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Designating a central hub in your home is one of the most important steps for creating an organized family command center. This dedicated space serves as the heart of your organizational system, keeping all the vital information, schedules, paperwork, and tools your family needs in one easily accessible spot. Choosing the right location to house your family command center is crucial for making it as functional and frequently used as possible.
The ideal spot is a high-traffic area that family members pass through multiple times per day, such as an entryway, kitchen, or common living space. Positioning your hub in a frequently used thoroughfare increases the chances that you and your family will actually utilize it. Some popular central hub locations include near the front door, on a kitchen counter, or on a living room wall. Consider the habits and routines of your family when selecting the optimal place.
Once you've identified the prime real estate, devote that entire space to your family command center. Resist the urge to dual purpose the area by squeezing in other furniture like a console table. Limit the space to just the organizational tools of your hub for maximum efficiency. Remove any existing clutter and thoroughly clean the area to create a blank slate.
Take measurements and shop for organizational items like calendars, boards, trays, and bins specifically sized for your space. Tailor the components to perfectly suit the parameters of your central hub zone. When designing your family command center, make sure all elements are coordinated for a cohesive and harmonious look. Include fun accents that reflect your family"s personality.
Once you"ve designated the central hub location and prepared the space, it"s time to make your family command center functional. This phase involves filling the space with organizational tools tailored to your family"s needs. The command center only works if it contains the right components to keep your household running smoothly. When selecting products, prioritize function over aesthetics. Resist brightly colored accessories that serve no purpose. Every item you place in the hub should have a specific role.
Calendar: Mount a large, erasable calendar that the whole family can easily view. Select a calendar with ample writing space to record everyone"s activities, appointments, and events. Make sure to get family members' input on their scheduling needs. Sync the calendar to digital or paper planners to ensure everything stays updated.
Message Board: A centralized message board facilitates quick and easy communication between family members. Mount a dry erase board or corkboard in the command center to leave notes. Encourage everyone to post reminders, grocery lists, announcements etc. Consider assigning spaces for each person.
File Sorters: Well-labeled folders keep important paperwork organized in one spot. Sort medical, school, automotive and other vital documents. This prevents the headache of searching for misplaced papers during a crisis.
Family Chore Chart: Visibly posting assigned chores motivates children to complete tasks. Customize chore charts based on each child"s age and ability. Rotate responsibilities so no one feels overburdened. Offer rewards for consistency.
Charging Station: Designate an area to park phones, tablets or laptops for powering up. Prevent device hunting when it"s time to walk out the door. Install enough outlets and cables to accommodate the family's electronics.
Mail Organizer: Sorting through a pile of mail can quickly get overwhelming. Invest in wall-mounted mail organizers or hang wall files to immediately sort envelopes upon arrival. Process mail quickly by establishing an easy system.
Calming Corner: Carve out a small area for relaxation like a mini reading nook. This gives family members a spot to decompress within the command center space. Stock with favorite books, blankets and stuffed animals.
A calendar is one of the most critical elements to include in your family command center. This organizational tool allows you to map out the household schedule so everyone stays on the same page. Without a centralized calendar, disjointed plans inevitably lead to chaos. Appointments are forgotten, projects overlap, and no one knows where they are supposed to be. A visible shared calendar solves these problems by merging everyone's schedules and commitments into one place.
The key is opting for a calendar that suits your family's needs. Contrary to popular belief, digital calendars and syncing apps are not always the best choice for family organization. Tech-based systems are helpful but come with a caveat - you must diligently input data and continually check for updates. It's easy to overlook notifications or fail to log an event. This results in key details slipping through the cracks.
Many families find that a large physical calendar displayed in the command center works best for their needs. Tammy Smith, a mother of three in Omaha, switched to this system after digital calendars failed her family. "No one ever remembered to check the calendar app. The kids would just tell me their plans last minute, and we missed several activities because of it. Having a big wall calendar we can see all the time keeps us on track," she explains.
When choosing your family calendar, select one with ample writing space for recording daily activities. Opt for a simple, uncluttered design easily scanned at a glance. Make sure the dimensions fit your command center space - it should be one of the first things you see when entering the room. Install the calendar at eye level for optimal visibility. Include columns for each family member and color code with their favorite hues. Sync the main calendar to individual planners to ensure portability.
Maintaining the system is equally important. Schedule a weekly time to gather as a family and update the calendar with upcoming commitments for school, work, and extracurriculars. Ask each child to share their social and activity plans so you can pencil them in. Treat calendar time as a chance to connect as you coordinate schedules. Place a special marker next to key dates like birthdays or anniversaries to prompt gift-planning.
Keeping important paperwork organized can make or break a family command center. Cluttered documents stuffed in random drawers lead to chaos when you need them most. Tammy Nunez of Oklahoma City learned this lesson when her family encountered an emergency.
"Our son broke his arm at basketball practice, and I couldn't find any of his medical records when we got to the ER. I was scrambling through piles of disorganized papers while they were trying to treat him. It was so stressful and could have been dangerous if they needed info that I didn't have handy," she recalls. After this experience, Tammy vowed to get her family's paperwork in order.
She devoted an entire section of their command center to files and sorters to tame the paper monster once and for all. "I bought cute matching folders and labeled them for medical, school, taxes, automotive records, and bills. Now I can just flip to the right section whenever I need something. I feel so much more in control," she says.
Medical Records: Create labeled files for each family member's medical paperwork. Include health insurance cards, prescription info, physical records, vaccination proof, and any specialty doctor visits. These critical documents provide vital information in a health crisis.
Financial Files: Designate folders for tax returns, mortgage or rental documents, investment and retirement plans, insurance policies, and warranties or user manuals for major purchases. Keeping these papers organized ensures you can access them when needed.
School Records: Maintain a folder for each child containing their enrollment paperwork, report cards, IEPs or other learning assessments, testing results, and any notices from teachers or the school. Staying on top of your child's education is much easier when all documents are in one place.
Automotive: Keep this file stocked with registration paperwork, insurance cards, maintenance logs, and records of any repairs. You'll avoid headaches during your next traffic stop or trip to the mechanic.
Quick Access: Have a folder or expanding file handy for stuff you need regular access to, like coupons, club memberships, product manuals, and active sticky notes. Purge any expired or irrelevant items monthly.
Sensitive Documents: Invest in a fireproof safe to securely store your family's birth certificates, social security cards, passports, living wills, and any confidential records too important to risk being misplaced.
In the era of nonstop digital demands, creating dedicated charging stations is essential for any family command center. Carol Peters of Austin, Texas found this out the hard way after arguing with her kids daily about missing devices. "In the mornings, no one could ever find their fully charged phone or tablet. We'd waste so much time hunting them down right as we were walking out the door. It was maddening!" she recalls. Carol decided to invest in an organized charging station to prevent the morning madness.
She cleared counter space in their command center to corral all the family's electronics in one spot. Carol installed a power strip with eight AC outlets and several USB ports to create ample charging capacity. She purchased compatible lightning cables, micro USB cords, and phone docking stands. Carol labeled each cable with painter's tape so family members could quickly identify their charger.
To organize the station, Carol used an attractive wall-mounted rack with woven baskets to hold each device. She also incorporated a catch-all tray for loose cords and earbuds. Now when her teenage kids return home, they have a set spot to plug in their phones, tablets and laptops. No more frantic searching when it's time to head out.
Carol also utilized command hooks on the wall to hang headsets and smartwatches overnight. And she mounted a small shelf above the counter to store external batteries for on-the-go charging. Thanks to her DIY charging station, mornings are now civil in the Peters home.
Like Carol, Brenda Thompson of Phoenix, Arizona struggled with her family's device disorder until she created charging zones. "Between my husband's e-reader, my smartwatch, the kid's tablets, and everything else, our electronics were always dead or lost. We must have had 15 different cords floating around," she explains. Brenda installed a 6-outlet surge protector strip onto a stylish wall-mounted dock in their kitchen command center.
She purchased several magnetic lightning cables, a wireless charging pad, and a sleek wooden valet to accommodate all the family's devices in one space. Now everyone has a designated spot to power up their electronics, keeping them organized and fully charged. Brenda also mounted a magnetic strip to hold extra cables neatly in place.
A message board is one of the most useful items to incorporate into a family command center. This organizational tool facilitates quick and seamless communication between family members, preventing endless back-and-forth texts and calls. Without a centralized messaging hub in your command center, relaying information can become muddled.
"I was constantly texting my husband little things like 'pick up milk' or 'soccer practice is at 5:00 today.' It was inefficient and we'd often miss messages," explains Gail Gomez of Los Angeles. After missing several of her daughter's schedule changes, Gail decided to install a small dry erase board in their kitchen command center. Now all family members know to check the board for any updates or reminders.
"It's been a total game-changer. I'll write the week's activities, grocery needs, appointment times, and anything else that needs to be conveyed. No more missed texts or last minute surprises," she says.
When choosing a message board for your command center, make sure it is visually accessible to the whole family. Mount it at eye level in a high traffic area like the kitchen or entryway. Dry erase boards are ideal because they allow easy wiping and rewriting as needed. Corkboards also work well for posting reminders on paper notes.
To encourage use, consider assigning spaces on the board for each family member. Color code with their favorite hue and include their name. This prompts them to check for any personal messages. You can also incorporate a section for posting family-wide announcements.
Make messaging a habit by requesting everyone share updates on the board. Treat it as the singular spot for communicating needs, schedule changes, and announcements. Resist the urge to text urgent logistics and have everyone check the message board first.
Suma Pathak of Seattle mounted three small chalkboard panels in her family's command center for messaging. One board is a running grocery list that all family members can add to. The second board lists upcoming appointments and schedule changes. The third board is a free space for general notes and reminders.
"It's been amazing having all our communications in one place. I used to get so many one-off texts about random logistics. Now I know exactly where to look for any household info I need," Suma says.
Assigning regular household chores is an integral part of running a smooth family home. However, many parents struggle with chore completion, as kids often forget or ignore their duties. Tammy Hill of Portland found that her children frequently neglected chores, leading to arguments and frustration. She knew she needed a better system. After doing some research, Tammy decided to try posting chore charts in the family"s kitchen command center to keep kids accountable.
"Listing everyone"s chores in a visible spot has been a total game changer for us," Tammy explains. "Now the kids know exactly what tasks they are responsible for each day. I laminated the chore charts so they can check off each item with a dry erase marker as they complete it. They love seeing their progress." Tammy focused on assigning age-appropriate chores for her elementary school aged children. Her seven-year-old is in charge of simple tasks like making his bed, putting away his clean clothes, and feeding the family cat. Her nine-year-old has a few more involved duties like emptying wastebaskets, setting and clearing the dinner table, and wiping down counters.
Tammy switches up the assignments every few months so no one feels like they are stuck with an unfair workload. She also schedules family-wide "clean up time" a few evenings per week when everyone tackles communal chores like tidying common spaces or yardwork.
Making chore completion a visual, group process has not only brought order to Tammy"s home, but has also taught her kids important life lessons. "They are learning how to be responsible, take pride in their work, and be considerate members of the household team. I love that we are building meaningful habits together," Tammy shares.
Michelle Lewis of Detroit also struggled with chore implementation until she started posting daily checklists. "When I would verbally tell my kids what to do, they'd claim they forgot and just wouldn't do it. Once I started putting everything on paper where they could see it, suddenly their memory improved," she laughs. Michelle's chore chart includes tasks like wiping bathroom sinks, sweeping floors, taking out trash, dusting, and folding laundry. She switches up the rotation between her son and daughter so no one feels singled out with a heavy workload.
A family command center quickly becomes ineffective if it is not kept clean and organized. When documents pile up, schedules get buried, and supplies go missing, your carefully designed hub turns to chaos. Maintaining tidiness is essential for your system to function efficiently long-term. Make it a habit to periodically purge clutter and reset the space to maintain usability.
Kelly Chen of Houston found that organization was futile until her family implemented tidying habits. "I spent an entire Saturday perfectly designing our family command center with color coded bins, baskets, and files. It looked beautiful, but after a week it was a wreck again," she recalls. Kelly realized she needed to schedule frequent tidying sessions to combat her family"s inherent messiness.
Now every Sunday evening, Kelly gathers her kids for a "reset." They purge all paperwork, declutter surfaces, and sanitize the space. She wipes down the whiteboard, empties notebooks of irrelevant pages, and sorts through any administrative detritus. "We put everything back in its home so the week starts off fresh," Kelly explains. "Maintenance is just as important as the initial setup when it comes to organization."
Donna Baker of Phoenix enforces a nightly tidy up with her two teenage sons. "Of course teens aren"t going to voluntarily organize their backpacks and track practice gear. But requiring them to tidy their command center contributions before bed has helped a ton," she shares. Donna focuses on quick yet effective tidying tasks like stashing gear properly, filing loose papers, clearing tabletops, and wiping surfaces. "It takes five minutes but makes a world of difference in how functional our space remains," says Donna.
Setting daily or weekly tidying times as a family helps transform organizing from a chore into a moment of connection. Amy Costa"s family in Dallas uses their Sunday reset to catch up while decluttering. "We put on music and talk about our week while sorting through papers and returning items to their bins. It becomes family bonding time instead of nagging," Amy explains.
Maintaining your family command center also teaches children positive lifelong habits. Khloe Barnes of St. Louis notices her daughter taking ownership since implementing organizational upkeep. "Now she proactively tidies her homework area and keeps her gear clean because she knows how important it is for our family. I"m not constantly hounding her to clean up after herself anymore," Khloe shares.
Prioritize maintenance even during busy seasons. Kristin Bell of Atlanta protects sacred family time but resists letting tidying slide. "Of course there are nights where we"re running late and skip our tidy up. But we just catch up later or wake up 10 minutes early to quickly reset our space. Even maintaining it 75% of the time makes a huge difference," Kristin explains.