With as busy as families are today it’s so important that everyone in the family to be kept abreast of what’s going on. One way to do that is by having a family command center. This is an organized area in your home with a calendar, and a few other items, that helps to keep your family organized. With school about to start again and lots of activity calendars about to flood your house this is the perfect time to set a command center up in for your family.
How to Create a Family Command Center
1. Where to Have Your Command Center
The first thing you need to figure out is where you want your command center to be. It’s good to have it somewhere in the house where the family will easily see it. The exact location will depend mostly on your family’s needs as well as the space you have in your house. The one in my home is located on a small wall in the kitchen. the door to the mudroom can cover it up if it’s open all the way, but it’s still easy to get to. If you search for inspirational pictures you’ll find that most people create their’s in the kitchen or an entrance area, but any area the family passes through often will work.
2. What to Have in Your Command Center
In my opinion there are a few items that every good command center must have. The first is a large calendar. To keep your family organized it’s important for everyone to visually see what is scheduled. I find it’s helpful to color code everyone in the family so it is also easy to see which person the activity goes to. Plus, then you don’t have to write the person’s name next to the activity on the calendar which creates more writing space. In our home my activities are written in pink, Nick is green, and any joint activities are orange.
I highly suggest getting a flip calendar that contains at least 12 months. This way you can plan out for months in advance. When that school year calendar comes home with your child in a few weeks you can go to the calendar and mark everything down, or at least half of it if your calendar ends at the end of December. Needing to hold onto printed activity calendars and other such papers for a whole year so you can write things down on a white board type of calendar every month will just create clutter and you won’t feel organized at all.
It’s also useful to have some type of cork board. You can use this to tack up important information you might need. For example, when Nick gets invited to a birthday party I’ll put the invitation on the cork board so I can easily find it later to get the address of the party location. You can also use the board to tack up such things as appointment cards. I also like to place my meal plan page for the week there. That way everyone can see what’s for dinner without needing to ask me. Of course now that Nick is the only in the house that needs to know this, and of course he can’t read, this isn’t quite as necessary.
One other item that I think is important is a dry erase board. Depending on the size white board you feel that you need you may want to look into a combined cork board and dry erase board. When I was doing Buttoned Up Boot Camp and putting my command center together we already had a white board on the refrigerator which is right next to our command center, so I decided to not spend the money on a new one. They really are useful as an easy way for family members to leave notes about so many things. Plus since it’s part of your command center the notes will get seen and not lost.
3. Other Things You Might Want for Your Command Center
Once you have the three basic command center items it’s up to you how you put the rest of it together. Some people like to have shelves so they can file paper work such as school papers, bills, and mail. Other people use buckets or baskets to hold pens, dry erase markers and erasers, and other items. I actually keep these in a kitchen drawer next to the refrigerator. Depending on where your command center is located you may want it to be a location for keeping your keys. Having a designated spot for your keys will help you always know where they are. Some people also incorporate this are to hang coats and backpacks.
What you decide to add to your command center is really up to you and should be based on what you feel would best help your family stay organized. I like to keep things simple so I haven’t included any of these items in my command center, but it’s different for each family.
As you can see creating a family command center is really quite easy, and if you keep yours simple than it doesn’t cost much to create either. Plus you might have some, if not all, of the items at your house already!
Once you’ve made your command center the important thing is to use it. Make sure to mark all important dates on your calendar, and do it as the information comes in. That way you won’t forget! Be sure to check your command center often so you don’t miss any important information that your family might have to share with you. Also be sure to teach your family members hat to utilize the family command center. It’s meant to help out the entire family and not just mom!