When we created our small space entry DIY command center, my goals at the time were simple: create a space for the kids backpacks and keep their school paperwork off our counters, as well as have a place for basic entry items (space for keys, glasses, etc.). It ended up working great for the space as well as our family AND gave an added bonus:
It has minimized our whole family’s weekday morning stress levels and has helped our morning routines run a lot more smoothly!
As I shared, we started with a simple corner in our living room right around the corner from our front door that was a place we naturally dropped our things anyway – that’s the best place to start, right? Figure out what’s already working and then make it work better. And prettier, of course.
We added a functional and decorative mirrored coat rack, perfect for tying on a scarf before heading out the door as well as holding coats and small purses. We also moved a seldom used storage ottoman here to hold the backpack and briefcase clutter and finished off the mirror area with a large basket for storing our magazines and umbrellas.
To catch the school paper clutter that always seems to be on the brink of becoming out of control, we use an upright file folder organizer and colorful file folders for organizing the whole family. It has become one of the best things to keep the morning stress level down!
Set Up a File System to Minimize Morning Stress:
1. The kids each now have an IN and OUT folder. If they need something signed, they put it in the IN folder for me for signatures and I give it back to them by putting those items in the OUT folder, that they can check before they leave for school.
2. Special memorabilia that is worth saving still resides in their decorative boxes in their rooms.
3. Mom and dad each have their own files for paperwork that needs to be dealt with before filing or recycling.
4. Taxes has a file for receipts and other items that tend to pile up waiting to be filed.
5. There’s a general “kids” file for any items that we need to take care of (things we want to file, or waiting for a meeting, etc.)
The other thing we added that has helped with our morning routines, almost eliminating the last-minute-trying-to-get-out-the-door search for ________ (fill in the blank: keys, watch, glasses, etc.), is a long, narrow compartment organizer for keys, sunglasses, and other things rests on this half moon table for easy finding and grabbing in the morning. Best. Thing. Ever.
Another crucial element to our daily routine is found above the table: our family calendar. We can keep track of important events at school, doctor’s appointments, business travel, and more – the calendar is usually filled to the brim!
I also love using our family management binder in this command center, especially to check out the menu before we head out the door to know if there is something I need to pick up at the store. (Oh, and we’ve recently revised the cover so that it now comes undated so that it can be customized by you – I love this binder and hope you do, too!)
If you don’t have your own family binder copy yet, grab one by using the handy form in our sidebar to sign up for our weekly newsletter – a recap of all the happenings for the week and will make sure you never miss a post. Then you’ll be eligible for this and other free printables we offer ONLY to our VIP subscribers.
I had hoped our small family command center would help our mornings run smoother, of course, but it wasn’t one of our main goals, just a happy bonus, and has continued to renew our commitment to living small. Even if you have a small home, you can make any space a functional space for your family!
How do you minimize morning stress?