By Renee Metzler
Every commander-in-chief needs a command center, and for the home manager, that place is the kitchen. This is where the chief announces the daily schedule, delegates the chores, keeps the team on track, and celebrates the mission accomplished. If you have ever wondered, “What are the essential parts of a command center? Where should it be placed? How do I use it?” then read on.
Make sure you have all the essential parts of a command center including monthly calendar, meal planner, and family cleaning schedule. Place free printable worksheets in a fridge file (see tutorial) and use with a dry erase marker.
- Monthly Calendar: Choose a blank calendar that is big enough to hold all family activities that includes space for daily routine reminders or a monthly to do list.
- Meal Planner: Choose a weekly or monthly meal planner. Jot down dinners and recipe references, that way the team can cook even when the chief is absent.
- Family Cleaning Schedule: List all the weekly cleaning tasks and chores on the left column and all the family members on the top row. Assign tasks to each family member monthly.
Consider a few extra options for your command center such as Bills & Budget Tracker, Mail-In & Mail-Out Slots, and a Note Board. Be sure to consider necessary hardware for installation such as magnetic tape on the fridge or removable wall stickers.
- Bills & Budget Tracker: Choose a monthly tracker that records your regular bills due and leaves room for tracking your monthly budget. Place in command center or in your home office.
- Mail-In & Mail-Out: If you need a place for sorting mail daily, add magnetic mail in and mail out holders. Store stamps and pen in the mail out slot for quick access.
- Note Board: Choose a chalk board or white board with magnetic backing for jotting down reminders or notes to the family. Remember the chalk or dry erase marker.
Since the kitchen hosts the hub of activity around the house, the logical placement for your command center is here, however, the home office or desk would serve this purpose well too. When choosing your command center location, make sure it is easy to see and install with the proper hardware.
- Wall: An oblong wall in the kitchen, a space behind your desk, or the place you hang the coats would make a great command center placement. Use removable stickers.
- Fridge: The fridge is a central location that could host your command center. Use magnetic stickers or tape.
- Door: Want to tuck your command center out of sight? Place the command center inside your pantry door or another highly frequented cupboard. Use removable stickers for wood.
How to Use It
If you want to be in command with your command center, then use it often: each month, each week, and each day.
- Monthly: On the first of each month, update your monthly calendar with the proper month and dates. Add important dates such as holidays, birthdays, and special events. Make monthly appointments. Meal plan and rotate tasks on the family cleaning schedule. Balance last month’s budget. Clear out mail files.
- Weekly: Create a weekly to do list on the calendar. List items from most important to least important. Track meals and family cleaning tasks. Pay bills, answer mail, throw away all junk mail.
- Daily: Check today’s date on the calendar daily. Review your weekly to-do list to stay on task. Check off items as you complete them.
DIY Fridge File (15 minutes)
A fridge file is a hanging file that holds important worksheets such as a calendar, meal planner, and family cleaning schedule in transparent sleeves to be used with a dry erase marker. It’s a compact and inexpensive solution to a command center. Here’s a do-it-yourself fridge file you can make in fifteen minutes.
- 3 sturdy transparent plastic sleeves (8.5×11 inch)
- 1 strip cereal box cardboard (1×11 inch)
- 1 strip cardstock scrapbook paper (2.5×11 inch)
- Hot glue gun
- Perfectly align transparent plastic sleeves, making sure all sleeves are open at right.
- Place cardboard strip at top of sleeves and firmly staple to the area above the top seam three times: left, center, and right.
- Fold scrapbook strip in half and hot glue to cover the cardboard strip.
- Place with appropriate hardware (tacs on bulletin board, magnetic tape on fridge, or removable sticky wall mounts on walls or inside cupboards).
- Print your favorite worksheets, fill, and use often with a dry erase marker.
Free Printable Worksheet
Go to totalhomemakeover.com/freebie to download free printable worksheets.
Renee Metzler is the “crash test” mom of home management, sharing what works and what doesn’t. Visit her blog at http://www.totalhomemakeover.com/.