Reader Space: A Happy and Creative Command Center

What night is basketball practice?  What time is that doctor appointment?  What day am I volunteering at the school again?  Did Lucy remember to practice her violin and did Joey take out the garbage?

Sound familiar?

There is always somewhere to be and something to do, and as a family grows, so do obligations and commitments.  From homework and practices to lessons and appointments, it can be a challenge to find order amongst it all.

So when my brilliant blogging buddy Megan {the same Megan I featured with the incredible meal planning system here}, emailed me to share with me her recent command center project, I knew it was the great way to kick of the 2013 Reader Spaces!

This year, I thought it would be fun to interview my readers with questions about their spaces so, here we go!

What is the main function of the space? 

"Our house is little, and its design is not quite ideal for our family's needs, so we transformed this little corner in our entrance hallway to serve as our Family Command Center. The main function of this space is to organize all the little parts of life: mail, To-Do Lists, chores, errands, coupon, receipts, laundry tickets, bags, shoes, name it! It serves as family central for all the things that we as a family need quick and handy but don't want sitting on the kitchen table {because then I'll never find it when I need it!}."

Any superstar tips for keeping it organized? 

"Every aspect of this little nook was very intentionally designed based on what we were {previously} having trouble keeping in line: 1} we needed a place for all the paper that comes in the house, and 2} we needed a place to keep track of what's going on from day-to-day! We use a magnetized memo board {really just sheet metal from the hardware store} for things that are temporary and just need to be pinned up {in site} for a short time.

The sticky note To-Do Chart really helps keep track of what's on everybody's to-do list; and I LOVE that when a task is done, it gets pulled off and thrown away.

While these two systems are great, the real superstar of this corner, however, is our new mail system. The hanging file organizer with file folders are designated for myself, my husband, file, action, and shred. This system allows us to sort mail {and other papers around the house} instantly. When I find something on the coffee table that belongs to my husband...instead of giving it to him to deal with {which may or may not get done}, it gets put in his folder. Same with shred, file, and action items. For whatever reason, it's too overwhelming to file/shred papers every day. Now, we can accumulate those items day to day and then clean out the folders monthly."

What items did you find essential when organizing the space?  And why?

"Gosh - this is a tough one, because I feel like each of the functional components {as in, the non-decorative components} are all essential. I find it really helpful that we have a variety of ways to organize things in this one little space. For example, we have bins for things that can't be tacked up and just need to be dumped into something; we have a magnetic board for quick pin-ups; we have the sticky board for task items that can't get lost; and we have file folders that keep things separated as necessary. Also, having a dedicated coupon/receipt bin super accessible {on top of the counter} means I am more likely to actually put them away."

What did you do to go the extra mile and "make it pretty"? 

"I love, love love looking at pretty, organized in addition to having the perfect organizational system, I also had to have it fun, fresh and happy - after all, it's the first and last thing we see every time we enter/exit the house. To "make it pretty," I first picked a fresh color pallet {turquoise and yellow} that worked with the rest of my house and then coordinated everything in that color scheme as I went along. The turquoise bins, paper caddy, and clock are all from Target and all match perfectly. I then added in pops of yellow and grey through some really simple and eye-popping artwork, as well as a vinyl "Happy Day" decal and mini pennant bunting made from washi tape.

What I think really unifies the space, though, is how I used the yellow-flowered contact paper. In addition to making it the background to our sticky note To-Do chart, I also used it to cover some old file folders to help them coordinate with the space. They were so quick and easy to do, and I love how the file folders match just right! This may sound silly, but I love using them because they are so pretty {which means I more likely to file my mail}!"

What items did you DIY to stay on a budget? 

"I am a big DIYer and crafter, so I always attempt to make things before I buy them, not only for budget but pure enjoyment. We bought the cubby shelf, but everything else is something I either made or up-cylcled from things out of our garage. The sticky note To-Do Chart was an old picture frame - I just covered the glass in flowered contact paper, and same with the file folders. Instead of putting the motivational printables in frames, I mounted them to painted wooden plaques. Lastly, I created my own organization printables to match the space!"

How has this project impacted your life for the better? 

"This little nook in our hallway has completely changed our lives! Now, mail is sorted as it comes in the door and heads either to the trash or into the appropriate mail file folders. Keys and wallets and hats and toys and sunscreen are put into the appropriate cubbies, while coats and bags get hung right up {instead of landing on the floor!}. Any task that can't be forgotten is written on a sticky note and put on the To Do chart. Once the task is done, the sticky just gets thrown away. Our weekly cleaning and outing printables are in plain view to keep me on track...and now I know exactly where the latest coupon or receipt went! This little spot in our house has made our lives so much simpler and has kept clutter from piling up around other areas of the house! Best of all, my kitchen table is always clear and there is no longer the conundrum of "where do I put this so I do loose it?"! YAY!"

Isn't the entire project beyond inspiring and incredible?  How about a final before and after?

It's projects like this that make me all warm and giddy inside, not only because they are incredibly organized, but also because she put the extra time, thought and effort into making it a happy and pleasing area in her home.  Labeled bins, memo boards with pretty paper, darling folders and those charming wall plaques.  So much goodness going on in one small and functional space!

You can find even more details and DIY tutorials on her blog here.  A huge thank you to Megan for sharing her awesomeness with us today!

Anyone else out there have a command center?  What do you love about it?  What is an essential component to your family station?

ATTENTION!!  Want to be featured in a Reader Space edition?  Have an awesome organizing story to share?  I am looking for projects that have made a positive impact to your life.  Please submit your story and photos here and I would heart to feature them right here, on the blog!!  Photos should be high resolution and unedited.  Please include a description of the project, including any costs, inspiration, and how it has changed your life and routine for the better!  Oh, and no worries my friends, we will NEVER judge "before" pictures because that just wouldn't be nice!  Only love goes on at this blog!

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