Now with school back in full swing, our family is starting to get back into our school-time routine. Mornings are still incredibly crazy for us as no one in our house is a morning person. We all enjoy sleeping in, but this causes everyone to be rushing around in the morning to get everyone out the door quickly. I have tried to get us all packed up the night before in an effort to keeping our mornings solely for getting dressed and eating breakfast. I’ve even gone as far as putting the kids’ backpacks in the car once they have gone to bed for the following day. This has helped me not be so frazzled in the morning, because I don’t have to think about packing backpacks or papers or whatever I need for the day in those crazy morning hours. But there was one area the just wasn’t working for me and our daily routine. I didn’t have anywhere to store papers, notes, or jot down reminders quickly and easily. So I decided to create a command center in our kitchen to act as a place where we can store school notes, make to-do lists, and keep our meal planning.
For us, our family command center needed to have a place to write down our dinner meal plans, storage for school papers, take-out menus, storage for pens/pencils, and an easy way for me to write our to-do lists. Back in 2013, I shared how I created a command center for our family of three, using the Pottery Barn Daily System in White. Well, since then, we have grown into a family of four and our little command center needed to change.
When I started looking at the command center, I cleared the entire command center and washed all the boards. I always like starting organizing projects with a clean slate and no other distractions around that area. Then, I grabbed everything that I wanted to have access to and laid it out on the kitchen table. I’m such a visual person, that this method of organizing is what works best for me. Once I laid everything out, I decided to use the whiteboard for our to-do lists. Since the whiteboard also worked really well for our meal planning, I decided to section off a part of the whiteboard for dinners.
I took my Silhouette Cameo and some black vinyl to create some labels for the whiteboard. I made one label for the to-do part of the whiteboard, and days of the week for our meal planning. I separated the two sides of the whiteboard using Washi Tape.
Another area I wanted to create for our command center was a space for storing pens, pencils, notepads, etc. The office organizer daily system from Pottery Barn was the perfect place for all that to be stored. Using a mason jar, I stored all the pens and pencils I use for our calendar on the shelf. I put our notepads in one of the slots, along with the dog’s brush and chalk for the chalkboard. I also like to keep the kids’ sunscreen, boo-boo spray, and bug spray on the shelf as our command center is located right by the back door. This makes grabbing these things super easy. The dog’s towel and our take-out menus are hanging on the hooks.
The take-out menus are all hole-punched and attached to a binder ring. I keep all of our menus on that ring so they are easy to find when we decide to order take-out. I also love keeping the take-out menus on a binder ring because they don’t get lost when they are all together. We have tried many ways to store our take-out menus, but for us, this works the best!
All that was left on the kitchen table were the kiddos papers from school and activities. I use to use the letter bin to hold magazines or recipes I wanted to try, but I decided that each kid would get a letter bin, and that is where I would store all their papers for the year. Neither child has many papers now, but as they grow, I know the amount of papers will increase, so I want to be ready.
Then I took some time to write out a quote I found that would be my “mama-mantra” for the month. I always love having inspirational quotes that really speak to me, so I was scrolling through Instagram one day, and this girl shared her family mantra for the month. She shared that her family gets together every month and decides on an inspirational mantra for their family to live by for the month. I thought this was such a creative and uplifting idea, that I decided to create a “mama-mantra” for myself. I have found quotes that really speak to me and am creating an album in my iPhoto for all my inspirational quotes. Then, each month, I will change out my board for another inspirational quote for the month. I am hoping this will keep me positive and focus on what’s important throughout my day.
The old stuff that was on the command center before I updated it, were either thrown away, as we didn’t need that stuff anymore. Or I relocated it to the new place I am storing all of our cookbooks and meal planning supplies. It is in our buffet in our dining room, and I love how easy it is to grab a cookbook and plan out our meals.
What are some of the ways you have kept your kiddos and yourself organized during the school year? Any favorite products or routines you set for yourself? I’d love to hear, so leave a comment below!