My Quick-Fix Message Center DIY

So, I obviously hate clutter. And my least favorite clutter is... paper! I have to-do lists, calendars, appointment cards, sticky notes, scrap paper and beautiful, but LOTS of pictures that the kids draw to display lying ALL OVER my house. I use a large calendar that I had hanging on my wall, but I didn't have anywhere to keep all of the other papers except stacked on my kitchen counter. It was driving me MAD!

One day I just decided to use the hallway wall to organize it. Now, my mission was NOT to make the prettiest, "pinteresty-est" message center, but to just get the job done for now. I needed all of the notes, lists, appointments, etc. in one place...and that place was NOT my kitchen counter. AND, I wanted a place to display the kids' artwork and school papers that they were so proud of. So, here was my fix:

Finding a place: I decided that it would be OK to use the whole hallway wall that people really didn't see unless they used our bathroom or did our laundry for us! :) It is right on the opposite side of the kitchen and phone, so I knew it would be convenient and easy to see.

Function: I needed a place to write down my 10 "To-Do"s for the day without losing the paper that I write them down on.  I also needed to keep the calender close by and needed a place for the scrap papers to be together that I just "jot" stuff down on.  I also wanted to display my kids' art and special school papers.

What to use:  

- Dry erase board: I knew I needed a dry erase board.  In my old age, I don't remember anything unless I write it down.  And, I love my to-do lists when I can find them! :)  A dry erase board was my favorite option.

- Calendar: Check!

-Cork board: As I was sorting papers, I came across a few that I needed to hang, such as the school lunch menu and some phone numbers that I knew I would need often.

I had debated on getting another plastic file for the wall like I had used in my mudroom post, but didn't really see the need for another place to collect papers.

Where to find items:

-I got super lucky when I remembered that I had a huge dry erase board down in the basement from when I used to teach couponing classes.  I originally got it at, I can't remember the price, but I'm sure it was under $100. Check out the link to see the current prices, but mine had an aluminum frame and it is AWESOME. It has been in the basement for over a year!

-I also already had the calendar. I got it at Staples as well for $5 at the beginning of the year. It is actually a desk calendar, but has holes to hang it on a wall as well.

-Cork board: I ended up buying 3 of them for $6 each at  It was a little hard to hang them side by side and line them up perfectly, but it may just have been the person hanging them! :)

So, first, I cleared off the wall and then washed it down with, you guessed it, a magic eraser! It was FILTHY! I never realized how many times we scuff the wall when we carry things through there. Or how many times my kids hit the wall with their hockey sticks! Oh well, it's just a wall! 

Then, I started by laying out the items i the way I wanted them to look on the wall. I hung the dry erase board first and then figured out the layout of the calendar and cork board. I knew I needed to be able to reach ALL of the dry erase board to write on it.  I also knew I needed the calendar at eye-level.  My original plan was to have the kids' artwork hang below, but I couldn't get the layout quite right.

Here's the final message wall:

I absolutely LOVE it! Like I said, it may not be pretty, but it gets the job done and gets me more ORGANIZED which is the name of the game right now!

As you can see, I write down my 10 to-do tasks for the day and cross them off as I go.  I also write down what I have to have done for the kids for that day. My older two love to cross off their "chores" after they get them done and I take care of the baby's.  Right now, she is sick with RSV and we keep track of when we do her nebulizer treatments so that when my mom comes to babysit, we can easily keep track. Love, love, LOVE!

Now for the kids' artwork...I had 2 cork boards left. I decided that I would hang them in the small space that the calender originally hung in. It is right between the kitchen and playroom, but I figured it was better to hang the pictures there than have them all over the fridge anyway. At least it would look a bit more organized and the kids would feel special when they saw them decorating the space! This is how it looks now...

And all I can say now is aaaahhhhh. It is done and out of the way!  I find it SO much easier to keep track of my day now. Everything is in one place and easy to find. I don't lose my to-do list and now the household knows what needs to be done for the day without asking! Yes, I love it! It took about 2 hours total, but was worth it!

Now, go tackle your message center so you can breathe easier!
I'd love to see photos, too! :)  Post them on our Facebook page!

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