Have you ever had trouble finding a bill before it was to be paid? Ever missed a birthday party because you couldn't find the invitation? Have you ever been late because you couldn't locate your keys?
If you answered yes to any of these questions than you may be entirely over due for creating some sort of command center in your home. Yes, we've seen them (in fact I showed a bunch as inspiration on this post just the other day). And while you may have admired them from afar, maybe you weren't quite sure how to make something like that work for you and your family.
You're in luck today. Because I devoted today's post on just that:
As we know, a command center can take many different forms. As I showed the other day, it can be hung on a wall, inside a cabinet or pantry, or simply be placed inside a file box on a counter or desk. The arrangement can vary but the function is relatively the same: to serve as a sort of motherboard for our daily lives. It keeps all that "stuff" that enters our homes organized in a way that we can reference and use at a moments notice. No more searching for school lunch menus or field trip permission slips. Everything is accessible yet put away at the same time.
Crazy idea I know, but it is possible.
First you have to ask yourself some questions. Because this isn't something just to look at and admire. It actually has to work for YOU and YOUR FAMILy. And let's face it, everyone is different and so are our families.
Answer these questions for you and your family:
Where would a command center make sense
for ME and MY brood?
Take a moment and walk through your day. Think about where you typically enter your home. Where do you drop things such as your purse, keys, backpacks, mail? Where do piles tend to form?
Now that you have an idea as to the general location that would be most convenient, take a moment to think about and ask yourself:
What types of things tend to create those piles?
Do you have a general place for kids' homework to land, bills to be paid, and schedules to reference? Start writing down a list of what kinds of things either pile up, get lost, or just look and feel cluttered.
And to help you think I came up with a list of possible ideas:
(These are in no particular order and are not limited by any means. Again this is to work for YOU so choose and add what works for YOUR self/family.)
- 1 central family calendar for all to reference
- Inbox for each family member
- Message board to write notes/reminders for yourself or each other
- Bulletin board to display other calendars/schedules, invitations, pictures, etc.
- Place for mail--in and outgoing
- Place for bills--to be paid and also filed
- Place for things pending--to reference at a later date
- Place for coupons/sales ads
- Grocery lists/Meal planning
- Job charts
- Emergency numbers and other home reference information
- Place to hang/store keys
- Charging station
- Place for receipts
- Place to hang purse or backpacks
- Place to store kids' school work
- Writing tools and other supplies (stapler, paper clips, calculator)
Once you have come up with a general location
as well as what you want to organize in this space, then ask:
what is my/our personality and organizing style?
Are you a visual/creative person that likes things visually appealing? Are you impulsive that needs lists to stay on task? Are you a perfectionist who needs structure and tidiness? Think about these kinds of things when planning the type of command center that will work for you. Some people don't like things filed as it results in the old "out of sight out of mind". Instead they need things in front of them as reminders. Be conscious of these things when planning.
Last but not least is not really a question
as much as it is just a reality with any type of organizing:
Make it a habit.
Just because you spent hours planning and designing this super organized space for you and your family doesn't mean it will be effective--unless you make it. And the only way to do that is through practice. Make a conscious effort to put things back where they belong and get rid of what is no longer needed. Your organized space can very quickly become unorganized if it isn't maintained.
Here are some quick tips I have found useful
while maintaining our command center:
When things are labeled it is easier to keep them organized because each spot has its own specific function. Do not make the mistake of labeling anything with "miscellaneous" because it becomes a catchall for who knows what and defeats the purpose of trying to get organized in the first place.
Go through the new system with everyone who will use it.
Make sure everyone understands that everything now has a place and that you are all responsible for your own part. If you are the only one that knows how to use it, you will be forever frustrated because it isn't being utilized correctly.
Weed through mail immediately.
The second it is brought into the house, recycle/shred any junk mail. Remove envelopes as they are just extra paper.
If you receive a lot of unwanted "junk" mail,
consider removing your name from unwanted mailing lists such as:
- www.dmachoice.org (Sometimes takes a month of two to fully process the request.)
- www.coxtarget.com/mailsuppression/s/DisplayMailSuppressionForm to opt out of Valpak coupons.
- www.yellowpagesgoesgreen.org to stop Yellow Pages phone book delivery to your home.
Hopefully you now have a clearer picture or idea as to how to create your own type of command center for you and your family. If you'd like to read more about how I designed ours, go here. I plan to show a few more "tweaks" I recently made to ours as well as a new daily planner I created. Tune in later this week for those!