Getting Organized with a Family Command Center in Just 3 Simple Steps
Staying on top of everything your family has going on can be…tough. And finding a way to juggle everything is the key to a stress-free life. The best way to do this? With a family command center!
So what is a family command center? It’s a place where you keep all the different things that keep your family running:
✔️ Schedules and Important Dates
✔️ Shopping Lists and Your Meal Plan
✔️ Homework and Permission Slips
✔️ Cleaning Schedules
✔️ And More!
Basically, a family command center gives you a quick view of what’s on the schedule for the day and anything you need to grab as you’re walking out the door.
And the secret for a successful family command center is simplicity…the easier you make it, the easier it will be to get everyone on board. Because getting organized is a family affair. So let’s take a look at what you need to do to set up a simple yet incredibly useful family command center to get you started today.
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Steps to Making a Family Command Center
1. Decide What to Include
2. Gather Your Supplies
3. Organize Your Family Command Center
How to Make a Family Command Center
The first thing you need to do to set up your family command center is to figure out what your family actually needs.
What we need might not be the same things that you need, so just dropping a list of must-haves here would be pointless. And I promise to never waste a second of your time, mama ✌️
Step 1: Decide What to Include in Your Family Command Center
So think about the different things you have to look up throughout the day. Maybe your son’s next wellness visit, your client calls for the day, when you need to get the car serviced, whether you have to bring snacks to the soccer game on Saturday, and so on.
Then, think about where you normally keep these things. I had a local organizing client who used to keep all of this in her email. Which does make sense. Whenever she needed to know a date or time, she could just search for the email.
But there’s an easier way. And that’s by putting all of that together into a centralized family command center.
I also suggest keeping your weekly menu, shopping lists, and any mail and paperwork you need to get done in your family command center.
This way everything is in one spot. You know where to look for that permission slip you need to sign. Your kid knows where to put the permission slips. And everyone knows where to look if they want to know what’s for dinner or what’s going on this weekend.
If you’re stuck trying to figure out what all to include in your family command center, then check out my FREE #MomLife Juggle training. In this 5-day email training, I’ll walk you through some of my top time, morning, cooking, and cleaning hacks. You’ll walk away with an action plan on what you’re going to do and when. All you need to do is add those things to your family command center and you’re good to go!
You can click here to learn more and sign up for free or just enter your name in the box below so I know where to send it 🙂
Step 2: Gather the Supplies for Your Family Command Center
And while our schedules and to-do lists may look a little different, the tools we use to organize them can be pretty much the same.
For a simple, easy-to-use command center, all you really need is:
- Whiteboard or Blackboard
- Pens and Markers
- Paper Organizer
And each of these can vary depending on what type of command center you’re creating, so let’s take a look at our options.
There are a couple different types of calendars you can use to create your family command center.
The first is a simple wall calendar.
This is the one I always have hanging up in my family command center. It’s super cute, has enough room for what I need, and holds up well throughout the year.
I fill it out at the beginning of the year with birthdays, important dates, and everything else that I carry from year to year.
Then, as different appointments and social events are made, I add them to the calendar.
But, because our lives are busy and things change a lot, I also keep a dry erase calendar in our family command center to keep up with our day-to-day lives.
For this calendar, I sit down at the end of the month and write out our schedule for the following month. And I know that this may seem like an extra step, but it makes keeping our calendar up to date super easy.
So I use the paper wall calendar to write everything down as it’s scheduled. This way you can schedule things out months ahead of time.
Then I use the dry erase calendar to manage our actual day-to-day lives.
So they work together to keep me organized both long-term and day-to-day.
And if you don’t like the dry-erase version you can always just get a second larger wall calendar for the day-to-day stuff.
Dry Erase Board
Next, you want to have a dry erase board in your family command center. This helps you keep everything that doesn’t go on your calendar organized, too.
I personally use the blank magnetic board that comes with the dry erase calendar for mine (and I set up a local organizing client with the same system and it’s working amazing for her!).
This is where I write down our different shopping lists, our to-do list, and anything else we need to remember.
I also highly suggest planning out your meals for the week and writing down the menu in the family command center so everyone knows what’s for dinner.
I sit down every Saturday, plan our meals for the week on this calendar, and jot down all the groceries we need. On Sunday I run out, get everything, and prep what I can for the week.
And keeping it all organized in the family command center makes my life So. Much. Easier.
Want to learn how to meal plan like a boss (and save tons of time and money in the process)? Then you have to check out: Meal Planning…Simplified!
Pens + Markers
Next, you want to have fun pens and markers to keep your family command center organized.
I use different colored gel pens to color-code our family calendar. Birthdays are maroon. Appointments are teal. Holidays are purple. And so on.
You could also color code the calendar by family member.
If you are color coding, though, pick a simple way to do it and always do it that way. Don’t try to overcomplicate it or it won’t stick (and will just confuse everyone in the process 😂).
I also like having chalk markers for the black dry erase boards. They’re just so much fun (and I haven’t really had much luck with the neon dry erase markers).
I found this pack of fine tip chalk markers and I will never buy a different kind. They work every time, you can actually see all of them on the blackboard (I mean, except the black one 😅), and they don’t smear or dry weird.
And I use these markers to color code the dry erase calendar, fill out the weekly menu, and jot down our shopping lists (purple is groceries, blue is Target, and white is Petco).
You also need a paper organizer in your family command center. A solid paper flow system is absolutely essential to prevent unbearable paper build up.
Because omg…so much paper comes into our houses Every. Single. Day.
I’ve broken down my paper flow system in this article, but it basically comes down to knowing what you’re going to do with every single piece of paper as it enters your house…and actually doing it right then and there.
This is the paper organizer I have, and we put any mail we need to take care of there, as well as our stamps, addresses (because I’m old school and like to keep a little black book…only mine’s pink 😂), business cards, spare keys, and so on.
And finally, you want to have a shredder set up either in or near your family command center so you can shred any junk mail, receipts, and so on the second they come in.
Please don’t create a shred bucket or you’re really going to hate yourself when you’re stuck inside shredding paper all day on a Saturday.
It takes two seconds to put something in the shredder…provided you have a shred station all set up and ready to go.
You just want to make sure that you get a micro-cut shredder to make sure you’re actually protecting any sensitive info.
Need help managing your paper flow? Then you have to check out: Busy Mom Hacks to Conquer Your Paper Clutter!
Step 3: Organize Your Family Command Center
Once you have that all figure out, it’s time to put it all together.
And this is the fun part!
So first, decide where your family command center is going to go. You want it someplace that’s easy to get to but doesn’t block the flow of traffic.
Most people put theirs on the side of the fridge or in a kitchen cabinet.
Want some ideas on where your family command center should go? Check out this article on 20+ family command center ideas that I’m totally obsessed with.
Once you know where it’s going, you need to figure out where you’re putting everything. If everything is magnetic, that can be as easy as arranging it on the side of the fridge.
If you’re taking up part of a wall, you’ll want to hang the calendar in a place you can easily see it, and then either hang a paper organizer or different baskets to hold the menu, permission slips, pens and markers, and so on.
And then finally, keep track of what you like about your family command center and what you don’t like and make it even better going forward.
You probably won’t come up with the perfect system your first try, but over time you can tweak it here and there to uncover the perfect family command center that works for you and your family.
Organize the Rest of #MomLife
While I love a family command center to keep us organized, there are other things I need to stay on top of around the house. And I’ve refined the system over the years so I can get it all done now in a fraction of the time.
Want my secrets? Then sign up for my free #MomLife Juggle Challenge today.
- My #1 trick for getting more hours out of the day
- How to save time and money at the grocery store
- My secret for reclaiming your weekends
- How to keep your house clean in just 20 minutes a day
- And so much more!
I did mention it’s totally free, right??
Helping busy mamas master the #momlife juggle is my passion in life…and I can’t wait to help you out, too! See you on the inside, mama.