Create a Command Center and get your paper piles off the counter!


Gosh it seems like forever since I used my cute little guy above. I’ve missed him 🙂

Today’s question comes from Melissa of Seven Matters. Melissa’s question is such a common one that I knew I had to try and answer it.

I have a question about mail and other papers that come into my house. I have tried for so long to find a system that my husband can get on board with, but he still comes home and puts his papers and keys and briefcase etc. on my kitchen counter! I only have a small amount of counter space and what I do have is a catch-all for junk, and important papers alike. It drives me crazy! As you can see in my pictures, there is some wall space to the left of the counter. Can you recommend a wall hanging organizer that might help de-clutter my counters, but is budget friendly?





As with many families, the kitchen seems to be the hot spot for accumulated paper such as incoming mail, school papers, receipts, newspapers, etc. Finding a system that works for the whole family is a must in order to relieve some of moms frustration and free up valuable counter space.

What we need to establish here is a Command Center and Melissa has a great space in the corner that is ideal for this purpose. It’s ideal because it is centrally located in a room that is frequented by all and can be utilized by all. I think Melissa’s suggestion of a wall hanging organizer is a terrific suggestion and I was able to find a few that might work for her.

A Command Center is a beautiful thing. It’s somewhere to capture the bits and pieces of life that are happening right now and can’t be filed away just yet. It is not a solution to the permanent filing. No, no, no. Instead it is a revolving display of miscellaneous documentation, a communication center for the goings on of life. Perfect for things like important telephone numbers, birthday party invitations, receipts for items needing to be returned, school papers with specific information on an upcoming event, bills to be paid, and so on.

In Melissa’s case I think she has room to incorporate either a bulletin or magnetic board as well as a wall organizer. I personally like the idea of giving each member of the family their own space (or at least a section for mom/dad/kids) so some of my selections below will allow for that if she so wishes.

First let me show you a picture of one of my favorite Command Centers from Organize Magazine (no longer in business). Isn’t this something!  As you can see what makes it so great is there is a home for everything making it easy to find what you need and no more wasted time searching for stuff.


I have so many ideas and in my research discovered all sorts of wonderful products out there, it really was hard to narrow it down. Keeping in mind Melissa’s desire for it to be budget friendly, this is what I came up with.

1. Versatile fabric pocket organizer from Amazon.

2. Fabric Wall-Mounted Magazine Pocket from Container Store

3. Fabric Organizer from the Container Store

4. Gloss Office Bundle (to help you organize papers on a table or countertop) from Opensky (my shop):

5. Chalkboard Panels for messages from Opensky:

6. Charging Station Memo Board from Amazon.  Also be sure to check out Etsy for cute memo boards.

7. Magnetic Square Bulletin Boards from Opensky

8. Bulletin & Magnetic Strips from the Container Store.  I’ve also seen these at the Dollar Store.

9.  Homework Caddy from Opensky:

10.  Organizer buckets from Ikea:

The thing to remember is that no matter which organizer you select it will take some discipline and consistency to establish the new routine of putting the papers where they belong and not on the counter. It CAN be done though and you CAN succeed!

For many more Command Center ideas and inspiration please visit my Command Center Pinterest Board.

Happy Organizing!

Related posts:

Organizing your entryway

Awhile ago I posted about using an inexpensive plate holder to organize papers


Filed under: Ask the Freak, Containerizing, Kitchen, Office, Organizing Solutions


85 Responses to Create a Command Center and get your paper piles off the counter!

  1. 1
    Kathy in WA says

    Laura – I love your blog! Thank you for taking the time to share ideas, pictures and other goodies with us.

    One thoughts – the products you profiled on this post are fantastic. They are definitely worth seeing in larger size. Is there any reason you couldn’t post them in a bigger picture size, rather than reducing them?

    I know you can click on the link and see them more clearly, but frankly I’d love to just view them all on your blog, rather than clicking each one individually.

    Just a request from a gal who sits in a super comfy chair at her computer (ie, Lazy Boy recliner with feet up) and has to squint and lean forward for some of the small pictures. 🙂


    Duckabush Blog

  2. 2
    kylydia says

    “Finding a system that works for the whole family is a must in order to relieve some of moms frustration and free up valuable counter space.”

    Because only moms have to clean, declutter and actually work in the kitchen, right?

  3. 3
    Debi says

    Oh man. I am absolutely salivating over that command center from Organize. I swear I would drop absolutely everything on my plate today to start putting that together if only we had a spot to put it!

  4. 4
    CanadianSaver says

    I’m always amazed at how organized some are… Love all the tools there are out there to help us.

    Your blog is really great!

  5. 5
    Lorri says

    Your first recommendation can be found at IKEA for $19.99, thought not online. It has a matching magazine rack, too.

  6. 6
    steph's mommy brain says

    Laura, great job as usual! I’d love to have that command center in my house, along with the space for it. Thank you for posting ideas that truly are budget friendly.

  7. 7
    Sugar Mama says

    Laura, That command center makes me drool! I’m obsessed with organizing as well, but have this same problem! With three kids in school I can’t seem to keep the papers under wraps! We even have 4 (yes F-O-U-R) junk/paper drawers in our kitchen and there are STILL papers, etc everywhere. This post has given me some really great ideas!

  8. 8
    Avlor says

    I was thinking I was almost done with my kitchen. Ha! 😉 But our paper area is terrible. Stuff gets stashed on the counter all the time (esp stuff to go downstairs). I can’t wait to get started working on this. (Will probably be a march project for me – as I want to make some of the fabric organizers you listed and have a sewing project ahead of it. Using up some of my fabric stash! yippee!)

  9. 9
    Queen B says

    This post rocks. I love the first picture. I am so gonna copy that…


  10. 10
    debbie says

    This is exactly what I needed. You did all the window shopping and now I just have to choose which one works best for me! Thank-you!

  11. 11
    Laura says

    Kathy, I’ll definitely keep that in mind for next time. I only kept the pictures small for this post as I was posting so many. Thanks for letting me know.

    Kylydia, I was referring to Melissa as the mom in this post but I can see how it reads differently. My blog is primarily read by mothers who are trying to get organized so I write for them 🙂

  12. 12
    lylah ledner says

    laura…fantastic ideas and post. love it! i’m leaning toward the “simple home” styled one from the container store…i think i could totally incorporate that one….

    thanks for being nuts about organizing and helping your readers out!

    roses to u…lylah 🙂

  13. 13
    Michelle says

    Laura Thank you for posting all of these wonderful ideas..!!! I must try these least one of them..

  14. 14
    Meshellyn says

    I want to cry! You do not understand how badly I was in need of you to create this post today. I have been racking my brain to make a command center for our home and found too few ideas out there. You are a genius!

  15. 15
    [email protected] says

    Thanks for more great links! I always read them. I struggle with the whole command center concept too, so your post has inspired me to put some more serious thought into it.

  16. 16
    chupieandjsmama says

    I am the queen of piles! I hate it!! I must find a workable command center. Thanks for the tips!!

  17. 17
    Melissa Holgate says

    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas and for taking time to address my “hot spot” issue Laura! I will be working on this project this weekend and will hopefully post before and after pictures on my blog on Monday.

    I can hardly wait to make my very own Command Central!

  18. 18
    mom_of2boys says

    I love the ideas! Thanks. I think I’m going to try to copy that Command Center
    (first photo) when we redo the family room.

  19. 20
    Lisa says

    We can make it, we can organize it, but can we make him use it? That is the true question. Why is it always the husband’s junk on the counter? I think I am going to try to sew something similar to #4. I will let you know how it goes. I have seen some for use in a classroom, but they don’t match my kitchen decor and I have enough classroom decorations all day long!

  20. 21
    Julie says

    Thanks for the mention Laura. 🙂

    I LOVE that command center from Organize Magazine. Absolutely beautiful. This was a great post!

  21. 22
    Laura says

    Lisa that is the million dollar question isn’t it. All we can do is try. I would love to see a picture of your sewing project when you get it done. Very cool!

  22. 24
    Stephanie says

    This is so helpful. It comes a very helpful time, I have just began to think how I can organize all my papers better. Although in my case, my husband is definitely neater than me. I have to be careful to not let things set around to long or they will get tossed! Luckily he is very helpful and now knows to never through anything of mine away.

  23. 25
    Yestheyareallmine says

    That is such a great idea!! It would be such a help to keep the little piles of clutter from taking over. Woo Hoo!

  24. 26
    Forgetfulone says

    Oh, what I could do if I could only get my husband to cooperate! He doesn’t see organization as being nearly as important as I do. I love your blog, and I use as many ideas as I can. Just wish I could use them all. Then they’d have to call me a freak, too! And I wouldn’t mind a bit! LOL

  25. 27
    Lysa TerKeurst says

    Okay… you have just totally inspired me. Thank you for this post. Oh how I need and desire a command center as you call it.

    Love, love, love this idea!!!

  26. 29
    Stephanie says

    Laura, that’s great! What a timely post for me! The piles of paper around the house are starting to drive me bonkers, and I am continually losing important things. I really want to set up a command central. You’ve inspired me! And thanks for the great products and links- very helpful to get some different ideas and images of how it could work.

  27. 30
    Proverbs31 says

    Oh, I LOVE the command center in that first picture! My ideal home would have just a space near the main entry where we could have a command center, as well as a closet or lockers/bins for coats and shoes, umbrellas and whatnot. *dreamy sigh*

  28. 31
    Jamie says

    Excellent post! I have been inspired. I love your site, it is full of valuable information.

  29. 32
    sandy says

    Thank you for the inspiring post. Really great! I try … (ends up in my laundry room).

    I tried to answer your question on my blog, too. Hope it was helpful. I can always try to help w/ the kid stuff thru email too.

    Happy weekend Laura.

  30. 33
    Magnolia Sun says

    I love the idea, I forget to go vertical when organizing.

  31. 34
    Heather M. says

    I just found your blog today. Thank you for the great ideas!

    I have been looking for something reasonably priced to hold magazines, bills and papers, and the fabric organizer from the Container Store is exactly what I needed. I went and bought the green one today and I love it!

  32. 35
    Jennifer, Snapshot says

    You will be SO proud of me. I’ve been working, working, working. I am still struggling with my kitchen desk–I need to figure out a way to get everything off of it–for good!

    I’ve been reading about how us “creative types” have a hard time if things are put away–like files inside a file box. So I’m thinking that one of those hanging systems would be perfect for me. I’m going to look into it.

  33. 36
    [email protected] says

    You rock! The only thing I would recommend is to make sure that it’s SIMPLIFIED and not over complicated. One person to oversee the space and easy access for kids.

  34. 37
    Lewis Bae says

    Great ideas! Your blog is definitely helpful to EVERYONE! Keep it up!

  35. 38
    Trisha says

    OK. Now I want to make a command center. Is there anywhere I can get a kit? Do they sell these thing together for cheaper than buying them seperate? Looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂
    Trisha Mama to 4 kiddos 5 1/2 and under!

  36. 39
    The Mommy says

    You may not answer your comments, I’m sure you are very busy…but I really HAVE to have the black bench in the command center you show above. Where did you get it? I’m redecorating and IT’S PERFECT! I saw you on Tip Junkie and I had to track down that bench!!

  37. 40
    Eman says

    I absolutely love your blog and this post is exactly what I was looking for… I thought I was strange because I am addicted to organizing. It’s so nice to know that others feel the same way and put their talents to good use. Thank you for the motivation to start this awesome command center. We have a two story house and things tend to to travel up and down but am trying to put an end to that. Thanks again!

  38. 41
    Hope Cantrall says

    I SOOOO want to create a real command center!!! I think I may have a spot in my dining room to do it but it’s very small…I have one started sort of…I just need the right piece of furntire for it! This command center in Organized magazine is beautiful! I would LOVE that in my house! Thanks for sharing & thanks for your blog! I am an organizing junkie for sure! I see a mess & I just want to start organizing it!!

  39. 42
    jully says

    Hi there, your blog is very nice and helpful. Thank you for taking the time to share ideas and pictures.

  40. 43
    Andrea says

    I would really love to find the green plastic containers to organize my boys school papers that they bring home this year. Any suggestions on where to find them? Thanks for the ideas! I found you on tip junkie 🙂

  41. 44
    Cherie says

    i am starting my command center in my kitchen1 i have some ideas – i am going to use my blue canvas organizer that i was kind of using in the nursery. it has 3 small pockets at the top, then two medium ones under that, then one large one at the bottom. its one you hang over the door but i am going to get Mark to mount it to the wall for me. so excited!!

  42. 45
    Mell says

    Your blog is a real tresure. I am so unorganised, but I am getting better 🙂

  43. 46
    Drew says

    Love your website! I just got a new place with a roommate, and I’m looking for ideas for a “central command” area in our apartment. Thank you for helpful posts like this one that inspire! 🙂

  44. 47
    Linda says

    All of these wall space ideas are great. My problem is… I have no wall space in my kitchen and not really any by the door, either. I am stuck as to what to do for any sort of command center, meanwhile the papers pile up. Any suggestions?

    • 47.1
      Laura says

      Hi Linda, it doesn’t have to be in the kitchen, perhaps you have another area you could use???

  45. 48
    Jade LaTour says

    Ok, in the first picture, do you think you could reccommend what all is used for? Thanks! Love your blog!

  46. 49
    Sharon says

    Hi! I love your ideas and follow you on Pinterest too!! I was wondering where the green wall organizers in the first picture by the Organize Magazine are from? Are they Ikea, Container Store? I would like something exactly like that, so any help in locating them would be greatly appreciated!

    • 49.1
      Laura says

      Hi Sharon, that sure has been a popular question. Unfortunately those bins are no longer available and I keep searching for a replacement. Keep your eye open at the dollar store as well as they look to be just plastic bins.

  47. 50
    shauntelle says

    Curious do you have or plan to make a camping check list… i feel like I am always writing the same stuff down and a check list would make it easier. also it would help in menue planning as camping food is a little different then hoem cooking recipes, things that work or not.

    Thx 🙂


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