Mom brain is a medically proven condition, right? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say yes, because there is not enough coffee in the world to prevent it, or wine to recover from the disastrous events caused by it (if you’ve forgotten snack duty or pajama day.. you understand). There are some days that I’m killing this motherhood thing; the kids are on time to class, teacher appreciation gifts in hand, and sport bags in the trunk ready for after school activities. Other days I have to count my kids before I leave the house, someone eats the school provided meal (or air) for lunch, and the secretary calls because my child is in the office crying.. guess who forgot it was minimum day? Not to say the latter happens on a regular basis, but I’d be lying if I said it’s NEVER happened to me.
..until the day I discovered command centers.
I’m not sure why it never occurred to me before to create a “hub” for my family; a place to communicate, keep track of, and document ALL THE THINGS. I suppose it wasn’t necessary when my children were small, couldn’t read, and weren’t in extracurricular activities, but now that they are all school age it is extremely helpful with running a smooth-ish household. I get asked all the time on Instagram about my command center, so I figured I’d share the evolution of ours, what I’ve learned over the years, and where you can find a few of the items pictured in my newest set up!
Do: Keep a Calendar
We used to have a weekly calendar that worked great for us, but once my older kids reached middle school we found that a monthly view was necessary. I can’t tell you how much a calendar has reduced the “what are we doing,” and “did you forget” questions. After a few weeks of telling the kids to check the calendar, they eventually got into the habit of looking there first before reminding/questioning me about events.. it was great! Here are a few things I list on our calendar:
- Events (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, parties)
- Appointments (dental, doctor, vision)
- School Activities (spirit week, end of term, change in schedules)
- Extracurriculars (sports, recitals, practice, playdates)
- Upcoming Vacations
I use a chalkboard calendar that I bought for $5 at Target’s Bullseye’s Playground. Post it’s allow for easy movement of repeating events (mostly school schedules). These black and white dry erase calendars at Target come in a four pack and are fairly inexpensive.
Don’t: Let Kids Add Events
This is only partially me being a control freak, but kids do tend to get dates and details incorrect. I have them leave any school notes or invitations on my desk and I add/make edits to the calendar regularly.
Do: Have a Place to Take Post Notes
Pick a board, any board (chalk, white, or cork) it doesn’t matter, but you need a place to write reminders. Example? Your child’s homework is due every Thursday and that’s on the calendar, but THIS Thursday they have to remember to bring their field trip permission slip. Or their class party is Friday (noted on the calendar) but did you remember that you volunteered to bring juice boxes? Our note area is also where the kids can write grocery/meal requests and where I communicate daily chores.
Luckily, I scored this reversible board at Target for 70% off (regular price $14.99) to post my lists. Clearance varies by location but check your local store to score a similar deal!
Don’t: Make it a Permanent Fixture
This particular feature of our command center has changed the most over time. It may be because of my white board obsession, the fact that I change my stationary often, or that I remove this item from the wall to hover over my writing? Regardless, the holes in the wall would grow bigger because I was constantly taking the board off the wall. My advice would be to stick paper reminders up with a magnet or pin instead of taking an entire fixture down to write on every day.
Do: Add Your Personal Touch
Take your command center from bland to fun with pops of color, inspirational quotes, and framed artwork that your kids have done. My kids get excited seeing projects that they worked on on display, new school pictures, and personalized notes from me every now and then.
Don’t: Add Too Many Words
From one Rae Dunn/Home Decor lover to another, let me warn you that it’s very easy to post a lot of fixtures with words on them. Keep in mind you are already posting A LOT of information up on your calendar and reminders, so mix up your aesthetics with art, candles, mirrors, and plants!
Do: Create a Grab & Go Area
At this age my kids do pretty well with keeping their papers organized in their binders and backpacks, but there was a time when they weren’t. To make sure they had all permission slips and homework assignments in one place, I hung a file organizer and labeled the bins with each child’s name. This especially helped when I couldn’t sift through their papers until after they went to bed, because when they woke up to folders in their bin they knew Mom had seen everything, and if not they knew to remind me.
Technically, these racks are for magazines, but you’ll see them in a lot of common center pictures on Pinterest. Take note of the size as it’s a pretty long piece, and hopefully it works with your space!
Don’t: File/Hang Loose Papers
The point of a command center is to keep you organized so try to keep this area as tidy as possible. Papers flying around create the mess and chaos we are trying to avoid. Invest in a few manila folders from your local dollar store and keep everything in its place.
Do: What Works for YOU
Don’t: Obsess Over Pinterest
Easier said than done, I know because I’m guilty of it too. While Pinterest is a great starting point for inspiration, more than likely your lifestyle and space for a command center will not mirror someone else’s. Understand your needs, assess what areas you need help organizing, and think about which aspects of your pins you can realistically implement into your own home. Trust me that it is trial, error, and a forever changing process.
Other Items in picture
Target Bullseye’s Playground (seasonal)
- key holder
- Metal “Post” Box w/succulents
- Mirror, birds, and yellow vase
Rae Dunn “Bless This Mess” TJMaxx
Black Picture Frames – Dollar Tree
Still have questions regarding my command center or need ideas on how to create/upkeep yours? Head to this post on Instagram and let’s chat!