The kitchen is the de facto command center in most homes. This is where families gather for breakfast and dinner—and homework and work work, too— every day, and it's the spot to catch your kids or your spouse if there's something you need to communicate about your day. So no wonder companies and bloggers make a big deal about putting a command center in the kitchen. It sounds so good: a designated spot, bulletin board and all, for controlling your household.
The quintessential command center, IMHO, starts with Pottery Barn's Daily System, a selection of wall-mounted organization accessories including whiteboard calendars, bulletin boards, file holders, and the like. The premise is, you kit out your designated nook with all these things, and your kitchen is outfitted, office-level, with everything you need to manage your days.
And yet, I won't be putting one of these in my kitchen. Here are my reasons.
1. I think they're ugly.
Yes, this shot of Pottery Barn's Daily System looks lovely. That's because it was styled by at least one professional stylist, whose job it is to create the perfect level of messy-organization for us mere mortals to aspire to. But in my own real life, my piles are ugly, my handwriting's a mess, and the few photos I print out are not black and white and layered on top of coordinating scrapbook paper. So I'm at a disadvantage from the beginning.
2. I don't sit facing the wall.
Despite the fact that I work from home and even have one of those desk-height nooks on my countertop, I don't use that area for work. I sit at the kitchen table, or on the sofa, or on the patio. The point of a wall-mounted command center is to have it in your face in your most-used spot, so unless I hang one from the chandelier above the kitchen table, that's not going to work. Since most people are working on laptops versus desktops these days, having a stationary command center doesn't make sense.
3. Command centers don't talk.
Don't worry, I never expected a bulletin board to talk to me. But as more and more devices are voice-enabled, the ease of use of asking Siri or Alexa what's happening today is making those wall-mounted reminders obsolete. When I put events into my phone or Google calendar, it chirps a warning at me when the time nears.
4. They also don't travel with you.
It's much more useful for me to have all my reminders and lists and events marked down on something that I can carry with me (i.e., my phone or even a journal). This way, I can make a follow-up appointment at the doctor's right then and there. And then I don't feel obligated to transcribe the information into a system on the wall when I get home.
5. They become wallpaper.
A long time ago, I was interviewing an organizing expert on a clutter story. One thing she said stuck with me: If you leave a mess long enough, it becomes part of the wallpaper. You stop seeing the mess because it's always there. The same thing happens with command centers. Even if you mount them right by the back door, or next to your coffee station, at some point those wall-mounted command centers start to blend in with the rest of the decor. If I truly need to remember something, I write it on a post-it note and stick it to the door or my coffee mug. And set a thousand reminders. Because when I'm in a rush, the last thing I'm going to do is stop and browse the wall for a reminder!
I realize that many of you may disagree with me, and I'm interested to hear if this sort of system works for you. Hey, maybe I'll change my tune in a few years when both kids can read and I'm not the only one responsible for remembering when we go to swim practice. But until then, my walls remain empty.