How to Set Up a Family Command Center When You Have No Space

I’ve always loved the idea of a Family Command Center, but living in our oddly shaped, small apartment made it tough to find a spot that worked. So when we moved to a new apartment back in September, I decided the first thing I would do would be to research what makes a great Family Command Center, how to fit it all in a small space, and try to create that on the tiny wall I had to work work.

First up, if you’re new to the idea of Family Command Centers, here’s what the realllllly pretty ones look like:

A good Family Command Center almost always has these things:

Places for the items you grab as you leave the house (keys, checkbook) (like this key shelf)

Somewhere for your mail to go (I love this set of three mesh organizers)

Somewhere for kids’ artwork to go (corkboard tiles like these are handy for odd shaped spaces)

A family calendar (like this dry erase one from Amazon), including school dates

Optional additions that are nice to have:

Hooks for backpacks and handbags (sturdy and simple or cute and kid-approved)

Cute inspirational quote or a family photo

Meal Plan (like this magnetic board)

Daily schedules, like chores


Etc, etc.

I’m still in the process of figuring out the system of a Family Command Center that works best for us, and I’m on the lookout for cute, functional pieces that I can incorporate into the tiny wall I’m using.

Here’s the Family Command Center I’ve set up for us just off our kitchen:

I like how I have hooks for bags, a spot for essential oils, the family calendar and a dry erase board. But I have nowhere to sort mail, no bulletin board for artwork or paperwork, and it feels disorganized. So I’m working on it, still.

But as I planned, one thing struck out about how to decide what to add to our Family Command Center:
“Do we need it in the morning?”

In our house, all four of us need to be dressed and out the door no later than 7:45am.

While we can usually make this time, I keep finding more and more that SOMETHING is forgotten every DAMN. DAY.

  • My daughter left her nap mat and blanket behind and her teacher will have to make her nap in her coat.
  • My son left his backpack behind and with it, his pacifier, ensuring he too will not not nap at school today (the groaning about how we are still using pacifier to sleep at 2.5 years old is another story, believe me. #judgeaway)
  • I forgot to send a check for the school fundraiser and now the secretary will call me at lunchtime asking about it.
  • I left a full thermos of hot coffee sitting on the kitchen counter and will only realize this once I’m 6 blocks away, which is too far to double back and grab it.

And so on, and so on.

The thing I wanted my Family Command Center to do most for me? Make my MORNINGS a little more organized!

What do you need to pull off a Family Command Center? Here’s what you should keep in mind as you put one together.

First: Decide on a location.
If you’ve got a nice, big, empty wall in the big, airy kitchen of your nice, big house, then good for you, sister. For the rest of us, let’s look at what’s got to work with now. Here are some sneaky spots to place your Family Command Center in slightly more…. Cramped…. Quarters (like mine!)

  • Inside cupboard doors
  • Over your countertop
  • Right when you walk in the door (above the coat rack)
  • Along the side of your fridge

See how Landee at put up a sheet metal wall? That way, everything she needs on her Family Command Center and be held up with magnets.

And Jenna at did something similar, by hanging corkboards and metal sheets inside her cupboard doors. I LOVE how she can just shut the door and keep their calendars private from guests, and the room less cluttered.

(P.S. You can also grab a can of magnetic paint, instead of hanging sheet metal! Amazon has this can here)

Plus, I love this small little command center with key hooks that goes in an entryway:

Second, Figure out what you need.

This is part I’m at, and I figure it’ll be a work in progress for at least a little while, while I decide what we needs, what works, and so on. It’s the same for you: don’t rush to add ALL THE THINGS and then wind up with something you don’t actually need or use. I say this to you with love because I do it all the time and it drives my husband insane.

For us, these are the things I need either on hand or within easy grabbing distance:

Family calendar

Mail sorting


Essential oils

Backpack station

Pens and paper


Also, our current sleeping situation here means my son’s crib is in what will soon be my office, so my office supplies (ruler, tape, etc) are currently in our Family Command Center, too.

Third: Decide how it all fits together.

Since I’m still piecing together my Family Command Center, I don’t have a rule of thumb for deciding on size, arrangement, etc. But I like how Dayna over at Lemon Lime Adventures spaced out her command center using construction paper, before placing items on the wall. Super smart:

Here are a few other examples of Family Command Centers I love!

How To Build a Family Command Center from Southern Living

Build This: Quick DIY Command Center from The Shabby Creek Cottage

Taking Command of the School Year from I Heart Organizing

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