Last fall I finally put together a command center for our family and it has been such a lifesaver. I knew it was making a difference in how smoothly our days run, but I didn’t realize at first just how big a difference it made.
This year I was really getting into Christmas decorating and I decided the little chalkboard wall in our kitchen was the perfect spot for a Christmas card tree. (Which by the way, it totally was.) Unfortunately that meant the command center had to be temporarily dismantled. So down came the calendar, the mail slots, the menu planner and to do list until Christmas was over.
I had no idea how much I would miss them! We had only had our family command center for a few months, but even so, it’s absence was sorely felt. Not being able to look up and see at a glance what was coming up in the next few weeks made me feel constantly on the verge of forgetting something. Not being able to see the to-do file apparently meant there were no bills to pay or papers to take care of in my world. And without a menu planner, I quickly devolved into making daily trips to the grocery store so we would be prepared for dinner. Yuck! Definitely not my idea of a good time.
I was thrilled to put my little command center back together when the Christmas decorations were all put away.
If you don’t have a family command center yet, I highly recommend one. A command center is basically just a central spot where everything comes together to keep your family’s lives organized from appointments to mail to grocery lists to school papers. A command center helps make everything easy to find and easy to get to. Plus, in my case anyway, it has been a huge help in keeping all the paper clutter off the kitchen counters.
Every family’s command center is going to be a little bit different because every family is different, but I wanted to put together some command center ideas to help get you started. These are some of the things that really form the foundation of a great family command center. (Affiliate links are included for convenience as well as links to DIY tutorials. You can read my full disclosure here.)
Either a monthly or weekly calendar is always handy. At first I wasn’t sure we needed a wall calendar because I usually keep everything on the calendar on my phone. But I am so happy I decided to give one a try. It is super handy having one calendar that everyone in the family can see at a glance. Plus, being able to glance at the wall to see what is coming up this week is just one less reason to be tied to my phone all day. (Definitely something I am working on!)
Considering we are supposedly becoming a more paperless society everyday, it is incredible how many papers multiply in our house everyday. Papers from school, incoming mail, outgoing mail, receipts, coupons, papers to be filed, it’s crazy. Having a spot to corral the influx of papers has made such a difference in keeping our kitchen counters clear. Not to mention making sure things get taken care of before it’s too late.
I absolutely hate when I come to the end of the day and am trying to conjure up a great dinner idea on the fly. A simple menu planner gets the “what’s for dinner” question taken care of before disaster hits.
Bulletin board or Magnet Board
A great place to stick important papers and favorite photos when you don’t want them all over the fridge. (Or when the fridge is already too full and you need more space!)
Chalkboard or Dry erase board
The perfect spot to jot messages or quick reminders. You can, of course, buy chalkboards and dry erase boards; but they are incredibly simple and inexpensive to make.
Dry erase markers and chalk markers will write on anything glass, so any picture frame can be turned into a dry erase board. Just pop a pretty piece of paper or fabric or even an old map into the frame to serve as the background.
Chalkboards are also super simple to make. You can turn any picture frame or mirror into a chalkboard by painting the glass with primer and chalkboard paint. Or follow this tutorial to make a simple magnetic chalkboard.
If you don’t already have a designated spot to keep your keys or even the spares, this can save you lots of frantic mornings combing your house. (This also comes in handy when you have a small child who likes to run off with them – just be sure to hang it out of reach.)
All-in-One Command Centers
If you really aren’t up for putting a lot of pieces together or only have a small space for your command center, there are also some really cool options out there that incorporate a lot of functionality into just one piece. I really love the simplicity of some of these.
All that’s left to do is decide what’s right for your own family’s command center. I know I’m incredibly happy to have ours back!