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Creating A Household Management Command Center

As Published In Smead Organomics
Creating A Household Management Command Center

Publicity -- Smead Organomics

Household management is a phrase brimming over with responsibility. Staying on top of everything that you personally have to do is a challenge — but managing all of your family members’ affairs can push you to your organizational limits! What you really need is a “command center” — a centralized place where you can store important information and coordinate everyone’s activities.

Picking A Location

Okay — time for a little Julie Andrews. (We’re going to start at the very beginning, which has traditionally been a very good place to start!) The first step in creating your household management system is to choose the right location. It should be a high-traffic area, where family members are constantly passing by (kitchen, front hall, just off the living room). Make sure you that the space you choose has room for:

  • a desk-type flat surface
  • file storage
  • basic office supplies (pens, paper, envelopes, stamps, scissors, tape, etc.)
  • a hanging wall calendar and bulletin board

Centralizing Your Communications

In this hurried day and age, parents and children often pass like ships in the night — sometimes the only way to stay in touch is by leaving notes for each other. Set up a bulletin board or magnetic write-on/wipe-off board, designated JUST for communications (no posting of class pictures or drawings the kids made — find another spot for those). Just be sure to regularly clean off old messages to keep your board from getting overloaded. Examples of notes you could leave include:

  • a reminder for Johnny to take his soccer uniform with him to school
  • a grocery list and appropriate coupons for hubby’s shopping excursion
  • Sally’s permission slip for today’s field trip

Tracking Everyone’s Schedules

While you’ve got hammer and nails out, hang a good-sized wall calendar next to your bulletin board. The goal is to record every family member’s schedule in one centralized place — so you can review the entire household’s activities with one glance. Write each person’s responsibilities, appointments, deadlines with a different colored marker (blue for mom, green for dad, red for Sally, and purple for Johnny). Then have a “family planning session” at the start of each week, asking what everyone has coming up:

  • extracurricular activities,
  • days your kids need a ride somewhere (as well as days you have to work late and can’t pick them up)
  • school project due dates
  • birthday invitations
  • vacations
  • dentist appointments

Processing The Mail

Another part of your household management center is your incoming paperwork processing system. Set up a hanging file box or rack, and create a folder for each type of “to-do” that you regularly encounter:

  • to file
  • to read
  • to pay
  • to call
  • to sign
  • to send to school

Use a different color folder for each action. Each day as the mail comes in, you bring papers home from work, and your children give you a new pile from school — take a minute to sort each item according to the next step you need to take. Put each document in the appropriate folder (and throw all the other junk away). Now you’re ready to tackle your many responsibilities in an organized fashion.

Storing Important Papers

If you don’t have a file drawer elsewhere, set up an accordion folder for your important papers. You’ll want space for “fingertip files” (informational items you access regularly):

  • phone directories
  • class and team rosters
  • babysitter instructions
  • pre-printed grocery lists

You’ll also want a place for “monthly” files that you access when you pay bills and process to-dos:

  • utilities
  • mortgage
  • other household bills
  • school paperwork
  • health records
  • files for your hobbies

Thanks to your new command center, everything you need to keep your family in order is now accessible from one location — no more running around the house looking for supplies, files, or your schedule!

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Copyright 2001 RamonaCreel.com

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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