I don’t know about you but mental clutter can be just as draining as physical clutter. If keeping track of your own schedule and belongings isn’t hard enough, keeping track of everyone else’s in your family can be exhausting sometimes. A great way to keep everyone informed and on track is a family command center.
Where should you put it?
The best location for your command center is a place where everyone passes through or sees every day. A small table and a bulleting board or even just space on a wall will bring it all together and centralize family communication A favorite place for many families is near the kitchen (food brings everyone together, right?) or by the door that everyone needs to go through to get in and out of the house. Hint: the front of the refrigerator is NOT a good idea even though its tempting. Why? It becomes so commonplace that family members literally do not see it. Pick a place that is convenient but NOT necessarily in their face 24/7.
What goes there?
Remember the purpose of the command center is information. Reducing the clutter in your home by having important things all in one place will help you avoid the temptation of overstuffing it with every little piece of paper. Remember it’s an area, not just a bulletin board. So here’s some thoughts, pick what works best for your family’s needs:
- A chalkboard or dry erase board for writing messages (don’t forget the have the chalk or maker clearly and permanently handy)
- A place for keys: everyone’s car, a key to the garage if you need it, or backyard shed, perhaps an extra door key. This doesn’t have to hang, a small basket works for our family
- A hanging folder or small basket for incoming mail , bills., etc
- A wall file for each child for permission slips, etc.
- A weekly chore checklist and reminder.
- A grocery checklist (“Hey, we are out of…” )
- A weekly dinner menu (menu planning will save your life here, trust me)
- If you have small kiddos, a way to display art or pictures of larger projects (HINT: pick ONE CHILD per week to highlight).
- A place to hold neighborhood take out or delivery coupons
- A small trash can nearby (hint: open the mail near the trash can, toss what you don’t need to address immediately).
- A hook for a leash if you have pets to walk.
- A family calendar—doesn’t have to be a huge calendar, you can print off a month at a time from your computer and just hang that.
Make it Personal
Make it warm and inviting: make it colorful or cute, paint it a different color from the wall, hang a family photo, or a stencil with the first initial of your family’s last name.
And last but not least:
EDIT IT WEEKLY. Sunday night is a good time to do this: update it with the next week’s info. One family I know makes it a Sunday night chore that rotates among family members to keep it updated. If you make it attractive and inviting, then remind your family members to check it regularly it makes a huge difference!
Your family isn’t a business, but instilling a little order can leave you with more time and energy to actually hang out and spend time together. Less hassle, more fun.