back to school

Take Command with a Family Command Center

Back to school.  Back to work.  Back to appointments.  Back to practices and games.  Back to fundraisers.  Back to field trips.  How will you keep it all straight?  A Family Command Center can hold all in the information your family needs to know and go.  Here are a few ideas to get you started.

10 Tips to Create a Family Command Center

  1. Choose an area of the house that is easily accessible to all family members. A high traffic area, the ‘drop spot’, a kitchen counter, family room bookcase, entryway or home office desk are all good options.

  2. An area with vertical/wall space is a good spot and helps to keep a counter or desk free of clutter. Use this space to mount file pockets, corkboard and/or hooks.

  3. Determine what information will be stored in the Family Command Center to plan accordingly for space and supplies. Will there be space for take-out menus, charging devices, shopping lists or sorting mail?

  4. Choose multi-function items like a shelf unit with hooks, or a chalkboard/corkboard combination to capture all the functions you need.

  5. A calendar is a must for a busy family. Try a dry-erase version.

  6. Designate a color for each family member and color-code all notes and folders.

  7. Be creative! Folders and labels come in all sorts of colors, patterns and styles. Incorporate a fun fabric to match the décor or add a framed inspirational quote or favorite family saying.

  8. Keep an inventory of needed supplies on hand like markers, labels, pushpins, etc. so that there’ll never be a lull in the action.

  9. Keep each displayed item fully visible with room in between each to make it visually calming and be sure to edit so that the most current items are available.

  10. This is your space! It doesn't need to be elaborate or costly. As long as it suits your family's needs, it's perfect.

If you like the idea of creating a Family Command Center and don't quite know how to start or would like more hands-on help, contact me at

(photo courtesy of Pinterest)

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It's not Christmas, it's not Hannukah - it's Back to School time!  Do you remember the Staples commercial that played this favorite seasonal tune in the background?  Two children stood in the center of the school supplies aisle looking forlorn, shoulders slumped, in total disbelief and perhaps disgust, at the parents kicking up their heels and practically doing kartwheels throughout the office supply store. The shopping cart was happily being filled with pencils, paper, markers and enough supplies to keep the busiest student stocked all school year long.  Brilliant!  I remember thinking, major kudos to the advertising guru that came up with that one.

I confess, I was not the type of mother to cry at the bus stop, although I didn't do kartwheels during school shopping, either.  I was far more excited for my kids than I was sad for myself to see them off to school each year; excited for the friends they would make, excited to cheer for them on the sidelines of every sporting event, excited to hear them at the end of the school day burst through the door and shout 'Guess What?'.  

What did make me want to cry was the long list of supplies that were assigned to every child in the classroom.  I guess I didn't mind buying the pencils, notebooks, folders and rulers that my children chose that would make studying a bit more enjoyable.  But to supply classroom after classroom year after year with tissues, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, etc., etc.; that was always a bit much for a taxpayer to take.  But Idigress - that's a conversation for another time.

What does make this feel like the most wonderful time of the year is the sense of newness that arrives with every school year.  There's the excitement of new teachers to look forward to, new teammates, new routines and feeling all over again that this is going to be the best year yet!  The lazy, hazy days of summer are put behind us, and the home/school/work project 'to do' list is created.  Surely, there's plenty of time to get it all done by the end of the school year.

While we may not formally make and talk about resolutions the way we're all expected to do for the traditional New Year, the start of the school year certainly entices us to do things differently, better, and in a more organized way.  We'll establish new systems so that we're not easily overwehelmed with the chaos of incoming homework, permission slips, event flyers, meeting notices, volunteer requests - you name it. A master family calendar posted in a prominet place will guide us to ensure that nobody misses a practice, field trips and dental appointments.  Backpacks and lunch bags will stand like soldiers in the same place every day ready for the morning fill.  This is going to work out just great!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.