Simply Living is back! I took a bit of a break from it (without warning you … sorry) at the end of the year when other things were demanding my time. But after spending most of the weekend putting away our Christmas decorations and cleaning up some clutter, I'm glad that Simply Living is one commitment that I'm making for the New Year. I'm not committing to this post showing up every week although that WILL be my intention. I'm simply committing to it showing up.
(Whew! Got off that hook!)
Today's Simply Living is about having a Command Central in your home. The term "Command Central" sounds a bit MILITARISTIC in my ears. I have flashbacks of the Captain in The Sound of Music insisting that his children march to his whistle! That's not exactly what I'm intending with this post although I know that there are certain things in life that require discipline. And one of those is having a Command Central!
If you don't have children living with you, or if you live alone, you might not find this a necessary part of your home management. A simple handwritten or electronic calendar or a little Sunday afternoon Chit-Chat to coordinate the week's schedule might be all you need. However, with children (especially multiples!) and their modern, insane schedules, plus volunteering at school, acting as team mom/dad, and perhaps your career, you will probably find it beneficial to have a Command Central in your home.
Command Central should consist of at least two things: a large calendar where everyone's schedule is posted (perhaps even with color-identification for each person) and a white board or chalk board where grocery items, the week's menu, coupons, and notes to each other (i.e. phone messages!) can be written or magnetized. It could also include a wall-hanging file holder. In the past, I have used this for folders for each child with school lunch schedules, sports calendars, important school papers, etc. I've also had folders with take-out menus and lists of important phone numbers. As they have gotten older and with my increased use of the computer, I don't use that system much any more.
Parenthetical Statement: [The White Board/Chalk Board is negotiable because it COULD be replaced with post-it notes or other forms of notes, but I've found in my nearly 20 years of motherhood, that Post-its are good for a bunch of things … just not this one! The post-it sticky stuff disappears and the notes end up in the garbage because the person who found it on the kitchen floor thought it was trash. This results in the person for whom the note was intended never getting it. Not a good thing … EVER.]
This is our Command Central:
We have a pass-through hall from our kitchen to our dining room and our pantry is opposite Command Central. Perfect place for Command Central since our teens are constantly filing in and out of what could be referred to as "The Trough"!
I found the white board and the white board calendars at Target and LOVE the fact that they are also magnetic since my refrigerator isn't. I also found dry-erase pens that are double-tipped, have built-in erasers, and are also magnetic. You could easily adapt white boards to fit your home décor by framing plain white boards in whatever frames match your style. Unique way to make something pretty that is also functional. Originally, I only had one calendar—for the month. Made sense. But in consultation with my ever-so-wise neighbor, Lori, I decided that having two of them was the way to go since I'm always a few weeks ahead in planning anyway. One is the current month and the other is the NEXT month. When the month changes, I switch the calendars on their nails so that the current month is always on top. (You'll want to use wall anchors to hang them in order to do this. If you don't, you'll end up with huge holes in your wall where the calendars fall because the nails can't tolerate the stress of so much movement.) I also have a couple of sentimental things: the plaque that says, "We interrupt this family for baseball season"; the hanging bud vase Aly gave me when she was little; our Thanksgiving mini book for this year … and across the top, which is not yet done, I'm going to put 12x12 frames for favorite, current scrapbook pages of each kid.
PLAN of ACTION:
- Find a place in your home to name as Command Central. This could be the side or front of your refrigerator, a portion of wall just ahead of where you park your car in the garage, a pass through from the kitchen to the dining room, the laundry room, a mudroom, the upstairs hall where all the bedrooms converge … You have a space—just find it!!
- If they are old enough, insist on every child giving you the calendars [or internet links to FIND the calendars] for all the activities they are involved in. If you must, SCOUR their backpacks and sports bags to find them! Then teach them to give them to you without you having to SCOUR! I believe in passing responsibility to your children so they learn to take it themselves.
- Commit to Command Central. In other words, commit to having a Central Calendar and a place where messages can be left. Enter the dates on the calendar when you get them, leave notes for one another, include hearts and smiley faces …
- You'll find your mind and life less stressful because you'll have a bird's eye view of where everyone is and when they are there.
- You'll stop to smell more roses because you'll be less stressed.
- You'll come to LOVE the term 'Command Central'! No matter how militaristic it sounds!