I love organizing! And with 4 kids and a crazy firefighter's schedule, organization in our house is a MUST! I've tried several different methods in the past, and when we moved into this house a little over a year ago, I really had to play around with some new ideas. I am pleased with what we have come up with, although there are still some tweaks to be made. Here's a tour of our Command Center-although it technically is more than just one center...take a look!
This is the main part of what keeps our life together! This room is the Butler's Pantry, although we have sort of converted it into the Butler's Pantry/Mud Room. It is right off of our garage and opens into our kitchen. To the left of the doorway is a bulletin board, for any notes, reminders, birthday party invitations, etc that come into our house. To the right I had my firefighter install a piece of sheet metal (he just attached it with screws and decorative washers to make it look a little more finished). On the top I have our magnetic dry erase calendar. Easy for everyone to see, but up high enough that little fingers can't touch and erase something! Below that is our menu planner. I have found that with our busy life, I need to know what is for dinner before 4:00 in the afternoon when homework is flying and everyone's my blood sugar is running low! I also have our dry erase notebook paper which is mainly for our running grocery list. Also a good spot for jotting down a quick reminder of something I need to get done for the day. The bottom has my weekly cleaning schedule that I just put into a sheet protector so I can check things off with a dry erase marker and erase for the next week. And the bottom right is a fun little file I found at Target (aka the greatest store on the planet). It is a magnetic flip file that is great for keeping the school lunch calendar and spelling lists.
Just outside this doorway on the left are these wonderful built in shelves. This serves as a charging station for our phones, iPad, and iPods. I have a couple small baskets, one for the firefighter to drop his wallet, receipts, and any other random things he seems to come home with, and a basket for my sunglasses and random things the kids throw in there. Key hooks, drawer for pens, sharpies, and post its and the open space on the bottom is great for dropping my purse or diaper bag.
But the most important thing that this shelf is holding is our Household Notebook. It is where I keep calendars for the rest of the year, phone lists, important school papers (contact info, class schedules, etc.), lists of favorite recipes and of course one or two, a few, several take out menus for those nights we just can't pull it together. I also keep our most recent yearly forms from the pediatrician in case of an emergency, and quick insurance info-the last thing I want to be doing in an emergency is searching through our filing cabinet for the policy numbers!
I used to have a "Homework Station" set up in the basement, but we have found that it works better for us to have the kids do their homework upstairs. So I took a drawer in the butler's pantry and put things they will need for homework (this also keeps them out of my sharpie drawer!)
So that's the 'method to our madness' around here! What are some of your favorite ways to keep your household running?