Elements we needed for our house to run smoothly:
1. Schedule of daily tasks:
This is a pretty heafty spreadsheet, but if we keep up on things, none of the jobs take too long. We have six people and a lot of rooms. If we don't keep up on things throughout the week, we are quickly living in chaos (which makes me grumpy) or I end up doing everything (which also makes me grumpy). The kids (except the preschooler who I help out) are getting old enough to be responsible for a few small jobs every day.
2. Phone List
Phone numbers and directories (like school extensions) we don't necessarily have saved in our phones.
3. Master Family Calendar
I like that this looks totally empty since this photo was taken right after we swapped out the old one for a 2012 calendar! Usually every day is packed with appointments and reminders of all sorts which is exactly why we need something like this. It is where we try to keep the central record of how all our various schedules overlap (and of course conflict) so everyone knows what everyone else has going on. It keeps track of practice schedules, lessons, games, meetings for kids' clubs and parents' work, travel plans. It's the simplest way I've found to attempt to keep everyone's events in one place.
4. Bulletin Board Space
This particular place has been keeping track of invitations, notes home from school, and an occasional recipe the kids want to try. I also covered cork-board tiles with fabric to create a few other bulletin board spaces in order to make the entire area one large cohesive square.
5. Shopping list area
This is cut off in the picture, but there's a little shopping list area on one side of the dry erase board.
6: Monthly Meal Menu
We do better at actually having regular meals if we have a plan ahead of time. Each family member is responsible for planning, cooking and kitchen clean up one night a week. The other half of the deal is that (within reason) that person gets to decide what the meal will be. Rather than just printing this out (as we've done in the past) I cut a vinyl menu template and stuck it to the dry erase board.
Or, if someone wants to try something new, they can just write it in with the dry erase marker.
7. Checklists for jobs
This is a new piece of our family system that I'm going to try to get the kids used to using.
Until a year or so, we had simple magnet boards for each kid with two columns under their names: one "to do" and the other "done." We had a magnet with a picture and the name of each job they needed to do. Once they did it, they'd just slid the magnet from one column to the other.
Now, they kids are getting older and they need to be getting better and doing a more thorough job for their various tasks.
I made a card for each job which explains what is expected for each job to be considered "done."
The kids all also each have a fabric pocket on the bulletin board where I can stick the checklists for the jobs they are responsible for the day.
They have dry erase markers to check off things as they go. There is a hook on the board for job checklists not in progress and another hook for kids to hang up ones they finish.
Now, hopefully it keeps us all on track. We'll see. . .