A command center in the kitchen or entryway.
Put a big desk pad calendar next to a large bulletin board. Keep track of each family member's activities with different-colored pens. Tack up school lunch menus, directories, chore charts and anything else you refer to frequently. If you think everyone in the house can commit to entering their own appointments, try a free online calendar, such as the Cozi mobile app (cozi.com). Post a monthly or weekly copy on the board as a visual reminder.
Designate a surface near the bulletin board—a desk, table or countertop directly below is ideal—for handling day-to-day paperwork. Set up a filing system with stacking letter trays where permission slips, school notices, assignment sheets and mail can be stashed. Try to sift through it at the end of each day. Organize paperwork you need to keep throughout the school year—or longer, such as directories and report cards—in a folder for each child, says Lillard.
Set out a basket for keys, loose change and other small items that are unloaded as each family member walks through the door. You may want kids to park phones here, or in a central charging station, during homework time. Lillard also recommends having kids "turn in" their devices at bedtime.Try These Products
Originally published in the September 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.
This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and styles are subject to change.