No two command centers are the same. Aside from being an effective means of communication and organization, yours should also reflect the personality of your family and blend in with the rest of your home, something that takes a little planning.
Here are a few tips for setting up an effective command center in your home:
- Location, location, location - Finding the right spot is key. Ideally, you want a central spot, like the kitchen, where everyone will see it as they are preparing for the day ahead or near the most-used entrance/exit so that it is the first and last thing family members see as they are heading in or out the door.
- Keep it simple - Nothing kills organization and communication like a cluttered, visually-noisy message board. You don't want vital information getting lost among a gazillion pieces of paper or important meetings overlooked on a crammed calendar. Give some thought to the most important components to include in your design, and consider the amount of space you have available to comfortably display each element.
- Remember function over form - Obviously guests are going to see your command center if it's centrally located in your home, so you don't want it to be an eyesore, but as with all other organizing systems, you won't use it if it isn't easy to use. Therefore, take into account the mechanics of changing calendars, writing on whiteboards, pinning notes and reminders, etc. Make sure you can reach things adequately and easily maintain your system, whatever it is.
- Consult your family - You may not need tonight's dinner menu posted, but the kids may want a few hours to get mentally prepared for liver night. Since this system is for everyone's benefit, make sure you design it in a way that will benefit everyone by asking for their suggestions on what to include.
- Measure twice, drill once - It's helpful to create paper templates of each item and tape them to the wall in the layout you want before you put holes in the wall, just to make sure everything fits the way you envision it.
To get you started with a few ideas, here's what I've incorporated in my family's "Command Central". We were very tight on space, so I had to be selective in what I included:
My husband and I share a Google calendar, but I post just the key events and reminders for the coming week for the kids' benefit. I purposely chose to make this a "white board" (just a glass picture frame that can be written on with a dry erase marker) rather than a traditional-style calendar to give me more room to write in. I find that merely transferring the weekly highlights from my online calendar to the board helps me better focus on the week ahead.
I use the other slots for important/emergency phone numbers so that we don't have to look them up and for my kids who are at the age where I am just beginning to leave them home alone for short periods of time.
The full-year calendar (with paydates circled) attached to the front comes in handy for quick reference without consuming lots of extra space.