4 Planner Secrets to Spring Cleaning

sponge-1168423-1919x1207Your planner is a great way to manage your daily tasks, but it’s much more than that. A planner is a tool to help strengthen your identity, sort out the values that matter most to you, create a personal mission statement, and to set and reach both short- and long-term goals. Managing simple daily tasks is something you can often do with your phone—but to ensure you live a rich and fulfilling life, you need a more adequate tool. Your planner is the ideal place to sort your dreams and set in motion the actions necessary to reach them.

Among your short-term goals is the annual deep cleaning you do each spring. This is a great way to clear the air in your home, remove the dust bunnies, stir up any spider webs, and get the grime off your kitchen cabinets. The trouble is, your life is just as busy as it’s always been. With end-of-year school activities, filing your taxes, a hectic work schedule, and the itch to get out in the yard, making time for deep cleaning is a challenge.

The ideal solution, of course, is right in your hand. Your planner will help ensure you have time for this important annual task. Whether you do your deep cleaning in one or two days, or sort the tasks out and complete them over a matter of weeks, using your planner will help you finish without interruptions.

1. Motivate yourself with a pen

Write each item you plan to do, no matter how small, in your planner and check them off as you finish. Marking things off your list actually has a positive biological effect. Our brains create chemicals that make us feel good each time we mark an item off our list, and that encourages us to do more. That’s why, when we complete a task that isn’t on our list, we write it in our planners anyway, and immediately cross it off. It feels good and it gets us in the mood to do more.

2. Divide it up

Divide your tasks up by room, closet, or space. This helps ensure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. If you’re working in a bedroom, your list could include your chest of drawers, closet, and under the bed as separate items to sort and organize. That way you can finish each task in a short time, cross it off your list, and move ahead. You’d do the same in other rooms: Kitchen sink, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, pantry, and so forth. Doing this can help keep you enthusiastically moving toward your end goal, and before you know it, you’ll realize you’re nearly finished.

 3. Focus

As you work toward your goal of deep cleaning your home, tackle one project at a time. If we flit from task to task without finishing one completely, we run a huge risk of burning out. We need that motivation and satisfaction of completing a task to keep us going. Stick with one task and finish it, so you can cross it off your list and get the boost you need to tackle the next task.

4. Sort and donate

As you go through your closets and set aside items to donate to a non-profit organization or thrift store, note the items in your planner along with their value. Next year, as you file your taxes, you’ll have a complete record of your donations.

Your planner can play such a crucial role in your life if you choose to use it to its fullest potential. This list is just the beginning and is only intended to help spark ideas of your own. If you have some great ways that you use your planner while you deep clean each spring, we’d love to hear them.

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Start Your Spring Cleaning! (Free Checklist/Tracker Printable)

IMG_0484It’s time for spring cleaning, that magical time of year where you tackle the obscure organizational tasks and polish all the fine details. You have access to every part of your house, from the basement crawlspace to the attic, and, like in centuries past, you can leave the windows open and let the dust fly away on the breeze.

If you’re feeling intimidated by the thought of such a large project, take a minute to look over our Spring Cleaning Checklist. Like any other big goal, when you break spring cleaning down into individual tasks, you can schedule them out in manageable chunks. And when you set those tasks down in your planner, you can integrate them with the other events and responsibilities in your life, letting you accomplish more with fewer surprises.

Here are some spring cleaning planner tips to help you get started:

–          Pre-purchase your cleaning supplies. As you look at everything your home needs, write the amount of cleaning solution, dusting spray, paper towels, and cleansing wipes you’ll need in your planner. Pick them up before you get started, and you can stick to your spring cleaning schedule without surprise runs to the store for missing supplies.

–          Schedule a limited number of cleaning tasks for each day, and write them on the appropriate planner pages. Deep cleaning can be messy work, so it helps to finish one room before moving on to another.

–          Map out drawer contents in your planner. Then, before you start reorganizing, tape labels on drawers and cabinets showing what should be inside. This lets your helpers put things away with fewer questions for you.

We’d love to hear how your planner made a difference in your spring cleaning. Here’s to a clean home, beautiful weather, and peace of mind this spring!

Download this 3 page tracking guide to help you plan and organize your spring cleaning:




Checklist – Page 1 JPG Checklist – Page 1 JPG Checklist – Page 1 JPG
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Checklist – Page 3 JPG Checklist – Page 3 JPG Checklist – Page 3 JPG


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Finish Your Spring Cleaning

If your busy life hasn’t left you with a full day for spring cleaning, then it’s time to finish up. Instead of cleaning your home from top to bottom, 61972_lrgcaseidentify lots of individual tasks that still need to be done. You can then schedule these tasks in your planner and fit them into your busy days. To get started, try organizing your files and papers in proper storage spaces.

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Spring Cleaning Your Office

By Joshua Zerkel

Clutter, both physical and digital, is not only annoying – it can get in the way of you being productive and getting your important work done. With the change of season, now’s a great time to take stock of what you have, jettison what you don’t, and make a plan for keeping your office clutter at bay. Here’s how:

Physical clutter. If you’re tripping over things scattered around your desk or have to go on an archeological dig when it’s time to find an important document, it’s time to start clearing through any physical clutter in your workspace. Set a timer for an hour and see how much clutter you can clear. Take a quick tour of the things around your desk and your office, and if you haven’t used it in more than six months or a year, donate or discard it. If you haven’t cleared your clutter in an hour, set aside an hour a day until you’ve discarded all the things you no longer need.
Go paperless. If part of your clutter challenge is dealing with too much paper, maybe it’s time to consider setting up a paperless document management system. Scan important documents into a tool like Evernote Business (evernote.com/business), shred the files you no longer need, and recycle the junk you never wanted in the first place. Get a scanner for your desk so you can deal with new paper right away without waiting for it to pile up.
Tidy the tech. Over the past year, have you signed up for a laundry-list of online services, downloaded dozens of apps, and bought gizmos that have gone unused? Take a few minutes to review what’s on your computer and mobile device, and see if you’re really using all the tools that you’ve bought or registered for. Contact your local hazardous waste facility to properly dispose of tech trash, and delete accounts from online services you no longer use (or never did in the first place).
Find a level. Adopt the “one in, one out” rule to keep office clutter at bay over the course of the next year. Essentially, as you buy something new – a book, a desk accessory, a piece of furniture, or art for your wall – let something else go. This will maintain a constant level of “stuff” in your space and prevent it from getting overcrowded with things you no longer need or use.
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7 Steps To Spring Cleaning Success

By Monica Friel 

After a long, harsh winter, your home may be in serious need for spring cleaning. The brutal winter has caused us to put off projects that might have otherwise been dealt with during winter months. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the chaos, it only makes it worse if you continue to put it off. Here are some tips to help you determine how to really make progress on a spring cleaning project this year:

Make a list. Before you start emptying closets and finding yourself with an even bigger mess, sit with a pen and paper and make a list of spring cleaning aspirations. Listing them all will help you gather your thoughts and determine priorities.

Create a plan. As with any project, your always more effective when working with a plan of attack. Once you’ve created a comprehensive list of projects to complete, arrange them in order of priority, determine how much time you will need to allow and set some reasonable deadlines.

Schedule it. You may be motivated that first day and tackle many of the projects on your list. But if you still have projects hanging out there and want to make time to accomplish them, there’s no better way than to carve out time on the calendar. When you have a busy schedule, the only way you find time is to go to your calendar and make it. It may require eliminating another less important activity, but you will always find the time if you really want to get it done.

Don’t be fooled.  There’s no magic wand when it comes to organizing. Hiding a mess behind a closed door will only exacerbate the problem. It can be a tedious process of going through things, making decisions and creating storage solutions. A professional organizer can certainly speed up the progress, make it fun and encourage quicker decision-making, but all steps need to happen in order to bring the chaos to order.

Start small. Once you have decided on a place to begin, get even more specific. For example, if you want to organize a closet, start with a hanging section, a shelf or drawer. Go through it entirely, eliminate what you can and neatly organize the rest. Don’t move on until that specific area is complete. Organization boils down to fully finishing the details of every project. When you break a large project down into sections, finish each section before you move on to the next.

Don’t give up. It’s easy to walk away when you’re distracted, but you’ll regret it later. If you’re working alone and want to stay on task, set a timer. Work in 30-45 minute increments and stick with it until the timer goes off. Once you’ve finished a section, take 5 and set the timer again until you finish.

Reward yourself. Set a goal to complete a spring cleaning project that’s been on your list. Give yourself a reward when you get it done. It can range from treating yourself to a nice meal, to purchasing great containers to keep the contents of your organized space.

Monica Friel

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Clean Up Your Schedule for Spring

Spring is a beautiful time of year, with melting snow, rising temperatures, and the chatter of birds returning from their winter hideaway. It’s also a busy time.

I’ve noticed a common springtime routine in my neighborhood. Houses that sat silent during the dark days of winter begin to resound with 61990_4lrgcasevoices. Neighbors, who had spent the cold months quietly milling about their homes, begin to busy themselves in their yard. Trashcans line the street every Thursday loaded to the brim with debris. We strike up conversations with one another—renewing friendships that had lain dormant as we huddled in our warm homes with our families during the winter.

But now, finally, we step outside to a beautiful new season and bury ourselves in work. We have vegetable gardens to plant, flowerbeds to clean up, trees to trim, and bushes to prune. We have windows to wash and new decorations to spread throughout our freshly cleaned houses.

Spring is a season of big events. Spring break, Easter, Mother’s Day, graduations, and Memorial Day all take place in the spring. And we can’t forget Father’s Day, which seems to straddle the end of spring and the beginning of summer. Spring is a great time for vacations and gathering together with friends and family. In my neighborhood there’s an unspoken race to see who can fire up the barbeque first.

But these big events could easily get away from us if we aren’t careful. Houses don’t clean themselves, and the only thing a yard will do on its own is grow weeds. Barbeques require prep time. Spring vacations won’t happen without a plan. And you had better take some time to consider what you’re doing for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

May we suggest that you take a moment now, while you’re busy with spring-cleaning, to clean up your schedule? Life comes at you fast. This wonderful time of year has a way of slipping away from us, so start planning early. Make reminders in your planner two weeks ahead of a big event so you can be sure you have enough food for the party and the perfect gift in hand. Make any necessary lists in your planner and mark those pages with flags so you can reference them quickly. Carry your planner and your great ideas with you so you can make them a reality.

A few minutes now will make all the difference. Once you have the big events scheduled, you can focus on other items on your agenda—like your golf swing.

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Easy Organizing Challenge: Consolidate

By Carmen Coker

Click here to download and print off your motivational poster.

What do ketchup, hairspray, and cleaning wipes have in common? They are just three of many everyday household items that tend to exist in half-empty states, often with their “twin” nearby.

So…instead of one full ketchup bottle, you have two partially-filled ones. Instead of one hairspray, locked and loaded, you have three that individually are a weak shot. Instead of one brimming container of cleaning wipes, you have four in various states of emptiness.

Sometimes, your home can become like a proverbial Noah’s Ark, where you bring in and store things two by two. Your Easy Organizing Challenge is to go through your home – check bags, boxes, bottles, and bins – to find candidates for consolidation. Ask yourself: where can two (or more) become one?

If you need some quick ideas, here are common offenders: liquid soaps, shampoos, hair styling products, lotions, facial cleansers, medications, makeup, cleaning solutions, detergents, paints, alcohol, condiments, dressings, sauces, beverages, cereals, snacks, chips, crackers, and cheeses. However, this is not an all-inclusive list!

Warning: There are times when you legitimately need two or more of something because you are stocking up or like to have a reserve. That’s not the issue here – focus on where you have two or more parts of the same thing, parts that can easily combine to make a whole.

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.


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Catch the Little Spring Cleaning Details

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a fairly organized person. You probably keep your home neat, your car tidy, and your desk clear. But with only so many hours in the day, there are bound to be small areas of your life that could use some spring cleaning. Consider the following:

Make Your Pantry Efficient: Go through your pantry and clean out any half-used or expired food, like the leftover chips from last month’s 23616_lrgcasetaco salad. Then consider using the Menu Planner  to plan out the best uses for your food supplies.

Clear Your Closet: Starting at the back, work your way through your closet and pull out everything that you haven’t worn in more than a year. Weed out any clothes that are out of style, and store any clothes that are out of season. This will give you the  closet space you need when the weather warms and you’re ready to unpack your lighter clothes.

Hygiene Refresh: Replace fixtures in your bathroom where mold, mildew, and hard water stains gather, such as your shower curtain, bath mat, and towels.

Empty Your Bag: As your go-to accessory when you’re on the go, it’s no wonder that clutter tends to accumulate in your bag. Pull everything out of your bag, sort out anything that you don’t need, then put everything back in their proper places.

Is It Broken? If you’ve been hanging on to an old appliance or piece of furniture that is broken or outdated, consider replacing it with something more functional.


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How Do You Spring Clean? A Fun Infographic.

How do you Spring Clean? Or do you?

We wondered the same thing and created an online survey that many of you may have answered. Well, now we are sharing with you the results in an infographic.

Which area of the house is most challenging to clean?
What do you do with items you no longer want or need?
And, what month is the most popular for Spring Cleaning?

If YOU need a break from your Spring Cleaning, pour yourself some lemonade, kick up your feet, and enjoy. Oh, and feel free to share the infograph with your friends or even on your own blog.

Spring Cleaning Infograph



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