Our Summer Simplification Project – Part 4
Thank you again, dear friends, for stopping by!
I hope everyone’s summer has been a nice and relaxing one so far.
This post is the last of my simplification series which started in early Spring of this year.
As promised, I will be giving you a quick tour of our Command Center which may be helpful as you gear up for another school year this September.
Our Command Center
Our Command Center is an area in our kitchen that helps with the flow of our everyday busy lives. This beautiful baker’s rack, which holds a bulk of our Command Center, was graciously passed onto us by a neighbor during her move.
The Command Center is a general area designated for homeschooling, meal planning, arts and crafting, and life and logistics scheduling and coordinating.
Step 1 – Detach
In order to fit everything we need in our Command Center , we had to detach from the following:
- excess cookbooks, recipe binders, gardening books, etc.
- old telephone books, coloring books, activity books, etc.
- artwork the children didn’t spend too much time creating
- old arts and crafts supplies such as dried paints, dried playdough, etc.
- excess pens, pencils, crayons, markers, colored pencils, miscellaneous supplies
Step 2 – Contain
The top of the rack holds labeled baskets that houses our pens, pencils, crayons and miscellaneous homeschooling supplies such as rulers, staples, scotch tape, scissors, etc.
The two beige bins above are designated as our “his” and “hers” mailboxes. These boxes house mail, love notes and paperwork relating to issues that are urgent or issues that need to be tackled in the near future. This seemingly simple system of communication has done marvels in preserving marital bliss in our home ;-)
The middle part of the baker’s rack holds all our favorite cookbooks, gardening books, and current telephone books. It also houses our Meal Planning Binder and our Life and Logistics Binder. More on that later :-)
The white canisters above is where we house our small tools, batteries, and coins that we find floating around the house.
The bottom part of the baker’s rack is where we place all our drawing paper, activity books, coloring books, and magazines for cut-outs.
We also use the green basket above for our arts and crafts supplies. We use labeled gallon bags to contain supplies such as stencils, foam stickers, pipe cleaners, rubber stamps, clay, glitter glue, popsicle sticks and, yes, even those googly eyes that our children are crazy about.
On the left side of the hutch is where we put our children’s backpacks. These bags contain their books, notebooks and supplies for the entire school year and each child is responsible for putting everything back in their bags at the end of the day.
Having their books in backpacks is really handy especially when we have to do van-schooling on days we take my parents to their doctors’ appointments.
On the right side of the hutch is a basket where the children can find their exploration supplies.
This basket is conveniently placed near the door leading to the deck where they can explore small insects in our container garden or watch forest animals from afar. Right below the basket is a tin container where we store our playdough supplies.
And oh, we also have another basket near the deck door that houses all their interest-led learning books.
Books and playdough seem to do a great job keeping the little ones occupied while Mama cooks lunch or dinner :-)
Just remember, designating areas and containing items are sure-fire ways to maintain peace and order in your space, no matter the size!
Step 3 – Systemize
Below are super simple systems we use to keep things flowing in our Command Center:
1. Keep a Family Calendar
I cannot thank my sister enough for giving me this enormous calendar for Christmas. Now everyone in the family can see doctor’s appointments, errands, and special activities which helps makes communication and logistics planning a bit less challenging. It is situated next to the phone for easy access when making appointments.
Below the calendar is where we post our daily and weekly routine which helps keep our crazy days run a tad bit smoother.
2. Create Binder Buddies
A dear neighbor of ours introduced us to her Binder Buddies. This inspired me to create two binders for our family – our Life and Logistic Binder and our Meal Planning Binder.
Our Life and Logistic Binder includes pertinent information for each family member (medical condition, allergies, etc.) that we may need in case of emergency. It also includes emergency contact numbers for babysitters, CPR instructions, medical authorization, copies of medical cards, and children’s daytime and night- time routine for my family in the event I am out of town.
Our Menu Planning Binder includes our menus (restaurant-style, weekly, monthly, etc.), information on local organic farms, organic farm cooperatives, family budget, monthly receipts, coupons, flyers and grocery lists. Both binders are housed in our Command Center for easy access by any family member.
3. Designate a place for bills and checks
As a Business Administration major, I cannot emphasize enough the value of paying bills on time. Not doing so creates a direct impact on one’s credit score so a simple system like this is essential in every home.
On the upper right hand of our Command Center, we have designated a place to put our bills to pay and the area below it is for checks to deposit. This simple system has helped tremendously for a smoother bill-paying experience at the end of every month.
4. Designate a Catch-All Bucket
Our home seems to attract large amounts of lost pencils, pens, glue sticks and crayons. Our answer to this quandary was to designate a Catch-All Bucket that temporarily houses these lost items during the week. At the end of each week, the children are responsible for putting everything back in their proper places.
A Wonderful Journey
Thank you so much for accompanying our family during this Spring and Summer Simplification journey.
My goal has and always been to inspire and encourage families to live simply and my prayer is that these blog posts have helped you in your own journey.
May God bless you and enjoy the rest of your summer!!!