Command Center – The key to keeping your family organized.
Any busy parent can attest to the craziness that comes from balancing various family schedules. Sports practices, project due dates, swim lessons, picture day, field trip permission slips, etc. Not to mention the other important things such as meal plans, doctor appointments, grocery lists, car service checks, and don’t forget to add in some “me time.”
A household with kids, no matter how young or old, is never more in need of a system for staying on top of all the details. That’s why implementing a command center is such a valuable tool.
What is a Command Center?
A command center can be thought of as a home base for organizing daily chaos. It’s where all the paper that comes thru your front door gets filtered before finding its final resting place.
The best part about command centers is that they are completely customizable to you family’s needs and personal style. Some things to ask yourself before creating your command center are:
- Where am I feeling most unorganized?
- What do I seem to always misplace and can never find when I need it?
- What items are taking up the counterspace and dining room table?
Once you have answered these questions it will give you a good starting point to figuring out what you should include in your command center. While there is no right or wrong thing to incorporate, here are items I recommend to have which form the major foundation.
What to Include in Your Command Center
No command center will be able to function properly without incorporating a calendar. It’s vital to keeping schedules coordinated and will easily display upcoming appointments & events with a quick glance.
Dry erase calendars are always my recommendation as they are easy to use! As a bonus you can get markers in an array of colors, so each member of the family has their designated shade. The kids love this because it not only looks cool, but it helps them feel included.
Perhaps the best part of adding a calendar to your command center is that it will eliminate the paper clutter. If you have kids, you know how fast paper can get out of control.
Instead of keeping stacks of paper, just add the important dates to the calendar. Once the dates have been added you can part with the document. Same goes for appointment cards & birthday invitations.
Having a mail station is one other key component to a command center. This might sound silly but get yourself a mail opener if you don’t already have one. It makes going thru mail faster and way more fun!
Make a commitment to open your mail as soon as it enters your home. It only takes a few minutes and if you do it right away it is sure to get done.
Create a file system. If you aren’t sure what I’m referring to be sure to check out our other post all about how to keep paperwork organized. Basically, you should create a few folders to keep in your mail station for the different types of mail your get.
- For the Kids
Above are just a few examples, but you get the idea. Once you sort the mail into these files, toss or shred the rest. Commit to going thru those files once a week and clearing out the paper.
The mail station is not meant to be a long-term storage solution. It is meant to house that week’s papers until you can add items to the calendar, file the important documents, and toss the rest.
Other items you may want to include are:
- Pens & Pencils
- Hooks for Keys or Backpacks
- Cork Board for Messages
- Charging Station
- Take Out Menus
- Gift Cards
Where Should Your Command Center be Located?
This is up to the needs of your family. Be sure to consider where your family congregates the most. A command center won’t work if it isn’t being seen or used. Out of sight, out of mind.
If you are unsure where to place your command center, I suggest the kitchen, as this is a main room for every person in the home. Tip: Create a meal plan each month and keep this on your command center. In the morning you will be able to see what you might need to take out of the freezer for dinner that evening.
Maintain Your Command Center
Maintenance is critical. A command center is meant to serve your family and keep everyone organized. If you don’t keep up with it, its not going to help you.
In order to avoid this, make sure you get the whole family on board. If you want the kids to hang their bags on the hooks in your command center, be sure to get them into the habit. If you are constantly forgetting where your keys are, commit to putting them on the hook each and every day.
Repeating these steps daily will get everyone into the habit and it will soon become second nature.
Utilize the calendar, and make sure to change it monthly. Tip: This is a great chore to give to the kiddos since they really enjoy erasing the old & writing in the new month.
Go thru your mail station weekly. Set appointments on your phone if you need to, but just be sure to commit to this step.
As mentioned above, location is important because if it is out of sight you will NOT use it. If the command center is constantly in your line of vision you will reap it’s amazing benefits.
Inspiration for Your Command Center
Who doesn’t love getting lost in the land of Pinterest and pinning to your favorite boards? I know I do. Go to Pinterest and search “Command Center”
If you are a visual person this will help you a lot. There are so many examples and inspiration pictures that you can use to create your own version.
Stores like Hobby Lobby, TJ Maxx, Target, and Marshals are all great places to find items to create your command center.
Take Action and Create
Now that you know what a command center is, what to include, where to place it, and how to maintain it, you are ready to take some action and create your very own.
I would love it so much if you would share with me your command center creations. Or if you have any questions about the process please feel free to leave a comment or contact me. My goal is always to serve and provide value.
If the idea of adding one more item to your to-do list makes your cringe, but you really want to set up your very own command center, we can help! We have set up command centers for our clients in the past and absolutely love doing it, and would love to work with you too!