How To: Create a Family Command Center
Command centers are a low-tech, high-reward system that will cut down on the time you spend coordinating everyone’s busy schedules. Gone are the chaotic days trying to guess who has soccer or violin practice or who needs to be picked up early from school for a dental appointment. I am a big believer that command centers create one designated go-to spot that you can contain all schedules for the family and quickly reference before the next day.
One of the things I love about using my command center is how it also cuts down on countertop clutter. Everything from permission slips to the latest art project gets the attention it deserves. No more paper messes, no more unsigned forms, or lost bills. If you’re not convinced yet about how effective this system is, you will be by the end. I promise!
So, below I am giving you a few tips for creating your own family command center and just how to put one together. It really doesn’t take much time to do and I promise, the benefits outway the time spent on the front end.
Create a Family Command Center
1. Prioritize accessibility (both arm’s reach and visual reach). Before you install your command center think about who needs access to the calendar. Is it you, grandparents, nannies, and other family members? That will help you figure out where you will put your command center.
2. Choose a communal space. Find an empty wall space in your house that the family is sure to check on a daily basis but that be won’t be an eyesore. Usually a spot in the kitchen, whether it’s on the wall or on the back of a cabinet, works well. Before you hang anything, use some blue painter’s tape to help position where you want your calendar to go and determine how much space it’ll take up. Leave enough room for other command center essentials that I’ll be getting to shortly.
3. Add in the essentials. A family calendar, a meal planner, a small notepad, and not to mention pens or markers are key items every command center needs. You can find any of these items at Papersource, Amazon, Target, or anywhere that sells small paper goods. Don’t forget to leave room for notes and a space for important phone numbers. An erasable board or clipboard would come in handy for this kind of information.
Wall calendar. A family calendar is a quick and easy way for everyone in the house to know each other’s whereabouts. A good rule of thumb is to assign a different color ink to represent each person in your family. You can also get creative with how you identify important events like birthdays and anniversaries. The kids will love being a part of this process! That way all you need to do is glance at the calendar to know who’s doing what. Remember: before you post your calendar, take a few minutes to update it with everything that’s going on for the month.
Meal planner. Deciding on what to make for lunches and dinners used to be such a hassle in our family. I was constantly rushing around to throw something together in the morning and way too tired to think about what to make for dinner. Not to mention annoyed by having to make surprise trips to the grocery store when I didn’t have everything I needed. Meal prep got a lot easier when we implemented a weekly menu planner as part of our command center. For a low-tech meal-planning solution, grab a sheet of paper and set aside a block for each day of the week, leaving plenty of space under each day. Or, you can purchase one that I actually designed and now sell RIGHT HERE. Plug in the meals you anticipate making - allowing for a couple of days when you might be eating leftovers or going out to eat. You can even get your kids to throw out suggestions, which could help alleviate meal-time struggles for those picky eaters in the family. Once you’ve mapped out what you want to make, check your fridge and pantry to see what you have on hand. Add the remaining ingredients you need to get at the grocery store for each meal.
That’s it! Tell me how do you keep your family organized? Do you also use a command center?