Create Household Command Center


Most on-the-go moms dream of being able to know exactly where everything is that they need as they rush out the door. But, this reality rarely exists in homes that are busy with young children and all the activities, paperwork, and STUFF that comes along with them!

Last week one of our professional organizers was in the Portland area home of a busy mother of two.  This organizing client’s home had the perfect spot for a household hub – the household command center. (We have a DVD on Creating a Household Command Center in our online store. Check it out here.)  But, like in many of our homes, this counter space had become a dumping ground for random papers, homeless kitchen items, and broken toys.

Not only was this place an eye-sore and a source of frustration for the family, but buried under batteries were important items like tickets to events and gift cards! The recipe book was impossible to get to and good luck finding a check book! It was time to reclaim this space!

The first step in a project like this is to “dig out” all the paper.  Once our organizer and the client had ALL the paper gathered, they sorted it by type or action into bankers boxes.  (In our Paper Management Workshops and do-it-yourself DVDs explains how the best way to tackle incoming paper is to organizing your paper according to the action that needs to be taken.)

Organized Tray in Household Command Center

These “action trays” are a way to deal with incoming paper and process it right away.  However, every family or individual must find what works for them.

The next step is to go through the other items and organize them by type. During this process, our organizing consultant becomes a detective. Based on what is found in the space, she starts asking questions like “are batteries stored anywhere else in the home?” This essential step of seeing WHAT actually collects in the space will help in the next phase – grouping like items and making stations.

During the digging out phase, our professional organizer noticed three cow bells in the cabinet! As they dug further they uncovered season tickets to the Portland Timbers and flags to take to games. It was clear that this was a spot that the family used right before they left for a game. So, a ‘game supply’ station became a must! This is an example of how good organizing is about CUSTOMIZATION to your unique lifestyle and needs.

Once the stations are established, our professional organizer introduced the key to maintaining the organized space – the “Only Policy.”  The “only policy” means that ONLY certain items should go in the different locations.  At this point, it’s important to get the whole family on board and understand what stations have been established and what are the ONLY items that should go in the space. The limits your newly-restored space to its intended purposes and prevents future dumping.

Based on what our professional organizer discovered about how the family uses the space, together with the client, they were able to create a functioning command center for the home! Here are some highlights of this project:

  • The drawer was re-purposed into a utility drawer for minor office supplies and tools.
  • The incoming paper system that was established offers the family a way to effectively and quickly process new mail instead of layering it on surfaces.
  • Game supplies like tickets and cowbells are easily found on the way out the door.
  • Recipes are now easily accessible, which is important for any busy mom!
  • “Free Money” was found as a loaded coffee gift card was uncovered in the layers.

Instead of being a dumping ground, everything has a designated station and anything that DOESN’T belong goes elsewhere.

Getting organized can help you save money on re-buying items that you forgot you had! This client found multiple boxes of batteries that had been forgotten. Also, the client was about to order more checks from the bank until she and our organizing consultant discovered 3 boxes among the clutter! Saving money and maximizing resources is an important reason to dig out those mystery cabinets and see what’s lurking beneath!

Even if your home doesn’t have a built-in spot for a command center, they make a huge difference in the day-to-day operation of the home because they are essentially a mini-business center. With hands-on help or our Creating a Command Center DVD it’s easy to take back command of your household!



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