Tackle The Paperwork: My Kitchen Command Center

In my “Tackle The Crap” series, I have set out on a mission to simplify my home, and make commonly used areas more functional and beautiful. To catch up, read here.

Oh my gosh, this post is my dreaded post of “I’ve reached that type of mom” level. Yes, I’m at that point where I have actually gone out of my way to create a command center for my family. Let’s just dive into this little project, because it was truly necessary.

It started with paperwork. Like all this stupid paperwork. Bills, brochures, events for Ari, wedding invitations, school menus, to do lists, shopping lists. On and on. Those papers were never where they needed to be, and I could never find them. They lived on the kitchen table, on the counter, on the fridge, in the foyer, in my car, in the mailbox if I didn’t feel like checking the mail. I hate checking the mail.

A family command center is a designated place in your home, where all important info can be accessed for all family members.

Before:

before 2

(Note that the “before” photos combine the before of the actual space that became the command center, and the bar cart that we moved to that nook).

After:

view at large

The idea of creating a small kitchen command center is something I’ve been wanting to do. I was first inspired by the idea several months ago, when Target launched cool line of rustic looking chalkboards with little baskets attached to them. I originally thought, “Oh, I’ll just pick one of those up one day at nail it into a wall in the kitchen. Then my life will be perfect and complete and organized.” Uh, no.

My ideas began to grow, I began to research, inspiration took over. Suddenly, a small store bought command center no longer made sense for my family. Plus, why buy one, when I could make one myself that filled an entire nook of my kitchen, that I could also customize to our exact needs?

2

Our specific needs for the command center:

  1. A chalkboard wall for daily notes/reminders
  2. A large bulletin board for school notes, school lunch menu, events, etc.
  3. A family calendar
  4. Food related tasks: grocery lists + blank menu
  5. Display options for Ari’s artwork
  6. A wall hook for my purse and Ari’s backpack
  7. Bill holder for Mike
  8. Bill holder for me
  9. Readily available office supplies

I was really on the fence about a chalk board wall. They are so trendy, and I’m already like seven years behind on jumping on that trend. But at the same time, they are so practical! Literally a giant wall to write temporary things AND a station to entertain my toddler, yes please! Plus, I loved the idea of a full black wall. My life really isn’t complete without the color black.

art wall detail 2

Ari’s art wall used to be in the living room. Kind of. Basically random papers taped all over the wall with blue painters tape. I love how proud Ari is of his artwork that I display, so my solution was to create a more intentional space to store his art. Wood + small clothes pins really did the trick. I used leftover wood from this project. The wood was so light, the only method I used to attach it to the wall was long finishing nails. I think the display clips would even work well during holidays when displaying cards.

art wall detail

detail 4

If you remember my mud room makeover, you will remember that Ari’s green backpack was originally stored on a hook in that space. Since then, I have realized that I prefer his backpack, and my purse in the kitchen when I get home from work. I seem to need things out of them often throughout the night, so having them in a room that I’m in most of the night makes much more sense. Not that I’m just sitting around in my kitchen all night, but it’s connected to the living room, so it’s much easier than walking to the mudroom. I’m lazy like that.

detail 3

I created a giant bulletin board using basic craft supplies. I bought four large thick bulletin board panels from JoAnn’s (Each was 16″ x 36″, don’t forget to use the coupons they always have). The thing about bulletin boards, is that you don’t want to skimp on quality or thickness. Those thin roll out ones have never seemed to work well for me, it’s best to invest in the real deal. I used an entire roll of duct tape to connect all boards together. Gray striped linen fabric (also from JoAnn’s)  is lined with a white roll of paper, which is not necessary at all, but my fabric was semi transparent, so the extra layer of paper helped to block the duct tape contrast. I used heavy duty nails to adhere the bulletin board to my kitchen walls. I read lots of tutorials prior to creating my own bulletin board, and found that this post, and this post were most helpful. I didn’t end up using their exact methods, but I did adapt ideas when making my own.

It is such a relief to have a place to quickly display important info, like party invites. Because parties are so important. Weekly grocery lists and meal plans are also stored on the bulletin board. We take food very seriously around my house.

Invitation detail

detail

In the “before” photos you may have noticed that the inside of the cabinet was filled with alcohol. You can probably relate. You have a party, and make a really happenin’ mixed punch or something, and buy an entire bottle of vodka, since your Pinterest recipe specifically calls for it. But then, the party is over, and your like, “Oh, I’ll just store this in my cool bar cart until my next party”. But no. Because then you have another party six months later, and you totally need a different bottle, because you need to try out a new Pinterest drink recipe since it’s winter, and you must have cinnamon and warm undertones now in your drink. The struggle is real. The truth is, bar carts are really cool looking, but totally not practical for everyday living. I made an executive decision to replace the drinks with bottles, breastfeeding/pumping materials, stocked paper towels, and cat food. Because sometimes life just takes you to those priorities.

inside storage 2

And yeah. I cleaned out the drawer.

drawer inside

Mail is a huge source of stress. It’s just always laying around getting piled up and shuffled. Finally, a mail holder for all of us. Easy to sort, and easy to see.

thumb tack dish

I’m a big fan of having a laundry basket in your kitchen. Like, it’s totally a thing. Life changing. Do it.

side view

kitchen laundry

Ari reaching

Sources: 

Chalkboard Paint: Rustoleum Black from Home Depot  |  Mail Holder: Home Goods   |   Rug: Ebay  |   Pink Laundry Basket: Target Garden Center (two summers ago)  |  Bulletin Board Materials + Fabric: JoAnn’s   |   Black & White Striped Wall Hook : Anthropologie  |   Small White Ceramic Bowls: Made by me at a local art center (four years ago)   |   Vintage Bicycle Canister : Peddlers Mall   |   Bar Cart: World Market  |  Green Monster Backpack: Old  |  Gold Dipped Push Pins: Nate Berkus for Target

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