School is back in session. Kids are bringing home papers. Emails are being sent. You are starting to get overwhelmed. Where do you store these important documents? Where are the kids’ schedules located? Do you have a spot to keep these things? If not, I highly suggest setting up a family command center…aka the spot to put all the important documents so you can find what you need quickly. I have helped countless families set up command centers, which have helped streamline their life! And you can set one up for you as well!! Just follow these easy steps and you will have a family command center set up like a pro in no time!
How To Set Up A Family Command Center Like A Pro
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Start With Location
There are several places you can set up a family command center. You can set it up right in your mudroom, in a desk or office area, a hallway, hanging on the side of a cabinet, etc. There are many places you can set it up but ideally make sure it is in an area that all family members can easily see and access it.
Make A Plan For Paper
One of the hardest things to manage is paper clutter and one of the biggest culprits is mail. When you bring in your mail, spend a few minutes dealing with it immediately. Sort out all the junk mail and immediately throw it in the recycle bin. Take bills out of the envelopes. If you do online bill pay, throw away the envelopes. Otherwise keep each bill and the corresponding envelope together. Try and get rid of as much paper as you can initially. Receiving too many magazines? Go online and cancel your subscription or take yourself off the company mailing list. Most companies have places where you can unsubscribe online. It takes a few minutes to do so, but it will immediately cut down your future paper clutter.
Keep bills filed in due date order. They should be filed so they can easily be seen. Set reminders on your phone or calendar about due dates. If possible, consider auto bill pay so that you don’t have to worry about managing due dates.
I like to have designated paper spots. Have a special spot for important school papers. This should be separate from your work papers or social papers (invitations, events, etc). Get into the habit of writing dates into your calendar (on your phone, paper calendar or whatever you use) before you file any papers away.
Use alphabetical file folders to save long term papers. I like to file my papers by subject so that it is easier to find. I also file receipts this way (you probably won’t remember the date of something but you’ll remember what is for!) Each year I go through each of my file folders and edit out what I no longer need. I also set up files based on the month for receipts. Every month I clear out the folder from the previous month by shredding the old receipts.
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Schedules, Calendars, and Key
A command center calendar is a great way to keep all your family members on the same page in regards to activities, obligations, etc. Consider using a large dry erase calendar or large calendar to hang on the wall. At the beginning of each month fill in that month’s activities. Use different colored markers and then you can give each member their own color code with their corresponding activities. If you have young children that do not read yet, you can use pictures to illustrate instead of words.
Hanging a whiteboard, memo board or magnetic bulletin board can also be useful in your command center area for notes, schedules, meal planning etc. You will also want to have writing supplies handy (dry erase markers, pencils, pens) so you can update your items.
The command center can also be used to organize your keys. You can hang hooks so you always know where your keys are. If you are the kind that likes to dump them, then leave out a nice bowl or jar in the area and get in the habit of always putting them there as soon as you enter your home. The goal is to have designated spots in your command center area for each item. If everything has a spot, you will always stay organized.
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Don’t Forget About Coupons
Gather your coupons and keep them in a folder inside your car. That way you will have them with you when you need them. I like to use a zipper pouch so that I can easily throw it into my purse when I go into a store. When I am done, I put it back in the glove compartment. Read more about coupons here!
Make It Personal
Finally, make your command center personal. Consider accessorizing the area with a motivating quote, decal, family photo, etc. This will brighten your mood and keep you motivated to keep on organizing! For us, I added our chore chart and expectations guide. Both are freebies you can get sent directly to your email below:
I also have quotes that I printed off hanging on the opposite wall of our family command center. The reason it is on the opposite wall is that our command center is on a small wall. So by using space across from the command center for quotes, we are still able to personalize the space but still keep the function we need from the command center!
Favorite Family Command Center Products
Now it is your turn to get your family command center set up to help keep your life organized. I would start by finding a centralized location. Then create a plan for papers. Use the family command center for schedules. Don’t forget about keeping coupons organized as well. Then add some personality to the family command center by adding pictures, quotes, or other things your family needs.