When it comes to planning and executing each day, you need a family ‘command centre’ to make sure ‘operation family life’ flows and things are kept in order.
Sure, you’re called mama by your mini clones, but you wear many other hats.
You might be known as Mum-In-Chief, Commander, and even Domestic Engineer Extraordinaire – or at least you should be!
Regardless of what your title is, a family ‘command centre’ in your home will help your family to be more organized by making sure there’s a place for everything and everything in its place.
Not sure what a command centre is? That’s okay, keep reading to find out more.
Command centres have been used for ages by a myriad of organizations. There are emergency command centres, tactical operations, security operations, and more.
Chances are you probably have some kind of variation of one set up already in your home! A family command centre contains elements of all of these centralized organizational systems.
It’s the central hub or area within your home where you keep and put things you need easy access to, including schedules, devices, school bags, sports gear, musical instruments, mail, forms that need to be completed (gosh, how many do we get?), car keys, shoes and more.
Also know as a launch pad or drop zone, the idea around a family command centre is that you have a designated spot to keep everything in one handy place, so that you’re not wasting time trying to find things as you race out the door. How gorgeous is this hallway drop zone in the image by @cottonstem? #goals
Although it may sound like ‘mission impossible’, designing the right command centre for your home will not only keep you and the family organized, it will bring order to your everyday life.
And THAT is priceless. Let’s explore some of the best family command centre ideas that actually work.
Crucial elements of a family command centre
Every family command centre will be a bit different as it should meet the needs of each individual family rhythm. However, there are elements of a family command centre that will have crucial similarities.
Even a family of one (think about your kiddo away at college) will have some sort of calendar that helps to track everyday activities.
More people means more events, and it also means more friends and family birthdays to track, more bill due dates, bigger shopping lists and academic deadlines.
These days a family command centre needs to be so much more than just a static calendar.
Here’s where a digital solution like Life Sorted can come in super handy. Life Sorted is easily accessible via computer, tablet, mobile, and you can even print out the family’s schedule to pin on a corkboard. Check out some of these great tablet stands and wall mounts you can get. Perhaps you have an old tablet lying around you could use in your family command centre?
Life Sorted is a robust shared family calendar app, built specifically for families in need of a digital command centre that everyone in the family can access at home and on-the-go, anywhere, anytime.
// Paper organization
That paper clutter needs a home, and this station is just the place.
Whether you choose file folders in drawers, post-its on walls, pushpins on a corkboard, or a desk organizer, you need to have a plan for where to put your bills, receipts, school papers, mail, and anything else that can build up on surfaces over time.
Remember, you don’t have to attend to everything straight away.
You can use my simple 4-D framework that eliminates brain clutter by helping you to decide if you should do it now, defer it, delegate or ditch it!
Shopping lists change all the time, so plan a location and display style that will allow the grocery list to evolve throughout the week.
Check out the shared grocery list in the Life Sorted app, which allows everyone on the family to add to the list and tick off items once purchased – from the palm of their hand – if they happen to beat you home with the milk.
To-do lists aren’t just for parents either. Chores, goals, and reminders all need a home and Life Sorted is the perfect place for this, if you decide to take your family command centre digital.
// Communication central
The dinner table and text messages don’t have to be the only place your family manages messages.
By centralizing quick notes and messages within the Life Sorted app (Think, “yes, the cats have been fed,” “good luck on today’s test,” and “Aunt Shelly called”), everyone will stay up to date on the essentials.
The ideal family command centre layout
One of the best ways to approach designing the ideal family command centre layout is to think modular. By arranging each section of your design, you remain flexible and able to adapt to growing family needs, like growing files full of paperwork.
You’ll also be able to adjust your family command centre ideas to new concepts like a section for upcoming travel plans. Exciting!
Most end up with a dedicated family organization wall, table, hallway or bench. It might be in the kitchen, the front entrance, a closet, or in your family room. Whatever location you choose, make it somewhere that will be visible and easy to reach. And don’t forget to make it aesthetically pleasing. It should coordinate with your home, be free of clutter, and feel approachable, not overwhelming.
Finally, if you want the family to use it, there needs to be a little space set aside for each person to own.
This democratizes participation.
Encourage everyone to take pride in how this space is used every day.
The brilliance is in the details and customization
Every family needs a command centre that will work them. It needs to be customized, clear of clutter, and inviting.
Plus, it should be inclusive enough to have elements that include each and every person in the household. That’s how you get buy-in and participation.
Wishing you a successful ‘operation family life, Commander!’
P.S What are your favourite family command centre elements? Let us know in the comments below.