Create A Family Command Center That Works For Your Home
Most people have a life goal of keeping an organized home. We’re constantly looking for new ways to schedule, clean, and meal ideas to feel like we have our life together. Life gets crazy and it’s easy to feel like you’re not in control of what’s happening around you. And what works for your friends won’t necessarily help your household. That’s why you need to customize the solutions to fit your household. And why a Family Command Center is so great. It’s versatile and you make it however you need to fit your needs.
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What’s a Family Command Center?
If you’re intrigued but sitting there going ” Sara, what’s that even mean? And how is it supposed to get us sorted and on track?” Well, you’re in the right spot, my friend. A family command center is a central location for keeping track of everything that’s affecting your family at home and away from home. It’s a spot that everyone checks daily to stay in the know. It’s your family’s central station. But what goes into it, depends on the needs of your family. That’s the beauty of it.
Pst! I’m making some updates to accomodate my growing family. See my new changes at the end of the post!
Why Create One In The First Place
Here’s the backstory for my family command center. I found myself in your shoes. The calendar organizing system I was using was no longer working. I had a calendar at work, a calendar in my phone, a day planner, a mini one on my fridge, a calendar at home hanging on the wall, and NONE of them were jiving. Plus it was a lot to remember to check and transfer around. I’d write something down in my phone but forget to transfer it to one of the calendars at home. Then my husband was out of the loop of what was going on because the information was just with me. It was a disaster and I knew it needed to change.
For us, the perfect time to get our act together was during the summer when activities slowed down some, and before school (and the kid’s activities) started up again. So I started doing some research. I had spotted these beautiful mudrooms on Pinterest where people had walls with big calendars, clocks, menus, family pictures, hooks for keys, coats, and backpacks. They looked gorgeous but I kept thinking, I don’t need all of that.
But that’s what makes a Family Command Center so functional and versatile! You add as much or as little as you need for your command center to work for you.
Here are the key things I discovered to making your own family command center that works for you.
Key Points Of a Great Command Center
It needs to be in a high-traffic area. If you set it up by the front entry, but you guys only use your garage door, no one is going to go out of their way to check the schedule. By placing it in the direct line of traffic it’s easy for everyone to check it on their way out the door, and update it on their way back in. A kitchen is also a great location. Or the hallway. It needs to be easy to get to.
Address Your Needs:
What do you feel desperately needs to be addressed in your home? Is it staying on top of schedules? Is it keeping track of paperwork? Or is it a jumble of shoes, coats and backpacks? Do you often misplace your keys? Do you mix up your kids’ names? ( Of course, you do, we all do. Including the dog’s name.) Once you know what the big sore spots then you can take care of them. Organize where your clutter naturally gravitates. Listen to the clutter and you’ll find what you need to organize it.
Keep It Super Simple. Only include the things you need in your command center. If you only need that month’s calendar, a spot for your keys, and a mirror to check before you walk out the door, then that’s all you put on your family command center wall. If you focus on adding all the organizer’s anyone could ever need and making it too decorative, then it loses its functionality. And your attention. You won’t use it, your family won’t know how to use it, and it will become a waste. I do not want that!
On the other hand, if you have a large family, you are probably going to need more organizers. You may need 2 calendars to keep track of upcoming appointments and game days. You may need a clock to remind your kids that the bus comes in 2 minutes. Other necessities could be a shoe rack, coat hooks, paper trays for school permission slips, and a grocery list so you don’t forget to pick up milk. You get my point.
Your family command center should be made to cater to your unique needs, and not just because it looks pretty. The command center is really about function first. That doesn’t mean you can’t make it pretty, with colors and metal trim to match your home decor, but don’t lose track of its purpose.
What Can You Put In Your Command Center?
Pinterest is a great place to look for family command center inspiration. There are lots of options out there, like the one below by Lauren at Bless’er House, and many ways to style yours. Before you start looking though, make sure you know what your needs are so you don’t get overwhelmed by all the options. It’s also a good idea to know your design style so that it’s reflected in your command center too. If you’re not sure of your personal design style, my style guide can help you out. Since you’re using it every day, you may as well enjoy what you’re looking at.
Here’s a list of ideas that you may want in your command center
- Monthly Calendar– this can be a paper calendar, a whiteboard calendar, a chalkboard calendar. Big or small depending on how much you need to write down for each day
- Second Calendar– if your house is busy, a second calendar can help you plan ahead and keep track of next months going-ons
- To Do List– keep a running list of tasks you need to get done
- Note Board– leave reminders for each other
- Weekly Menu Board– put a stop to multiple voices asking what’s for supper
- Grocery List– handy if your command center is near your kitchen
- In/ Out Mail Sorter
- Paper Tray for Each Family Member– helps to keep school notes, permission slips, and important papers organized
- Key Holder– make sure all keys go back to their right spots, you could label the hooks too
- Phone Charging Station– helps to keep them out of the bedrooms
- Coat Hooks– keep the most seasonal coat handy to grab and go, and not dump on the ground upon returning home
- Backpack hooks– helps to keep them in one room and easy to find. Make sure it’s a heavy duty hook. I had to replace my lighter ones after a few uses.
- Bench– the extra storage below is great! Just don’t let it become a dumping ground
- Chore Chart– Or call it the “I’m Bored” Board!
Your Home Organization
A family command center is one of many ways you can organize your home and your schedule. It’s not for everyone, but it could be the right solution for your busy family. My biggest advice for when you’re planning yours is to really look past all of the options of what you can jam into a command center wall to discover what will actually simplify your routine and life.
UPDATED Command Center
I put together and used my family command center, set up like the photo above, for 3 years. There were some things I loved, and somethings I didn’t. As I was thinking about changes, it was forced to adjust and accomodate face masks and sanitizers during the pandemic. Now I am making changes for the additional child in our family and how our family now operates.
Original Center Likes and Dislikes
The calendar is in constant use. Everyone was assigned a marker color, and I secretly love how colorful the calendar can get. And the matching frames look awesome together. The In/Out paper trays aren’t being used exactly as I planned. I found that envelops tend to gather in the “In” tray and never actually get put in the “Out” tray. I also missed having a set spot for all my markers and chalk. The To-Do List board seems to get ignored. Or maybe it’s just that the To Do List itself gets ignored. Also, could use more hooks for hats as well. I do feel like something else is needed, but not sure what, and I won’t add anything until I figure out that what.
The biggest change was the use of S Hooks. Some cheap ones from the Dollar store were used to hook onto the bottom of the IN/OUT paper cubbies. Everyone had their own hook for their weekly mask supply and sanitizer. Since less papers were being mailed and more were being emailed, one of the paper trays became a gathering spot for those items you need to grab on your way out the door. Oh, and as mentioned in the list of ideas, I upgraded the command hooks to heavy duty hooks for school bags, a second hook for a jacket and hat.
- In the bench, the cubes need to be cleaned and repaired or replaced. Kids and pets are hard on those suckers.
- The In/Out trays will likely be given a new purpose. These trays are great quality though, I love the baskets, but now how they were being used. A dedicated spot for markers and chalk would be amazing. Especially if it’s out of my toddlers reach.
- My oldest feels so proud to cross off chores, so a chore chart would be a great addition. I’d also like to display their art here too.
- A kids art gallery so to speak. In our old house, I had one set up, but it never transitioned to our current home. It’s time for that to happen again. I’ll post updates once these changes are made!
- Second set of hooks for my toddler’s bag, hat, and jacket.
Now it’s your turn to tell me about your family command center! I would love to know about your project. Add a comment or send me an email!