How To Set Up A Command Center
Forever ago, I set up our family command center, and have made some tweaks and changes over the years. I love having one location in our house that I can keep all our of family events together. But, as the kids continue to grow, so should the command center.
I love looking at Pinterest for ideas on how to make my command center look pretty, but as I started to sift through all the beautiful command centers, I realized that none of them would be functional for our family. Each family’s needs are totally different, so no two command centers will ever be the same. It is kind of nice to think about, because you can make your command center completely personalized to your family!
In hopes of helping you create a functional and orderly command center, I’m sharing some tips for how you can create a family command center that will meet all of your family’s needs.
The first step in setting up a command center is finding the perfect location. What might work for you, might not work for your spouse, so you have to find some compromise for the entire family in order to make your command center functional. You might love binders, but will your spouse check them out daily/weekly/ever? I know mine won’t, so I had to nix that idea.
For my family, we need the command center to be out in plan sight, so everyone can see what events we have going on, what’s for dinner, and our family project list. It is located in our kitchen, on a wall that had nothing on it. For a hot second it was located in the mud room, but no one was looking at the calendar, so I brought it back to the kitchen.
Find an area in your home that everyone can see on a daily basis. This way it stays functional for all of your family’s needs.
Once you have found the location, it’s time to think about what you actually need to create a functional command center. Each family is different, so that is why it’s so important to think about what actually need for your family. For a few years, I never needed a place to put my kids school notes. But this year, I have some important paperwork that I need to keep in the command center, so I can stay up-to-date with things for school. Some things you might possibly want in your family command center might be:
- Events Calendar
- Daily Activities Schedule
- Meal Planner
- Grocery List
- Charging Station
- Filing System
- Bulletin Board/White Board/Chalk Board
- Contact Information
- Daily To-Do Lists
- Task Lists
- Project Lists
- Take-Out Menus
Gather everything you need for your family that must be put into the command center. I have some things that are just for myself, so I keep those in my office, such as my daily to-do list and my projects list, because I know to look in that place for those things. I want to keep my family command center as organized as possible, so I remove any excess clutter that doesn’t belong.
You might need all of your daily to-do lists on your command center. If that’s the case, then plan to have a spot for your things on the command center as well! You want to make this as functional as possible, so you do what works for you and your family.
A Place For Everything
Once you have gathered all the items you want for your family command center, it’s time to create the space. I knew that I needed a chalk board, magnetic white board, and filing system. I also needed a calendar, and space for pens, pencils, and paper. I decided to use the Build-Your-Own Daily System from Pottery Barn. I purchased the chalk board, white board, letter bin, and office organizer. I also purchased a giant calendar similar to this one from 1Canoe2.
In the letter bins, each kiddo has their own bin. I am using those for school and activity paperwork. Since the chalk board is magnetic, I have been using that space to hold any grocery lists, schedules, coupons, random papers, flyers, or updates that need to be taken care of. Once I have taken care of the papers, they either get filed or go in the recycling. On the white board, half of the space is for our meal planning, while the other half is our to-do list. The office organizer holds pens, pencils, paper, Kleenex, take-out menus, and the dog’s towel.
I have a calendar where I write all the activities and events for the month. I make sure to color-code each event so we know who needs to be where, when.
Make It Pretty
Once everything has a home, make labels for everything. I shared some of my favorite ways to make labels here. Add some wall art or create a gallery wall around your command center. The likelihood of you keeping up with a command center greatly increases if the space looks appealing and pretty. But, I always suggest creating a functional command center first, then decorating the space around it. Find pieces that meet your family’s needs before you go out and buy something just because it looks pretty.
I suggest making your space pretty with labels! Find decorative paper that works with your decor to add some glam to your space. Find fabric and cover that boring bulletin board to dress up the space. Paint the wall to add a pop of color. These small decorating ideas can make a huge impact on how you “pretty up” your space!
Create A System
You have a wonderfully functional command center that looks beautiful, but how are you going to keep it that way? Create a system for how to use the command center. It is so important to have a system in place to help you stay organized.
To start creating your system, write down everything that belongs in the command center.
- All school papers?
- Take-Out Menus?
- To-Do Lists?
- Bulk Mail?
Only write down things that are to go in the command center. Once you have your list. Designate the area that that particular item is to go.
- On the white board?
- In a file folder?
- In a cabinet?
- On the bulletin board?
- Charging Station?
Once every item that has to go in the command center has a designated spot or “home”, make your list pretty and hang it up on the command center. Make sure the family knows the system for how to use the command center. Only these items are to stay in the command center. Everything else has to find another home. If you want to have a functional and orderly command center, you need to create a system for how it will stay that way. Don’t fall into the trap of letting everything you don’t know what to do with hang out in the command center. You will only loose control of that space!!
Tweak As Needed
Lastly, as you live with your family command center, make sure to tweak areas that aren’t working for you. Change up placement of something. Find a new “home” for something that doesn’t fit. Add to your command center if you find that you are missing something from your command center. I know that as my kiddos have gotten older, the command center has grown with our family. We have had to add and change some of how we used the space, because our needs have changed. In order to keep it functional and orderly, I have to continually work to keep up with the ever-changing needs of our family.