I can’t actually remember the first time I heard the phrase “life Admin” but I certainly seem to be responsible for a lot of it. When it was just the two of us, it wasn’t so bad. A few bills, the odd greetings card, maybe an appointment letter once in a while. Then we had kids. Appointments to keep track of, weening schedules to think about, baby class bills to pay. Then those kids started school and the life admin seemed to triple. The trouble with being a mum is that everyone’s life admin seems to land with you and for a long time that life admin took the form of a large pile in the kitchen. Then I joined Pinterest and discovered the family command centre.
Oh how I coveted the family command centres. I must have pinned hundreds of them and when I showed Chris, he coveted one too. Not because of how much easier it would make his life, but because, I assured him, it would mean the end of the kitchen pile. Luckily Chris is quite handy. There is a fair bit of furniture in our house that he’s made, mostly out of pallets. Less luckily, he has a full time job with very little time for building things. Then coronavirus happened and he was furloughed. He joined the hoards of people all over the world undertaking lockdown projects and made my organised mum dream come true.
Planning and Making Our Family Command Centre
We discussed my requirements in detail and looked at various different command centres on Pinterest. I wanted to incorporate both a cork board and a white board so that I could get rid of our current tiny one. I loved the idea of little cubbies for bits and pieces and hooks for things like keys. I also wanted spaces for A4 sized paper and folders. He set to work to create a command centre from his beloved pallets.
It took a while to complete our command centre. This is partly because he’s a perfectionist, and partly because we had to wait for B&Q to open again for some of the fixtures. He also discussed every stage with me to make sure it was how I wanted it.
Seeing it in the garden, in it’s various pieces, it looked huge. I was worried it was going to look too big and stick out of the wall too far. I was wrong, the finished command centre looks perfect in situ.
What I Display on Our Family Command Centre
I have two display areas in our command centre, the cork board and the magnetic whiteboard. On the cork board I display the kids activity schedule. That shows where they need to be and at what time. Both kids have a couple of activities and also go to my mum’s once a week. While I can keep most of it in my head, I do sometimes get in a muddle and it also allows the rest of the family to see who is where and when.
I also display a list of what is for pudding each day. We only let the kids have a “treat” pudding twice a week, the other days are yoghurt, fruit pots or fresh fruit. I got sick of them whining about whatever I offered them so created a pudding schedule that we stick to.
The other thing I display is our weekly meal plan, which write on the whiteboard. I’ve meal planned for years to save money. Having it displayed helps to remind me if I need to get something out of the freezer. It also means that when I get sick of being asked what’s for dinner every hour I can tell them to go look at the board.
What I keep in the Family Command Centre
Much of my life admin pile was always things that were waiting for me to action. Often they were things that I couldn’t do immediately for whatever reason, but I couldn’t file away because I would forget. They include things like upcoming school events, greetings cards, letters I need to deal with and upcoming appointments. These are now the things I keep in one of the A4 sections of my command centre. They are still in my sight line so I don’t forget them but they aren’t laying in a pile looking messy.
The other use for our family command centre is to store things that we need on a fairly regular basis. This includes things like paper, stamps, the bin collection timetable, pens, Spare keys, shopping list pad, sellotape and, at the moment, face masks!
Tips for Creating Your Family Command Centre
- How much display space do you need? What’s stuck to your fridge that would be better on a board? How many things in your admin pile would benefit from being on display?
- What size cubbies would work for you? Have a look at what’s laying around that could be tidied away into a command centre.
- Where is the best place for you to put it? Between our kitchen and dining room was our only option space wise but if I was choosing I’d go for nearer the front door.
- What height do you want it? If you are having a whiteboard or chalkboard, make sure you can reach it to write. Also think about what little hands and pets might get into if cubbies are too low.
- If you don’t have a handy husband, think about what you could buy and attach to the wall to create a command centre that way. You can gather a few different boards together, put up small shelves and attach wire or wicker baskets to the wall to create a command centre.
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