Are you overwhelmed with the paper that flows into your home?
Do you struggle to keep track of appointments and bills?
Do you have more piles than files?
One fantastic family command center to the rescue!
A family command center is a customized one-stop location for all family information.
One centralized place for all family communications = less chaos, less clutter, less stress!
(And your brain will thank you!)
Everyone in the family will know where to look for information and where to put updates.
When you use your family command center,
you will save time, save energy, and save money—and gain so much peace of mind.
Who wouldn’t want that!
So here’s how to make it happen.
#1—Look at your space with fresh eyes!
Imagine the possibilities of using your space in a different and exciting way. Look around your house for items that could be repurposed for your command center. It doesn’t have to be expensive and fancy to be useful and effective.
#2—Choose a high traffic area that your family uses every day.
This will usually be close to an entry door. It will be the place where papers and mail gets dumped every day. Don’t expect a command center in the basement or upstairs spare bedroom to be effective or efficient because it won’t be used on a daily basis.
#3—Designate a wall or closet door as your command center.
Don’t worry if you do not have a separate mudroom. What you need is vertical space. That can be any wall or any closet door. If you have a long wall, you might consider placing a freestanding set of cube shelves. Each family member gets their own vertical row of 3 cubes! That leaves space to have cork boards or white boards above the shelves.
#4—Use one wall calendar for all family appointments and activities.
Everyone in the family needs to know where everyone else needs to be. Color code by using a different color for each family member. Always check the calendar before making any commitments or appointments. You can easily snap a picture of the current month to have as a reference when you are away from home.
#5—Use cork boards or clip boards for specific purposes.
What really works well is to use 12 X 12 individual cork pieces or 9 x 12 clipboards. Each one is for one specific purpose or family member. You can make creative labels for each board. The trick is to make sure the information is current. Rotate and refresh on a weekly basis at the beginning of the week. If you use one large cork board, you can use ribbon or washi tape to create sections. The clip boards also come in a smaller size to hold coupons or receipts.
#6—Use a chalk board or white board to list dinner menus.
This answers the “what’s for dinner” or “where are we going to eat” questions. And it also creates an easy place to indicate who gets to help prepare, set up, and clean up. This is also a great place to keep a master grocery list and an envelope for coupons.
#7—Use an over-the-door organizer for keys, hats, & gloves.
This can easily go on the inside or outside of the closet door where coats are placed. Label the pockets for each family member. You will be amazed at how much time this will save. Always put keys in the same pocket every single time. Try having no more than 3 hangers per family member for different coats or sweaters for the current season. All others can be stored in under the bed containers which are out of the way, but still convenient to access if necessary. Coats and sweaters have priority in this closet if space is limited! Empty pockets could also be used for pet supplies that usually end up on the floor. If you don’t have a closet, then use sturdy hooks.
#8—Use a hanging pocket file or basket for sorting the mail.
Only have one place where you put all incoming mail. Quickly pull out the junk mail. Do not let it pile up on the counter. Immediately take out the coupons you want and discard the rest. You will save time and money by not keeping it around. Put the bills, cards, or letters that need to be read, filed or kept in your mail file or basket rather than in random places all throughout your house. Set aside 5-10 minutes each day to process.
#9—Create a Family Information Binder for frequently needed information.
Fill with tab dividers and page protectors. This is a place for information you frequently use, but it doesn’t need to be displayed. Create tabs for each family member, family contacts, service providers, child care information, medical and prescription information, as well as newsletters or bulletins from community or religious groups. This will keep your refrigerator door clear! The particular items will be different for every family, but useful for all when you take the time to think about what you need and use. In an emergency, you can quickly grab this notebook as you head out the door.
#10—Personalize your Family Command Center!
Involve the entire family! Add family slogans and inspirational quotes! Make it unique and attractive! Make it fun and easy to use every day! There are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest—but don’t try to copy one exactly. Just pick out a few ideas here and there that work for your space and family personality.
Then create your own masterpiece!
There are so many ways to create a command center, but the purpose remains the same—one central place for all family information. Don’t hesitate to adjust and tweak until you find what works best for your family. It will make you smile every day!
And I will smile if you send me a photo of your Family Command Center. I will include it in my “Awesome Afters” online gallery. Send it to email@example.com.