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HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT FAMILY COMMAND CENTER
(Hint: Involves A Close Relationship With Command Strips)

Some people have separate mudrooms or elaborate entryways where they can hang coats, leave shoes, sort mail, sort keys, check their family calendar, leave their family bags.

Or maybe they don’t. Maybe that Pottery Barn spread is the one mudroom in America, constantly re-decorated so that we believe mudrooms and dedicated entries are a thing EVERYONE has.

Well, we here at ChecklistMommy absolutely DON’T. We live in a fairly contemporary home designed in the modern style. We have an entry-ish sort of area. It kinda does it’s job housing coats and shoes and backpacks (I’m working on a better system as we speak) but it sure as hell doesn’t STREAMLINE our life. It doesn’t scream,

HERE’S EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR DAY AND YOUR WEEK AND OUR LIVES.

NOW GO LIVE, PEOPLE, GO OUT AND LIVE!

That’s because my front door is just not Command Center friendly.

It’s too exposed to our entire upstairs living space.

I want less there, not more.

And a TRUE Command Center really needs to do more.

In my view, a TRUE Command Center accommodates:

  • A family calendar
  • A family shopping list
  • A weekly menu list
  • Inboxes for every family member
  • A system for messages to/from family members

Basically, a Command Center keeps a family functioning on the same page.

You don’t need one so much when your kids are super-tiny, but by the time they’re in school – and this fall, ALL FOUR OF MINE WILL BE IN SCHOOL, HOLY MOLY – Command Centers are pretty much indispensible.

I mean, can you imagine how many permission slips I’m going to be dealing with this fall?

THE THE ABSOLUTE KEY to putting a FUNCTIONAL Command Center together

is figuring out WHERE ON EARTH IT GOES.

Turns out, it needs to be somewhere EVERYONE in your family will see it.

EVERY DAY.

  • As in: a binder that works for Mom is never in a million years gonna work for Dad or their four kids. They are never going to flip through it. Even if you leave it on the kitchen counter. And you tabulate it. And you talk about it. Every day. (It’s been six years of this system and NO ONE EVER LOOKS BUT ME.)
  • It also won’t work BEHIND THE PANTRY DOOR. No one spends time hanging out behind the pantry door. Pantry wall, sure. That might work. But most pantries I know are chock full of shelves and PANTRY ITEMS. Which is why I initially went for behind the door. Whoops.
  • I considered our laundry room for awhile, but NO ONE in our house likes to hang out in there because that’s where the litter box for our ancient cats live. They no longer have a great sense of aim. AND THEY JUST WON’T DIE. (And before I get all sorts of hate mail for that one: I believe that cats are not pets so much as hunters. Mine were hunters. MrBigIdeas’ cats were softie princess pansy butts. He moved in and turned mine into pansy butts too. Add to that ANCIENTNESS and incontinence and the fact that I now have four children who demand all my attention, and then go ahead and talk to me about the cruelty of my active fantasy life involving ZERO CATS AT ALL.)

Anyway, it took me three years but I finally figured out:

In a mudroom-less home, a Command Center lives out in plain view in the kitchen.

 

(1) Steel magnet board we already owned, home to our HUGE CALENDAR, emergency numbers, and the 10 Commandments Diddy made at school. (2) New MAGNETIC WALL FILES, one for each member of the family.

(1) Steel magnet board we already owned, home to our HUGE CALENDAR, emergency numbers, and the 10 Commandments Diddy made at school.
(2) New MAGNETIC WALL FILES, one for each member of the family.

  • We already had the magnet board under the TV (1), where our calendar lives, and where all sorts of other flotsam and jetsam ended up too. I was over the flotsam and jetsam.
  • So I bought inboxes (2). And because it turns out no one in our house ever CHECKS their basket-y inboxes (I know, because they already lived and malfunctions and overflowed in our fancy entry cabinet / shelf thingy), I bought MAGNETIC inboxes. So that people who might not look INSIDE would still see important notices stuck to the FRONT. And I made them small. I am hoping SMALL means people will check them more often. Flotsam and jetsam is now sorted to whomever thinks that crap needs a home in the first place.
    The new magnet board (3) and lunchbox hooks (4) hang on end of our kitchen cabinetry -- that's the side of our wall ovens you're looking at.  The door at the left side of the photo leads to the our front yard.

    The new magnet board (3) and lunchbox hooks (4) hang on end of our kitchen cabinetry —
    that’s the side of our wall ovens you’re looking at.
    The door at the left side of the photo leads to the our front yard.

  • Then I hung a second magnet board, which doubles as a wipeboard, to house our weekly menu, our shopping list, and any agenda items from or for our Weekly Family Meetings (more on those soon. We’re 2 in and they’re AWESOME!) My favorite thing about this new board is that now, as soon as we run out of ANYTHING, we write it on the board, and when one of us goes shopping we can just take a picture of the list on our phones and bring that to the store. GENIUS. GENIUS. GENIUS. If I do say so myself.
  • Finally, I added Command Hooks for everybody’s lunchbags. They were taking up a whole drawer in the kitchen, but more importantly: everyday someone leaves their lunchbag in the car and I don’t know about it until I’m scrambling around searching for lunchbags when I’m making lunch. Now I’m training the kids to unpack their bags everyday (HELLO, AFTERNOON CHECKLIST!) and unpack their lunches and hang their lunchbags on the hooks. That, my friends, will be nirvana.

OH AND:

I did it all of this – ALL OF IT! — with Command Strips!

Easy peasy! The inboxes, the second magnet/dry-erase, the lunchbox hooks: Velcro Command Strips, people. Learn to love them. I do. I wanna marry them. MrBigIdeas is always singing a song that goes:

I’m sticking with you

Cuz I’m made out of glue

Anything you wanna do

I’m gonna do too

That’s me and Command Strips. Forever and always.

Or at least until I find my drill in the disaster that is our garage and make my relationship with my fab new Command Center permanent.

Considering how bad our garage looks, I may be waiting on that a VERY LONG TIME.

 

 

 







I'm Just Looking for Some Grown-Ups to Talk To ...

Categories: Can't Live Without My, Checklists, Stay Sane, and Tips / Tools / Tricks.

6 Responses to HOW TO CREATE THE PERFECT FAMILY COMMAND CENTER
(Hint: Involves A Close Relationship With Command Strips)

  • […] How to Create the Perfect Family Command Center {Hint: Involves a Close Relationship with Command St… Take a look at the things that this blogger thinks a command center should include. […]

  • […] How to Create the Perfect Family Command Center {Hint: Involves a Close Relationship with Command St… Take a look at the things that this blogger thinks a command center should include. […]

  • […] How to Create the Perfect Family Command Center {Hint: Involves a Close Relationship with Command St… Take a look at the things that this blogger thinks a command center should include. […]

  • […] of the easiest ways to do this is to build a family command center. Short of lining up the entire family for a morning briefing, it’s the simplest way to stay […]

  • Dad
    June 13, 2013

    Actually best idea is in your photo illustration.
    They all watch the boob tube. put it all there. If they cant read then they dont need to be up.

    Everyone gets there own color.

    Your computer can interface. USB. Its on one of the inputs. Set it to see the puter. Hide the remote.

    • checklistmommy
      June 13, 2013

      Dad, when you come out here next you can set that up!

Sarah Kate Levy

Once upon a time I wanted to be a novelist in NY. FOUR KIDS LATER I'm a
screenwriter in LA who blogs about parenting, partnering, and the decline of civilization / my home.

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