Do you ever feel a little like a chicken with its head cut off — you can feel the chaos increasing and your energy quickly depleting? Are you constantly looking for important paperwork or having to remind your family of simple rules or duties? Perhaps your family is in need of a Command Center! This area can be life changing for families, especially when instituted to fit your specific family needs.
What is a Command Center?
I am sure many of you reading this are going, well that sounds like it could be cool, but what the heck is that?? A command center is any place that is used to provide centralized command for some purpose. Which in this case is going to be for organizing your family and life. It is organized to gather, process, analyze, display, and disseminate planning and operational data and perform other related tasks. So in layman’s terms it is where you go to collect and gather your family information and create a plan for your home and family on a daily, weekly, monthly and so on basis.
It can be made of out anything from corkboard, white boards, cardboard boxes, magnet board, painting a wall, picture frames, bins, clipboards. For those on a budget, consider checking out your local Dollar Store or a surplus store for supplies – if you use your imagination (or pintrest) you can come up with some pretty cool stuff.
What goes into it?
Your command center can include as little or as much as you would like. Let’s start with the essentials, and they we will give you some ideas about what else you can include if you have the desire and space to do so.
- This is by far the most important. We love a paper calendar for the visual ease, but it may not hurt to keep an old phone or tablet here too, to update everyone’s shared calendar online.Try creating a shared Family Calendar that everyone has access to and can adjust.
- Writing Utensils:
- There is going to be a lot of things that need writing for, from kids school notes, notes to others in the family, returning mail, etc
- In/Out Box:
- This can be specific to the household – inter family mail or you can incorporate your Mail Center directly in with your Command Center. If you are going to do this I encourage you to very seriously consider placement of your Command Center and your current habits with the mail.
- Memo Board:
- This is vitally important as cross communication is integral to an effective Command Center. Let’s face it we may not always remember everything we wanted to tell someone, or see them in a timely fashion. By utilizing the memo board you can create a flow of conversation pertinent to the household and family plan and schedule.
- Essentials Binder:
- This is going to be another thing of you decide what goes in here, but generally, we look at it as any information family, friends, or babysitters would need in case of an emergency. Schedules, contact information for all the important people (including doctors and vets), this can include school manuals, household warranties (that are valid and up-to-date), and similar items.
- Personalization and Motivation
- A positive quote or family mission statement is a must in this area. You really want to make this area all about your family and what you want to accomplish together. If you have ever done a Family Vision Board this would be a wonderful place to display it. Otherwise, share your values, favorite quotes or mantra, or any other little pieces of motivation you all share in common.
Other things to highly consider adding into the command center:
- Family and Individual Goals
- Chores (some sort of tracker sheet for this and if you give allowances – we have a great one coming up for sale!)
- Menus (diy type, or for local take out)
- Shopping lists (and/or blank shopping category sheets)
- Household created definitions (standards and expectations around clean and organized)
- Reward/consequence descriptions
- Back back drop slot (like this because important information can get to where is needs to go easily)
- Extra Supplies that you use in this area, stored in this area — pens, tape, stapler and staples, push pins, sticky notes, stickers, etc.
If you are a competitive family consider having a game or challenge each week or month.
Where does it go?
Ideally, this works best in an area that you tend to conjugate the most as a family. We know some families who keep it in their master bathroom.
- Entry way
- Unused corner (great way to utilize space for something functional)
- A cabinet
- In the garage
- The inside of a closet door
Take a week or so to track your families steps, where you all go, and where you all end up meeting. Ideally, you want to put it in a place where you all can be at once, but it can even go in a place that at least everyone visits on their own. If you do not have an area you call conjugate consider making the main communication, scheduling piece of your command center mobile so you can bring it to the table and talk things out and create plans. Use your imagination and have fun with it!
Extra tip: It is utilized, and works so much better when you get input about creating it, what should be in it, where should it go, and what should it look like from your family. The most responsibility we can give to the entire family about it’s creation will ultimately help in it being used more and working for your family’s needs.
What is a Command Center NOT?
Far too often when we set up something to help us get organized we have great intentions, but we forget a big, important part. Setting some expectations and boundaries around what each tool is and is not.
Be sure to do this for your Command Center as well. Make a list of the major things that should not be in this area. For instance – art projects, newspapers, magazines, clothes, etc. Perhaps consider keeping a “I Do Not Belong Here” list in your Command Center as a reminder.
Find a place in the most active part of your home to create a command central. Put up your values, your standards, your expectations. Don’t forget some sort of tracking of responsibility and accountability! We would love it if you would share a picture or some thoughts about your command center in the comments below! Or feel free to share on our facebook page.