If you have small children, you have small accessories. A LOT of them. Depending on where you live, that can include mittens, beanies, scarves, umbrellas, sunglasses, hats to protect from the sun, flip-flops – you name it. If you’re lucky, like me, you live somewhere that gets seasonable weather and calls for both cold and warm-weather accessories – double the “stuff.”
I think it was somewhere between the arrival of Kid #2 and Kid #3, that I had finally had enough of trying to keep track of all of those teeny, tiny things. (You can only deal with so many meltdowns as a result of your three-year old not finding his absolute-favorite-can’t-live-without-it pair of sunglasses.) I needed to figure out some sort of easy closet organization system. We didn’t have any place for one of those cute, locker room-style mud rooms that have become so popular. I was stuck trying to make the most of a standard coat closet. Read More
While the name implies that it is merely for shoes, this hanging wall of pockets can be used for SO much more! Imagine, a pocket for each of those accessories. Better yet, many of these shoe organizers hang low enough that even fairly young kiddos can retrieve and put away their own items.
In the winter, this is perfect for hats, mittens, and umbrellas. Come summer time, simply switch out your cold-weather accessories and then you have room for sunglasses, flip-flops and sunscreen.
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I dressed up a simple, canvas shoe organizer by adding the first initial of each family member’s name with a Sharpie marker – “C” for Chris, “D” for Diana, etc – to each person’s row. I made my stencils using my Cricut Explore Air 2 and some contact paper left over from a class Halloween project. (If you don’t have a paper-cutting machine, never fear! You can make your own stencil using a Word document – simply print out the letter, cut it out, and then trace around the letter with a Sharpie. That was my go-to method before I got my Cricut!)
To help contain the odds and ends on the upper shelf, I added a couple of coordinating canvas bins. The bins keep things looking much more tidy, and they help prevent smaller items from getting lost at the back of the shelf.
Anything that doesn’t have a home seems to wind up getting stored in the office, leading to a large accumulation of
One of the things that was taking over the office was a large amount of gift-wrapping supplies:
Not only was it all over the place, it wasn’t pretty to look at and was causing a large amount of visual clutter. (Me + Visual Clutter = NOT good bed-fellows) When we had our new floors installed, we had taken advantage of the fact that we had to move ALL of our stuff and had purchased new furniture for the office. The new furniture made it really comfortable to work in the office, but all of the “stuff” made it impossible for me to relax in there.
I sorted and tossed a lot of the non-essential stuff, but the gift wrapping supplies made the “save” pile. But, where to put it all??? I needed a gift wrap storage overhaul, but I had limited space.
The closet was already full, so that wasn’t an option. The bookshelves and desks were occupying 90% of the wall space, but there was a tiny bit of unused space behind the door:
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I started with the curtain rod, which would be used to hang rolls of frequently-used wrapping paper, as well as the rolls of paper that are too long for the under-the-bed storage bins.
(Hoarder’s Confession: In addition to the 21 rolls of wrapping paper that are now hanging in my completed storage system, I also have four under-the-bed bins that are FULL of more wrapping paper. My husband has banned me from purchasing any more wrapping paper. Ever.)
Back to the project: I measured the longest roll of wrapping paper (about 42″), added a few inches, and hung the curtain rod 48″ from the floor. I wanted the rod to be sturdy, so I used wall anchors:
If you’ve never used wall anchors, they are a game-changer! Anytime that I’m mounting something on the wall and I’m not going into a wood stud, I use one of these little buggers. They’re super easy to install (just hammer in a little, and then screw until it’s flush with the wall), and they ensure a good, secure installation. Buy a box and keep them on hand for anything that needs to be screwed into the wall – they’re worth their weight in gold!
The anchors I used are rated for a 50 lb. project load. I used four total (two for each bracket), so I figure this rod won’t be going anywhere.
After I got the curtain rod mounted, I eye-balled where I wanted the wire shelf – the bottom of the shelf is about 4″ above the curtain rod. Before I could mount the shelf, I had to paint it with a quick coat of spray paint:
Don’t forget to paint any brackets or mounting hardware that will be visible!
Finally, I added two adhesive hooks to hold gift bags. I couldn’t find hooks that were the color I wanted, so I painted white hooks with the same spray paint that I used on the wire hangers.
I’ve already had to use my new gift wrap storage station to wrap a few last-minute gifts, and it was so nice having all of my supplies visible and easily accessible. (I am definitely NOT missing having to dig through boxes to find gift tags and ribbon!)
Mail that needs to be opened and sorted. Paperwork coming home from school. Random odds and ends that are going to some other final destination. During baseball season, I probably remove at least three baseballs per week from the counter. (I’m pretty sure that baseballs are breeding and reproducing somewhere nearby – that is the only explanation for their seemingly ever-increasing numbers.)
My boys come home from school and my kitchen island is instantly full of binders, books, reading logs, lunch boxes, water bottles and whatever else they pull out of their clown-car-esque backpacks. Read More
I get it – the kitchen is the center of the house. We spend a large proportion of our time in the kitchen, so it makes sense that all of the “stuff” ends up there as well.
Some of the “stuff” has a legitimate reason to be on the counter, like the fresh fruit that I’ve left out in the hopes that my boys will grab instead of crackers. Still, all of that legitimate stuff can add up and lead to an overload of visual clutter.
I’ve been seeing more and more ideas where my fellow DIY-ers hung cute baskets or file folders on the walls, so I’ve been keeping my eyes open for my own DIY solution. On a recent shopping trip to my local craft store (a trip, I might add, that was for something else entirely!), they were having a sale on baskets, so I peaked down the aisle for a look.
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Score! I found two baskets that were the perfect size (about 12″ wide, 8″ tall and 6″ deep). Order a similar basket here.
I wanted matching hooks, but could only find white, black and silver (the baskets themselves are a matte-brown metal), so I went with medium white hooks and figured I’d have some sort of spray paint at home that would work.
I had some Rust-Oleum in Espresso leftover from another project, and it was a pretty-darned perfect match.
(Maybe a little shinier than I would have liked, but considering that I didn’t have to buy more paint – I’ll take it!)
I recommend that you follow the instructions when installing the hooks. I didn’t wait the recommended 1 hour before using, and my heavy little clementines pulled one of the hooks right off of the wall. I reinstalled the hook (using a new sticky), followed the instructions the second time around and my hooks have been holding nicely.
I am a bit of a hoarder and I have a hard time letting go of STUFF. I get emotionally attached to things. I worry that if I get rid of some piece of clothing/home decor/furniture/whatever, I’ll need it sometime in the future. I actually have a physical reaction when I donate items or have a garage sale. When it’s time to let things go, I just feel…off.
While I’m not as organized as I’d like to be with our “stuff,” I might be *slightly* uptight when it comes to our family’s schedule. Read More
What do you want to have front and center? Do you prefer a traditional, paper calendar? A whiteboard that you update each month? An electronic calendar that you can access from anywhere? How do you want to deal with the paper clutter – do you want it tucked away (out of sight, out of mind!), or do you want your paperwork out in the open, so that you don’t forget about it? I’ve seen a lot of different options for creating a Family Command Center. I can appreciate the aesthetic of them all, but a lot of them are made up of materials or items that I personally wouldn’t use. That’s OK, because that system works best for THAT particular family!
While I’m a very visual person and I like to have my schedule some place very visible for both myself and my family, I also like to have my calendar with me everywhere I go. I use a combination of whiteboards and a cork board (hung in a central location in my home), as well as the calendar app on my phone. No matter what materials you decide to use in your Family Command Center, keep in mind how all of the pieces will look when they are hung up together. My unifying theme is the color black – black frames and black metal/mesh.
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A whiteboard, dry-erase calendar. At the beginning of each month, I go through and put all of our family’s activities on the calendar, as well as note any holidays, birthdays and special occasions. All of the activities on the board can sort of blend together, so I use a different colored marker for each family member. This makes it MUCH easier to see everyone’s schedules, and makes the calendar looks less visually-cluttered.
Order a similar calendar HERE
While this provides a great “big picture” visual to all of my family members about the month’s activities, I also rely heavily on the calendar app on my phone. I use the iCalendar app that comes standard on all iPhones. There are so many great features that make it easier to keep your schedule on track. Not only does it allow me to have access to my calendar at all times, it also allows me to add calendar items to my husband’s phone, and vice versa. The calendar app allows you to color-code your calendar items; I use the same colors for different family member’s activities in my phone that I use on my white board. (For example, all of my activities are pink on the whiteboard, and pink in my phone’s calendar app.) So many of my kids’ sports programs use online schedules, and one of the absolute best features of iCalendar is the ability to subscribe to outside calendars. That way, I don’t have to input any of the scheduling information myself (eliminating the possibility of accidentally typing in the wrong info), and any changes made to the main calendar will automatically update on my phone’s calendar. (Just make sure you set up your subscription to automatically update regularly)
A cork board. As much as I try to limit how much paperwork I keep, there are just some things that I want to keep for reference, and I want to be able to find the the information quickly – school calendars, invitations for upcoming birthday parties, contact lists for that season’s sports team, etc. Because this is such a visual part of the Family Command Center, I consider this prime real estate. Be choosy about what gets to go up on display – don’t let it become a paperwork dumping ground.
Order a similar cork board HERE
Weekly menu & “To Do” List. This is probably the most important part of my Family Command Center. With three kids in different activities, as well as Chris’ and my schedules, meal-planning is HUGE for keeping my week on track. Read more about how I do my weekly meal planning HERE, and see Three Easy Ways to Make a Menu Board.
I love a good To Do list, and I find it extremely satisfying to cross off completed tasks. (I will even write in a item that I’ve already completed, just so that I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off.) I use this for daily chores, as well as tasks that aren’t urgent, but that I just want to keep on my radar.
Order this white board HERE (I dressed mine up with some vinyl letters.)
Hanging file folder. I’ve decided that 2017 is going to be my year for tackling my paper clutter (which tends to end up taking over my kitchen counter). I’ve also decided that I really only have two categories of paperwork that end up lying around: forms that need some sort of action, and paperwork that needs to be filed away. I used the bottom slot to hold supplies that get used regularly – Post It’s & dry eraser markers. I dressed up each slot with a label that I printed out on white card stock, and then glued the label to a larger piece of colored cardstock. I then used embroidery floss to tie on the label.
Order a similar file folder HERE
In an unexpected series of a events, I went from a being a stay-at-home mom who enjoys DIY projects to doing a few segments as a “DIY Expert” on a local news’ morning show. (You can watch the first segment HERE.) The whole thing is still quite surreal – I watch the segments and think, “Is that really ME on TV???” I find the title of “DIY Expert” to be especially hilarious. (I guess “stay-at-home-mom-DIYer” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it in the news industry.) But, I’m enjoying the unexpected change of direction my path has taken. Probably not ironically, it all began with a Pinterest project. Read more
It all started when I made an L-shaped table to go behind my sectional sofa. The table was inspired by a Pinterest project that my friend M had pinned, so I had shared my progress with her and our friend P. P worked for a local parents’ magazine, and asked me if I’d be willing to write a monthly how-to craft article. While I’ve loved making crafts since I was a kid, I had never thought about being the one to actually write the directions. The pressure!!!
So, I took on the magazine “gig.” It’s fun, it doesn’t add too much on to my plate, and the monthly check pays for my supplies (with a little leftover.) My third project that I did for the magazine was the Christmas Wishes Ornament. This project is near and dear to my heart, as it is inspired by a gift my two younger boys made for me in first grade, with one of our family’s very favorite teachers.
If your child is too young to answer the three wishes above, try one of the following variations: