January 6, 2012

Get Organized (Part Four): Home Cleaning & Organizing Weekly Planner

Well so far my weekly planners have included tools to help organize business, spiritual, and health & fitness pursuits.  The last most-obvious planning tool would be for conquering clutter and messes in the home.

I used to be a big supporter of the 'don't sweat the small stuff' ideology when it came to clutter--if I could locate something in a reasonable amount of time it was "organized" and in the grand scheme of things, a made bed or matched socks didn't rank high enough to be bothered with.

I find now as the sheer amount of potential mess and clutter in my life increases (two kids, a home business) the more taking care of all those little things really does matter.  It makes me feel more peaceful and in control when  my home looks clean and uncluttered.  It makes spaces feel larger, and it invites tackling new projects because starting something new doesn't require cleaning up and moving a bunch of things out of the way.  It also helps spare precious moments from being used looking for things. In general, there's a tangible positive energy when things are in order.  Not to mention I don't have to fear the short notice drop in by a friend or family member.

But even though we, as a family, have grown leaps and bounds as far as breaking bad clutter habits and keeping things relatively tidy in recent months, with all the mental multi-tasking that I have to do, it's easy to overlook things I wanted to do at the start of the week but forgot about. Having a centralized place to jot down all those ideas (think New Years resolution to get organized broken up into mini-goals, like "develop a better organizational system for the business receipts than "the box") keeps me focused and accountable.  Once I see it on paper, the urge to get it done so it can be literally and emotionally "crossed off" is great.

So with this in mind, my weekly planner has sections for things that need organized, cleaned, or purchased (no more stray scratch paper grocery lists that get misplaced, or that must-have menu item forgotten) as well as a spot for priority errands, AND a spot to check off all the things that should get done pretty much every day.

One bit of advice that I put to use with wonderful results is that it's easier to keep clean than to get clean.  A daily set of basics to keep the household clean and tidy makes for that always-spruced-up feeling that is so wonderful.  I wash dishes and laundry daily, vacuum high traffic areas such as the living room and under the dining room table pretty much daily as needed (these are the first areas you see walking in, so having the rugs clear of crumbs and other toddler fodder really makes a difference), and do a cursory wipe down of the kitchen and bathroom surfaces.  A quick easy wipe-down daily is a lot easier than waiting for grime to build and having to use elbow grease to tackle it.  Making the bed will help you stay out of it and make the bedroom look nice and peaceful for bedtime.  Avi is expected to clean up her toys daily.  We intentionally have a smaller kitchen trash can so that it needs emptied almost daily (reduces smells, germs, and the likelihood the dog will get into it), and right before bed we pick up all the little things and put them in their homes (remote controls, magazines, etc).

But even though I do these things daily, it's nice to be able to check them off of a list, because then I can see that I have, indeed, been productive, especially if I can't make it to larger tasks on a given day. It can be a great confidence boost to see those things get checked off!

Download the Weekly Home Cleaning & Organizing Planner here.

Don't forget to check out the other parts of this series--all with free weekly planners:  small business, spiritual, and  health & fitness!

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