Do you run a busy household where there are lots of chores, schedules, and paperwork to juggle? Get everything organized and manage your home better with a command center!
A command center is a designated space in your home where you can organize paperwork like mail, receipts, bills, permission slips for school, and the likes. It is the place where you can leave notes for anyone in the family. Then there’s the family calendar with everyone’s schedule, and sometimes, a place to put everyone’s keys.
When done right, a command center can do wonders in your home life! So in this post, we will discuss the steps and give you helpful tips on how to set up a command center for your home.
So let’s do this!
1. Plan it out.
First, you need to think of everything needed in your command center.
What’s it going to be? Is it simply a place to organize the mail and bills? Or will it be a centralized area for all the supplies that you need for work and your kids’ school projects?
Settle this first to determine how much space you need. Your command center can be as little as a paper organizer hanging on a cabinet. Or it can be as big as a whole corner setup where supplies used by everybody are included such as office supplies, art supplies, and household management supplies.
Here are the common items that you may need in a command center for your home.
Almost all command centers have a calendar. Pick one that has big squares so there’s enough space to write out your family’s plans and agenda.
This can be a whiteboard, chalk board, or a simple notepad. This space is dedicated for messages where family members can communicate with each other. If you have kids, make sure that this communication board is low enough for them to access.
When looking at the calendar and you see there is a note in it, our instinct is to look at the time so it helps to have a clock nearby. If you have kids who are still learning how to tell time, simply get an analog clock.
Knowing what you will be eating for the whole week makes food preparation easier than when you’re thinking of what to eat only when you need to prepare food already.
If you assign chores to your kids then, good job! You are teaching them to be responsible. Add a weekly list of their chores in the command center and they can simply check off each task when they’re done!
2. Choose your location.
When you already know what you will put in your command center, you know then how big it should be. So the next step is determining the location for it.
Given the things that you need in your command center, where is the best place in your home to set it up? Here are practical tips for finding or creating a location for your command center!
1. Improve a selected area.
Sometimes it helps to work with your habits. Think of where all the paperwork and clutter usually land in your home.
Commonly these are the entryway, mudroom, kitchen and home office. When you set up your command center in these spots, the entire household may not have to make a huge adjustment. Simply improve the area to make room for a command center.
2. Set up a new spot.
On the other hand, there may be another spot on the house that would be a better fit for your command center. You could do this too – your family will eventually get used to it since they will be using it often.
Again, it helps to pick a high-traffic space in the house that everybody gets to pass by so they can see it.
3. Visible vs. hidden
Another thing to consider is whether you want the command center to be visible or hidden.
If you go for a visible command center, there is the matter of privacy when you have guests in the house. Plus, command centers can get messy sometimes (if you neglect it) and the visual clutter can stress you out.
On the other hand, if you go for a hidden command center, there is the disadvantage of “out of sight, out of mind” and your family may forget to check what’s there.
The key to making a functional command center work for your home is to make sure that everything has its rightful place. Put labels so no one gets lost as to where to put things in the command center.
For instance, there should be separate compartments for mail, bills, receipts, coupons, etc. If you have a calendar set up for everyone’s schedule, have a pen or marker nearby.
Once you know how many compartments you need, you should think of what organizing tools you will be using. There are lots of budget-friendly options and you can even make do with what you already have at home.
Here are the common materials used to organize command centers.
These baskets can be mounted on a wall and will be useful to corral paperwork and supplies. They come in different sizes so they can work for any compartment size you have in mind.
To avoid creases in the paperwork, some command centers have a binder set up to organize paperwork. All family members have to do is insert the document into its category.
If you do not have much to organize, you can make do with a hanging pocket organizer that you can set up on the wall. It’s that easy!
Just make sure that you have enough compartments and label them properly.
Common locations for a command center
Keeping those tips in mind, here are sample command centers in their most common locations.
The entryway is the first thing you see when you enter the house and the last thing you see before you leave. It makes sense to have a command center set up there as last-minute reminder.
If your home has a mudroom, it is another good spot to set up your command center since everyone has to go through it to enter and leave the house.
Since everybody uses the kitchen, it is also common for command centers to be set up there. And it will not be that accessible to your guests when they enter the house. So that’s a plus in privacy!
If you have a home office, simply set up one corner of the room as a command center for everyone – unless, you prefer some privacy and you do not want your family members going through your work.
But it’s another good place for a command center.
3. Set it up!
Now that you know what you want in a command center, and have envisioned how to organize it, it’s time to set it up in your home!
This can take you as little as 5 minutes only if you have done a good job planning and envisioning your end result.
Again let’s have some common command center setups!
1. On the wall
If you have chosen a wall for your command center make sure that you use the proper adhesives so whatever you put there sticks for long.
2. Inside the cabinet
For hidden command centers, dedicating a portion of a cabinet is a common setup – often done in the kitchen.
This will look like a mini office in the house – set up in a corner or nook. If you need more space and compartments for storage, this will work pretty well! It will also provide you a place to sit and deal with paperwork.
Feel free to add supplies that everyone will be needing!
4. Maintain your command center.
When your command center is up and running, there is one thing left to do: maintain it.
Since you will be checking it every day, I bet this will be a simple task!
Do a declutter session as needed. Get rid of items that you do not really use or items that you no longer need. Keep an eye out for outdated items.
If you do this daily, this can only take you five to fifteen minutes. That’s a pretty short time! But when you stick to this habit, your command center will remain orderly and functional all the time.
Create your command center now!
Indeed having your own efficient command center in the home allows everyone to be updated on important events and appointments. Each of you can leave notes to each other, and it lets you stay on top of important paperwork such as the bills.
As you can see from the steps above, setting up a command center does not have to be expensive or complicated. It does not even take up a huge amount of your time.
Remember, the key is to know first what you really need in a command center, then set it up according to your needs.
Don’t feel pressured by what you see online, like the samples we showed here. These are just that – samples – to let you see how others do it, so you can pick some ideas and apply these to your home as needed.
Ultimately, your command center should be personalized to fit your needs. Keep it simple and functional. And its job is always to make your life easier!