How I created a Command Centre

That dreaded drop zone in the house where all members of the house seem to dump all their stuff as soon as they walk in the door! I do not know any one who has not got one! and like most people I have tried all sorts of things over the years to corral the items or at least get some sense of control. Using containers, baskets, big bowls, or boxes just meant that the got filled up with all sorts of junk; lost buttons, safety pins, dead batteries, 2c and 5c and most annoying of all pens that don't work!!! However of recent times I have had some success with some changes I have made and a sort of "command centre" that I have created....

 

What is a Command Centre?

Now you may well laugh at the name command centre (yes it's a US term) however it makes sense for any one managing a busy household to have one. It is essentially an area in the home that is easy to access and has all the important stuff that the household needs on a daily basis such as:

  • Note paper
  • Pens (that work)
  • Mail 
  • School and work notices
  • Documents, flight tickets, concert tickets 
  • Keys
  • Cell phones
  • Household information 
  • Calendar
  • Bags and backpacks
  • Other important daily items
  • Coffee money

Generally these "command centres" are near where people go to when entering the house, mainly the kitchen or dining space. 

My Command Centre

We have used a an area in the kitchen bench for a few years now and I have recently streamlined it as we slowly adjust from a four to two person household.  I have kept it as simple as possible, only housing the items we do use on a daily basis. I have created three zones i) bag zone ii) mail and calendar zone iii) Central zone.

 

Bag Zone

We both use backpacks, daily, during the week and they need to be easily housed. There was no way that I could get Mr P to put away his backpack in a cupboard, and in fact it mostly got dumped on the floor by the kitchen bench. So in the end I came up with a very simple and easy solution by placing two chairs side by side on which we place our bags on when we come home. These bags always stay on these chairs. We always know where they are.  There is also just enough space to place my weekend shopper on the chair. I place my handbag in the tray in the central zone as it fits perfectly. 

Mail and Calendar Zone

Above the bag zone, on the wall, there is a calendar (my Mum makes one each year for us from her beautiful photos she takes) and a mail board where any mail that comes into the home is placed.

The central zone

Next to the bag zone and just under mail and calendar zone I have placed a wooden tray. In the wooden tray I have got a folder divider and a very small bowl.  The folder divider holds the pens, note book folder, Home folder and RnR folder. The small bowl holds keys, it's only just big enough to hold the key and no more and when the phones are not on charge they are placed here. 

This central zone houses all important items together that we use;

  • Keys 
  • Cell phone
  • Household/home folder (holds all our important information) 
  • Pens and notepad
  • RnR folder
  • My handbag

The notebook compendium I have had for a while and got it from Kikki-K . They do not seem to have it in stock anymore however still have a couple of options here

 

WHY it works

The most successful thing about this command centre is that I have developed it just for us. I thought about what are the most important things that we need to access and how can I make it easy for Mr P who still likes to dump.

As we walk in the door we naturally go over to the chairs, dump our back packs, keys and cells, sort the mail. I have created functional and obvious space that works well with how we live and does not require us to change a lot. I also believe by keeping the spaces small and specific and no room to put other items, it keeps it clear of clutter gathering. That's not to say that from time to time things do gather however it's easy to clear out the space and maintain a nice tidy area.

ADDED BONUS - COVERS FOR FOLDERS

In my previous organising and planning posts I have taken your through how I created our Household folder, Budget folder and Recipe folder. We also have a RnR folder (Rest and Recreation), Mr P is in charge of this and it is for planning our mini breaks and other such exciting adventures.

I was getting a little bored with how they looked so thought I would jazz them up a bit with new covers. It was very easy. All I used was;

I just cut the card stock to size, stuck the gold stickers on and then placed the sheet into the shelve of the folder. I also placed the same card on the spine and a plain type paper for the back. Very simple, fun and good way to take a boring folder and make it look interesting.

 

The best part of this was how I managed to match the two folders in the command centre to the notebook compendium, if you are stationery obsessed like me you will appreciate this.

So how is your "drop zone" ? Is it the entire kitchen bench top? or the kitchen table? Or just anywhere where there is clear space? Maybe try out some of these ideas I shared, or take inspiration to make it meet your needs, either way have a go and you might be surprised what you achieve.

Happy organising my friends

A Mum letting go

8:55pm , 17th November 1996 I am holding her in my arms, just staring at her, she's mine, she's mine, she's mine. Am I really a Mum? Look at her she is soooo beautiful, her smell oh her smell, I can not get enough of her, wanting to never let her go. 

 

20 years later, I hold her hand and let her go. She is all grown up now and has left home. We raised our kids to leave us and they are.

He is my little boy, my youngest, my sweet wee man. He is 18 now and getting on a jet plane to join the Air Force, bye my son, bye my wee man, who I used to hold in my arms.

I am crying, sobbing I know they have to leave us and we want them to but they are my babies. They have to go, they want to go. I see them with excitement and adventures in their eyes, mine just fighting back the tears that I can't show. My heart hurts and sings at the same time. 

My emotions are all over the place, anticipation and excitement for them, and for us for our new adventures but it's a struggle to see the rooms empty out. 

Apparently this is called empty nest syndrome!  

I look at all the blogs, social media, magazine, TV shows, You tube channels focused on raising children. There is so much support and information out there now, it's great, especially for new Mums as it can be a lonely job. However there is not a lot when it comes to the other end of parenting, letting them go. Apparently the average age of children at home in New Zealand is 27!.  I could not believe that, a fully grown adult still living with parents at 27. 

So why at the age of 20 and 18 are our children leaving. It's simple really because they are adults and they need to be their own people have their own lives and most importantly take responsibility for it. When they were young we decided what sort of adults we wanted them to be and some of the characteristics they would need was independence and resilience. They had to learn skills to run their own lives, and it's sooo easy to run it for them and they will let you too. As a parent saying no and making tough decisions is very hard and often it is easier to fall back to doing it for them, or as Mr Dad would say, "you are enabling them"

Ms 20 left home to go flatting at the start of her second year at University, she was actually 19. We live in the same city so she could stay at home as most students do. However she needs her own space and place to spread her wings. She worked hard and saved all her money to have a cushion behind her to go flatting. She is a full time student as well as working to cover all her expenses, she is not financially dependant on us. 

Mr 18 is the same, having worked in school holidays since he was 15. He brought his first car and covered all running costs at the age of 17. The last 18 months have been dedicated to getting accepted into the Air Force, the goal which he achieved. He is also independent and not financially dependant on us and can't wait to get on that plane.

As parents this is the type of adult we wanted our children to be, we love to see them succeed on their own and not need us, no matter how painful that is because that is our job, to be parents. To show them the way to the door and watch them run out it into the sunshine!

 

 

 

 

 

Getting ready for the new year - My Planner set up for 2017

I can not exactly tell you when I first started using planners, or what I called diaries, I think it was at High school or Varsity. It was always on my Christmas wish list and I loved filling it all out for the new year......a bit like starting over, a fresh new year ...well I think that's why I loved it...thinking of all the possibilities and adventures that were coming that year.  Now we have "life planners", "goal planners" basically whatever planner you want. They are ohhhh so much more than just the basic yearly diary, they are great for getting you and your life organised. And the choice.... oh the choice, its endless plus there is the fun of making them all pretty by jazzing them up with stickers and custom tabs and washi tap.....limited only by your imagination. 

kikki k-planner.jpg

 

As it is January and my traditional time of the year for my new year planner , I thought I would take you through my personal planner set up for 2017....excited cos I am!

The planner itself is from Kikki k which I got as a Christmas present at the end of 2015. I absolutely love using it. It's not only functional but allows me to personalise it. I alway starts with the functional aspect then jazz it up, making it all pretttttyyyy ...so every time I open it I am filled with joy....wiggle bum!!!! Guys this is probably your equivalent to getting all the sports settings set up properly on your TV/Streaming device ..one stop shop for everything. 

Planner set up

For the inserts you can get the pre printed packs from Kikki K, however I can never find ones that has exactly what I want, so I go online. As there are soooo many planning choices out there on line, I'd suggest to use Pinterest to narrow the search.

This year I have purchased some planning printable bundles from the website Strange & Charmed. Aka 'Miss Trenchcoat' , she provides tools and resources to help online entrepreneurs succeed and she has great functional planning resources. 

As I purchased and downloaded the inserts I was able to use them for both my personal and business planner, so it is certainly a cheaper option (even including the printing). The great thing this year was that she provided them in A5 and A4 size, perfect for me.

Once I got all the inserts downloaded and printed, I was able to set up my planner in the following categories;

  • Monthly 
  • Weekly 
  • Daily 
  • Task list 
  • Budget 
  • Reflection

Each category is in its own section and separated by a divider, which I have personalised...sooo much fun.....and I love the look I achieved this year.

My monthly and weekly view are on two pages, this just means when I open it out it is over two pages. This gives me plenty of space to write.

The rest are all on one page with the exception of the reflection pages, which are actually from Kikki K.

 

Planning process

If you are a planner then you know that it takes a while to get the right system that works for you. 

The way I use my planner, essentially is based on a month by month view. All events, birthdays and appointments are noted firstly in the monthly view. Therefore at the start of each month I review what is coming up for the month, add in any additional appointments, events etc.

Every Sunday morning I plan up the week ahead, this means that I can see easily what is planned for the week and what I need to get done. I also run a task list, or a "to do" list, so I review this list at the same time and essentially divide up the tasks over the week depending on the priority and the time.  One thing that I do slightly differently is that I have a daily view for the weekends, one day on a page where I can time block . I actually find these really helpful for planning out things to get done in the weekend. I don`t know about you but I always have 101 things to get done in the weekend, so this works perfectly for me and ensures I get the important things done. 

Last year I started doing a weekly reflection, it is not really something that I thought I would get into ... a bit fluffy for me...however I actually found it really useful. So this year I am continuing do this.

Prettize the planner

Is there such a word? No suspect not but hey I have made it one now. This is where I have fun with my planner, as an FYI, planner embellishment is big business as is Planners in general. In short this is Scrapbooking for diaries. And yes I am a Scrapbooker from way back so it's a given that I got into planners. 

I actually make my own dividers. I take the original dividers that came with the planner and each year I cover them with updated card stock. My colour theme is gold and teal/turquoise or acqua or whatever colour you call it.  Each divider has a tab , this year I have gone all out and tried something different, just used a gold letter rather than the word on the tab, i.e m for monthly (actually it was an w upside down as I didn`t have any m`s left). I have to say I am in love with the look!!

 

So there you have it my planner for 2017. I hope this has inspired you to consider starting to use a planner....you never know it might change your life.  

If you are keen to learn more about using a planner and functional planning let me know, am happy to share the love!

Have a fantastic and productive week

tidyingwithtania-signature

How to solve Christmas present ideas for kids

Question! Can you create christmas gift ideas for kids that includes boredom busters, has fun items for the holidays and solves some back to school shopping!  Answer! Yes you can. I have got the solution and I think my adorable little niece and super dude nephew will love their creative present from their favourite Aunty and Uncle. Also am pretty sure my bro and sis in law will appreciate the presents too.

Kids Christmas present ideas

 

Ok so they are backpacks, not very original here, however it's the whole package that I think makes these christmas present ideas for kids so good.

The Problem

This time of year can be really hard work for Mums and Dads of younger kids. Not only are you having to deal with getting ready for Christmas, you also have to sort out school holidays. It is sometimes true madness. I recall those times when my two where young, it's hard work especially if you are working full time. So when it came to thinking about presents for wee M and H, I wanted to try and provide something that was entertaining for the kids as well as solving a problem for Mum and Dad. 

I got thinking and decided that the present needed to have the following items;

  • Summer holiday kit
  • Boredom busters
  • Christmas theme gifts
  • Back to school items

The Idea

My a hah moment was when I came up with the idea of getting them backpacks each. The first thing this is going to solve is to provide them both with backpacks for the new school year, thereby saving Mum and Dad a job. 

Now I just needed to fill up the bag with all sorts of goodies that would cover the remaining items, summer holiday kit, Christmas theme gifts and entertainment activities.

The Solution

It was such a shame that the solution required me to shop at Kmart! Yes I am one of those Kmart fans, sorry but they do have some great items (and some rubbish) and it's fun. The great thing for me was that I managed to get everything I needed in one shop and it didn't cost the earth.

So what did I get; 

Summer Holiday kit

  • Beach towel
  • Water bottle
  • Glow sticks (great for camping)

Boredom Busters

  • Mini microscope (really good for checking out the bugs in the garden)
  • Drawing and colouring book
  • Colour pencils
  • Stationery pack

Christmas theme gifts

  • Chocolate Santas
  • Wallet/purse to hold any Christmas money
Boredom busters

 

Back to School 

  • Backpack
Christmas present ideas for kids

 

I'm pretty sure wee M and H will be happy with their backpacks full of goodies and get hours of fun and entertainment over the summer and into the school year.

There are lots of other gift ideas that you could use, some suggestions are;

Inflatable beach equipment, swimming goggles, DVD's, Reading books, pencil cases, pens, craft sets, movie vouchers, knuckle bones, Rubix cube, MnM`s, Choc bars, and the list goes on.

You could even fill the backpacks up like a Santa sack or Christmas stocking. It is really only your imagination and purse that will limit you here.

So there you have it, my boredom busters, back to school, and christmas gift all in one! Can`t really get better than that if you are a kid and parent alike!.

Hopefully this has inspired you if you are stuck for some ideas for kids christmas presents.

I would love to hear what creative christmas gift ideas you have come up with.

Tidying with Tania