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How To Create And Use A Communication Center

A communication center is a dedicated area that helps you keep track of everything that is needed to run your home. The purpose of the center is to create organization, coordination, and efficiency in your home.

How to create and use a communication center

Where should you put the communication center?

Your household determines where you put your communication center. When I was single, it was in my office. But if there are other people in your home then the center needs to be in a convenient and easy location for everyone.

Often it is in the kitchen or an eating area just off the kitchen. Some successful communication centers have been set up in the den or a nook in the living room. I’ve also seen the communication center set up in a large mudroom where the family enters the home. Find a place in your home where you can carve out a space that is easy for everyone to access.

What do you need to have in your communication center?

One of the first steps in creating your family communication center is to identify the ongoing challenges that your family has now.

A large calendar

Keeping track of everyone’s schedule is usually essential. A large calendar is crucial to the communication center. All doctor appointments, school meetings, social events, sport practices and games, church activities, or any other activity that involves any member of the family should be on this calendar. When my boys were at home, the rule was, “If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not happening!”

A bulletin board

A bulletin board for regular scheduled events and rosters is also a big help. Invitations (after putting the date/time on the calendar) can also be tacked to the board to keep up with the information around that event. This is also a good place to post the household chore chart.

Action folders

The communication center is also a good place for action folders. Action folders are simply folders that are labeled with the action needed for the papers inside that folder. Examples of the labels are “Do”, “Call”, “Read”, “Pending”, or “File”. If you have children who often need forms filled out or permission slips signed you could also have a “Sign” folder. If one of the members of the family travels often, then a folder could be set up for anything that needs their attention when they return.

A landing pad for mail

Create a landing pad for the mail near the communication center. Teach everyone in the household to bring the mail in and leave it there. This way mail doesn’t end up scattered around the house. The adult in charge can sort it and either trash, shred, recycle, or place the mail into the correct action folder.


Equip the communication center with all supplies that you need to keep it functional. Have an organized space nearby for pens, markers, paper clips, push pins, or whatever you find yourself looking for when keeping it up to date.

The communication center should be user friendly for the whole family so there is no more, “Mom, where is my permission slip?” or “Do you know what I need to bring to the next scout event?”.

Maintenance is of key importance to keeping the communication center functioning as well as it can. Schedule time to check the action files weekly. Remember to check the calendar and bulletin board and update them frequently.

Having a well-functioning communication center relieves the stress typically caused by daily responsibilities and multiple scheduling. It can serve as a practical tool for working with the complexities of family life. It can help all family members be more responsible and feel more connected.

If you are ready to set up your communication center or would like to organize and  tame your calendar, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space For You clutter support group. The group will offer ideas, support, and gentle accountability for working on developing plans or projects.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.



  • Seana Turner says:

    When my children were little we had a dry-erase board where I kept track of schedules. Then I got onto using a paper planner, and I always told my kids to check my planner before asking if they were free.

    Today, I know many of clients use Google calendar, especially as the children get older and want to be able to see each other’s schedules from remote locations.

    It is so great to have a location in the home for processing mail and other things that come in. In our area, we also have key hooks, a change dish (although that isn’t used much anymore), and a place for outgoing mail. It is also a location for library books that need to be returned. Our action folders are in another oom, where we complete the action, but I just carry mail to that room after removing the unwanted items. It works for us!

  • Great tips! I use the phrase “Command Center.” My husband would laugh, but a communication center/command center worked well in my home. It is now streamlined to a small kitchen area and still works well to remind me what needs to be done like dry cleaning pick up.

  • When our kids were young, we had a command center in the entryway. It was so helpful in keeping everyone on the same page. At this point, we don’t need one with just me and my husband.

    But in a different way, I use my desk as a command center. It has many of the elements you described. The important thing is it’s the place I can track and do my work. Everything I need to support the work and the cues to lead me to the next thing (appointment, task, etc.) are in one area.

  • This is so important for a busy household! Jonda has really nailed the steps you need to create a command center – really great advice!

  • Julie Bestry says:

    Great advice. The best part of this approach is that once everyone in the family learns the system, it has the potential to take the emotional labor and mental load off of Mom, who usually has to deal with all of it. (I say potential because *some people* will embrace learned helplessness, no matter what.) This concept was a bit of a revelation for me when I started as an organizer 22 years ago. I wasn’t ever a parent, and I came from a small family. By the time I was eight or so, I remembered all of my obligations and alerted my mom to them, so they were on her calendar. Anything that was pending being done generally had to done/called/paid/signed was taken care of between my arriving home from school and dinner time; there was no waiting to do it in some amorphous later. Then again, there were a lot fewer sensory inputs in the 1970s — no email, no texts, no answering machines (let alone voicemail). Everything was handled via paper or a telephone call, and there was just so much less of it back then! The families of today definitely need exactly what you’ve described!

  • What a wonderful idea, the more you have kids the more this is very helpful because it could get overwhelming and hard to follow everyone’s schedule.
    Great blog.

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