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Keep your family organized with a command center

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By Sandra Lane
Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Every home, particularly when children are present, needs to be managed in various ways.

Besides the usual maintenance, there are daily issues, which include mail, papers from school or committee meetings, games, practices, lessons, homework, carpooling and more.

One step to successfully managing all of the details is to create a family command center.

As the term implies, this is your family's base of operations — where all information will pass through.

Once information is collected, your center should provide you with the necessary tools to take one of several action steps: discard, file away, shred, record, pay, call back, etc.

Here's how to set up your own command center:

1. Choose a location. Because all family members will be delivering information to the command center, it will be more likely to work if it is set up in a central part of your home. For many families, the kitchen or great room is a convenient place.

2. Set up a filing system to hold your family's day-to-day documents.

The files located in the command center should be current and active items only.

There is no need to use up space for infrequently used or old files; these items can be stored elsewhere in your home.

3. Ideally, you should act on your paper flow and tasks as they come through the command center.

However, if the time is not available, consider creating a place to temporarily hold items waiting for action. To ensure this holding area does not become a huge pile, check it frequently and work these tasks into your daily “to do” lists.

4. Utilize one family calendar. Multiple calendars in a home increase the possibility of double booking or missing appointments.

When you receive a schedule for school, an activity, sports game, etc., take the time to upload or fill in important dates immediately. Keep the paper schedule on file as a reference.

5. Outfit your command center with the necessary tools to efficiently manage and complete your tasks.

Phone, calendar, shopping lists, chore charts, envelopes, trash receptacle, shredder, stamps, checkbook, pens, markers, address book, stapler, file folders and white board can make the job easier.

Taking the time to set up a central location for family operations and making it your own will save you time in the long run as it will help your household run more smoothly.

Sandra Lane offers organizing services for residents and businesses in Sewickley and surrounding areas. She can be reached at, 412-841-7169 or

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