Creating a personalized family command center can help tame chores, meal planning, calendars and to-do’s — just to name a few. With back-to-school season upon us, now is a great time to get organized. Use these tips to create a command center to fit your family’s needs. And, free printables!
I began using a command center when my son started kindergarten. It was one of those all-in-one fabric organizers that hung on our garage door, and had pockets for documents and odds + ends, a dry erase board, pen holders and a slot to hang a calendar. It was the last thing we saw before heading out to school in the morning, and a great place to post last minute reminders.
Our needs and routines have changed and so has our command center. If yours needs an overhaul or you’re creating one for the first time, start with these steps…
Planning Your Command Center
Step 1 — Where?
Where should your command center be located? Ideally, you’ll want to locate it in a spot that’s easy to access and that you’ll see everyday. It could be near an exit door, in your kitchen, mudroom or office, a hallway, a closet or a corner.
Step 2 — What?
What are your must-have items? Look around your home at those ‘landing spots’ — you know, the surfaces where everyone dumps everything! These spots offer clues about what you can and should organize into your command center. Make a list!
Things you might want to consider:
- Lists (to-do, grocery)
- Boards for notes (dry-erase, chalk, memo, bulletin)
- Hooks (for coats, keys, bags)
- Charts (chores, meal plans, daily schedules)
- File organizers (coupons, receipts, homework, mail, reference materials)
- Charging station
Step 3 — How?
How are you going to pull this all together? First, measure the space you’re working with so you can select the tools + supplies that will fit. Armed with your ‘what’ list, determine the supplies that will help you organize all of it.
For example, let’s say you have three kids, and their homework, school bags, and after school schedules. A 3-part file organizer could organize homework, 3 hooks can house coats and backpacks and individual charts or a single master calendar can be used to organize schedules. You’ll obviously want to select a file organizer, hook system and charts or calendar that are appropriately sized for your space.
If you’re feeling it, add in family photos, nuggets of inspiration or anything fun that will get the whole family using your command center.
Check out my Command Center board on Pinterest for more inspiration!
What’s in Our Command Center?
With the laundry room makeover came an opportunity to create a new command center to better support our new routines + patterns. Built-in lockers house coats, bags and shoes and one of the cubbies is a charging station, so all that is covered.
Our other must-have items:
- Monthly calendar for family activities — so everyone can stop asking mom what’s happening and when (you know they still do, though)
- Weekly task / activity list for the kiddo — this includes reminders for homework + after school activities
- Dedicated spot for incoming mail — so it’s not left all over the place!
- Chore chart
- School day meal plan
An adjacent wall in the laundry room organizes the other must-haves.
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Document frames — I purchased frames with plexiglass since I frequently take them off the wall to write on them — no need to worry about broken glass. Pop your charts into the frames and they become dry erase boards.
File sorter — I found mine at HomeGoods. Here’s a similar one that comes in white, gray and a gorgeous navy blue. This farmhouse-style sorter is really cool, too.
Magnetic Chalkboard Calendar — I picked mine up at Target as it fit our narrow space perfectly. Don’t want to put another hole in the wall? Check out this vinyl decal chalkboard calendar.
Pen / pencil cup — The one I use is actually a small planter I picked up at andThat! Sometimes the perfect thing turns up in an unexpected place.
Time Saver Tip
Last week, I shared how our school mornings used to be filled with too many stress-inducing decisions. So, we eliminated one by picking out a week’s worth of clothes and using these DIY closet hangtags.
Deciding what to have for breakfast or lunch each each day was another time suck. By simply planning ahead — and giving the kiddo the responsibility to chose meals on his own — eliminates another morning decision, gives him some control and ensures buy-in.
On the weekend, we review the school lunch menu for the upcoming week and decide which days to buy or bring lunch. Then, he jots down what he’d like to have for breakfast and lunch each day on the school day meal plan chart. Done! (This easy task also helps inform my weekly grocery list.)
Free Printables for a Family Command Center
These monochromatic printables will coordinate with any color scheme and are sized for 8.5” x 11″ document frames. Click on any image to download.
Do you have an awesome family command center? I’d love to hear about it. Drop a comment below so I can check it out!
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