Welcome to the Plan-and-Organize-Life.com Newsletter. I hope you enjoy getting the newsletter and that it helps to keep you on track with your organizing goals. Remember, you can get a lot done in only 10 minutes of decluttering and organizing!

Table of Contents

-Did you know?
-Monthly Mission – Tidying Up and Thinking Ahead
-What’s New on Plan-and-Organize-Life.com – Recent site additions
-A Little Cleaning Inspiration


Welcome to December! It’s come so quickly.

Last month I talked about my over-use of Post-it Notes and how they were cluttering my desk. I’m happy to say that my desk is still Post-it Note free a month later! My notebook idea seems to be working well so far. If you’re a Post-it Note over-user, give the notebook a try.

Did you know…

Here are a couple things I learned last month about smoke detectors from Womans Day Magazine…

“One in five smoke alarm failures are due to dead batteries, according to the National Fire Protection Association.”

“Though 96% of homes have smoke alarms, only about 75% of them actually work.”

Smoke alarms deteriorate over time and should be replaced every eight to 10 years. Some even have an expiration date marked on them.

To keep your smoke alarms working properly, dust them off once per week, test the batteries monthly, and replace the batteries once per year.

(Excerpts from the November 1, 2011 Woman’s Day Magazine)

Let’s all make sure our smoke alarms are working so we can enjoy a little peace of mind this holiday, especially with all the Christmas trees in peoples homes right now.

The Monthly Mission – Tidying Up and Thinking Ahead

This month’s mission is to put things back in order and put things away. Then, take a little time to think about what you’d like to accomplish in terms of living more organized in the coming year. To read more about the Monthly Mission for December, click here.

Recent Site Additions

Here are some of the more recently added pages to the website you may have missed.

Before and After Photos - If you enjoy seeing before and after photos of organizing projects, you can find them all right here.

Living Room Storage Make-over - See how we recently re-organized our living room (play room) with a new Ikea wall unit that's great for storing lots of stuff.

Adding A Closet Shelf - See how adding a quick and simple shelf to a closet can add functional space.

Spice Rack - See before and after photos of my spice storage including my new spice rack.

Garage Makeover - before and after photos of my personal garage makeover. See how we tackled the problems and ended up with a functional garage.

Streamline Your Morning Routine - Ideas to help you get out the door in the morning and be on time for work or school.

Bathroom Drawer Make Over - How to organize a bathroom drawer, an example with before and after photos.

Stop Clutter - Quick simple tips on how to stop the clutter from coming into your home in the first place.

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A Little Cleaning Inspiration

If you’re like me, I enjoy a relatively clean home, it’s just that, well, I don’t really enjoy cleaning. Give me stacks of papers to purge and file, or a closet to sort through and I can be happy. But the idea of doing the dishes and scrubbing the bathrooms doesn’t really inspire me.

I had a decent list of house cleaning chores that needed to get done today that I was avoiding. So, I looked around for some ideas on how to get inspired, and get it done fast, so I (and you) can move on to more important things. Here are just a couple things that might help.

Dress to Work – Make sure you’re wearing comfortable clothes to work in. You don’t want to be constricted or worried about ruining anything nice. And put your hair up out of the way. I get totally annoyed when my hair is hanging in my face and I can’t see what I’m trying to do.

Crank It Up – Put on some upbeat music that makes you move. That alone should help you to get up and move with intention. A little singing while you work may actually make the drudgery go by quicker than you think.

Make A List – Write down the things you really need to do. The ones that will make the most visible difference, and the ones that simply must be done. Turn off your computer and other distracting electronics etc. Stick to your list. Do one thing at a time. Do not jump around the house doing half of this and half of that. Pick one task, stay focused, and see it through. Cross it off your list for satisfaction. Take a deep breath and get a sip of water. Do NOT check your email or Facebook. Tackle the next item on your list.

Remember, It’s Not As Bad As You Think – When I’m done doing that stack of dishes I’ve avoided, or wiped down the bathroom counters I’ve been ignoring, I realize that it only took a few minutes. Now, had I done it a couple days ago, it probably wouldn’t have been as big of a job and I would not have spent several minutes, several times a day over the past few days thinking “ugh, I don’t want to do XYZ”. What a waste of time. We over exaggerate just how terrible that job is going to be when really, most of the time, in the average home, it’s not that bad, if you just do it. And the sooner you do it, the easier the job. So, just do it. Period.

Set The Timer – If the idea of cleaning all day really makes you want to procrastinate, then set a timer to work for only 15 minutes. As I said above, a lot of tasks only take a few minutes to complete. Work until the timer goes off and allow yourself to go do something else for 15 minutes (don’t forget to set the timer). When your mini break is over, set that timer again for another 15 minutes of work. You should be able to make a noticeable improvement in your home and not be totally burned out by doing it. Although, once you get started and find your groove, you may want to go more than your 15 minutes and just get your cleaning done!

Enjoy Your Success – You should be able to see your accomplishments, even if others might not. Strange how the rest of the household doesn’t walk in and comment on noticing the clean floors, the scrubbed toilet, or the dusted furniture. They have have come to expect that as being the norm. Even if it’s a magical mystery to some as to how it got that way. But YOU know you put in a good effort to banish the dust bunnies and dust off the top of the fridge and sweep and wipe down the kitchen floor. Give yourself permission to enjoy your accomplishments, and even boast a little. Why not. Reward yourself for getting the job done however you choose.

Hopefully those ideas help you get a little more motivated to tidy up and give a quick cleaning to your home. If you’re looking for specifics on how to clean, like how to best scrub your shower, or how to properly wipe down your kitchen cabinets, you’ll have to go to someone who’s more of an expert in that area, like Good Housekeeping.

I used to think that Good Housekeeping Magazine was for grown-ups, who cooked and cleaned and well, now that’s me because I’m all grown up! They have been very helpful and informative and have become one of my favorite magazines. Thank goodness, because I still need a bit of coaching when it comes to cleaning.

Have a wonderful, tidy holiday!

Until next time, happy organizing!


Tracy Greene

P.S. Sometimes links to website pages get broken. If a link doesn't work, you may need to copy and paste the entire link into your browser.