When you are a part of a family, your life is running in one direction while everyone else’s is running in their own. It’s hard to keep track of everyone’s schedule, let alone keep yourself and everyone else organized. One way to an efficient and productive household? A family command center. The command center of the home is an area where members can gain information into the goings-on in the household. It also stores important family-related paperwork and information. Imagine how much easier life could be if you designated one location for the family schedule, important phone numbers, mail, and chore charts! No more “Where’d that go?” or “I didn’t know!”
An effective command center can start with a family meeting. Listen to the needs of your family members and get buy-in from them about what should be included in your center. Some families like to keep mail in the center to avoid it being scattered on counters and tables. Consider keeping a folder or box in your command center to collect the mail. Other families keep forms, calendars, information on upcoming events, coupons, receipts, or chore charts. The only rule is, it’s the family’s designated go-to place for information. Getting the buy-in regarding what must be included ensures that your family recognizes and utilizes the command center, a critical element to organizational success.
Once your family decides on the necessary elements of the command center, together choose the best place for it. The center should be near the most commonly used entrance to the home; or a place where your family is frequently coming and going. A small, underused section of the kitchen may be a good place, as this is a great family gathering space. Since the command center provides schedules and other useful information, it’s best to keep it in an easily accessible and viewable space.
By establishing and maintaining your command center, you are literally in command of your family’s and your own itineraries. You’ll eliminate missed appointments and birthday parties, late payment of bills, and scheduling snafus. Less confusion and more organization adds more time for you and what’s important for your own health, wellness, and, well, sanity!
- Create a family calendar. A family calendar is a MUST in your command center. You can make your own with good old-fashioned construction paper and glue (a great family project!); buy a large monthly calendar (like teachers use in their classrooms); or buy an erasable whiteboard calendar. Once you have a calendar, every family member must take time to include their schedule—activities, social engagements, and due dates on papers and projects. Keeping the calendar up to date is key, so be sure to change the calendar the last day of each month.
- Add a corkboard. Next to your family calendar, hang a corkboard with plenty of pins. Add invitations and necessary paperwork associated with events like permission slips and tickets to your board. You can also keep receipts for items needing to be returned as an “in-your-face” reminder. Anything timely or associated with the calendar should be included on the corkboard.
- Keep junk away. To ensure that the command center is not a repository for junk, be specific about what belongs in the command center: all things related to scheduling and possibly your family’s to-do list. Though wonderful, photos and drawings do not belong here; choose a different place to display artwork and report cards! And weed through your command center weekly, tossing outdated information, and keep the space current, organized, and easy for everyone to follow.