Hello Readers! Now, school is most likely back in session right now, and this week was probably pretty hectic for you and your family. If not, this coming week is going to be first of many rough ones this school year. But it doesn’t have to be! You can keep things running smoothly with a command center and a central calendar for your family.
Now, right now is the perfect time to set up a command center and central calendar for your family while everything is up in the air. I know a lot of you may be reading this and shaking your heads, wondering how or why I could possibly think this is the best time to set up a command center when your kids are probably driving you crazy, your life just got more hectic due to new school schedules and plans, and the house is wreck. Well, this is the best time to set up a command center because it’s so hectic in your home. Everyone is unsure of what’s going on right now, and more than likely your family needs a centralized location that tells them what’s going on in your lives. The need a drop-off place for their new school needs and backpacks, a place to put their shoes when they come in, and a routine to get them ready for the crazy school year that’s upon us.
Even if your kids aren’t in school, this is a good time to set up your command center and central calendar anyway. Fall is just around the corner, with its pumpkin patches and corn mazes, and the holiday seasons-Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and more-will soon be here. Now is the time to get organized and ready for holiday plans to roll in, not to mention start thinking about where you will be spending the holidays. Don’t forget: travel accommodations during the holidays are always expensive, so now is the time to start saving up for those winter trips.
But, back to a command center. When it comes to your needs, the sky is the limit on its set up. Keep in mind your home and the daily traffic you experience. You don’t want to put your command center by your front door if you and your family use the garage entrance every day. Instead, think of a practical and centralized area near your most used entryway that can accommodate your needs. Some tips on what to include for your command center are as follows.
- An inbox/outbox– I highly recommend a mail receptacle of some kind, such as an inbox/outbox system. It doesn’t have to be large or even on a desktop. It can be a wall-mounted one and it can even be a multi-purpose one, such as this one with a chalkboard, mail slots, and key hooks. And think about the mail you receive and send out. If you receive a lot of magazines, then a small mail slot inbox may not be right for you. If you receive nothing but bills, then a large letter or legal size inbox may be too big. It all depends on your needs.
- Individual boxes– This is another need you may have in your family. Think about it: do you typically find out about school events after the fact when your kid doesn’t get their forgotten permission slip out of their bag or when they forget to give you the hand outs and flyers sent home by their teachers? What typically happens when you find out: you get mad. You feel like the world’s worst parent because you were the “only” parent who didn’t know. This is where individual boxes can come in handy, especially right now as school starts. So this is how it works: as your kiddos come home from school, rather than just dropping their bags by the door and running off to play, you start them off on the right foot by having them empty the papers from their bags and into their individual boxes on the walls or on the tabletop of your command center.
Then, you can come in and sort through the papers, read the newsletters, mark down events on your nearby centralized calendar, and sign necessary permission slips. Then, you can either return the papers to their backpacks for them or, if they are older and more responsible, you can place them back in their boxes for them to put in their bags on their way out in the morning. It’s as simple as that. I know it sounds like a pipe dream, but it can really work if you remind your kids every day to put their papers in their inboxes. Gradually, over the course of a few weeks, it will become habit for them and for you. And, trust me, it will make your life ten times easier.
- A central calendar. This is a no-brainer for a command center. You need a calendar, and one that everyone can refer to each day. You need to maintain this calendar with everyone’s events on it. If you get in the habit of checking this calendar daily and checking the weeks ahead every day, then it will be second nature to refer to the calendar of events. This will only help you stay on top of things and plan ahead for events.
- Other items– These aren’t necessary by they can be useful. Items like a trash can, a small shredder, baskets for lunch boxes, hooks for bags, cubbies for kiddos, shoe racks, benches, and letter-writing needs aren’t required but they can sometimes be really useful in your household. If you have the space, I highly recommend individual cubbies for each kid with a hook or two and a shoe cubby below, a bench to sit on, and space for your kids’ lunchboxes or outside accessories (mittens, hats, scarves, etc). And if you have pets, I also recommend a space for their outside needs, such as their leash and pet waste bags if needed. Again, these aren’t required. But if you have the space, then use it. It’s a pipe dream for me to have a gorgeous and detailed command center like the two below, but it isn’t practical right now in our apartment. Still, we follow a simple rule of putting our mail in the same place every time and we constantly refer to our central calendar to stay on top of our events.
And that’s it. It’s simple to implement a command center in your home and they honestly don’t take up a lot of room. What they do for you more than makes up for the lack of space. So, tell me readers, what sort of needs does your family have with a command center? What inspiration can you offer us for our own command centers that you utilize in your home?
Until next time,