7 proven essentials for the best family command centre

Can you relate to this situation? You walk through the door from work or school pick-up, and despite the fact that you’re bone-tired and could quite easily slump on the couch with a cuppa and a magazine, instead you’re faced with school bags that need to be unpacked, a pile of mail and bills to wade through, and notices to read (and actually deal with) from kinder and school. Ugh, the last thing you feel like doing, right?

Wouldn’t it be great if you had an organised ‘drop-spot’ where you could quickly deal with these tasks and actually get yourself to said couch with minimal effort? Ummm, yes please!

If you’ve been following the blog over the last few weeks, you KNOW I’m going to tell you that the command centre is your answer. And for good reason! Not only does it give you someone to store and sort paperwork (probably this zone's most important function), but it helps keep you on track with all those tasks and to-do’s that we face every single day. 

Today I’m sharing 7 proven essentials (and a FREE detailed checklist & planner) that will help you create the most functional, practical, and organised command centre. You’ll be totally rocking your home organisation in no time!

1 | Vertical space

Vertical space is a must with a command centre, because it’s so helpful to have important information on display and easy to see. Rather than having reminders, invitations and weekly tasks tucked away inside a drawer or diary, its much more useful to have them pinned up in a spot where you can see what's coming up at a glance. 

The great thing about a command centre is that it really doesn’t need to take up a huge amount of space, and taking advantage of vertical space is especially useful if you’re short on floor-space. Have a look around the main zones of your home (i.e. kitchen, living room, entryway) to see if there’s a corner of unused space that might be useful. For us, under the stairs was the perfect spot!

By utilizing any available vertical space, you'll be able to store a calendar, memo board, weekly planners, decorative items, and even paperwork organisers. You can check out some great ideas for using vertical space on my Pinterest Family Organising Ideas board.

In my own command centre (check out the detailed tour in this video) we use the back wall space to hide away all the important info that we need to refer to on a daily basis. The front section of our command centre [under the stairs] is used for decorative items and storage, so the whole piece ties in with the style and look of the rest of our home.

2 |  Paperwork Organiser

I believe that the number one purpose of a command centre is to provide a specific place to sort and store your paperwork. Which definitely makes a paperwork organiser an essential item! I actually call our organiser the ‘incoming’ paper organiser, because this is where I store and sort the paper that comes into our house on a daily basis.

In a recent Q & A episode, I talked about how to assess your paper piles to work out exactly which paper categories you have lying around your home. In our case, before I created this incoming paperwork system, the paper piles building up on our kitchen benches included daily letters, junk mail, bills, newspapers, magazines, and forms to be filled out. This was before our kids came around, so there was definitely less paperwork to deal with than we currently have. Luckily I got this paperwork system working before then!

Get your incoming paperwork organised with an organised system - this paperwork organiser helps to categorize important tasks to be dealt with on a weekly basis {The Organised You}

Our current paperwork organiser (which I share more about in my free 3-part video training ‘Take Back Your Life’), was custom-built by my Dad, with very clear directives! Within the 3 divided sections, I store labelled file folders to sort our paperwork into specific categories. All the folder files are stored in the back slot of the organiser until a task comes up. I then put the task into the appropriate file folder (i.e. a bill to be paid goes into ‘Household Tasks’) and move the folder forward into the middle slot so I know I have a task to complete. I deal with our paperwork on one day of the week (usually Friday), and when all the tasks are complete, the folders return to the back compartment.

There are obviously a few other moving parts to our entire paperwork organisation, but for our incoming daily paper, this system has been working for me for over 5 years now, so I know I’m onto a winner. You can see more ideas for paperwork organisation on my Pinterest board.

FREEBIE ALERT! Want a detailed checklist of all the command centre essentials to help you plan out your new space? Get your copy on the button below...

3 | Memo board

Whether you use a whiteboard, chalkboard, magnetic or cork, a memo board is essential for your command centre. It can be used to display upcoming events and invitations (i.e. birthday parties, engagements, weddings, school or kinder events); school or work schedules, and important reminders (i.e. car service notices or yearly doctor’s appointment reminders). I don’t typically display our bills on our memo board, as we keep ours tucked into the file folders as a ‘task’, but you could use it for this purpose as well.

Our memo board also displays our 90-day goals, weekly planner and household chores list - and this is where it’s useful to have vertical wall space for a decent-sized memo board! Having these things on display means it’s easy to check which tasks you need to attend to, and helps keep you more organised and productive.

4 | Weekly planner

If you’re wanting to be as productive as possible every day, then a weekly planner is a must, and what better way to display one than in your command centre!

I’ve talked at length about my new approach to weekly planning, where I batch the tasks I need to complete into specific categories. This allows me to be more productive, as I can get through a bunch of similar tasks in one sitting i.e. phone calls, errands, computer tasks. This method is much more productive than writing out a long list of to-do’s, where it's difficult to work out exactly what takes priority, and which order to tackle everything on your plate.

A weekly planner divided into categories helps you be more productive as you can batch your tasks! {The Organised You}

Having a weekly planner front and centre on your memo board in your command centre means you’ll have that visual reminder of the tasks you need to get through, which will help you set priorities.

5 | Calendar

If you’re a paper-loving girl, as opposed to digital, then a calendar will be an essential for your command centre. A calendar that has separate columns or sections for each family member makes it easy to see what’s on for each person, and allows you to keep track of everyone’s schedules.

While a calendar is great for noting all various events and reminders, a display of your weekly schedule might also be a good idea, particularly if you have a large family and everyone always seems to be here-there-and-everywhere! I love this family schedule display, but it all depends on how much vertical space you have to work with.

FREEBIE ALERT! I created a detailed checklist of the command centre essentials to help you work out exactly what you want and need for your space. Grab the list on the button below...

6 | Household binder

A household or family binder is a fantastic solution for keeping the important information that you need to refer to regularly, close at hand. It prevents you having to rifle through stacks of paperwork or a filing cabinet to find the information you need. It’s also great to have when you're filling out forms, as all those important numbers are easy to find. You can see how I set ours up in this post.

This year, with my eldest at school and my youngest at kinder, the incoming paperwork has definitely increased, so it’s helpful to have set systems in place. Whenever there’s an important notice from school that I’ll need to refer to again, such as the canteen menu, class list, term newsletter or parent information, I just give it a quick hole-punch and pop it in the appropriate section of our household binder.

A quick clear-out of the binder once a term means I can get rid of any info that’s no longer relevant (takes about 2 minutes), and we’re good to go.

Although I know I could find a lot of this information online, I like just being able to grab the binder and have a quick look through rather than always having to get onto the computer or my phone. If you don’t have a household binder, I highly recommend creating one - they are such a time and stress saver!

7 | Office supplies

The final thing you’ll want to have in (or near) your command centre are supplies for dealing with paper-related tasks. This could include pens, pencils, sharpies, erasers, glue-stick, sharpener, sticky-tape, hole-punch, scissors, and paperclips (to name a few!).

I like to use small plastic baskets and boxes to separate the different supplies within a drawer so they’re easy to find. I use a kitchen drawer to store most of our supplies (which is right near the command centre), but I do store pens and pencils within a compartment of the paperwork organiser. Super handy!

Organise your stationery supplies using small baskets or boxes to make everything accessible and easy to find {The Organised You}

Before I personally launch into any new project, I always ‘shop my home’ first to see if I have any existing products that could be useful or even repurposed. If you’re thinking of creating a command centre in your own home, I   recommend that you shop your own home first and see what could possibly be used in this new space before you go out and spend a fortune!

There are a few other essential items that you might like to have in your command centre, but if you’re not sure exactly what you should have or need, then I’ve created this detailed checklist to give you some ideas. It lists ALL the items you might need to consider creating a ‘home’ for within this space, and helps you distinguish between actual wants and needs, and create a bit of a plan for getting your ideas sorted. You can grab your free checklist by clicking on the button below.

Let's keep the conversation going... 

I'd love to know from you in the comments below:

  1. Which of these command centre items would be essential for you and your family?
  2. If you already have a command centre, would you add any to this list?

A behind-the-scenes look at our sensational command centre {Video}

18 months ago, hubby and I were deep in the 'planning phase' of our renovation. New kitchen, new living areas, new master bedroom - it was all happening, and both exciting and stressful as so many decisions lay before us. 

One thing I was adamant about putting into our plans the entire time was a family command centre. In my last post, I talked about how to recognize if a command centre would be beneficial for you and your family (did you take the quiz? How'd you go?). It really is an essential zone in our home, and I'm excited to show you our new one in today's TV episode.

A behind-the-scenes look at our sensational command centre! - in this episode, I'm giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how we created our new family command centre. I'm also inviting you to participate in the FREE 7-day command centre challenge! Click through to watch the tour and join the challenge!

I shared with you just how much of a life-changer our original command centre was in our lives, as it kept us on track with all the different areas of our lives we need to juggle.

We really wanted our new command centre to be functional, practical, super-organised (of course!) and decorative. We also wanted it 'hidden' so you couldn't see everything that was going on behind-the-scenes, but it had to blend in with the existing style of our kitchen and living areas. No mean feat!

As the build started to shape, we began to see the perfect spot for our new command centre - under the stairs! My husband Damian is truly a master at creating something from nothing, so with my requests (#demands) for how I wanted this space to operate, he came up with a unique design that completely fit the bill, and then some. I'm thrilled with how it turned out, and use this space to its full potential every single day.

I've been teasing the reveal of our family command centre long enough, so I am very excited to finally be sharing it with you in today's episode of The Organised You TV!

After you watch the video, be sure to sign up for our FREE 7-day command centre challenge on the button below. During this in-depth, step-by-step challenge, we'll cover:

  • the essential elements of a functional command centre
  • how to assess your needs and determine your priorities
  • what you should include in your command centre
  • how to set up an incoming paper system
  • ways to get inspired to design your own space
  • ideas for gathering your supplies, and specifically what you'll need
  • how to maintain your new space and make adjustments

I would love to see you in the challenge, and look forward to seeing what you create. Just click on that big yellow button below to join us.... come on, what are you waiting for?!

In the meantime, here's some inspiration - a behind-the-scenes look at our sensational new family command centre. Enjoy!

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Let's keep the conversation going... 

I'd love to hear from you in the comments below:

  1. Do you have a family command centre in your home?
  2. If yes, how has this space changed the way you run your household?

How to decide if you need a command centre in your home

How to decide if you need a command centre in your home

6 years ago, my son arrived in this world, and I began my new role as a stay-at-home Mum. What an amazing experience! I loved being home full-time with him [most of the time!] and felt extremely blessed to be able to have so much 1-on-1 time with him before returning to part-time work.

Although I was loving life, and felt that I adapted fairly well to our new routines and way of life, one thing that took me quite of bit of getting used to was the fact that I was spending each and every day in my home. Being surrounded by our 'stuff' and constant household chores definitely took some adjusting. And there were certain areas of the home that really began to frustrate me, that I knew I had to do something about, as the mess and clutter was staring me in the face each and every day!

One of those areas was a small section of kitchen bench-top, which had always been used as a 'dumping ground', from the moment we moved into our house. I used to be great at clearing it each day, but a new baby seemed to bring a lot of extra 'stuff' and less time to deal with it all, and this spot quickly became out of control.  

Battling paper clutter? This is your first step... {Q & A}

Battling paper clutter? This is your first step... {Q & A}

If you looked around your house right now, how many paper piles would you see?

Is there that one big stack on the end of the kitchen bench or table?

Are there several stacks in the 'hot-spots' of your home (i.e entryway, kitchen, home office)?

Do you have paper-related tasks waiting in a specific spot that require your immediate attention?

Or do you have effective paperwork systems that are actually working to keep the paper piles at bay?

If you're battling paper clutter, and feel like those paper piles are starting to take over your home, you are not alone my friend! And in today's Q & A, I'm answering Michelle's question on this exact topic, and sharing the first important step you need to take in getting it under control.

12 Of The Best Organising Systems For Your Family

12 Of The Best Organising Systems For Your Family

Do you ever find yourself lying in bed at night, going through all the things you have to do the following day, week or month? I always think of the movie 'I Don't Know How She Does It', where SJP is lying in bed at night going through all of her tasks, and nearly having a nervous breakdown at the very thought!

Having an organised approach to how you run your household can take a bit of work initially to set up, but once you've got great systems and routines in place, it will make life so much easier, I promise! Today I'm detailing 12 of the best organising systems for your family - I use all of these on a daily or weekly basis. These systems help me stay consistent with my organisation, and have all but gotten rid of the nightly listing sessions!

How to plan your meals - 2 simple strategies {Video}

How to plan your meals - 2 simple strategies {Video}

Can you relate to this scenario?

You arrive home from work, or a day out, and both you and the kids are starving. It's getting close to dinner time, and you've been wondering all day what on earth you could make for dinner, but you're not even sure what you have in your fridge. You want and need something quick and easy, but also nutritious and fulfilling.

But as you stare into the empty fridge, you're at a loss at exactly what to make - you are SO not one of those people that can whip up an amazing meal with just 3 ingredients. The stress kicks in, the kids are starting to lose it, you're feeling so tired...

Sound familiar? Wish you had an easier, less stressful approach to your evenings?

The answer, my friend, is meal planning.