Create a family command center to keep track of literally all the things and keep your family organized with this essential guide. I’m giving you everything you need to know to get set up the right way and instantly feel relief from the stress and clutter.
From a Working Mom of Three: You Need a Command Center
I get it mama, you feel like you’ve lost control of all the things. It’s hard keeping track of what your kids need to bring to school on any given day of the week. Many days I feel like I am only one step ahead of everyone else, barely getting there before they do.
As a working mom, I am in a constant battle between what I think is “balancing” (no such thing as balance, if you ask me) my career with my family. So often I have felt like I am failing at both trying to make it all work. I have felt disorganized, unprepared, and just overall overwhelm from keeping track of everyone’s schedules and needs.
In my mind, I knew there had to be a way to make this work. I knew that I couldn’t go on forever feeling like I was always missing important dates, misplacing papers, and being behind on everything.
Our Family Command Center Helps Us Function More Systematically
I learned that when my family had a schedule, system, or routine to follow everything seemed to run so smoothly. Where, at one time, we were all on different pages and this affected how we interacted with one another, what we did when we got home, and the overall mood of our home.
When my husband and kids know what to expect and know what role they are playing in our day in and day out we are functioning as a team. Everyone puts forth their personal best and works for the better of the whole family.
Imagine the inner workings of a clock, each gear connected with each other and making each other spin so that the clock can tell time. That is our family when we have structure and order. We become like the gears in the clock, pushing and supporting one another to ensure that our whole system is working!
When there isn’t structure and order, we function more like a herd of cats running after a ball of yarn. We end up stepping all over each other, getting into arguments and fights, and we are definitely not working as a team.
The first part of establishing systems in your home to streamline your family is creating a family command center.
What is a family command center?
A family command center is a central location where you will keep essential daily items. This space should help you execute your daily tasks and provide a way for you to streamline your productivity.
A family command center is not just a place to drop shoes and backpacks. It needs to serve as a space for school work, mail, keys, and more. The command center should be simple enough for your entire family to utilize. This will ensure its ability to work better for you!
Designate a Location
You will want to designate a spot in your home that gets a lot of traffic for your command center. When you place your command center in a central location that gets a lot of traffic, you are giving yourself every opportunity to use the command center and thus, setting yourself up for success.
Many families have command centers near or in their kitchens. The kitchen is a good location because the average family spends quite a bit of time in their kitchens.
Another option for the location of your command center is in a mud area or drop zone. This would be a place where everyone typically leaves their shoes, bags, backpacks and purses.
It could also be placed in an office that everyone would have access to getting to. This is not the most ideal location, though. If you have a blank wall space near a common walkway or by your garage door, those are better options for the location of your family command center.
5 Essentials to Include
When you are planning your command center, you will want to consider what all will need to be included. The command center should be the hub for your family to get everything they need on a day to day basis.
Calendar: We use iCalendar for keeping track of our family’s events. I like that I can always have it with me when I need it. But I also create a visual paper calendar that is displayed in our command center so that I can see the events all laid out. There is just something about that visual to help me keep track of everything we have going on.
Menu: Creating a menu and keeping it displayed in our command center is so beneficial for our family. There are a few reasons why this is so important. One of them is because it keeps us all on the same page. When there is a menu, there is less whining and griping about dinner. We also save a lot of money on food when I take the time to sit down and put a menu together. It gives my husband a sense of direction when he gets home with the kids in the evening, and it really becomes a crucial part of our evening routine.
School Calendar/Lunch Menu: Another essential part of our command center is the school calendar and lunch menu. Sometimes these two things are combined into one and other times the school events calendar is separate than that of the lunch menu. Either way, I make space for this in our family command center.
Interestingly enough, my first grader takes a sack lunch to school most days. But on the off chance that we might run out of time or forget his lunch, we have the school calendar printed and displayed for our reference.
Baskets/Bins for Each Family Member: Each family member should have their own designated basket or bin for their papers, mail, or knick knacks. I have one for each of our three kids and one for both my husband and I. These bins come in handy all the time when I am trying to clean up clutter and get things put in their place.
When everyone has their own spot for things, there are less lost items and more order in our routines.
Mail Bin: You should also include a space where the mail can go. I would recommend having three separate bins or baskets for your mail. One of them would be the general mail drop zone. This would be utilized when you grab the mail but just don’t have the time to go through it yet. Place the unopened mail here and come back when you have a chance.
Then, once you are ready to go through the mail, make three piles. One pile for toss, one pile for items needing filed, and one file for items that need action to be taken. This will prevent the mail piling up and will allow you to take care of the odds and ends that you need to.
Make it Visually Appealing
Create a command center that is both functional and fun to look at. Use the opportunity to consider how you might utilize the space and create a look that you will love. When you enjoy a space, it makes you much more likely to actually use it.
In our command center, we have white bins from Ikea and The Container Store. I love how clean and simple they are. When you open up the cabinet doors, they are all pretty and organized.
Are you ready to take control over the paper and clutter that are keeping you from truly enjoying your home and family time?