Do you know how many times I’ve emptied the command center with hopes of fixing what wasn’t working?
At least a handful, probably more. Now, I have quite a few tips to share on command center organization.
The Key to Good Command Center Organization
If you’re command center is always getting cluttered and doesn’t quite seem to work, identify the problem and ask yourself why.
It’s relatively easy to identify the problem, but without taking the time to I discover why there was a problem, you’ll end up right back where you started.
In order to find the way, study your habits, pay attention to how your family uses the space, including what is working, what’s not, and of course, why.
This step may take some time, but it is the key to creating a successful organization system.
7 Elements of a Command Center + Common Problems and Solutions
Family Communication Board
Have a central family communication board to keep track of everyone’s schedules, appointments and important dates.
Common Problem: My family wasn’t had trouble keeping up with each other’s comings and goings or our family plans. This happens in many households.
The Why: In our case, we didn’t have a physical family calendar. I tried to keep an electronic calendar with intentions of syncing it to our cell phones, but that just wasn’t practical for my non-tech family
The Solution: Put a calendar in a prominent place.
An Easy Filing System
An easy filing system helps you organize important papers and makes them easy to find.
Common Problem – Papers pile up and take over your desk.
The Why: In my case, the “TO FILE” folder was in a tight space and was difficult to access, and our filing system was 1. cluttered 2. outdated and 3. visually boring. During this process, I realized that clutter is a huge deterrent for me, and so are tight spaces. I also learned that the ADHD mind (that’s me) needs stimulation when it comes to performing mundane tasks.
The Solution: I allowed more space for the “to file” folder so that it has plenty of room to expand as papers are added, updated our filing system with a visually appealing, color-coded system and created a reasonable filing schedule.
A Bill Organizer
Use a bill organizing system for whatever paper bills you may have. Otherwise, try going paperless and setting up auto payments with as many bills as possible.
Common Problem: Bills getting overlooked and not being paid on time.
The Why: Unfortunately, my “BILLS” folder was never sorted through or updated.
The Solution: I learned that if papers are out of my sight, I will forget about them. So, my solution is to keep bills in a visible spot. Then, schedule dates to pay bills. Your solution will depend on your organizing personality.
An action file is a place to keep any items that need your response.
Common Problem: Invitations or other important items get lost in the shuffle.
The Why: Our “RESPOND” folder was also “out of sight, out of mind.” Not only that, but once the papers started piling up, I gave up on my mail sorting system altogether.
The Solution: Create an easier-to-use system for paperwork that requires action.
Now when paperwork needs attention, I pin it to the cork board side of my chalkboard easel. Then, write a reminder note on the chalkboard side.
The clutter is out of sight, but the task is still visible. I really feel like I’ve set myself up for success with this new system.
A memo board is a great way to organize receipts you need to temporarily hold onto, tickets, notices, coupons, etc.
Common Problem: The memo board gets cluttered.
The Why: Typically it’s because we don’t take the time to sort through it and discard what we no longer need. My board was actually functioning the way I had intended. However, when lots of memos are pinned to the board it looks cluttered and messy.
The Solution: For me, that meant moving or doing away with the memo board in favor of a system that looks tidy. Alternatively, you can set a weekly or monthly date to go through the memo board.
I ended up using a mail sorter. All incoming papers like tickets, invitations and receipts along with a few other office supplies have a home. And they look so much neater in a sorter than pinned all over a memo board.
Home Management Center
Use your command center to store things like light bulbs, extra school supplies, office supplies, and other typical home maintenance necessities.
Common Problem: My family had trouble finding things, and I had trouble remembering where I put them.
The Why: Everything that would logically be in a command center was stored in various places around the house.
The Solution: Centralize storage of all home management related items. Be sure to label bins and give your family a tour of the organization system.
Tip: Put frequently used items within reach and place seldom used items up high.
Adding personal items not only brings style to the space, but gives a little joy while you’re working, too. You can add personality by incorporating your favorite colors, photos, some of your favorite things and treating yourself to some pretty desk accessories.
I am so proud of not only the results, but the thought, time and intention that went into organizing our command center. I learned some valuable lessons in the process, and I took notes.
Command Center 101
- Allow plenty of time for your project. Consider how much time you think you will need, then double it.
- Give yourself thinking time. Thinking is still progress and maintains momentum.
- Wait to buy storage containers until you’ve determined what you need and measured your space. Even then, look through your home first for containers that can be switched out and items that can be repurposed.
- When you get down to the last few loose items, gather them together along with the rest of the organizers you have left, and start putting together the puzzle pieces so to speak, even if that means rearranging some of the items you had already organized.
- Avoid putting a “to-do” on your shelf, or under the desk or in a temporary container or somewhere ’til you can get to it. The likelihood of ever finishing that task is very low.
- Empty shelves give your eyes (and mind) a place to rest and leaves room to grow.
- Necessity really is the mother of invention. You’ll be surprised by how creative and resourceful you can be when you need to be.
3 Benefits of a Command Center
Completing this project provided a HUGE sense of relief, but the relief and the sense of peace that comes from order is just a bonus. An effective command center provides structure and a sense of stability in your home.
My home felt so off while our command center was disorganized and dysfunctional. It also reduces stress over lost belongings, missed deadlines or late bills. And a command center can help facilitate communication.
I’m sure there are many more benefits you will discover over time.
Where to Set Up Your Command Center
I’m fortunate to have a floor plan that includes a separate area off of the kitchen for the command center. However, if you don’t have a built-in command center here a few DIY options.
- Kitchen – you can create a kitchen command center on the side of your refrigerator.
- Nook – You could place a small desk under a stairwell or in a closet.
- Repurpose furniture – convert an armoire or bookcase into your personal mom command center.
- Wall – Use available wall space to hang a wall organizer, memo board and calendar.
The only real requirement is that it’s located in an area that everyone in your household routinely passes through or uses.
Command Center Must-Haves
Let’s talk about what should go in a command center. The systems you implement will depend on your household’s needs. Even so, there are a handful of organizers and tools that I believe are necessities in any command center.
- A mail sorter or memo board for incoming paper items such as tickets, invitations, receipts, etc.
- Filing system
- A shredder.
- Hooks for personal belongings such as purses, keys and bags.
- An out box for returns, library books, mail, etc.
- Personal or decorative items such flowers and photos. This gives you a chance to express your style which goes a long way in setting the mood of your command center
- Chaos to Calm – A step-by-step guide on how to create a command center from start to finish.
If you like writing to do lists and shopping lists on paper, be sure to include notepads, too.
For more home organization tips, read: