For those of you who have been coming around here for a while, you know I have a thing for command centers! Our yellow and turquoise command center in our last house has been one of my most popular projects here on the blog, and I even continued to streamline and refine it to suit our needs over the years. In this house, we didn’t have a logical spot to transplant our former command center items to; and at first, I figured we just wouldn’t have one. Well…it didn’t take long for the papers, mail, coats, bags, hats, keys, and other daily items to pile up all over the house, so some sort of command center moved to the top of my project list. With some creative thinking and re-purposing of (mostly) items we already had, I was able to squeeze in a simple and streamlined yet still super functional drop zone in our entryway!
This house is a split-level layout. And while I’m (surprisingly!) loving the functionality of this style of home, one of my least favorite features is the lack of a proper and sizable entryway. Neither the front landing nor the entrance down by the garage were ideally suited for a mudroom-like area…but the lack of a better option forced me to re-think our items and our entryway. I decided that the landing was really the best and most logical spot for a drop zone; and thankfully, there was just enough space to make it work!
In our previous home, we had a big and somewhat awkward hallway nook to fill, so we were able to include all sorts of organizational superstars and decorative accessories. This time however, space was at a premium, and I didn’t want to bring in anything that would 1) make the entryway feel too cramped and 2) hamper the functionality we really, really needed. I thought about the various items we absolutely needed to store in this area of the home and tailored my selections to ONLY things that were necessary! Here’s what I came up with:
- Something to place things on. One of my FAVORITE aspects of our previous command center was the shelf mounted mid-wall so we could use it as a counter for placing mail, keys, and other odds and ends. I was craving this functionality so bad and knew I had to find a way to make it happen again. While we could have squeezed our previous command center shelf (with the baskets and hooks) in, it was a bit clunky and honestly just too visually heavy for the small entryway. Thankfully, we have a ton of these white bracketed floating shelves (from Lowes). The 48″ version fit the space perfectly, giving me the counter drop zone I needed!
- Something to pin things on. I’m a pinner-upper. It’s just how I sort and visually keep track of the really important things. I SO badly wanted to hang my magnetic memo boards, but one was too small and both were too big. The bulletin board from my old office/craft room however was juuuust right!
- Somewhere to sort/organize mail. One of the main things we use our drop zone for is mail. In our home, if the mail lands on my desk or the kitchen counter, things get lost or forgotten about. In our last house, we used wall-mounted pockets but found they got too full and were never emptied, rendering them essentially useless. Greg really wanted a table-top-style file sorter for the mail…and I was happy to oblige if it meant we’d both work together to keep the mail under control!
- Somewhere to corral small items. Although I wanted to keep the clutter and “stuff” to a minimum in the entryway, there are still some things (keys, sunglasses, sunscreen, bug spray) that we really wanted to keep handy. A simple basket for corralling these items was a must.
- A place for hanging. Originally, we weren’t going to include hooks this time around and planned on walking coats, jackets and purses up to our rooms. Umm…that lasted about a week before everything started to pile up on the floor in the entryway. When I came across this simple rack on sale/clearance at IKEA, I knew I had found a simple solution!
Here are all the elements in place before I loaded it up with all of the little stuff. Of course, I had to give everything a little color and DIY love…
This bulletin board (originally from HomeGoods) has gotten so many look over the years. This time around, I turned to my fabric stash and picked out this light-hearted bird print I bought a while back because I just loved it. I followed these exact same steps to cover the board again!
The shelf was mounted right at counter height, giving us enough room both above and below for storage!
One of the things I loved about the IKEA Ryssby Coat Rack was that it came unfinished, allowing me to guilt-free customize it to whatever colors I wanted! I worked on this command center project during a very unexpected computer crash (when I was working like crazy to get the new site launched) and I just needed SOMETHING to feel happy about. These colors just made me smile, so I went with them! (By the way, if you’re looking to re-create the look, I bought the IKEA Ryssby Coat Rack on clearance and don’t think it’s a regular item anymore. Bummer!)
I didn’t want this area to feel too busy or cluttered, so I used a lot of white. But those cheery knobs sure make me smile every time!
When Greg and I agreed to try a table-stop style mail organizer, I was having trouble finding something I really liked. When I found two of these acrylic file organizers at TJMaxx, I was completely on board! I simply held the two together with mini binder clips and then labeled each section with some gold washi tape and clear labels. (Both the mini clips and gold washi are from Target)
With all of the functional elements in place, I couldn’t wait to get it fully up and running!
The bulletin board, as designed, has become my place to hang up the most important, timely, or not-to-be-forgotten paperwork and items!
I like to keep track of our tasks and commitments with pen and paper…and while I keep a loaded/detailed planner on my desk, we have been needing some sort of simple family calendar where everyone can see and access events we have coming up! Instead of buying a calendar for the last part of the year, I downloaded this free calendar and printed it out. Different colored pens help us keep track of Henry’s obligations, Mom’s obligations, Greg’s obligations, and family commitment.
The mail sorter has been wonderful. I like being able to sort things into more specific categories; and since it’s now down at eye level, it’s easier to find and get rid of items as necessary! Our mail categories include: Greg / Megan / Henry / THIHM / Base / Medical / Receipts / Coupons / Catalogs / Magazines
To corral those little necessities, I shopped our home and found this simple metal mesh basket was the perfect size for our stuff and the space available!
All together, this family command station provides just the functionality we need without being too busy or too difficult to maintain!
Right underneath the shelf, is the coat rack perfect for holding up just a few things (which was the goal!). My hope, as the colder seasons arrive, is that our main coats and bags will be kept here, and other less-used jackets/bags will be put away on a regular basis. I added a small bucket for our fitness watches and headphones…and may need to add another one for gloves later on this year!
So here’s our little command center, in all of her simple yet functional glory! Having a single, dedicated spot to drop things as we come in the door has, yet again, been a game changer for our little family. It really is true that you don’t realize how you use a space/item until you don’t have it…and for me, this type of command center is a must for how we work and keep organized! So glad to have one back up and running again!
This Command Center “Redux” is a perfect example of what this year…in this home…will be like for us. I’m struggling a bit as I fight the urge to take on bigger and grander transformations. I have looks in my head that I want to achieve, but am restricted by the realities of our budget and timeframe. I am passionate about making this house function as well as it can in a way that feels homey and personal…but honestly…only so much can be done before I start to feel wasteful with my time and resources. By thinking creatively through our entryway needs and limitations as well as some thrifty shopping and using what we have in different ways, I was able to carve out a fun and functional solution to our entryway woes!
I’d love to know: do you have a command center in your home? What type of organizational solutions do you rely upon? What do you think of this simple drop zone solution?