Take Command of your Household
If your household is anything like mine, you face organization and coordination battles on multiple fronts. Kids are coming and going at lightning speed, and you and your spouse have schedules so opposite that you barely see other until it’s finally time to retreat to your cozy bed.
Like any battle-tested commander will tell you, your best hope of keeping the household running smoothly is to set-up a central command station in your home.
Your command center should serve as the principal place in your home where you manage household activities. If you don’t already have a designated spot, you’ll want to choose a permanent space in a high-traffic area of your home with a hard surfacing for writing, such as a desk or countertop. You’ll also want enough wall space for a bulletin board or white board and a calendar.
For convenience and efficiency, stock your command center with office supplies, including paper, pens, sticky notes, envelopes, stamps, scissors, stapler, tape, paper clips, etc. Make sure everyone knows that these supplies stay at the command center.
- Phone messages
- Notes to other family members
- Lists for needed items, like groceries or office supplies
By having a centralized location for messages, everyone understands where to post and find messages. This eliminates sticky notes and scraps of paper that float around between people and end up lost.
Another essential role of your command center is to display a schedule of family activities. There are a variety of calendars formatted with space to track each family member, but even a simple calendar will do. Just use a different color of pen or marker for each member so all of mom’s appointments are in blue, dad’s are in red, Johnny’s in green, Sally’s in purple—you get the idea!
If you have students, it’s helpful to write down due dates for big assignments, like research papers, book reports, or science projects, as well as major tests, such as mid-terms and finals. This way, the whole family can help the student keep track and work towards their big goal.
It’s not a bad idea to get together around that calendar each week, just to review upcoming activities and coordinate rides and child care.
Your command center should include a simple filing system that makes it easy to file and track incoming paper, such as bills, invitations, meeting notices, and other to-do items. Some people like a tickler system that includes a folder for each day of the month. Should you need specific paperwork for an event or meeting, file it in that day’s folder, and it’s easy to find when you need it. If you pay all of your bills on one day (such as the 10th or the 15th of the month), file bills to be paid in that day’s folder.
If you prefer a more compact file system, label folders accordingly:
To Pay – for bills to pay
Action – to-do items
To File – important papers you need to keep in your permanent files (insurance, bank statements, tax receipts, etc.)
Use a different color of folder for each subject, and review the contents of each folder weekly.
Quick Reference Book
Papers that you need to refer to frequently might be better organized in binder, such as sports schedules, rosters, school lunch menus, and phone directories. Using tabbed dividers, you can create a section for each family member or by topic, whatever makes the most sense to you. You can use a three-hole paper punch, but clear sheet protectors are quicker to use and keep contents clean and protected.
Now You’re Organized and Stress Free!
By managing notes, schedules, and paper all in one convenient spot, you’ll be in command of your important household activities and communication. Family members have access to information they need without asking you all the time, and you can be confident that tasks and bills to be paid are handled on time. Instead of chaos and stress, your family management responsibilities can be tackled quickly and easily!