, however, I finally got my act together and started putting things together. One of the things I want on this wall is a magnet board so I can keep my refrigerator from becoming so cluttered with spelling lists, grocery lists, pictures and other things. Unfortunately, I had already spent most of my allotted budget for this project. As I tried to figure out how I could get my hands on a piece of cheap metal-something that would look decent enough to hang on a wall, I had a flash of brilliance . . . cookie sheets!

I had two unused cookie sheets at the bottom of my drawer collecting rust.

Not too pretty. I didn’t want this on my wall. So, step 1, I sanded it down.

Better, but still not what I want. Step 2, I used the rest of red paint from my questionable hutch makeover.

Getting closer, but still not quite what I had in mind. Step 3, I went “shopping” in my mom’s extensive scrapbook paper closet. I found some I liked, trimmed it down and used Mod Podge to secure it to the board.

I learned the hard way that one of these tools is very necessary when using Mod Podge.

My first attempt resulted in a bubbled-up mess . . . probably should have done my research first. 🙂 Along with the “pretty paper”, my mom gave me a sheet of matching scrap-booking stickers.

You know that free magnets you get from doctor’s offices, phone books, pizza places . . . ?

I used the scrap-booking stickers and the above magnets to create some new, custom-made ones. With Mod Podge and my craft knife, this is what happened.

            

And here is the final result . . . two new magnet boards for my command center wall, along with custom-made magnets.

My next step is to actually get them hung on the walls. Here’s hoping for tomorrow!

I shared this post at Thrifty Decor Chick‘s spay paint link party. Check it out!

It’s So . . . Ummmm. . . RED!

 Oh my goodness! Have I blinded you? This is the result of my “brilliant” idea to paint the back panelling on my hutch BRIGHT red this afternoon. I’ve been using red as an accent color in my kitchen, but this is too much! I did manage to clean the upper two shelves, which I’m pleased with, but the color is a flop! So, while I figure out what to do about painting it back, I’ll tell you about my next project.

This week, I’m beginning part 2 of my “command center”.  I will be working on a large blank area on my kitchen wall where I will be installing some essentials to keep us organized — some cork boards, a calendar and some other surprises (I’m going to be surprised along with you – ha, ha).

By the way, notice the top left corner of my hutch. I used that cookie jar to hold a fake plant. It stays. 🙂 Thanks for the input.

Command Center – Part 1

Here is what I’ve been working on this week:

    

A binder. . . woot-woot!   Inspired by an idea I saw on the iheartorganizing blog, I am setting up part of my family command center in this binder — a home-management binder.  Using binder dividers I created 10 sections. Section 1 is schedules with my overview of the day, week, and month. Section 2 is school information where I keep the kids’ reports, co-op schedules and similarly related items. Section 3 is for church information — volunteer schedules, kid’s programs, etc. Information related to the kid’s sports and extra-curricular activities are in section 4. Section 5 is contact information to keep important numbers and addresses, along with emergency-contact information. I included plastic baseball card holders to add any business cards I might want to keep as reference here. Section 6 is home-maintenance and improvement projects. This is where I will keep record of what and when we have had maintenance and improvements completed, as well as a list of projects we have planned. I placed baseball card holders here also for any related business cards we might collect. Section 7 is Meal Planning (I’m not sure I’ll keep this in my binder long-term — I have plans for a meal-planning calendar later). Section 8 is Finance for budget-planning sheets and also bills. I used a plastic sheet protector in this section to place bills that need to be paid, along with the check-book.  Section 9 is my personal section for things I need to refer to — my training schedules for running, book-club information, a list of blog ideas, etc.  The final section is for my husband to do the same; it is yet to be determined if he will use it. 🙂

This binder has cleaned up my refrigerator, which was previously littered with schedules and flyers; and it seems to be taking care of part of our paper-piling problems. The rest of our paper and book-piling issues I addressed by spending some much-needed time cleaning up my hutch. I added three baskets purchased at Target this week.

Using free printables from Better Homes and Gardens, I labeled the baskets.  The first is “To Do” for things I need to take care of immediately — letters to mail, items to return, magazines to read and file.  The rule for this basket is that it cannot get full; if it gets above the rim it needs my immediate attention. The second I labeled “In Use” for things I regularly use but want to keep with-in easy grasp — our family Bible study materials, the kid’s church club booklets, the magazine I am currently working my way through, and our management binder.  The final basket is labeled “To File”, which is self-explanatory.  I would like to get some matching vertical files to use in this basket so the papers don’t look so unsightly. Again, the rule is that this basket cannot get too full.  I actually need to do some filing!

Today’s project is the top two shelves of the hutch (there’s a reason I didn’t show a full picture). 🙂 I’ll keep you all posted!

Counters (Mostly) Complete — And My Next Project

Last week I attacked my kitchen counters, which were far too cluttered and had the tendency to become the catch-all for whatever.  After clearing the corner, I spent some time on the edges. They weren’t bad, but still needed some work. My biggest problem was my the wireless router for our Internet.  It sits on the edge with an ugly green cord and just looks out-of-place.

Laura, from Monkeys On My Back (a very fun blog, check it out), suggested a basket. I went to Target and bought and returned baskets twice. . . it was harder than I thought.  I finally settled on a basket I already have and use for a “miscellaneous-papers-I don’t-know-what-to-do-with-right-now” basket (my next project will be to do something with those papers :-)).

I still am not sure I love this particular basket here, and I would like to hide the cords a bit more, but it is better.

The other end of the counters I didn’t change much. My biggest problem area on this end was a recipe box that I continually shoved all my odd-shaped and printed-off recipes behind; it was quite unsightly.

I simply removed that pile of and placed it in a file folder. I have plans for a recipe binder, but that will be a project for another week.

I toyed with the idea of removing the toaster, but we use it frequently enough that I decided to keep it where it is. I think I may make a cover for it so it doesn’t look so toaster-y. 🙂 I have some decor issues I will be taking care of, but the counters are organized and I feel mostly satisfied.

This upcoming week I will be staying in the kitchen and taking care of my paper-work problem. My hutch, the purpose of which is supposed to be to hold and display my dishes, has turned into the place where we stash keys, nail polish, coupons, mail, books. . . anything that we just don’t want to deal with right now.  My plan is to create and organize a sort of command center for our family to deal with the paper-work and miscellaneous stuff problem; and to get my hutch back.