I don’t know about you but paper has ALWAYS been a problem in my house. Between regular mail, junk mail, bills, and now an abundance of school papers; my counters were always covered in piles. I have a filing cabinet upstairs and have repeatedly tried different methods of organizing papers downstairs, then bring them upstairs to file. After years of failing, I finally figured out my problem. I am
too lazy not capable of bringing papers upstairs. Don’t get me wrong, I bring everything else upstairs including the girls washed clothes and towels, toys that make their way out of their toy room upstairs, and my crafting supplies.
I guess the real problem was that the filing cabinet upstairs was a mess and I didn’t really have a solid system in place to deal with papers from start to finish. After Abigail started school last year I finally decided that the solution to my problem would be to deal with all paperwork and school work in one central location…downstairs :). I wanted to create a command center right around the corner from my front door. But since this was technically my formal dining room and a space that everyone would see when they first walk in my house, it needed to be a pretty and decorative family command center.
I have learned that when starting a new project, it is really important to have a written plan and an understanding on how the area should function. I started by making a list of all the things I wanted my decorative family command center to store and functions I needed it to accomplish.
- Place for incoming mail
- Place for school paperwork
- Space for filing boxes
- Area for displaying invitations, important papers, kids artwork
- To do list/ menu plan
- Charging station and cord management
- Recycle and Shredder
- Basic office supplies and mailing supplies
I then drew up a little sketch in my notebook of how I wanted it to look and what the layout would be. Warning, my drawing and handwriting capabilities are about even with my 5-year-old LOL.
At first, I planned on using a cork board to display invites and important papers. But my mother had the brilliant idea to display them in a much prettier way. She suggested that I get a pretty rod iron window frame from Hobby Lobby and use small clips to attach papers to it. That way when I have company over or a special event, I can take down the papers and it just looks like artwork hanging. Psst…Mom…thanks!!
Once I had a plan of what I needed in the space, I started shopping online and in stores. First I needed a cabinet that was pretty shallow but could still fit file boxes into it. I almost bought this horizontal bookcase from Target, but then decided that I really needed something with doors instead. The piece I have is from the store At Home and it fits my space perfectly! This exact cabinet is not on their website anymore, but here is one that is almost the same thing just with a little more of a distressed paint job. It was a little more money than I wanted to spend, but I lucked out because the one on display was missing the door hardware and a small chip in the paint on the side so I got it 30% off :). Next, I waited until the items I wanted from Hobby Lobby were 50% off and put everything together.
Decorative Family Command Center
Here is the layout I ended up with. Everything is pretty similar to what I had in my drawing, except the file bins on the wall. I decided to keep catalogs and magazines in the top file since I access those the least…and I am short :P.
On the inside of the cabinet, I hide my filing boxes. The black box is from Target and it holds files that I only keep on hand for a year just in case I need them. The green box is also from target but is a few years old and they don’t have this design anymore but you can find other cute ones here and here. I keep important papers in there, but I try to go through it every year to weed out things we don’t need anymore.
The middle chalkboard file box is from Marshall’s but Target carries a cute, similar one here. I keep the kid’s artwork and papers from school that I want to hold on to in there. I plan on making memory boxes for each of my girls soon that will hold this kind of stuff in the future. Next are these gray boxes…surprise, also from Target. I labeled everything with my Silhouette Cameo so that things are easy to find. The white box is from Ikea and holds mailing supplies. I labeled this one with my small label maker so its hard to see in the picture, but is a great option if you don’t have a Cameo!
One of the other important jobs of my decorative command center is to serve as a central place for charging our electronics. I bought this power strip that has USB plugs and used command strips to attach it to the side of my decorative command center cabinet. The gray letter box is something I picked up from Home Goods a couple of years ago but here is a similar option.
Right underneath the power strip, I keep a shredder and a small wooden box for recycling papers. Every evening before bed I go through the mail and immediately recycle junk mail and shred credit card offers. Then I act on anything that needs my attention or file important papers away. This method has been the key to me finally getting my paper issues under control!
All important school papers have a place in the wall file holder. Everything that has to do with school can easily be found by keeping it in one central location.
Important Papers on Display
Birthday parties and other events never sneak up on us since they are always on display on this beautiful iron window frame. I also clip any important papers that I need to act on up here so I don’t forget about them. I used these small clips from Ikea to hang everything.
The best part about this decorative family command center is that I can remove the papers off the window frame and even the mail from the wall file folders whenever I need to. For Abigail’s recent birthday party, I removed my To Do list off of the chalkboard and did my best at a little chalk art. I then placed all my invites and mail in a tray I keep inside of my cabinet. It is also fun to decorate this space for holidays and to hang Christmas cards on display.
Here is the little tray holding everything that was hanging on my window frame.
Create a Decorative Family Command Center Near your Entrance
I have had this family command center set up for a year now and it has worked wonders for my family’s paper problem. Having an organized space to keep our important papers has been awesome. What is even better is that this decorative family command center is located right by our front door. This is where we have our drop point for the school bag, diaper bag, my purse, and MAIL. Look in your own home where you naturally drop everything when you get home. Try and set up a decorative family command center in this area so that it will come natural when its time to organize your papers and life.
This is the view from my formal dining room where you can see how we enter our home. Recently I came to the realization that this dining room really is wasted space. I think the only time we sit in here is Christmas. So I have decided to turn it into a homework area/ Office space instead. I have a bunch of things on my Home Project List for this space and I hope to share them with you soon…once I am done in the kitchen :). One room at a time remember?
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How to you keep paper clutter under control in your home? Let me know in the comments below!
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