In a homeschooling house full of 7 kids & 3 guniea pigs....there is never a dull moment! A lot of people show genuine concern for us and want to know how we are doing, as the road we've left behind was not a pleasant one. So, here I am, to tell some of our stories...share some of our days...and open up a part of our world to you! Come join us on our journey so you won't miss the moments that take our breath away!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Family Command Center

My finishing touch to my "nesting" phase was creating a Family Command Center!  I have spent about the last 4 months "nesting"!  Our entire house has been rearranged, organized and decluttered!  During the "construction phase" this house was a complete disaster and that is the biggest understatement of the year!  You can not imagine what a mess this place is when I decide to organize, but the final outcome is always worth it!

When we moved here things were never really "organized".  Most people wouldn't believe that I am actually a very organized person by nature, however, by the looks of my house you usually would never know it.  I would organize a few things, but with 6 kids things never seem to stay organized around here and with 6 kids it's been impossible to organize one room, let alone the entire house.  Many times, friends have called upon me to organize a playroom or kids room but I've never had the time to organize my entire house and to get my own things just the way I want them.  Another thing about me is if something isn't working for me, I am very quick to change sometimes it's hard to keep up around here and usually my organization falls apart and our house is once again in utter chaos!  With a new baby on the way and my nesting instinct taking over, it was fairly simple to get the ambition I needed to completly change the way things are around here!  It was a very long and trying process, but after 4 LONG months of very hard work...I finally reached my goal!  I will post about our transformation...but first, the finishing touch to all the organization around here....

Our Family Command Center!

I couldn't have an organized house if our household wasn't going to be organized!  There are many reasons that led me to the idea of having a Family Communication Center.  With organizing the classroom, I lost my desk so we needed a centralized place to house things like our incoming/outgoing mail, important papers, things we often need (tape, scissors, pens, pencils, etc).  Also, with Hawk and Cardinal starting school, we needed a place to keep permission slips, lunch money, sports forms, etc.  Another thing that was a challenge around here is keeping up with the calendar!  I depend greatly on my PDA, but it isn't always where I thought I left it.  Appointments are hard to make without my calendar and I as our schedule got more hectic, we began missing appoinments because I would jot them down on a piece of paper and they would never make it to my calendar.  Another thing was that as the kids are getting older and wanting to do things with friends or getting involved more with extra curricular activities it was just so hard to keep everything straight!  Something had to make all of this easier!  I did a search for a Family Communication Center and found that many fellow bloggers had some sort of Communication Center or Command Center into place in their home.  Each one a bit different to fit the person's individual needs.  I went to work deciding what I needed our Center to include and here was my initial list!
  •  A monthly calendar
  • A place for important memo's/notes
  • A daily schedule (so that all family member's knew what to expect on any given day)
  • A household binder
  • A bill organizer
  • A place to organize things for each family member
  • A place for incoming/outgoing mail
  • A place for things that need to be filed, shredded, etc.
  • A place for receipts, coupons, etc
  • Our weekly menu
  • Recipes
Here is our (nearly) completed Command Center which is located in our kitchen were it is easily accessible to everyone!

I say "nearly" completed because I have some work to do to complete our Household Binder and our Individual Folders and i also need to label my Bill Organizer.  As you can see, we have a whiteboard Monthly Calendar.  This way, I will easily have my calendar at hand and everyone in the family can see what we have going on at a quick glance.  There is a small space for notes and a to do list on the calendar, but we have a small individual whiteboard next to the calendar to write important notes.  The yellow and white striped schedule is our "Daily Schedule".  Each night, I will update this for the following day.  Again, this way everyone knows what to expect and what is expected of them (my kids thrive on routine and schedules)!  The lovely basket houses the important pieces of the rest of our command center!  Here's a quick glance of what's inside!

Starting in front there are multiple notepads and sticky notes.  There are two packs of "Thank You" notes, a current need as baby gifts are starting to arrive.  There is a "To Do" notepad and a "Shopping List" notepad.  Tucked on the left side is a stack of envelopes and a supply box (containing essentials such as pens, pencils, scissors, tape, stamps...basically, all the stuff you use most everyday, but can never find when you need it).  there is a working flashlight in the front right corner ;)  Next are file folders labeled...
Daily - This is where anything I need for the next day will go, this is a one stop pick up and go place.  If I have things to mail, things to return, shopping lists, directions, etc...everything I need (stamped mail, receipts, lists, directions, etc.) will be in this folder and I will just have to pick up the folder and go! 
New Mail - All incoming mail will be put in this folder and I will sort it nightly.  No more mail piling up on our catch all place on the dresser, no more lost bills, checks, important papers, things that should have been filed, etc.
To Mom- Anything that needs to go to me goes in this folder.  If the kids come home with permission slips that need to be signed, or if they need to be taken somewhere, etc.  This is a communication gap fixer!!! ;) no more, I told you I needed you to take me to the library, or I told you I needed you to sign that form!!!
To Be Filed - Self explanitory!  Anything that needs to be filed goes in here.  Once a week, I will file them.
Shred - Self explanitory!  Anything that needs to be shredded will go in this file.  Once a week, one of the kids will have the chore of shredding the contents of this folder.
Receipts - Yep, you guessed it...all receipts go in here!  No more lost receipts! :)  It seems simple enough to file them but how many receipts do you lose!  How hard can it be to sit them in a folder on the kitchen counter :/  hopefully, this will be an easy and convienent place to store them ;)

Behind all of our file folders are 3-pronged school folders.  Each family member has their own folder.  Each family member's folder has pocket sleeves to serve their needs.  Hawk and Cardinal have an envelope that serves as their "daily" folder so if they need lunch money, permission slips, etc...those things will go into their envelope so they can grab it and go in the morning.  Their pockets will include a pocket sleeve for chores, allowance (to be discussed), permission forms, etc.  Some kids will have a medical pocket and the baby will have a feeding/diapering schedule...etc.  We will take a closer look after these are completed ;)

Next is our Household Binder...will blog about it at at a later date once it is done.  It will contain our coupons, Monthly/weekly/daily calendars, weekly menu, etc.

Next is our recipe binder.

Lastly, is our bill organizer.  An accordian style folder to keep track of our paid bills :)

Now...let me tell you, not everyone is happy about our new command center and there is a lot of pessimism about it.  Now, I will say that I don't always stick to new systems long...but, it's been a very LONG time since I've been so, I'm very optimistic that this Command Center will be a blessing.  Now, had this been in place this morning...Cardinal would not have thought she forgot her permission slip for her summer gym class and Falcon would not have forgotten that he was suppossed to wear dressy attire to work today ;)

I'll keep you posted on how this works (or doesn't work) for us!

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