I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of a family command center on social media before. And I’m sure you’ve been itching to try one for yourself. Family command centers are a great resource because they allow families to share information quickly. This is especially important if the family is often on the go and doesn’t have much time to sit down and update each other.
But you have no idea where to start. What should go in your family command center?
You have two options. You can buy an already built one online or you can create your own. Personally, I prefer to DIY it as pre-built ones might come with things you don’t need. The last thing you want to do is waste valuable space on your wall. Thankfully, creating a DIY family command center is easier than you think.
Here are some family command center ideas to get you started
#1 — Start with a calendar
One of the first things you need to include in your family command center is a calendar. This should go without saying. If you want everyone to know what’s going on each day, a calendar is a must-have.
The type of calendar you use is up to you. Some people prefer a good old-fashioned paper calendar. But you might want a dry-erase calendar or chalkboard calendar. Whichever one you choose, make sure it is big enough to hold all your events. Then place it front and center.
The calendar is your main attraction of the family command center. It’s where everyone’s eyes should go each day and night. Depending on how many members of the family you have, you might want to color code for easier reading. One color for each member of the family and one color to represent joint family events.
I talk about color coding and other calendar tips in my post “7 of the Best Calendar Organization Hacks You Should Use for 2022.” Be sure to give that a read for more ideas.
#2 — Vertical storage for paper
Another great benefit of the family command center is it's a place to collect all the paper that comes into your home. And I mean ALL of it. Set up a few vertical file folders and label them. Some labels you can use are:
Depending on the space you have to work with, you might have to combine some. For example, while it will be ideal to give each child their own paper storage, you may have to have one for all of them.
Collecting paperwork in your family command center will help keep it from piling up in areas it doesn’t belong. Like the kitchen counter or the coffee table. By storing it all in the center as soon as you walk inside, you’re saving yourself unnecessary stress.
Encourage your kids to use it as the place for their homework and school paperwork. This way important permission slips don’t get lost crammed in the bottom of their backpacks. Trust me, they’ll get used to it faster than you think.
Make it a habit to sort through the mail every day or every other day. If you let it overflow, you won’t be able to fit anymore and where will it end up then? On your kitchen counter or coffee table.
#3 — Dry erase board for notes & reminders
Despite having a calendar that shows all the events, you might also want to include a blank board for notes and other reminders. Could you put these on your calendar? Yes, but it’s always a good idea to separate events from to-dos. Especially if they’re time-sensitive and need to be taken care of as soon as possible.
That’s why adding a dry-erase board or another chalkboard is a good idea. Use them to share notes like, “Going to be home late today. Leftovers in the fridge.” Or “Pick up prescription.”
Let your kids write their own notes on there as well. The more hands-on the family command center is, the better it will serve your family. Just remember to erase any old notes so you don’t confuse yourself. The moment you complete what’s written on there, erase it.
#4 — Chore list
Speaking of lists, another great thing you can add to your family command center is a chores list. No more being asked what chores need to get done. You can refer them to the master list on the family command center.
Consider creating a generic list and then lamenting it. This way you can use the dry-erase markers to fill it in each month or week and then erase it. You can create one list for the whole family or have one list for each member of the family.
For added incentive, you can create a reward system. Use your notes board to encourage your family to complete the chores list by a certain date. If they do, you’ll all be treated to ice cream or a night out at your favorite restaurant. No one said chores have to be boring.
#5 — Weekly menu
Another thing you can list on your notes board is your meals for the week. No more being asked, “What’s for dinner?” Simply point to the family command center and show them. This also makes grocery shopping a little easier. If you know what you’re going to make for dinner, you can properly shop for the necessary ingredients.
Meal planning doesn’t have to be complicated. Don’t wrack your brain each week trying to come up with different recipes. Each week make things you know your family eats and try a new recipe once. Believe me, you’re going to save so much hassle doing that.
If you’ve tried meal planning before and couldn’t stick with it, my post “5 Simple Meal Planning Strategies to Keep You Stress-Free and Satisfied” will help you get back on track.
#6 — Hooks for keys & other small items
How many times have you lost your keys? My guess is a lot. Keys are one of the most commonly misplaced items. That’s why you might want to install a few hooks in your family command center for keys and other small items. This way everyone hangs them in the same place and they’re never misplaced.
Other small items could include masks, hats, scarves (during the colder months), and lanyards (if applicable). When you have a central place for items such as these, they’ll never get lost again. You know the saying, “A place for everything and everything in its place.” Your family command center can be home for those commonly misplaced items like your keys.
#7 — A clock
This one might be strange, but hanging a clock within your family command center is going to be worth it. Imagine how many times a day you check your watch or phone for the time. You know you have to be somewhere at a certain point and you’re afraid you’ll get distracted. Well, having a clock in your family command center will help everyone in the house.
For example, most family command centers are built near the main entrance or exit of the house. By having a clock there, you and your family will know instantly how much time you have left before you have to leave. No need to buy a massive, decorative clock. Unless that’s your style. A simple, wall clock will suffice.
#8 — Shoe rack or bag cubby
One last idea to consider is a dedicated shoe rack or bag cubby. This might be more suited to a mudroom or foyer, but if you plan on setting your family command center up in one of those rooms, this is a good addition.
Think about it. Not only will you and your family know where your keys, mail, and bills are, but there will be no more tripping over discarded shoes or trying to remember where your kids left their backpacks.
Again, this doesn’t have to be elaborate. Simply adding a small cubby beneath the family command center will do. You can even use the top for additional storage. Need an example? This shoe cabinet from Ikea can be a nice, simple addition. Your family command center can go above it and bags can be stored on hooks on either side.
Setting up the ideal family command center will depend on you and your family’s needs. Not everyone is going to need everything I’ve listed above. But they’re good places to start. Your main focus is to create an area that is easy to use and even easier to share information.
Need more help? Contact me today and let’s talk. Organizing — even setting up a family command center — can be stressful. Especially if you’re already dealing with a lot. So let me help you.