If your child has already started school (or you have a mailbox at your home), you have been snowballed over by papers. And multiply that by the number of kids you have. The start of school papers and junkmail MIGHT be the cause of tree shortages. Ok, maybe not. But it needs to be managed. Let’s talk about that!
I have had several friends ask me, “How do I keep up on the papers, mail and everyday home paper related stuff?”
My solution- a system and a home command center.
System- Part 1
Let’s start with mail: it’s the easier of the two. Mail has changed now a days. Many people don’t check their mailbox for days. The most important things like bills come by email. So there is not a lot to look forward to in the mailbox. Well not that we looked forward to bills, but you know what I mean. And I still find Christmas-time a good mail box time 🙂 And then there are also on occasional jewelry party invites or catalog too that might come in the mail! That is FUN mail- and I have totally digressed. Back to the mail system. Many people drive to their mailbox too now a days. So there is mail left in the car. Mail dumped on the counter. It just seems to spread. So as you have heard Laura and I say before on any of life areas in need of a system. Use the One Touch System. Touch that mail the least amount of time. My recycle bin is in the garage by my car. So when I look through the mail, I put the things need to be recycled right into the bin. I never bring it into the house. Place a small trash can near your car or on the outside of the door or walk the junk mail start to the trashcan. Try to only touch it once. Avoid piling it some where to sort for later.
Have a designated place to put the mail that you do need/ want to keep. That area might be your Home Command Center.
Moving to School Papers: In the first few minutes of coming home, sit down quickly with your to sort through the papers from their backpacks. They would be happy to pile it on the kitchen island for you to sort later if you don’t catch the few minutes it takes to get things where they need to go. Pull out the papers you won’t need first. Recycle them. Sort out the duplicates that you will get of the same flyer from each child’s backpack and just save one of them. Have a designated place to put those papers/ flyers/ reminders that you will need. That area might be your Home Command Center. And don’t forget to have your kids put their backpacks in the designated place so its ready for the morning.
Command Center- Part 2
A command center is basically a designated area in your home that you use as a central place of the “business” part of your home and family. It is not really your home office. It is an area that is smaller and functions as an organized catch all. It might include a place for mail. Both incoming and outgoing. It might have some areas that can be used for your children’s school papers. You will want a calendar of some sort. It could be a place on the counter or take over a cabinet or a mix of both. You might store your recipes, meal plans and grocery list in your command center. My command center involves the junk drawer that has odd and ends that just don’t go anywhere else. Your command center can be small or can fill up a wall. And I highly recommend that it be decorated as cute as it is functional. 🙂 I can’t explain it- things just look better piled into a basket.
Where to put your command center:
I like my command center in my kitchen (this seems the most common). It’s a central place of the home. I know others that have used an area in their laundry room. Or a desk area in their hallway too. Look around your home. Think creatively. Make sure its close to the doors you come in and out of and area you will regularly pass and use.
Last year I helped my friend get her command center up and running. We utilized a part of the counter top and a top and bottom cabinet plus a few drawers.
To add a mix of decor and function. We used a little sandwich sign peg board- the other side is a chalkboard. A board with the hooks for her kids papers and added some burlap flowers to it. The wire file folder on the wall/ with fun printed fill folders for a place to store papers. My friend used the drawers and bottom cabinets of her command center for some crafts and supplies that her kids could freely use on their own. She taught them that this is where they belonged and would need to be returned to when they were done using them.
The upper cabinets held the functional with still a splash of decorated storage keepers. Add a jar to hold the pins. Printed boxes to hold some odds and ends.
Still enjoy the things you see inside of your cabinets- even if you and your family are the only ones that typically see it 🙂
My command center is a small little pocket in my kitchen. It works as a place where we can gather our things before heading out the door. We have hidden our chargers cords behind the basket and I put things to be delivered or taken with us there on the counter.
And my favorite part of my command center is the designated place for my purse. I have a pull out shelf in my bottom cabinet so I can put my purse and any other returns or things I don’t want out on the counter.
I like the combination for the counter and cabinet the best. As it allows for things you want in plain sign and things tucked away to have a place of their own.
Things that will be at home in your command center:
Note cards and envelopes. Stamps. Mailing tape. Return labels. Scissors. pens. calculator. Stapler. If your fridge is near your command center in your kitchen, you might want to have a few fun magnets to hang some important flyers or a fun photo.
Where to shop for your command center things:
Our favorite- IKEA, Hobby Lobby, Target. They offer a great option of both functional with some decor flair.
Extra tips to keep in mind:
Find just the right size for your Command Center. Smaller will
force or encourage you to stay on top of regularly going through the piles. Not allowing you to over stack the papers.
If you are still overrun with papers in you command center. See what flyers/ papers you can take a picture of with your phone and store it there or on your tablet for reference later.
Regularly spend a few minutes every so often organizing and straighten up your command center. What you might want to save for a bit you can maybe later throw away and clear it out. I think a misconception of organization is once you get organized you are good. When in reality you are going to need to tidy and reorganize every so often. This step will take just a few minutes though as you have the base organization done and a place where your things belong.
Happy Organizing! If you have a command center in your home we would love to see a pic of it over on our It’s So Delightful Facebook page! Pop over and share your ideas with us!!