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When it comes to organization, it's keeping on top of your kitchen that's the hardest. As the hub of the home for the whole family, this room can quickly become a mess of letters, documents, and other miscellaneous things that soon clutter your surfaces. However, there is a creative solution, and it's one that declutterers themselves swear by.
A 'command center' helps you organize your kitchen with a dedicated system to store all those random bits and bobs that tend to float around the room. Typically consisting of a cork board with a calendar, wire baskets, and hooks or pegs for holding the likes of keys, grocery lists, and coupons, they're designed to keep your surfaces free of stuff and make your life a new level of organized.
'As the name suggests, a command center is a space from where we command the family,' explains Di Ter Avest, professional organizer at Di is Organized. 'It's where we keep track of our appointments, invitations, school paper, bills to pay, mail, grocery list, goals, to-do lists, meal plans, and much more.'
You might have seen command centers doing the rounds on Pinterest, and while they may look like they require too much effort and organization than you can manage, the beauty is you can customize yours to meet your family's individual needs. Here, Di explains how to integrate one into your home.
What is a kitchen command center?
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Put simply, a command center is a dedicated space - typically on your kitchen wall - that keeps things like letters, keys, and lists contained. Just as the term is used in business and military facilities, it should be a space that directs guidance and order, so a calendar is a must.
'The Command Center is a visual and constant reminder of everything that the family needs to do, where they will be, and when,' explains Di Ter Avest. 'It's great because everyone - even the little ones that don't have a digital calendar or a planner - knows what is happening.'
Since they can be personalized, a command center won't look the same for everyone. 'As with any other organizational system, the command center needs to meet the family's needs and lifestyle,' says Di. 'It can also work as a drop-off zone for mail, include hooks for backpacks and lunchboxes, or pockets for daily beauty supplies like chapsticks and lotions.'
What should a command center include?
As touched upon, a command center can realistically include anything you like, but it's a good idea to start with a calendar on a corkboard as your foundation. It's not your typical kitchen organizer, so use your creative flair to make one that fits your style. Wire baskets that attach to the wall below your corkboard are a great idea as they can hold letters and receipts, while a row of hooks will offer a space for keys, coats, and jackets. Think of your command center as a visually decorative catch-all, and go from there.
'The Command Center can be customized to serve the family's needs. Ours, for example, includes a calendar, space to write what we need to get at the grocery store, a meal plan, a magazine holder to keep the mail, and a file organizer where we keep gift cards, stamps, and envelopes,' Di says.
'We also have some cups with easy-to-grab pencils, pens, gluestick, scissors, and a few coloring pencils; this makes homework time so much easy if the kids decide to do their homework in the kitchen while we cook dinner,' she adds. 'There are hooks for the kids' aprons and backpacks and a bulletin board to pin notes and greeting cards.'
Where should a command center go?
While we've been talking about kitchen command centers, they certainly don't have to be limited to this room. It might make more sense for you to have one in your entryway or living room depending on the layout of your home. As Di notes: 'I like to have the command center in the kitchen because it is the heart of the house and a room where the whole family is constantly, but it would also work great in a mudroom, close to the door you use the most to get in and out of the house.'
Inside the room itself, make sure to put your command center somewhere it can be accessed easily. 'I usually select a wall near the countertop, but that differs depending on the room's focal point since you probably don't want your guests looking at it while having dinner,' says Di. 'A calm corner in the kitchen is ideal.' #
Last but not least, don't forget to make it personal. 'I painted a pattern on the wall to make mine interesting, and on top of the command center you can see the quote "Meals and Memories are planned here",' Di says. 'This used to be a boring kitchen corner, but now it's a part of our everyday life that keeps us organized and always brings a smile to my face.'
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Lilith Hudson is the Staff Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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