Until recently, my husband and I had a chronic problem with clutter on our dining table. Mail, pens, coupons, coins, grocery lists, etc. were always scattered on the tabletop. Our solution to this problem was to create a command center, which is an area in the home designed to keep the family organized.
Let me describe the components we included in our command center and then I’ll share a few lessons we learned as we created it.
Command center components
1. Whiteboard. We included a 24 x 18 in. whiteboard in our command center. This board provides us with a place to record messages, document to-do lists, and take note of items we need at the grocery store.
2. Bulletin board. The largest piece in our command center is a 16 x 36 in. bulletin board. We pin assorted items (business cards, printable labels, etc.) to the lower portion of this board. We pin two very important documents to the top portion of the board:
- Daily cleaning schedule. My daily cleaning schedule is the only reason our home isn’t an absolute mess! I keep it on the bulletin board so I can easily see what cleaning tasks need my attention.
- Monthly menu. I plan monthly menus for my family (find links to the menus on my series page and read about how I plan the menus here). I keep our current menu on the bulletin board so I can check it each morning in order to plan ahead for dinner.
3. Calendar. The simple 12 x 17 in. monthly calendar in our command center helps us keep track of upcoming events and appointments. My husband and I do not constantly have to remind one another of medical appointments and meetings because they are posted for both of us to see. This calendar also helps us keep track of the birthdays of family members.
4. Magnetic strips. After much debate, we decided to include two magnetic strips in our command center. These provide a place for us to hang a number of items. I affixed a magnet to the back of my coupon organizer, allowing it to hang on a strip for easy access. Our postage stamps also hang on a strip, as well as other items including important receipts.
5. Hanging storage cups. A set of three storage cups and a bar on which they hang provide us with a place in our command center to store pens, pencils, scissors, tape, markers, and other assorted office supplies.
6. Mail and key holder. A small receptacle to hold mail completes our command center. It keeps the mail in one location so we are sure to take care of bills and other pieces that require our attention. The hooks beneath the holder provide a convenient place to hang our keys so they do not get misplaced.
We purchased these items from Amazon, Hobby Lobby, and Ikea. Some of the above links are affiliate links (click here to read about what this means).
Tips for building your own command center
- Begin by deciding what you need the command center to accomplish. Take time to sit down and decide what you need from a command center. Do you need a place to compile a grocery list? Does each family member need an inbox for mail? Does it need to include a list of emergency contact numbers? Get all of this documented before you begin or else you will end up with a lot of useless stuff on your wall!
- Purchase command center components based on their functionality, not their appearance. I can’t tell you how many cute corkboards, chalkboards, pencil holders, and similar items we saw when purchasing supplies for our command center. Unfortunately, many of these weren’t functional because of their sizes or shapes. Resist the urge to purchase items like these. We all want our command centers to look nice, but what’s most important is that they are useful.
- Choose the right location for your center. There is no one location that is “right” for placing a command center. Consider your lifestyle when deciding where you should place yours. Where will it be seen and used by the family? In the kitchen? In the mudroom? In the dining room? In a hallway? Choose whatever works best for you, even if it is unconventional. We placed ours on a wall in the dining area that is located between our kitchen and living room.
- Measure twice, cut once. These exact words don’t apply here, but the principle does. You’re going to be putting a lot of holes in your wall when you hang your command center components, so plan and measure carefully to avoid creating misplaced holes that will need repaired later.
Do you have a command center in your home? What components make it useful to your family?