web stats

Getting Organized — My Family Message Center {take two}

I am not a naturally organized person. So one of the things that’s hard when my kids go back to school is keeping track of all of the papers and notes that come home in their backpacks. There have been many times that some “crucial” papers have been accidentally swept into the garbage in one of my efforts to tidy up my kitchen. And the kitchen is where everything seems to get dumped after school.
messy desk
I have a desk in my kitchen that was the catch-all for everything that came in the door. Plus, the area right above my desk was full of outlets, a very unattractive intercom system thing-a-ma-bob and phones. Very ugly.
So I tried to come up with an idea that would take all of those papers, plus make the space a little prettier.
picture before
here’s what I came up with. I scored a big old frame at a garage sale for $1. I spray painted it white and then I found this adorable Bicycle Fabric at Spoonflower. Have you heard of Spoonflower? It’s a really great site that lets you print your own fabric designs or buy some that from artists all over the world. I love this fabric – it’s playful and it matches my new Kitchen Remodel colors.
bik fabric
I took a piece of sheet metal and trimmed it to fit over the original painting. Then I covered it with this fabric. I fitted it back in the frame and voila – a pretty magnet board that covers up all of those unattractive cords and outlets – yay!!
Then I found a clear file folder from Office Depot. I covered some manila file folders with scrapbook paper and printed off labels for everyone in the family. I attached the file folder holder to the wall with some 3M Command Strips. So if I ever want to take it down, my painted cabinet will not be ruined.
clear folder
file folders
And directly under the clear folder, I put a tray from Ikea. I put some vintage jello molds inside of an old bread pan with paper clips, rubber bands and other office-y things. Plus I put a couple pot-it note pads so people can take down messages when people call.
So now I have a place to put those important school papers that are filed away, but easily accessible. And best of all, hopefully nothing important will end up in the trash this school year!!

How do YOU keep your family organized?? Do you have a system?? I would love to know!!



  1. Totally love this idea. We just bought a house and upgraded the appliances and it hits me on day 2 that I can’t put my lists or anything on our new stainless steel fridge. Googled message center ideas for the kitchen and got your blog… LOVE it. Totally going to repurpose the next frame I see! :)

  2. Hi Jen!
    I am wondering if you can tell me where you got the beautiful magnets for your cute new board!

  3. Very cute I really need to do this in my own home! Thanks for another great idea Jen!

  4. Hi Jen –
    I love how you hid the ugly outlets! I have the same issue and am totally stealing your idea!!! Can’t wait to get started. One question, where to you get the SUPER adorable magnets for your board? Did you make them? If so, can you pretty please, with sugar on top, share how you did it?

    Dina from GA

  5. Love this definately going to make – such a great idea.

    One question did you make the beautiful magnets????? I really must have some of them as well lol.

  6. I am totally going to find a frame and buy sheet metal for this project. I didn’t know you could cover the sheet metal in fabric…heck I didn’t even know about sheet metal 😉

    Thanks for the inspiration!!!!

  7. Love the fabric covered magnetic board! Great ideas.

  8. mary governal says:

    I love your ideas! I will be off work for weeks from surgery and will try some of these organizing
    ideas. My refrigerator is stainless steel so magnets don’t stick. I love your fabric covered metal idea in a frame!

  9. I’m on a mission to get organized too this year, love all of your ideas!

  10. I created a message center for myself out of fabric and such. I also sell 16 x 20 Message Center Prints and Child Message Center Prints, that you frame and use as a dry erase board, which makes for Delightful Order.

    Check them out here:

    Love your system!

  11. Hi Jen,
    Thank you so much for this great idea. You are so creative!

    I might just try this also. I’ve been looking for a way to keep our family info organized.

    Thanks again,

  12. This looks so great and wonderfully organized.
    I am a bit confused though. I have been looking for a way to hang some folders too, so I was eyeing your clear folder holder. But in the later pictures it looks like it has some iron scroll work? Is that just confusing in the pic and does it come from one of the decorative papers or did you decorate that file holder too?
    Hope I can find something similar at Staples over here (don’t have Office Depot).

    • agreed! the white design made the file look so classy and modern! i also love the labels! can we get a template for those?!

  13. awesome! love it!

  14. Love, love, love the bicycle fabric!!! And I really like how you framed it. A message center like this would definitely make me at least want to be more organized :)

  15. This space is the bane of your existence! LOL
    I’m in the organizing mood…I just did my pantry today. UGH!

  16. It looks so nice! I just keep shoving stuff in a drawer and then find it 6 months later. Not workin’ out real well for me. lol

  17. Organized isn’t really in my vocabulary. I try, but it works for about five minutes before getting disorganized again. I love your magnet board, looks great!

  18. I love the fabric you used. I have never heard of spoonflower so I suppose I need to be heading over there after I finish this comment! I wish I was as organizationally inclined as you are. My message system consists of me throwing a sticky note on the door while I am rushing out on the way to work. Definitely not the best system! I really loved your idea. I have a few old pictures that I could do the same with!

  19. Very cute and well done. That fabric truly is great.

  20. Melanie Woolard says:

    we have a 3-ring binder w/ a tabbed folder for each person. We keep important items in. Eyelglass Rx’s, haircut coupons, gift cards etc. Each person knows where to look before asking me. I also have a misc. file

  21. Oh this is too cute and i have the perfect spot for that message board :)

  22. I love it! I need something like this for my husband alone ; )

  23. That looks fantastic! I so need to get on the ball and organize our family chaos, too. Thanks for the great inspiration. Love that magnet board!!

  24. What a nice idea! Need to do this in my place. My papers are such a mess…

  25. looks so great!!!!! i need to do something like this for my area in the kitchen!

  26. Love the bike backing! So cute!!! We have a TON of drawers in our kitchen…. Since its just the hubs and I so far he has a drawer and I have a drawer. It’s not the best system… but it works.

  27. your kitchen looks so pretty Jen!! I loved seeing you yesterday, that was SOOO nice! Thank you!!

  28. I LOOOOVE this! So pretty & functional all at once! :)

  29. Where do I buy sheet metal? I’ve been wanting to do that!!!

  30. I love this!! You posted it at the most fabulous time for me, too! I’ve GOT to get a schedule and everything organized. Seems with two in school now, and 2 sets of sports I never know if I am coming or going! Yours is wonderful!

    • That’s how I felt too Christy!! It’s so nice to have a place for all of those papers and have them organized per person!


  31. I love this! Great ideas!

  32. This looks great! I am inspired to something like this in my sewing room. I already have the acrylic file system and all I need are the good looking folders! Thanks for another inspiring project Jen.

  33. What did you use to cover the plastic Office Depot thingy?

    Beautiful work going to do this asap!

  34. Looks fantastic!! I am a paper piler. I have hopes of recovering, but unless I get my butt in gear, it won’t be any time soon. I love your solution!!!

  35. LOVE LOVE LOVE this message center! My hubby and I need to try this!! thank u for sharing! awesome idea!

  36. Oh my goodness, the before pic of the desk is hilarious with all your comments. I have never seen fabric covering sheet metal for a magnet board. Brilliant! Love how the finished desk area looks. Everything is so pretty, but from what I’ve seen, your entire home is beautiful! Thanks for sharing :)

  37. I love your magnet board!! I hate how they put plugs & Switches right in the middle of the wall over those kitchen desks! Ugh!

    I just revealed my new family/blog command center the other day Check it out:

  38. This is such a great idea. Love that you covered all the cord area with something so cute – brilliant!

  39. Fab! I’ve got this overhaul on my list and you’ve just helped me gel some ideas.

  40. Love it Jen! I adore that you didn’t lose prettiness for the sake of organization!

  41. Looove this. I cant tell you how many times as I was reading the post that I gasped “me too”… “me TOO!”… “ME TOOOOO!!!” Ecspecially about the thrown away papers. Great ideas and beautiful little set up. I have the perfect idea for my own kitchen now.

  42. Love it! It really looks nice and clean

    • Thanks Jen!! I love my cabinets white. It really makes my kitchen seem so much bigger and brighter. And I think the grey walls and accents really make it look clean too :)

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate it!


  43. LOVE IT! I think I could use the frame idea for sure! What I a great idea for magnets.

    • Thanks Katie!! I got that frame for $1 from a garage sale – such a steal. I am sure you could find some too. It’s nice having a magnet board there to cover up all of those cords and keep things like the lunch menu there so my kids can see it every day :)


  44. Love it! You created a functioning system that looks great too! Spoonflower is one of my favorite fabric suppliers!

    • Thanks Shauna!! I love having the folders right there so easily accessible! I love Spoonflower. I ordered some fabric to make pillows for my couch too. It’s fun to see all of the different designs that you can’t find anywhere else.

      Thanks for the sweet comment!!


  45. I love that fabric! I apparently need to get more organized! Yesterday I found my boys school picture forms that were due two weeks! Luckily they let me turn them in late:)

    • LOL Kelli!! That sounds like me. I have the hardest time keeping track of things. Now that I have the folders I’m doing a little better though LOL!


  46. I have been thinking about doing something similar to the file folder in our closet under the stairs for mail. I was going to use cereal boxes cut down and covered in pretty paper but this might be more durable.

    • I love the idea of cereal boxes cut down and covered in paper. That would be really pretty and functional too!!!


  47. the print is beautiful!

    • I really like it too!! I think Spoonflower is a fun site because you can find fabric on there that isn’t available anywhere else and it’s really unique :)

      Thanks for your comment. Have a wonderful day!



  1. […]                           1. bhg   2. No 2 Pencil  3. Inspiration for Home   4. Tater Tots & Jello   5. The Blooming […]

  2. […] them more functional, like  the desk area of my kitchen. I’m still getting good use out of my “message center” with handy file folders for everyone’s current papers, but I know there’s more I […]

  3. […] Creative Message Center – Tatertots and Jello […]