DIY Family Command Center Ideas and Tips
When it comes to decluttering my life, I would be LOST without our family command center!
Yes, decluttering my kitchen pantry was rewarding and I’m really happy with my newly organized linen closet too… and getting those toys decluttered and organized was great, too – but our command center is THE heartbeat of our day-to-day life!
With school now in full swing and the holidays fast approaching, many parents begin to feel overwhelmed as they struggle to coincide everyone’s school and work schedules, play dates, lessons, recitals, sports and holiday celebrations and get-togethers. If there was ever a time to be organized, now is that time. By using any large, empty vertical space in your home, such as the side of the refrigerator or a wall, you can create your family’s own personal command center and be in the know and in control this holiday season.
The first step in creating a DIY home command center is to sit down and list everything that will need to be included. This will be somewhat different for each family. Start by creating a list for each person in the house of their work or school schedule and all other commitments they have throughout the week. Also, gather together any lose papers around the house with important dates on them, including school schedules, dates for sports games, recitals and more. Now that you have all the information at your fingertips, you are ready to begin planning the space.
Be sure that you are using an area large enough for your home command center. Gathering together everyone’s information won’t be of much use if it’s still just a cluttered mess on a wall somewhere. Also, choose a place where the family frequently gathers, such as the kitchen or family room. This way the schedule and personal details for each family member will be visible and easy to check.
Divide your command center space into specific areas for each type of item or information you plan on including. For instance, if you have a younger child who is frequently bringing home school papers and artwork, you might want to set aside an area especially for displaying these. If you currently have photos covering the front of your refrigerator, incorporate these into your plan as well. You kitchen will look better and you’ll add a nice, personal touch to your family’s new information center.
There are a few important areas to include, no matter the different styles or preferences of your family. One of these is a calendar. Get one with large, empty squares big enough to write down everyone’s daily commitments. Also, include a magnetic holder for writing utensils and put a different colored pen or marker in there for each family member. You will use these to record all activities and appointments on the calendar, according to the color assigned to each person. Lastly, you will need to include an area for bills, invitations and other papers that come into your home. Storing these next to your calendar will make it easy to add the dates in a timely manner and on a consistent basis.
If you still have the room, it’s nice to post family member’s schedules somewhere here within your command center. You will find that, though most of the information is recorded on your calendar, you occasionally need to look further ahead and having an entire schedule right there can be extremely useful. So if, for instance, you have a soccer schedule for your son, a band schedule for your daughter and the school calendar for the year, post these together in your command center for even greater organization. If you are short on room, try posting them up one on top of another, using thumbtacks. You will still be able to easily page through the information to find what you’re looking for.
You now know exactly what you’re including in your special scheduling space and you’ve gathered it all together. You’ve also decided on the best place for this in your home. The next step is gathering the tools you need and creating the area itself.
A good way to create the command center area is to use the side of the fridge or a mirror. With either of these as your background, so to speak, you will be able to use magnetic hangers and holders. Include a corkboard for putting up your pictures, children’s artwork and calendar. If you decide against using the fridge or mirror, buy some magnetic strips to hang up and use instead. In addition, if you’re using an area that’s not clearly defined, you will want to purchase some type of material to create a border and maintain a clean, streamlined look for the whole project. Ribbon works well for this purpose.
Place the items you will use less frequently in the top and bottom spaces of your command center area. You want to reserve space in the line of sight for your calendar and most important information. Photos and children’s artwork are good choices for higher and lower areas. Again, if things are looking cluttered, rethink your strategy — you may not have clearly organized categories, or you may need to incorporate visual dividers in the area to clean up the look and feel of it.
Planning and creating your family’s command center should not take longer than a few hours. Once you have it all in place, all you really need to do is fill in your calendar and start using it! To maintain a useful area, go through all the papers in your center once a week and toss anything that is out-of-date or has been transferred to the master calendar. Additionally, if there are invitations or other such items, take this time to RSVP, copy down the date, place and other important info on the calendar, and then toss the original item. Keeping papers to a minimum helps a family stay organized and that’s exactly why you’ve created this system, so be sure to use it.
Other helpful ideas include hanging grocery lists, to-do lists and phone messages in this area. Remember, the more this space is utilized by the entire family, the more integrated it becomes. If you can teach your children that the information they’re looking for is going to be here, they’ll be checking in often and that means fewer reminders from you about practice times and big homework projects coming due. Feel free to include your children in this project. Their enthusiasm is contagious and children can have some surprisingly good ideas when they start on a creative project like this one. Younger children may even like to help decorate the area seasonally or according to upcoming holidays. Have fun with this project and make the start of the next year an organized one. Many thanks to Pinterest, PowerfulMothering.com, and Hobby Lobby for these DIY family command center ideas!
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