Getting a family organized requires more than a few well-chosen New Year's resolutions. Increasingly, homeowners are carving out a physical space -- anything from a single kitchen cabinet to an entire spare room -- that can function as a family information center and workstation.
In an effort to battle clutter and keep track of schedules, designer Brian Patrick Flynn helps clients kick the habit of spreading out items around their homes.
"These days, it's pretty much a given that families use their kitchen islands, dining tables and/or coffee tables as prime real estate for laptops, school papers, iPhones and mail," says Flynn, founder and editor of DecorDemon.com.
"When I'm designing entire homes, especially ones for young families, the first thing I focus on is locating a seldom-used corner, section or nook somewhere easily accessible to create a creative and organizational hub. This usually follows my tirade of, 'No more using the dining table or breakfast nook as a clutter station!'"
Here, Flynn and two other interior designers offer tips on creating the perfect family headquarters to wrangle homework assignments, invitations, permission slips, calendars and more.
What do you need?
The key pieces are:
Ideally, the space will also include a work surface where kids can do homework and parents can handle tasks like filling out permission slips. Many families also include a laptop or desktop computer for homework or checking email. If you have a computer handy, you're more likely to enter information digitally and eliminate paper clutter.
Where to put it?
Homes built in the past few years often come with what Flynn calls a "bonus room" with no designated purpose. These small, spare rooms work well as a family organization center, as do mudrooms.