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.
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.