The Spring Cleaning Challenge

March is a funny time of year up here in Canada. (Is it like that in your part of the world too?) We spend most of the month in the weather limbo. Some days it feels like warm weather is just around the corner; other days it feels like winter will never end. No wonder we turn our thoughts to spring and start feeling the urge to clean out our houses. It’s this longing for warmer weather that I think drives our need to perform a spring cleaning ritual every year.

Springtime is a great opportunity to get cleaned and organized for the warmer season ahead. It’s also a great opportunity, however, to start from ground zero and give your home a refresh. For some of you this just might mean going through your basic spring cleaning routine. For others it’s the time to get all those little annoying tasks that always seem to get away from you while you’re cleaning. And for those of you who have trouble sticking to a regular cleaning routine, this might the time of year to put one into action.

A spring cleaning ritual doesn’t even have to be confined to the act of cleaning. Going through your things, organizing and purging are also all great ways to refresh your home.

If you’re feeling listless, bored or stuck then it could be time for a spring clean. During the month of March I’ll be posting some helpful tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way to get you and your home cleaned up and feeling restored. (Plus I’ve got a back catalogue of blog posts that you can refer to when you’re embarking on your own projects: I’ve got even more ways to get organized, be more productive, care for your home and manage your lifestyle.)

But for now, my best advice for you is this: take the time to look out the window and daydream about the weather getting warmer. Imagine yourself living comfortably in your clean, organized home. Imagine spending more time on your hobbies and with loved ones instead of constantly trying to catch up on your cleaning. Imagine yourself enjoying the outdoors and leaving your home worry-free, knowing that when you come back to it you’ll feel just as refreshed and relaxed as you did when you left.

This is your spring cleaning motivation. Use it and tag along with me on my journey this month. I hope you’re all in for the ride.

It may seem old-fashioned, but I believe that your home is a reflection of who you are. Having a clean and functional household is one of the best ways to cultivate self-expression and a sense of fun in your spare time. Here’s my best practices on achieving that in your own home, as well as during the holidays and in your personal life.

What are some of your secrets to a clean and organized house? Comment below or send your pictures to keepingbusyb@gmail.com.

Do You Have 15 Minutes?

As the days get shorter and the number of tasks on our to-do lists grows ever longer, it’s hard to figure out sometimes even what needs to be done, let alone how much time you need to complete these projects. I’m constantly trying to find ways to maximize the spare moments in time I manage to capture throughout my day. This week, I’m blogging about what to do when you only have a minimal amount of time.

Certain necessary tasks often get overlooked or delayed because we perceive them to be more difficult or longer than they actually are. For example, when was the last time you spent an hour going through your underwear drawer? (Although to be fair, if you have enough to fill a Victoria’s Secret store an hour might not be enough!) To avoid blowing things out of proportion, time yourself the next time you take on one of these tasks. If it takes more than fifteen minutes, it may mean you need to do it more often, or find a way to pick up the pace. Try setting an alarm on your phone. Having that deadline looming over you may be just the motivation you need to try and get the following things out of the way in fifteen minutes (or less!).

• Empty out a drawer and sort it out- any drawer! Junk drawers, sock drawers and underwear drawers are often the most overlooked.
• Reorganize a drawer that’s used often and has gotten a little bit out of hand. Examples may include your cutlery drawer, your desk drawer, or the drawer of your bedside table.
• Dust bookshelves.
• Purge and reorganize your medicine cabinet.
• Organize your cleaning supplies by refilling bottles, replenishing often used items and taking stock of what’s missing.
• Purge empty bottles, unused or unwanted toiletries
• Go through your bookshelves and purge outdated or unwanted reading materials
• Replace furniture pads on furniture
• Clean your coffeemaker and/or kettle
• Organize and purge craft supplies
• Clean out your gym bag
• Clean out your fridge/freezer or any other extra refrigeration units
• Drag your luggage (suitcases, duffel bags, etc.) outside to air out, or a well-ventilated room when the weather isn’t appropriate
• Spray purses/shoes/coats and other appropriate outdoor gear with spray protectant
• Shake out outdoor cushions and floor mats
• Dust and wipe down table lamps and sconces
• Dust and wipe down light fixtures and switch plates

Here’s to a more productive day!

I’m always looking for the best ways to manage my time and workflow more effectively and efficiently. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your productivity as well, click here for more strategies that I’ve developed and researched and here for more ways to stay organized. For more ways to deal with your busy lifestyle, click here.

How do you keep busy? Share your secrets with us by commenting below, or keep it between you and I by emailing keepingbusyb@gmail.com.

Do You Have 10 Minutes?

As the days get shorter and the number of tasks on our to-do lists grows ever longer, it’s hard to figure out sometimes even what needs to be done, let alone how much time you need to complete these projects. I’m constantly trying to find ways to maximize the spare moments in time I manage to capture throughout my day. This week, I’m blogging about what to do when you only have a minimal amount of time.

Ten minutes of free time is a bigger deal than you think it is- in fact, some people swear by a scheduling method that involves setting aside an extra ten minutes for every hour block of time you schedule. Allowing yourself extra time after a meeting, phone call, or even an appointment with yourself can create extra time to check off your to-do lists, review your notes and prepare for the next task at hand. Bonus: if you find your meeting is running long or you run into unexpected complications with your work, you’ve got some extra time to play with. Here’s what else you can do if you only have 10 minutes.

When You’re at Home
• refill soap containers/replace soaps in bathroom and kitchen
• replace candles in sticks/holders/candelabras
• sort and take out your garbage/recycling/compost
• collect scattered children’s toys and put away
• clean your household mirrors (bathroom, bed, entryway)
• wipe down doorknobs (do this at your office too!)

When You’re at Work
• check your privacy settings, cookies, browser history on computer, laptop, or tablet and clean-up/modify as necessary
• clean out the nooks and crannies of your computer (and the rest of your electronics!) with compressed air
• test and purge all unwanted, broken or old office supplies
• sort mail; discard junk and make plans to deal with the rest

When You’re Just Looking for Something to Do
• sort through your coupons
• clean out your wallet
• clean out your purse or handbag

Here’s to a more productive day!

I’m always looking for the best ways to manage my time and workflow more effectively and efficiently. If you’re looking for more ways to increase your productivity as well, click here for more strategies that I’ve developed and researched and here for more ways to stay organized. For more ways to deal with your busy lifestyle, click here.

How do you keep busy? Share your secrets with us by commenting below, or keep it between you and I by emailing keepingbusyb@gmail.com.