A simple kitchen calendar serves a big-picture purpose

If a fancy magazine ever came calling to photograph my kitchen, which is the hub of our house, I’m sure I’d have to “hide” (i.e. take down) my most cherished organizational tool: our calendar whiteboard.

It’s not “high design” – that’s it in the snapshot above. I’ve affixed it to our magnet-hating fridge with 3M Command Strips. I’m sure interior designers and decorators would shudder at the sight and beg me to relegate it to a less conspicuous spot.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I love digital calendars. My primary calendar is digital; Google calendar to be precise. I’ve got it synced to my phone and my computer — I love the alerts.

But, as much as I have tried to make my Google cal the be-all-end-all, it wasn’t living up to the promise in reality. So, about two years ago, I put up this whiteboard. Each and every month I marvel at how this simple, low-tech tool helps our household run more smoothly.

4 Reasons We Keep an Analog Calendar in Our Kitchen

1. It ensures everyone is on the same big-picture page.

This little white board is the central clearinghouse for all important dates. If an important meeting, event or date is not on there, my husband and babysitter have learned the hard way, it will be missed. This simple whiteboard has a way of forcing conversation about events well in advance of the last minute in a way that emailed calendar invitations simply cannot.

2. It gives me a way to speak with the boys about scheduling and their week.

Each of my boys are learning to look to the board to see their own schedules for the day and the week. My oldest (6 YO) knows that, instead of asking me when he has gym, to look at the whiteboard and dress himself accordingly. Ditto for play dates, soccer matches and hockey games. As both boys get older, I will reinforce lessons about planning by asking them to write in their key activities.

3. It contains “holding pen” papers.

The thin strip of cork board at the bottom of the whiteboard is just the spot for those notices from school that you have to hold on to for a week or more. They’re great for tacking up our weekly menu, holding paper invitations and even to showcase a piece of artwork or an awesome spelling test. Each Friday evening after dinner, I take two minutes to remove items that are no longer valid or that are time to take out of rotation.

4. It reinforces my command of the family schedule

The last week of every month, I erase everything on the board and map out key events for the coming month. It takes about 10 minutes to do. I grab the school calendars, the calendar on my phone, and my computer (for extracurricular timetables), lay them all out on the counter in front of me and scribble like a madwoman. And I enjoy every, single, minute of it. The simple act of having to write out the dates, by hand cements things in my brain in a way that typing it once in cyber space never will. I get a beat to think about things like date nights and haircuts. I get to see which weeks are going to require extra effort – and where we have smooth sailing. It’s big picture and yet very much tied to our every day.

So, regardless of style, our calendar will be on the fridge, in whiteboard form, for many years to come.

How about you. Do you have a kitchen command central calendar? Or have you given up on analog and gone 100% digital?