Building This Family Command Center Changed My Life. Here’s Why You Probably Need One Too.

If there was any shot of my family getting organized, this was it.

family-command-centerCourtesy Shanell Mouland

With the school year in full swing you might find your schedule is getting pretty tightly packed. If you’re like me, you’ve somehow managed to show up to obligations on the wrong day or missed them altogether because keeping an entire family’s schedule organized is no small feat. We really needed some help getting it together.

I’m no stranger to Pinterest and its countless boards telling me all the fabulously easy ways I can get our calendars coordinated. For the most part, I waste more time browsing these great ideas than attempting them, but this fall I decided to give one a try.

Here’s how it went down.

I found multiple pins instructing me that I needed to create a wall size center in my home where my family’s commitments could be laid out in various brightly colored dry-erase markers. Also, there should be a spot for mail, family notices, permission slips, and just about anything else that might need our attention on a regular basis. Now, this wasn’t going to be one of those cheap and easy life hacks. This was going to take time and cost money for an already busy and relatively broke family. My husband and I are currently trying to pay off some of the debt we’ve acquired while raising said busy family so I knew the first thing I had to do was convince him to agree to spending a little money.

Step 1: Asked husband if I could spend an obscene amount of money to get someone to build the command center for me. Reasoned that the command center would make our lives that much better, and could you really put a price on that?

Step 2:
Husband informed me that I used the same argument when requesting a new phone, a new hot tub, and a new kitten. Informed my husband I would build the center myself for less than half of the amount it would take a professional.

Step 3:
Took relieved husband to the office supply store and spent my original intended amount.

Step 4:
Purchased the following supplies:

  • Large dry erase board: $60
  • Wall-mounted file organizer: $50
  • Two clipboards: $10
  • Heavy-duty wall hooks: $15
  • Decorative file folders: $10
  • Dry erase markers: $8
  • Magnetic marker holders: $12
  • Washi tape: $3

Grand total: $168

Step 5:
Using a keen eye and a measuring tape, carefully used the washi tape to divide the whiteboard into calendar squares. After a few false starts (and—oops—forgetting Sunday altogether at one point) the calendar was ready to go on the wall.

Steps 6-17:
Argued with husband about best layout for the command center and made multiple attempts to hang whiteboard, clipboards and file holder, with little success. Blamed husband for watching me and making me nervous. Husband readily agreed I should tackle this one alone.

Step 18:
Apologized to husband and watched sheepishly as he hung each item with precision.

Step 19:
Mumbled under breath, “I could have done that if I had known we owned a level.” Angrily gathered wall hooks and added them to our center.

Step 20:
Husband takes photo of wall hook added upside down and shares on Facebook.

command-hook-upside-downCourtesy Shanell Mouland

Step 21:
Wall hooks are corrected and our family command center comes to life.

Step 22:
Poured glass of wine and waited for family command center to organize our lives.

Step 23:
Found new project on Pinterest while waiting. Must ask husband if we own an electric sander.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest