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Do you ever look at your morning or evening routines and wonder how other families do it?

It seems so impossible, sometimes. Everyone is running around looking for backpacks and car keys and it feels like no matter what you do, nobody is going to be on time for anything.

There may be a way to solve this baffling dilemma, however—a family command center!

The name may evoke images of the most important seat on a futuristic spaceship, but the truth is that these can be a simple way for the whole family to remember things like mittens, homework due dates, and even bills. By combining a few home organization tools in a central location that everyone in the family can get to, you can provide everyone with an easy way to get to the stuff they need and stay on task, no matter what the day holds.
Starting to sound good? Here’s what to do:

 

Decide on a space

The first step is to figure out where it’s going to go. Is there a place (other than the dinner table) where all the family can easily get together and see your new command center without having to go out of their way? Don’t stress or overthink it, but if there’s an easy spot in your entryway or living room to set up a few organizers and a notice board, you’re all set.

 

Decide what to include

This may be the biggest step. Do you just want to hang up an organizer or do you want to give your kids a place to keep things like hats and coats? Will you have a calendar or a notice board for everyone to jot down their thoughts? What about including mail organizers or coat hooks that everyone can reach? Take some time to think about what’s going to help your family the most (and what struggles they usually encounter in the morning) and go from there.

 

Designate space for everyone

So you probably know where it’s going—right in the entryway, in the back of the living room where everyone can see it, etc—and what it’ll be used for. The trick now is to curate it based upon who is using it, and how. Things like coat hooks for jackets and storage bins for smaller accessories like winter hats and sunglasses can be easily labeled so everyone can get in the habit of using it every morning, and putting their stuff back in the same one so there’s no fights or confusion along the way.

 

Get crafty

This might be a good time to let your kids make each space their own. Things like kids locker accessories (including magnets and mirrors) can be used to help decorate everyone’s little corner of the center and help them get more in the right headspace to actually remember to use it. Keep it appropriate to what you have in there, of course, but letting your kids run wild with the paint and stickers for decoration will give them a better sense of ownership over the whole thing and might help them get in the habit of keeping their stuff there.

 

Anchor the space

Depending on how much room you’re working with, you may benefit from the addition of a bigger space anchor. Think something like shoe benches to give everyone a place to sit and get ready in the morning (and, even better, giving everyone a place to keep their muddy shoes and snowy boots) or accent tables to help organize everything a little more. This will require a bit of imagination to work with whatever room you have left, but it can do a lot to help.

 

Get in the habit of using it

Finally, all the home organization in the world isn’t going to help if nobody actually uses the space for what it’s intended. Make sure your kids know that their morning routine is going to involve a visit to the command center to get ready, and make sure they know to go back to it when they get home so everyone can keep track of things like homework and chore lists. It might take a little work but after everyone’s used to it, you’ll all be grateful you did.

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