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Day 28: Control Center
Your family control or command center is the area where you track all your family happenings and post your weekly plan for your household. It is an invaluable tool for organizing yourself, your meals, your finances and the general running of your home–a physical dashboard to driving your life. If you don’t yet have a control center, today is the day you will implement one!
Your control center should start with a magnetic whiteboard or chalkboard, as well as a bulletin board and a calendar. It should provide an at-a-glance view of your month, containing important scheduling and to-do items, including cleaning, organizing, meals, jobs and social obligations. For parents, it can help you remember piano lessons, soccer practice and gymnastics—and that on Thursday you are taking a meal to the neighbors with a new baby, so on Tuesday you need to remember to pick up supplies at the grocery store. Your control center is what will keep you on task. It will save you trips to the store, ensure you don’t forget a birthday gift, and it will ease your mind so you don’t have to worry about that “thing” hanging over you.
Your meal plan and ongoing grocery list should also be kept in your control center in order to avoid stress the stress of wondering what to make for dinner or not knowing if you have the ingredients on hand. Additionally, your control center should be the place you keep important phone numbers and instructions for babysitters or other household helpers.
While it does take some effort to get a control center set up and operational, it is not too difficult to maintain. The first of the month (or a few days before) is usually a good time to designate as your monthly Control Center Set-Up Day. Take a few hours and organize the Control Center. Make notes throughout the month of what works for you and change as needed.
Objective: A functional Family Control Center where you can organize a month’s worth of cleaning, household tasks, meals, important events and social obligations.
Assess the current situation: How many members are in your household and who will use the Control Center? What room or task can you focus on each day? What major social obligations, visitors and events do you have in the next month? What are the important phone numbers you need to have at your fingertips and leave for the babysitter? What are your family’s favorite meals and basic ingredients?
1. Gather your essentials. To create your control center you will need a magnetic clips, whiteboard or chalkboard, a bulletin board, magnetic clips, a calendar, and chalk or dry-erase markers.
2. Create your control center. Hang control center essentials in a central location in your home so that it is easy and convenient for all family members to reference it on a daily basis.
3. Identify your players. Make a list of each household member and assign them a color on the board.
4. Plan meals. Make a list of your family’s favorite meals and basic ingredients for those meals. Calendar the meals on the chart.
5. Create a cleaning schedule. Use the tools found at www.LivingWellSpendingLess.com/cleaningschedule to create a cleaning schedule that works for you and your family. Plan a speed cleaning session for each day, or assign each room or area of your house to a different day, and add it to your calendar. Plan 15-20 minutes per day to start, if an hour seems too overwhelming at first.
6. Fill in the calendar. In the appropriate colors for each family member, add social obligations, extracurricular activities, appointments, tests, etc. Hang chalk or markers on or near the board, so it can be updated as needed.
7. Create a contact sheet. Gather and list important phone numbers and notes, and post them on the board.
1.Mindful Mornings Control (ContainerStore.com) 2. Cozy Corner Command Center (RealSimple.com) 3. Wall of Duty (RealSimple.com) 4. Family Command Center (BHG.com) 5. Daily System Solutions (PotteryBarn.com)