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The New Frugal Mom is a site dedicated to sharing practical ideas for frugal living to help you save both time and money.

January 4, 2012

How to U | How to Create a Household Command Center in a Kitchen Cabinet, Part 4 of 4 {Finished Project + Lessons Learned}!}

How to U is a new weekly feature at TNFM on Wednesdays. 

Each month, I'll feature a simple DIY project from start to finish with posts showing you how to do it as well.

For September 2011 Fall 2011, I'm tackling How to Create a Household Command Center in a Kitchen Cabinet. This week is Part 4: My Finished Kitchen Command Center + Lessons Learned.

If you missed parts 1,2, & 3, click through to see them: Part 1 of How to Create a Household Command Center in a Kitchen Cabinet; Part 2: Organizing Containers; and Part 3: What to Keep in Your Kitchen Command Center - Sorting the Clutter.

I'm a bit late on finishing this series I began back in September; life was busy in September around my house and just as I got through all the extra craziness, I turned the calendar and found myself in November and the start of the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's busyness.

But, I did finish reorganizing my Kitchen Command Center (KCC) and I'm pretty happy with the more functional result.

Here's what it looked like at the beginning of September:

Whew! What a MESS!

This next photo is from the third week of September when I decided the only way to get it organized was to pull the whole shoved up bunch of clutter apart and start from scratch:

That was a fun day.

I did get the majority of the organizing finished that night.  There's nothing like making my kitchen nearly non-functional to kick me into high gear.  With three growing kids, the dinner show must go on, peeps!  ;-)

So, here we are a couple months from the initial redo of my Kitchen Command Center.  It's still not perfect nor does it look like something from a Martha Stewart magazine, but it's functional.  And functionality is the most important feature your Kitchen Command Center or Family Command Center should have.

My finished Kitchen Command Center:

Ahhh...so much better!

Let me break it all down for you:

1.  Hmmm....the big question - what to put on this door?

2.  This left side door originally had an additional three pockets mounted with foam board tape just like the right side door.  However my microwave and stove/oven are on the left side of this cabinet and the steam/heat from cooking did a number on that foam board tape.  Those darn pockets that had been on the left kept falling on my head all.the.time.  So they're GONE.  

3.  Small bin for playing cards.  Euchre, anyone?  ;-)

4.  This, my friends, is an air horn.  Seriously.  This was a Christmas gift for me from my almost six year old son.  Did I mention I take the kids to Dollar Tree to do their Christmas shopping?

5.  A bunch of Sharpie markers in a coffee mug my older son painted for me a few years ago.  Sharpies, while useful in the hands of a multi-tasking mom such as myself, are dastardly in the hands of children.  Especially my children.  

6. Small bin for masking tape (makes quick and easy labels with those Sharpies from #5), packing tape, and  a few USB drive key chains.  Which reminds me I need to back up my laptop....

7.  About a gazillion receipts from Thanksgiving & Christmas shopping.  Which reminds me I need to get out my shredder...

8.  Hidden behind the cabinet brace is a box of envelopes for rare snail mail.  Rare.  

9.  My kiddos school pictures that I still haven't put into frames.  Vote for me now - I'm up for Mom of the Year 2012!

9.25 (Also known as the Yellow Oval because I forgot to label three of these little Paint markups and I'm already this far in this post.  Sigh - chalk it up as another Blogger FAIL.)  Anyhooo, this Yellow Oval is around a bunch of handy school directories, church directories, and other frequently referenced directories for when my brain fails to remember basic phone numbers.

9.50 (The Tall Red Rectangle).  A standing file organizer from my original Kitchen Command Center that I use for bills, statements, and the checkbooks.  

9.75 (The Long Green Rectangle). Stapler, paper clips, and pencil sharpener - essentials to have handy for homework time.

10.  Flashlight for power outages, hidden in the BACK of the cabinet where my kids can't find it and use it to play the Shiney Game (also known as the Drive the Dog Slap Silly Crazy Game).

11.  Obligatory Bottle of Holy Water found in just about every Catholic home.  ;-)

12.  The wine and margarita glasses I still have yet to move to a new storage spot.

13. Two small boxes: the one on the left is filled with assorted office supplies (included the much-coveted-by-my-boys sticky notes); the one one the left has assorted thank you notes, stationary cards, clear tape, and stamps.

14.  Another file organizer from my original Kitchen Command Center; the top three bins are filled with papers for my hubs and myself.  The bottom bin is lined filler paper for the kids homework.  And for Origami Yoda projects.  

15.  The left door - yes, the 12 looks more like a 15.  Forgive me -  my freehand Paint skillz aren't so fab, my dear frugalista friends.  Here's the scoop on how I made that cool organizer: I took three clear poly binder pockets, hot glued them together, then posted them on the door with foam board tape.  One pocket for each kid's most important papers/info for school, like gradebook wizard logins, my daughter's acrostic name poem, and a permission slip for my son that I forgot to turn in back in November.  Whoops!

16.  A picture of my hubs and I and our two German Shorthair Pointers, Barnum and Bailey (the founding members of the Insane Canine Posse) in front of our very first house in Jacksonville, FL.  I miss those dogs every day.  That house and the choking heat and humidity of Florida?  Not so much

17.  A little quote from the Spiritual Vitamin jar at my local YMCA that's just spot-on: To wish you were someone else is to waste the person you are. - Anon.

And there you go - my latest Kitchen Command Center.  Maybe I should call it KCC 2.0?  

I do have a couple of lessons learned from this overhaul:

:: As your family grows and changes, so do your organizational needs.  When I created my first Kitchen Command Center back in 2008, only two of my three children were in grade school.  With all three now in grade school, the number of school associated papers I need to keep organized jumped by 50%.  If you have a Kitchen Command Center or a Family Command Center, it's a good idea to evaluate it's usefulness, it's strengths, and it's weaknesses before the beginning of the school year.

:: It's a good idea to have a separate spot for all the papers that come home from school with your kids.  In my original Kitchen Command Center, I had kept every paper all three of my kids brought home shoved in the horizontal file organizer.  It.was.a.MESS.  I now keep ALL their take home papers (finished work, graded work, tests, random art, etc) in  - drum roll, please - a big brown grocery bag that sits in my front room under my corner table.  Classy, eh?  

The brown paper bag serves three purposes. First, all those darn papers are now OUT OF SIGHT and not crammed into an impossibly small space. Second, while I look through the papers before chucking them into the bag, I don't always pay close attention to every single one.  If after looking at their grades online I find myself with a question about why they didn't do well on a certain test, I can go dig it out of the bag and look at it with closer scrutiny. Third (and this one is my fave), when the bag is full, I can simply pull out a few bits of each child's best work to keep for posterity's sake and then chuck the bag, papers and all, in the recycling bin.  Decluttering BLISS.  

:: It's a good idea to have a separate spot for filing important household documents.  My Kitchen Command Center isn't where I keep bank statements, paid bills, insurance papers, financial documents, and other important papers.  I have a whole other mess filing system for sensitive personal information and papers in my office.  I designed my Kitchen Command Center to be a flexible space for keeping the supplies, documents, and tools I need several times a day in my job as Super Mom.  

There you have it - KCC 2.0.  I'm sure I'll be overhauling it again come summertime but for now, it's exactly what I needed to get re-organized.

If you're looking for more ideas on different ways to create a Kitchen Command Center or Family Command Center, check out these great ideas:

Family Command Center by Southern Living

Display It Storage Mirror by Kaboodle (I love this idea for my daughter's room - would be pretty easy to make as a DIY project.)

20 Savvy Ways to Stay Organized by BHG (Several ideas besides a Family Command Center.)

Family Command Binder by I Heart Organizing (A Family Command Center can be as big or as small as your needs dictate.)

I hope this How To U series has sparked some ideas to help you get off to a more organized start in 2012!

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