How to Set Up a Family Command Center

Whether you’re single, a ‘party of two’ or the Brady Bunch – life is just plain busy! Details to remember, stuff to keep track of and no time to remember and look for any of it as you race out the door in the morning. A perfect recipe for overwhelm!

There’s an easy solution … set up a Command Center.

What is a Command Center and what goes in it?

A Command Center is simply a designated drop zone to hold all the important stuff that comes in and out of your home every day. A one-stop-spot to keep up with family activities and events.

Exactly what goes in a Command Center will be different for everyone. Obviously, if you’re single you don’t need to keep up with the same things as a large family.

The first step (as with any organizing project) always, always, always is to Assess your situation. Ask yourself:

  • What needs to happen in this space?
  • What items do I need to put my hands on quickly when I leave every day?
  • What information do I need in my line-of-sight each day?
  • Who will be using the space?
  • What visual look am I going for?

The key here is to customize the space for you and then commit to using it Every. Day. Form the habit of making your Command Center the first stop when coming home at the end of the day, and the last stop before leaving each morning.

What a Command Center is NOT:

A gentle reminder … this space is not meant to be a dumping ground for junk mail and other random items. Plan ahead what the intended use of the space is and use it for that. Nothing more. Nothing less. Modify things as you go, of course, but do this intentionally. Otherwise, you’re right back where you started!

If you find paper piles still creeping in and taking over your space, check out my Paper Organization Challenge.

Where to set up a Command Center?

The next step is to pick a high-traffic spot in your home that’s accessible to everyone involved. Most often this will be somewhere in the kitchen. Other possible spots are an entry hall, mudroom or laundry room. Note: The further away from your home’s main entry/exit the less effective this is going to be.

If you’re lucky enough to have a built-in kitchen desk – there’s your spot! Otherwise, be creative:

  • Use a designated desk or table
  • Convert a closet nook, armoire or chest of drawers
  • Go vertical and custom design a space along a wall

What goes in a Command Center?

Now that you know how you want your Command Center to function, where it will be, how much space you have, and what you want the overall look and feel to be – it’s time for the fun part … setting things up.

Here are some ideas for what to include:

  • A corkboard or bulletin board to pin notes or reminders.
  • A calendar. Think more along the lines of a central calendar for shared activities – not necessarily your personal master calendar.
  • Hooks for keys, purses, backpacks.
  • A charging station.
  • Shelf, drawer or bin for on-the-go items: sunglasses, sunblock, etc.
  • An inbox. One central spot to gather new mail and other unprocessed papers.
  • A desktop file box. Use visible hanging files to corral bills to pay, opened mail and other papers needing attention, take-out menus, phone lists, etc.
  • Bins(s) for custom categories – homework, committees, church, etc.
  • Hanging wall files or clip boards to hold papers you need to remember to take with you.
  • Office Supplies. A few basics will do – not an entire office supply store!
  • Trash can and shredder. Pitch all junk mail and other unneeded papers straight away.

Note: Don’t try and include every last item on this list. The idea is not to create a clutter trap – but rather to use this spot only for essential items you need for daily household management. Simple as that!

Happy Organizing,

Kim Cossette Organizer


  1. Sharie LaVail on August 12, 2020 at 9:24 pm

    Kim this was excellent advice You left me with a number of considerations to include in my “command center”. Thank you!

    • Kim Cossette Andre on August 13, 2020 at 8:54 am

      Thanks, Sharie. I’m happy to know this was helpful!

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