Challenge

Home Challenge Week 1: How To Get Organized With A Command Center

01/07/2019

Happy New Year!!  2019 is officially here and it’s time to get organized with the Home Challenge!  Each week will cover a topic and step-by-steps to get that area/space organized with product recommendations.  The first week of the challenge is the Family Command Center. Here is the weekly checklist that will help keep you on […]

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Happy New Year!!  2019 is officially here and it’s time to get organized with the Home Challenge!  Each week will cover a topic and step-by-steps to get that area/space organized with product recommendations.  The first week of the challenge is the Family Command Center.

Here is the weekly checklist that will help keep you on track. Download

family command center

The kitchen is the cornerstone of every home, it’s the place where the family gathers.  Growing up, I remember having friends over and we would always gather at the kitchen table.  If we weren’t at the table, we were sitting on the counter in the kitchen.

The space between our kitchen counter and the kitchen sink were very close.  I was able to put my forearms on each side and hold myself up.  We did it all the time.  There was a time when I was about 10 and I lost my balance and scraped my  forearm, I still have the scar.

We also kept our calendar at the end of the cabinets and it hung where we could see it everyday.  We also kept all the important papers on the counter right below the calendar.  Back then, we wouldn’t call it a family command center but that’s what it was.

All of our important family or school documents went here.  The calendar kept us organized.

Having a Family Command Center will keep your family organized.  This is the first week’s challenge.

There are a variety of ways to establish a family command center.  The most important thing is to tailor it to your family needs.

Here is a list of things that can complete your family command center:

  • Calendar
  • Clipboard
  • Paper Set-up
  • Hooks
  • Tack Board
  • Dry Eraser Board

We’ll discuss how you can use each of these components to complete your family command center.

Calendar

This is the one thing that should be in every command center.  Having a visual calendar keeps everyone organized.

Using a calendar is the best way to get any part of your life organized.  If you are feeling overwhelmed it will give you clarity.  It will also help you get your most important tasks done.

There are a few types of calendars you can use:

  1. Dry Eraser Calendar– This type of calendar allows you to customize it on the go.  You can use different colored markers to organize it.  The kids could have their own colors, birthdays in another color, and holidays in another one.  This is my favorite type of calendar to use.
  2. Printed Calendar-  If you use iCal or Google Calendar, you can print it out and hang it up in your command center.  The downside to this type of calendar is it’s small and can be hard to read.
  3. Hanging Calendar- This calendar has each month on the bottom and a picture on the top.  There is a hole in the calendar so you can hang it up.  We used this type of calendar growing up, I remember always getting excited to pick out a new calendar for the year.
  4. Desk Calendar- A desk calendar has the entire year with a day per page and you tear off the previous day every day.  These types of calendars have trivia or inspiration quotes which can start the day off on great foot.  The downside to this type of calendar is you don’t have the entire month in front of you to see all the activities.

Here’s how you can get organized with your calendar:

  • Chose the format that works best for you.
  • Create categories for various activities in your life (personal, work, kids, travel, school, birthdays, holidays, etc.)
  • Assign a color to each category.
  • Schedule all known appointments including birthdays and holidays for the year.
  • Schedule your To Dos.  Chances are you have a never-ending to-do list.  Go through your list and prioritize it. Which items need to get done first?  Then take those items and schedule them on your calendar.  When you schedule them, you’re more likely to complete them.  I resisted this for the longest time and it really does work.

Clipboard

Using a clipboard in your family command center can be used for a variety of things:

  • Meal Planning-  You can hang your meal plan here to plan out meals for the week.
  • Kids School Papers-  If there are important papers that need to be returned, you can hang them here for an easy reminder.
  • To Do List- Keep a running tab of what you need to get done here.

The hard surface of the clipboard comes in handy because sometimes you need something hard to write on.

Paper Set-up

Paper is a part of our lives whether we like it or not.  Establishing a paper set-up will keep you organized.  Keeping your paper organized in the command center helps you manage it because you know where to put it and where to find it.

Bills are a huge component of paper.  Not every single bill is automated or emailed.  Establishing a strong billing center will help you pay your bills on time.

Hooks

Hooks are an easy way to get organized.  You can hang up a variety of things with hooks:

  • Jackets
  • Backpacks
  • Handbags
  • Keys
  • Umbrellas
  • Dog Leash
  • Reusable Shopping Bags

These items are used on a daily basis for most people.  Keeping them located in the command center helps you remember where to find them quickly.  Using hooks makes it easy to access and easy to put back.

There are a ton of different hooks out there.  My favorite places to get hooks are Home Goods, The Container Store, and Target.  Home Goods is a hit or miss because you don’t know what you’ll find.  The Container Store has a plethora of options that can fit any style.

Tack Board

Using a tack board in a command center make it easy to hang up important items.  You can hang up important notes or papers, your kids’ art, or nice cards you receive in the mail.

Dry Erase Board

Having a plain dry erase board is convenient for writing quick notes.  It can be a to-do list, a reminder, an important day, or even a quote.  If you forget things easily or want a place to jot something down quickly, having a dry erase board in your command center will be handy.

How To Set-Up Your Family Command Center

Step 1: Location

The first step in establishing your command center is location.  If you’ve ever taking a Marketing class you know how important location is to any business.  The same concept applies to where you are going to establish your family command center.

You want to put it where you will actually use it.  Putting it in your home office or kitchen would be a great place because you frequently use it.  However, if you don’t go into the home office daily don’t put it there, it will defeat the purpose.

You’re command center is your daily organization tool that will hold the house together.  Put it in a place that makes sense.

Step 2: Establish Your Main Components

Decide what will make up your command center.  What are the areas that are the most challenging for you to maintain?  These are the areas that will be the focus of your command center.

Do you struggle with paying your bills on time?  If so, establish a bill payment set up that includes stamps and return labels so you can easily get them in the mail.

Do you forget appointments easily?  If so, make sure you have a visual calendar so you can see everything for the month in front of you.

Do you want to become better at meal planning?  If so, keep your meal plan in your command center so you can make it a habit to meal plan.

Do you see the trend?  You want to keep the most important things for you in your family command center.

Here are the components we have used in the past for our command center:

  • Calendar- We use a dry erase calendar and this thing has literally saved us from forgetting appointments.  My husband and I had just been using our phones and it wasn’t working out for us.  We needed a visual to see what was coming up for the month.  We still use our phones, we also use a dry erase calendar too.
  • Hooks-  We hang up our keys here.  I grew up with my parents always hanging up there keys on this moose hook we had right when they walked in the door.  We haven’t always used hooks in our house for our keys and have had more lost key searches than I care to remember.
  • Tack Board- We hang up cards, cute artwork here, or pictures of our kids here.  It adds a warm touch to the command center.
  • Magazine Holder-  We might be some of the last people on earth that still get magazines 🙂  Magazines are typically heavier than paper and we needed something that was a bit heavy duty.

Step 3: Decide What Products To Use

Once you have decided on the components you need.  Now you need to find the products to establish your command center.

When searching for products, try to use the same colors or brands to give you a consistent look and appeal.

Another important tip when picking out products, measure the space to make sure the products will all fit where you want it to go.  You will save yourself a lot of heartache and disappointment by measuring the space.

We have tried two different command centers.  The first one was Martha Stewart that they no longer make.  It was okay but really small and didn’t fit our family needs.

We switched to Pottery Barn and couldn’t be happier.  While it’s expensive, I think it’s worth it because the products are high quality.  We’ve had ours for almost three years with no issues.

Pottery Barn has sales on the system which I waited to buy until it was on sale.  They have a really cool interactive set-up where you can play around with the pieces to see which ones will fit your space best.

Here are the Products I recommend for a command Center:

These are the exact products we use from Pottery Barn.

Here are some alternatives to the Pottery Barn setup.

I recommend not using a chalkboard setup for one reason only, it leaves a “ghosting” trail.  In other words when you erase it, you can still see it.  There are some solutions that apparently erase this but I’ve tried it and it hasn’t worked.  I fell in love with chalk labels a few years ago and quickly realized they weren’t going to work for us because of the ghosting left on the labels.

Step 4: Setting Up Your Command Center

Once you have the products, you can start assembling your setup. Make sure to read any instructions that come with it, I’ve become that mom. I’ve experienced too many failed attempts with product failures because I skipped reading the instructions.

If you hang it from the wall, make sure you use anchors because you don’t want it falling off the wall.

Step 5: Maintain and Re-evaluate

After your system is in place, you need to use it!  If you’ve never had a command center before, you’re going to learn quickly that you are creating a new habit. Habits are the cornerstone to being able to stay organized.

After you’ve used the command center for 30 days, do an evaluation of it to see what’s working and what’s not. Change out anything  that isn’t working.

For us, we swapped places with the magazine holder and the key holder. The kids could reach the keys so that obviously wasn’t going to work, that was the primary reason for the swap out and it worked out great.

command center

Conclusion

Establishing a command center will help you stay organized in ways you never imagined. Find out what you need and design a center that works for you and your family.

Get your free printable to help you get your command center started.

Download

I would love to know what categories are used in your command center?

*affiliate links used, see full disclosure here

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  1. […] one calendar for everything. Multiple calendars are tough to manage and things get lost in the […]

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