And so it begins. A trail of chaos follows my children the minute they enter the house after school. Backpacks randomly dropped in the hallways, a shoe in the living room, the missing pair in the kitchen, jackets lying on the floor giving clues to where I can find my children.
Soccer. Scouts. Ballet. STEM Club. Parties. Open House. Doctor appointments. All of these words are written on Post-It Notes decorating my computer screen. Each one is a calendar item that will defy laws of carpooling and organization. We are a military family and believe “a structured life, is a happy life.”
I’m not a just a parent; I’m a family manager. It’s time to build my own Command Center!
I need my own personal Command Center this year to manage a creative and chaotic family, multiple TDYs and a calendar the entire family can understand. I scoured the internet and Pinterest searching for the right space for my family. Below are the what I felt were the golden rules to a working Command Center in your home.
Rules of Your Home Command Center
1) Drop it. A drop zone is a hot spot in your home where things tend to get dropped, placed or stored upon entering the house. We are creatures of habit, so utilizing and organizing a naturally occurring drop zone is a good place to start developing a Command Center.
Golden rule: Tidy up your drop zone or hot spot once a day.
2) Hang it, Hook it, and Store it. Your Command Center should be organized horizontally as well as vertically. If you can hang it up, do it. Backpacks, jackets, reminders, and calendars should be positioned on a wall within easy reach, on sturdy hooks, and away from high traffic areas. It should have a clean look, be well spaced and visually appealing. If you are unable to use the wall space to organize, take full advantage of tables or flat surfaces such as cubes or shelving. Store all loose items in clean, uniformed bins or drawers.
Golden rule: If it’s hard to use, it’s not functional.
3) Label it. Don’t leave anything to chance, allow your kids to see what goes in where by using labels. Labels allow for uniformity which will limit the visual clutter most Command Centers take on after use. Labeling your spaces and bins will make getting out the door easier in the morning and find a home for everything when they return in the afternoon. Get the kids involved in label making. They will love getting creative drawing pictures, designing labels on a computer, or using foreign words to reinforce a new language.
Golden rule: Everything should have a home.
4) Brag about it. Create a space to brag about your kids, spread good news or decorate your space with art from school. It’s important that your space to be positive and fun, as well as functional. Limit the items you choose to brag about. For example display only one brag item at a time per child or display one art and school achievement per child. Don’t let the space become overwhelmed by paper. Change out art or brag items weekly. One an item is removed; it has to find a home in the trash or be filed. Don’t let items pile up, keep it moving and be selective.
Golden rule: Rotate, then toss or file.
5) Be creative, but keep it simple. The best ideas are usually the simplest. Make sure your Command Center has only the essentials. Remove all clutter, pictures or knickknacks not related to your Command Center objective. This space should be visually calming as well as intuitive. Stick with the basics – Calendar, backpack placements, essential office supplies, to do lists and possibly a brag board. Fight the urge to add more “things” to your space.
Golden rule: KISS it. Keep It Simple Sister.
Need more inspiration? Visit us on Pinterest for more great Command Center ideas.