DIY: Create Grand Central Station in Your Home

altNow that the school bells will be ringing again soon – start the upcoming school year off right by setting up a family command center.

With so many activities, appointments, deadlines, meetings, and commitments to manage, families need a well thought out organizational system to keep track of it all.

Taking the time to set up and organize your own command center will not only help you keep everything organized and easy to find when needed, but it will cut your stress level down immensely as everything you need to know is kept in one handy place.   It doesn't have to be expensive to create one in your own home. Most of the items in the photos that I have gathered can be found at places like Walmart, Target, and office supply stores. You can even re-purpose items from your own home to include in your center.

Here are a few very do-able ideas I found to get you inspired.  Once you have your command center set up you can truly start singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" not only because the kids are back in school, but because you are organized and ready to handle your families commitments and activities in stress-free style, which will leave you some free time for yourself!

1. Use the back of a cabinet door in your kitchen or an un-used sliver of wall.  Add wall pockets from the office supply store – one for each child, a chalkboard or bulletin board.  In each pocket – choose one color for each child and add file folders in the designated color for each child into the pockets. Label the files – School, Sports, Scouts, etc.
Image: bhg.com

2. Find a bench at your local thrift store and paint it to coordinate with your decor.  Place labeled baskets under it – one for each child.  Above the bench create a gallery wall of organization using wall pockets, hanging baskets, wipe off calendar, bulletin board, and clock. I would add a mirror so on your way out the door on busy mornings you can do a last minute check that Mom is looking good.
Image: Organize Magazine

3. Vertically set up one bulletin board for each child and add their name or initial above it.  Have them place their papers in the file folder on their board every day when they get home from school. It gives them a bit of responsibility, but helps you stay organized, too.  Start this practice on the first day of school so they get into the habit.
Image bhg.com

4. Add a row of coat hooks to the wall and instead of placing coats on them – add a tote bag for each child to store their stuff in.  Directly under the totes hang a chalk or bulletin board to list tasks each child needs to do on a weekly or daily basis.
Image: The Yellow Cape Cod

5. Hang bright colored magnetic boards like they were pieces of art. One board for each child.
Image:  Crate and Barrel

6. Mix baskets, cork boards, art, and catch-all baskets tied or hung on a towel bar to keep your family organized.  Pick a color scheme and stick with it so the Command Center looks like part of your decor.


Image:  Candice Stringman
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7.  Buy identical tote bags to hang on a wall and the bigger the bag, the better to hold things like mittens, scarves, lunch boxes, etc. Mark each bag with each child's initials. Place a magnet board above it to hold keys and important papers.
Image:  The Container Store

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8. If you stumble upon an old chalk board, look what Katherine did with the one she found.  A clever way to organize all the papers that come home. It even includes a way to show off your child's artwork.
Image:  Katherine Marie Photography

9. If you have the space and the budget – create a locker style cubbie for each child. A basket at the bottom can hold their shoes.  A hook in the center section – their coat and backpack. 
Image: houzz.com
 
10. No need to buy magnet boards, when a cookie sheet hiding away in your kitchen cabinet will do the trick.  Use spray adhesive to add a piece of leftover wallpaper or gift wrap to the center. Use the 3M Velcro style hangers to hang it on the wall and they won't damage your cookie sheet or the wall.
Image: bhg.com

11. Ikea sells these wooden magazine holders.  Place them on their sides and screw into the bottom of a shelf and you have easy, stylish access and organization for each child.
Image: Homes

12. Use an old dresser to hold lots of items for school and art supplies, plus all the other little junk your children bring home that you can't throw out as your child will need at a later date. Paint it in a fun color so the kids will be drawn to it 🙂  Set the top up like a desk and add wall pockets, file folders, bulletin board, calendar, clipboard for each child or activity and a clock to the wall above the dresser.
 Congratulations, you have now created a personal Grand Central Station right in your own home!
Image: Being Brook