Containing paper clutter is a constant battle in our home, just as I’m sure many can relate. Because we enter the house from the garage through the laundry room most of the stuff that comes home ends up dumped on the dining room table or kitchen counters so I figured that was a good place to start. I decided to create a command center in this little corner where we could write notes, stash important papers and organize the hub’s stuff.
I started with a small wooden organizer where the hubs can stash his wallet, receipts and notes. I also found him a small jar with a lid for loose change. That worked fairly well, but he often had full size papers that he needed handy so I decided to add a wire rack we picked up during one of our trips to Portland. It had been in the laundry room for a while but never got used there and came down when I did my DIY Ballard Knockoff Décor for that space, so I’m glad it’s found a useful home here. I used two clear hooks with removable adhesive tape to hang it just under the countertop. It fits the small nook of space perfectly.
Originally I wanted to paint the side of the top cabinet to create a chalkboard but the hubs nixed that idea noting that if I changed my mind later removing the paint would damage the cabinet. What?! I never change my mind! Well ok. He might have a point there. 🙂 So I came up with a better idea. I’d paint a piece of sheet metal and install that on the side of the cabinet so it was both chalkboard and a magnet board! Of course they didn’t sell a piece that was just the right size so the hubs cut one down for me.
A couple thin coats of chalkboard paint and it was looking pretty good. The hardest part was waiting for it to dry in between coats.
Next I seasoned the chalkboard by rubbing a piece of chalk over the entire surface and then wiping it down. This helps prevent things from “staying” on the surface after you wipe them down.
Since the hubs wanted the piece to be removable I attached it with the same removable adhesive strips I’d used on the hooks for the wire rack. IF I every change my mind I can start at the bottom and work my way up pulling the tabs to release the adhesive.
I stuck it up on the side of the cabinet against the trim on the front and top of the cabinet so the edges weren’t exposed. And as you can see, it works great as a magnetic board too holding our early bird tickets for Junk Bonanza outside Portland in October!
Things were looking pretty good at this point but I wanted to address the uneven edge of the metal along the wall. The hubs did a great job cutting the sheet metal, but the tool he used had to take a 1/4″ off at a time so he wasn’t able to match the size exactly. He was pretty frustrated that it wasn’t perfect, so I wanted to find a way to make it work.
I tried a few pieces of trim we had on hand but most were too big or bulky. I picked up a square dowel at Lowes but that was too narrow and too thick, so I returned that. A few days later I was at Michaels and figured I’d look at what they had. I’m glad I did because I found a piece of balsa wood that was the right thickness and width for what we needed. At less than $2 plus a coupon it was the perfect solution. I gave it a couple coats of stain to match the cabinet color. It fit so well that it actually stayed up without any adhesive but I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t get bumped off so I added a little hot glue on the backside before putting it up. The glue should be easy to peel off if I ever need to.
Now I needed somewhere to store my chalk. I originally planned to use colored chalk pens like the yellow you saw above, but they have to be primed and I didn’t want to deal with delays when I needed to work up a grocery list, so I opted for old-school white chalk instead. I used more hot glue to attach this pull handle upside down to create a cup where the chalk sits. I did have to reposition the cup due to installing it unevenly, which caused the chalk paint to peel up a bit which caused the bare spot under the holder, but I touched that up with a thin coat of chalkboard paint and it looks fine now. I still need to touch up the wall paint, but I’ll get to that at some point.
Since the papers in the rack still looked messy I found these simple poly vinyl folders to clean it up a bit. I wanted something a little cuter, but apparently mid-March is not prime season for two pocket folders. Who knew right?! I’ll keep an eye out when the back to school supplies come out in the fall, but for now these seem like they will hold up pretty well and could be easy enough to add simple decoration to with paint or vinyl designs. That might just be a future post if I do!
Total cost for the all the materials came in around $50. Because the extra metal and chalkboard paint can be used for other projects that lessens the total a bit too. I love it and I’m sure it will be super handy once we start fostering and have kiddo’s school papers to manage. I’m going to keep an eye out for another wire rack that matches this one when we are in Portland this fall in case we need to expand since there’s still room on the bottom cabinet to accommodate another.
I’d love to hear what you think of our new DIY command center or how you created one of your own, so leave me a comment below.