January 14, 2013

Get Organized in 2013 - Challenge #7 Command Center

Hello friends!  I love seeing all of your emails with your photos of your organized entryways.  You need to get BRAVE  and post them on our Facebook page too so others can be inspired by what you have done.

In my last post I said that today we were going to talk about mail stations.  And that is true but we are not only going to be talking about mail stations, we are going to be talking about our Command Center.

A  Command Center is where all the information flows in and out of for your family.  Here is a picture of mine.

A good Command Center has

1. A calendar - everyone needs to be able to know what is going on easily.  I purchased my Calendar at Target.  To put the dates on, I use a WET ERASE MARKER so that the numbers don't rub off.  I only discovered wet erase markers about a year ago and I use them for everything now.  I use various colors of DRY ERASE MARKERS for everyone's activities.  This helps keep things straight and I don't have to write each person's name with their activity because they have their own color.  This calendar is used more for my family's benefit than my own.  I use Google Calendars very heavily.  I will talk about them in another post.

2. A message board.  This can be cork, magnetic, dry erase, whatever works for your family.  I purchased mine at Target.  I love that it is magnetic to hang little things we need to pay attention to and is also dry erase to write to-do lists or groceries.

3. Mail Station.  This is a CRUCIAL piece of organizing  your home.  So much of what comes into your home is PAPER CLUTTER. Paper clutter is  HUGE problem for most families.  Knowing what to do with the mail, papers from school, newspapers, coupons, etc. seems to be something that a lot of people struggle with.  A mail station is the answer.

As  you can see from the photo, my mail station is in an opaque box with color coded file folders.  Both of these items were purchased at (you guessed it!) Target. 

In the front of the box I have a RED folder marked ACTION.  Papers that go in there are things I need to take care of right away.  Papers to sign for school, a note to give someone, a letter to go out, etc. This folder is checked at least daily.

Next I have folders for each family member.  The kids are in BLUE and my husband and I are in RED (just because the pack of file folders I bought only had 4 of each color.)  Items that go in here pertain to each family member.  I will put mail that is for my husband in HIS folder.  The kids have school papers usually in their folders.  Their reading calendars, book reports, spelling and vocabulary words, etc.  These folders are looked at usually at least weekly and cleaned out monthly.  The kids can put papers that they want to save in their folders as well and when I clean them out, I file them in their school papers binders and boxes. (More on those in another post.)

The next items in GREEN have to do with money.  When my husband and I get home for the day we put our receipts in the receipts folder if it is something we need to keep.  Bills to be paid go in their own folder.  In the third green folder is where I keep this week's grocery ads.  They come in the mail on Wednesday and I usually do my meal planning and grocery shopping on either Saturday or Monday.  I like have a place to keep them so that I can refer to them as I plan. I usually do my grocery shopping at Walmart and they will honor other store's ads, so when it is time to go to the store, I just grab them out of the folder and stick them in my purse (to show the cashier.)  Then I recycle them as soon as I get home and the folder is empty when more come.

The YELLOW folders are for coupons.  I'm not a HUGE couponer, but I do love to save money whenever I can.  I divide the coupons into four categories: coupons, groceries, activities, and food.  The first folder, COUPONS, has those random coupons that come in the mail or paper for carpet cleaning, dry cleaning, repairs & maintenance, etc.  The GROCERIES folder is exactly what is sounds like, a folder for grocery coupons.  These come in our paper every week.  I will usually look through these when I do my meal planning  and grocery list as well.  The ACTIVITIES folder is coupons for activities like bowling, movies, fun centers, etc.  These come in handy when we are looking for things to do.  The last folder is for FOOD.  Not grocery food, but eating out.  My husband and I love to try new restaurants and we of course indulge on some fast food every now and again. 

In the back of my box is my Home Management Binder.  We will talk more about this in another post.  I also wanted to mention that during the summer I post the kids chore chart on the front of the box. You can check out my previous post on chore charts to see them.

4. Recycling/Trash.  It is important to have a trash/recycling can nearby when you are sorting your papers.   If something needs to be shredded, I will usually add it to my action folder and then take it downstairs to be shredded later.

5. Stationary Items.  You can see my woven drawers in the photo.  The top drawer has tons of pens, pencils, scissors, tape, a stapler, etc.  Anything I, or the family, needs to grab for writing a list or note, doing homework, etc.  The middle drawer holds stuff for the little kids.  I have two preschoolers and we  practice letters and numbers in their workbooks.  The drawer also holds their markers and crayons.  The bottom drawer is mine.  It's where I keep MY wet/dry erase markers, notepads, thank you cards, etc.  That is usually where you will find one of my very favorite organizing tools as well.  My DYMO Label Maker.  It makes me happy!

Now, not necessary for a Command Center, but definitely for ours is our intercom. Three out of five of our kids rooms are in the basement and rather than yelling down the stairs, we just use the intercoms.  It is especially handy for waking the kids up in the mornings and telling them when they are running late!  It saves our voices and our heads!

So, Get Organized in 2013 Challenge #7 - Command Center and Mail Station.  This may take you a few days (it's not like we can all run out TODAY to get all the stuff!) So I'll continue to check in with you to see how you are doing.  Remember to post pictures!

For more ideas on how to set up your Command Center check my Pinterest Board.

I've been working on my laundry room and can't wait to show you the reveal!  Have a marvelous day!

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