How to Create a Kitchen Command Center

How to Create a Kitchen Command Center
Image via Momof6

One of the reasons that many moms feel unorganized is because they don't follow the golden rule of “a place for everything and everything in its place.” And nowhere does that mantra hold more true than where it comes to paperwork. A seemingly constant influx of paperwork comes into our homes — mail, catalogs, invitations, bills, school/daycare fliers, forms that need to be completed. The stream is almost endless.

A seemingly constant influx of paperwork comes into our homes — mail, catalogs, invitations, bills, school/daycare fliers, forms that need to be completed. The stream is almost endless.

Too often, all of that paperwork ends up in piles all over the kitchen counter, the dining room table, and any other available surface because we don't make the time to sort through it, or we just aren't sure what to keep around and what to recycle.

This is why you need a command center.

The idea behind having a command center is that you have one place where you put everything you need — the incoming paperwork, your calendar, your to-do list, the files and lists you need to access most often — convenient for you to use when you need it. For most of us, that place is in the kitchen.

And you need a system —

A system so that the pile of papers doesn't continue to get taller. This system will help with handling everything coming at you and for making decisions to deal with it.

That's what we are going to talk about today — how to create your kitchen command center and how to handle all of the paperwork that travels through it. Are you ready to get organized?

Paperwork-inbox
Image via Momof6

The Paperwork Inbox

There needs to be one temporary holding place for all of the incoming paperwork — a place to dump the mail when you walk into the house, a place for kids to put their school fliers and other paperwork that they want for you to look at. So it helps to put a basket on the counter to store it all. That way, you know you have ONE place to go to and do all of your sorting.

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Image via Flickr/ WordRidden

Creating a Paperwork System

When it comes to dealing with paper, I recommend the “touch it once” principle. Take each piece of paper, look at it, and decide what to with it. Your options are:

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  • Do It: If it is something you can do in two minutes, such as respond to a party invitation, sign and return a permission slip, or add an event to your calendar, just get it done and get rid of the paperwork!
  • Sort It and File It: You should have at least three folders in your command center that you can sort your paperwork into: “Unpaid Bills,” “Things to Do This Week,” and “Things To Do Later.” I also have a file where I keep my incoming magazines to be read later and a separate bin of catalogs I would like to look at. (They do not stay on my kitchen counter!)
  • Recycle or Trash It: If you're not going to “Do It” or “File It,” get rid of it now!

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Kitchen-Command-Center3
Image via Momof6

The Command Center

Now that we have a system to deal with all of the paperwork, let's talk about setting up the kitchen command center. Be it a small space on your kitchen counter, a desk area in your kitchen (if you are lucky enough to have one of those), or even a wall system mounted on the side of your kitchen cabinets. As long as it has all of the key components to keep you organized, you will be good to go!

Here's what you need to have in your command center:

iCal-Calendar
Image via Momof6

Your Calendar

Whether this paper or electronic, your calendar should be located at or very near your command center. I personally prefer to use an electronic calendar so that I can access my appointments and notes wherever I may be working and so I can sync my calendar to my husband's.

When I am at home, I keep my iPad in my command center so that I can see my calendar and update it when needed. (And if you are searching for a good calendar to use, check out this post on the 7 Best Calendars That Work for Families!)

My-Daily-to-do-list
Image via Momof6

Your To-Do List

Whether you keep this on paper or electronically, keep your to-do list in only one place (not on multiple Post-it notes!) and write everything on it. I always keep one list for things to do this week and a second list for other items and projects to get to later.

{ MORE: 4 Benefits of Infant Massage }

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Image via Flickr/ kenteegardin

An Unpaid-Bills File

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Go through your incoming mail every day, separating the bills from their envelopes and other enclosures, and put unpaid bills into a dedicated folder. That way you'll have one place to gather everything you need when you sit down to pay your bills.

Paperwork-folders
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Additional Files

You need a place to put all the paperwork that comes your way and needs to be dealt with at some point in the future — the registration forms for kids activities, the flyer from the place that sells firewood that you want to order next month, the copy of the dental reimbursement form that you submitted to the insurance company, etc.

Keep a “Things to Do This Week” folder for paperwork that needs to be addressed right away. This keeps all of these papers neatly gathered in one place, just waiting for you to find a weekly opportunity to review and address them. Keep another “Things To Do in the Future” file for paperwork that is less urgent, and review that file every few weeks to stay on top of everything.

Grocery Shopping List

Grocery List

I keep my ongoing grocery list on a clipboard in the kitchen. Every time I notice that we are running low on something, I add it to the list. It makes prepping for grocery shopping so much easier! The free printable grocery list from EverydayFamily lists the categories of items aisle by aisle based on the floor layout of a typical grocery store. This makes shopping so much faster!

{ MORE: Tried & True Back-to-School Timesaving and Self-Care Hacks From Real-Life Moms }

Command-Center
Image via Momof6

Other Handy Things to Keep in Your Command Center

Have a home for school and sports phone directories, dismissal forms, stationery, pens, pencils, and don't forget about your cell phone charger. If everything else is located at your command center, it makes sense for your cell phone charger to be there, too. You'll be more likely to remember to plug the darn thing in every day!

{ MORE: Tips for Making School Lunches Your Kids Will Actually Eat }

Do you have a kitchen command center? Do you feel it helps to keep you organized?

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How to Create a Kitchen Command Center

My name is Sharon and I am the busy Mom of six children ages 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, and 8. People often ask me "How do you do it?" I tell them that my key to success lies in planning ahead, with a whole lot of creativity and organization thrown in! ... More

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