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8 Essential Elements of a Family Command Center

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Office Depot, but all my opinions are my own. For more information, see my disclosures here.

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Okay mamas of older kids, why didn’t you warn me that kindergarten came with so much craziness?! I went into the year thinking, “Oh, it’s only half day kindergarten. It won’t be that much different than preschool, right?”

Wrong. Y’all, kindergarten is intense!

As we sat through the first introductory meeting and talked through a folder that was jam packed with information about everything from the PTA to poetry books to the new and improved math curriculum, my palms began to sweat. 

I was nervous, and I wasn’t even the one who would be headed to school! There were so many dates to remember, supplies we needed to bring (and pack in a very specific way), volunteer events to sign up for– it was completely overwhelming!

So of course I did what I always do when I begin to feel overwhelmed– I start an organizing project!

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With my brain swimming with a million kindergarten details plus information from baby C’s preschool class, I sat down and thought about all of the things I would need to keep our family organized throughout the school year, and our family command center was born.

Command Center Sources | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

[Psssttt… Do you know we have a post with all of our very best organizing tips and tricks for EVERY room of the house? Head to this post to get organized!]

Of course each family’s needs will vary slightly, but here are the things that I knew were “must-haves” for our little command center:

1. The Write Stuff

The first thing I did was head into Office Depot to pick up allllll of the important writing essentials I knew I would need throughout the year.

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

Apparently when you send your kid to kindergarten, you have to label EVERYTHING– book bags, lunch boxes, sweatshirts, folders– you name it, it needs to be labeled. I picked up a pack of handy-dandy Sharpies and went on a little labeling spree. Big C’s teacher might actually get sick of seeing “CONNOR” plastered all over because I labeled ALL the THINGS!!! 🙂

And ooohhhhhh, the paperwork. I mean, do I really have to fill out 27 forms for my child to be able to get through the year? Answer: yes. And I have a feeling I’m not even close to being finished with forms, so I grabbed my most favorite Uni-Ball pens and I was in business.

My big boy is no longer doing his work with crayons but needs pencils instead, so a PaperMate multicolored pencil pack came home with me as well. I unpackaged them all and arranged them in a cute little pencil cup that I had embellished with pretty washi tape, and now they’re all ready whenever we need them!

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

2. A Monthly Calendar

I wanted to make sure we could have all of our important dates for the month in one central location, so this dry erase calendar was the perfect solution.

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

This little guy actually used to be a plain white dry erase board, but I was able to turn it into a calendar using my cutting machine and some adhesive vinyl. Each of the Cs has their own color to note any special days (library days, gym class, snack person, etc.), which makes it really easy to keep track of who needs what when.

3. An In/Out Box System

Both of the Cs come home with a TON of paperwork, so I knew I needed to put some sort of system in place to manage it all. They each have their own folder where I can place all of their papers that need to be sorted out. To make the plain teal folders a little prettier, I added a piece of washi tape to the top and used my trusty label maker to add the boys’ names.

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

4. A Memo Board

Confession: I am terribly forgetful. If I don’t have information right in front of me, I almost guarantee that I’ll forget about it. I found a little cork board that ended up being the perfect place to hang reminders from the Cs’ teachers {and a cute picture of my favorite little guys 🙂 }.

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

5. Extra Supplies

I kinda have a thing for office supplies. I love, love, love them! So of course I made sure to stock one of the drawers of the desk with every supply we might possibly need. I used a little acrylic tray to organize them, and everything found its perfect little spot!

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

6. An Essentials Binder

Oh please, you knew I was going to sneak a binder in here somewhere! 😉 When it was only Connor in school, I kept all of his class info under a tab in our Home Binder. Now that both of the Cs have info to keep track of, I created a separate binder with a tab for each boy. This binder holds things like school calendars, snack lists, the schools’ emergency plans, handbooks, newsletters, etc.

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

7. A Backpack Drop Spot

If there wasn’t a designated area for book bags, heaven knows those things would be all over my floor! Having a specific spot for them helps the Cs to remember to put them away when they get home from school {and keeps mama sane 🙂 }.

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

8. Pretties!

Once I had all of my practical elements in place, I just had to add some pretty things too. We do have to live here and walk by this spot multiple times a day, so it might as well be nice to look at! I whipped up a cute print of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes…

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

…and added a framed initial, a quick DIY sign, and a little scrap of fabric in a frame to finish it off.

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

And that’s our new family command center! It certainly has come a long way. What used to be a dark, dingy catch-all for our junk is now a bright and cheery organized space with tons of function!

Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com
Our Family Command Center | JustAGirlAndHerBlog.com

I am feeling so much better about the new school year now that I have an organized system in place. No more kindergarten anxiety! 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by today, friends! Have a wonderful week!

What items do you use to help you stay organized for the school year?

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This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Office Depot, but all my opinions are my own. For more information, see my disclosures here.

62 Comments

  1. Michelle Lepak-Dandelion Patina says:

    Oh yes….Kindergarten is just the beginning of the ever flowing papers, projects, and schedules! Looks like you are ahead of most of us with organizing for the year. Nice job!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      That’s what I hear! Bring on the craziness! I’m ready! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week, Michelle!

      ~Abby =)

  2. Selene Galindo says:

    I luuuuv your organization skills, friend!! And your command center is absolutely fabulous! I just love how it looks like a gallery wall with those added wall pieces 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Selene! It was fun to put together! I hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  3. It turned out great! Everything looks so cozy and inviting, but it’s practical and functional, too. I also like how you used the wall space. My apartment has no real entry way, and the way the hallway is built doesn’t allow for a table or shelf, so I’m always looking for clever ideas to use the walls. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Alicia! I love your idea of creating a “faux” entry with things on the wall! That would be so pretty! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  4. Alison @ Under the Big Oak Tree says:

    This is great! My little girl is in Kindergarten this year and I am in need of a spot just like this! I love the desk and all of your ideas for keeping organized! Where are the in/out folder boxes from? I love those!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Alison! Kindergarten is kind of craziness, right?! The in/out folders and cork board/ white board are all See Jane Work brand, and I found them at Office Depot. I’ll have a full source list up on the blog tomorrow! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  5. I love this!! For some reason, I liked everything black too. I bought all of my furniture, frames, etc in black! Now everything looks so drab. I loooove the bright colors and how cheery it all looks.

    And having a command center is such a good idea. I lose things all the time, so I could definitely use a space like this!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Alli! I have definitely seen beautiful spaces with black furniture, but this entry was screaming for color, and who am I to deprive it? 😉 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  6. That looks fantastic! I’d love to set up a family command center.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Kat! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  7. I love your command center! Someday I hope to have something similar….we have a few years until kindergarten though 🙂

    I am a speech therapist by day so i would be lost without my planner where I keep track of all my student info.

  8. Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom says:

    This is something that I have been wanting to work on, selecting a piece of furniture and making a command center area in our home. I really love the color you painted it and the school bags in the basket underneath is great, too. Thanks for sharing, I am going to def. pin this for future inspiration when I start on mine.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Carrie! Can’t wait to see yours! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  9. Mandy Hank says:

    I think the desk came out wonderful! It’s really a great color 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, friend! You guys were totally right– once I got everything else up, the color was just what I wanted! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Hope you got spoiled today!

      ~Abby =)

  10. Amanda @ Dwelling in Happiness says:

    This looks so fabulous!! First, I love the color of the table. Such a great aqua! Second, great idea to have a binder for all the boy’s school info, and third, I love those white hanging folder organizers, where did you find them?! I’m working on our command center as we speak to post next week, and this is surely some great inspiration!! 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Woohoo! I can’t wait to check out your beautiful command center! The organizers are See Jane Work brand, and I found them at Office Depot. I’ll have a full source list on the blog tomorrow! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  11. I love it! This is our first year of kindergarten. We’re only on the 3rd week, and I am already tired of it.

    Where did you get the white folder holders? It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Brenna! Isn’t kindergarten craziness?! I had no idea! The white folders are See Jane Work brand, and I found them at Office Depot. I’ll have a full source list on the blog tomorrow! Have a great night!

      ~Abby =)

  12. As a teacher, I apologize for all the millions of pieces of paper we have to send home! I love that print though! Did you make it in PicMonkey? I think the basket under the table for the bookbags is my favorite part!

    ~Meaghan from DIYfaerie

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! I know it’s necessary. I just needed a way to deal with it! I actually made the print at canva.com. I love PicMonkey for photo editing and adding text to photos, but when I’m making a print from scratch like this one, I usually use Canva. Hope you’re having a great week, Meaghan!

      ~Abby =)

  13. Sydney @ Tastefully Frugal says:

    Love it Abby! The blue is the perfect color and I love the basket for backpacks vs. hanging them. I am not a fan of hanging things. But my favorite is the square cup the pencils are in! Did you buy it or make it!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Sydney! The cup is See Jane Work brand, and I found it at Office Depot. I just added the washi tape for a little color! I’ll have a full list of sources on the blog tomorrow! Hope you’re having a great week!

      ~Abby =)

  14. Jeanie @ create&babble says:

    I love this and what a great example of how organization can be pretty, too!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Jeanie! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  15. Sonya~At Home with The Barkers says:

    GIrl, I LOVE it!! I sure wish I organized when I felt overwhelmed…I eat cookies instead! So that you are warned for each school year after this one…you will fill out 27 forms for each child EVERY SINGLE year! BUT most of the battle is won in organization and it appears that your are on your way!! ~Sonya

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Lol! I usually eat cookies while I organize, so it’s a good deal. 🙂 I hear it only gets worse from here, so at least I’m prepared! Hope you’re having a wonderful week, friend!

      ~Abby =)

  16. Megan @ Our PInteresting Family says:

    It all looks great. I love the colors.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks so much, Megan!

      ~Abby =)

  17. I need this kind of organization in my life! It loos beautiful and is so functional. So when do you want to come over…….

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Beth! I’ll be right over! 😉 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  18. Leslie @ House on the Way says:

    Love the command center! So cool and creative!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Leslie! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  19. Ursula @ Home Made by Carmona says:

    Cute and functional! I love it!! Will definitely share via FB! 😉

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Ursula! You are the sweetest! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  20. Krista @ the happy housie says:

    Adorable Abby- and so many great organizing spots!! I am working on mine as well… taming the paperwork dragon is truly a challenge for me!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      So. much. paper! This system has definitely helped, though! Thanks so much for your sweet words, friend!

      ~Abby =)

    2. Krista @ the happy housie says:

      I love this so much Abby that I chose it as my hostess pick of the week this week at Work it Wednesday! Have a great evening:)

  21. Truly loving how fabulous this is!!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Amy!

      ~Abby =)

  22. Love this!! Colors are awesome. I created one in our home a few years back and it has saved my bacon a few times… Kindergarten is just the beginning. Just wait for all the art projects they bring home. You will fall in love with all of them. I have three kids, one in elementary, one in junior high (middle school) and one in high school and I still need the command centre.

    1. justagirlabby says:

      I hear it just keeps getting to be more and more! At least I’m prepared now! 🙂 Glad to hear your command center is working for you! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  23. Lauren @ Bless'er House says:

    I really wish I was this organized. You make it look so easy! Pinning now and definitely tackling it later!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you, Lauren! There are definitely areas of my house that need an organization overhaul, but hopefully this system will work for us for a while! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  24. I admire your organization and foresight! I have 4 at 4 schools this year (!!!), and I need to get a better handle on my command center! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Girl! And I thought 2 at 2 schools was rough! You are my hero! Thanks so much for your sweet comment! Have a great weekend!

      ~Abby =)

  25. I like your In/Out Box system, I don’t have a kindergarten kids. My youngest is in 5th Grade already and since I am so busy and most of the time I forgot the important paper works that needed my attention. So I think need to add this in my small home office.
    By the way, this is my first visit to your blog. I like all your DIY’s here. I would like to copy some of them 😀

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Welcome, Becca! So nice to “meet” you! Yes, I think the in/out boxes are great for all ages! (Isn’t all the paperwork that comes home crazy?! Yikes!) Hope you have a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  26. Hilda @ From Overwhelmed To Organized says:

    Beautiful job Abby! Very well organized and so pretty. I LOVE that “Places You’ll Go” quote. Might have to add that to our command centre or near our entry somewhere 🙂

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thank you so much, Hilda! I just love “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” Such a great read on so many levels. 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful day!

      ~Abby =)

  27. LOVE the colour you chose to paint the table! Do you know the name?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Thanks, Sophie! The name of the color is Aquifer, and it’s from the Behr Marquee line. Have a great day!

      ~Abby =)

  28. Abby,

    I was wondering where you got the “L” initial?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Megan! I’m 99% sure I got it at Michael’s. 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

  29. Where did you get the desk? That’s my favorite part,you’ve got skills.

  30. Catherine says:

    This is a timely post for me! I was looking at target-setting for the summer and realised that I need some sort of central place to tackle all that household stuff and make sure I never misplace another bill. I love your vibrant, happy “command centre”!

  31. Love this organized and colorful space. Where did you purchase the desk and what color did you use for it’s fabulous makeover?

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Aw, thanks so much Dani! The desk was actually the vanity from my mom’s bedroom set in the 70’s and the paint color is Behr Marquee Aquifer! Have a great week! ~Abby =)

  32. Stephanie Curran says:

    hi abbie
    Where did you get the white file boxes? loving the command centre!! Need to work on mine!!

    1. justagirlabby says:

      Hi, Stephanie! They file boxes are from Office Depot! Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

      ~Abby =)

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