Summer goes so very fast. Whether you have children or not, the back to school season always seems to trigger thoughts of new, fresh, organized things. We all reminisce about new Crayola Crayons, cute pencil boxes (or cigar boxes in my day!), and fresh bottles of Elmer’s Glue. The smells, the feel, the nostalgic fall air elicit thoughts of all our school supplies being crisp and new in our desks.
Fast forward to adulthood, and whether you have young children or not, those same items, along with all the incoming paper, can be overwhelming. For many, there seems to be a little here and a little there throughout several rooms of the home. A Command Center can be extremely useful in being home to all the things and containing them to one area. Most items you will have on hand. Pottery Barn has amazing options for Command Centers, but you can be a DIYer and go to Target and Office Supply Stores and create one just as functional. Below, you will find some tips on how to create a Custom Command Center that meets your family’s needs.
Choose a space.
Depending on the space you choose, the Command Center can be very simple or elaborate. Space will most likely dictate what will live in your Command Center. If you have a desk area in your kitchen or mudroom, that is ideal for all the things. But if you don’t have this luxury, you can carve out a space in your kitchen, entry hallway or even the built-ins in your family room.
Decide on the critical items that you want very accessible.
Make the Command Center yours. It doesn’t need to be complicated, and should be the place everyone knows where to find or leave whatever you decide. Some common items found in a Command Center are:
b. Whiteboard/Bulletin Board
c. Drop Zone (Basket or Bin for all incoming paper to be addressed later)
d. Household Binders with all the pertinent reference material, e.g. phone numbers, insurance material, babysitter information, etc.
e. Charging Station for phones and all the electronics
f. Mail Sorter
g. Office/School Supplies
e. Anything you need to have accessible by everyone in your home
Contain and Hang
It’s great to have whiteboards and bulletin boards hung where everyone can keep track of important items and messages. Whiteboard calendars can also be very helpful if you have complicated schedules and everyone needs to be up to date. Supplies and other items should be organized and out of sight either in cupboards and drawers or decorative baskets and bins. A basket or bin serving as a Drop Zone should be front and center and easily accessible to everyone.
The two keys to an effective Drop Zone Basket are:
1. Make sure everyone uses it - always.
2. Process it weekly, and address everything in it.
Train, train, train.
To be truly effective, a Command Center needs to be used by everyone in your home-husbands, kids, roommates-everyone. So education about its purpose and redirection when it’s not utilized appropriately is really important.
Consistency, consistency, consistency.
Keep the area organized and make sure the Drop Zone is processed regularly.
Even if you don’t have back to school kids in your life right now, a Command Center can help you tremendously with staying on top of all the things. What will be in your Command Center?