{VIDEO} How I use my Erin Condren Life Planner to Organize my Life!

Today I have a post (and a video!) for you about a different type of book…the one that keeps me organized!  If you haven’t heard of the Erin Condren Life Planner you are MISSING OUT  (I have a link to the exact planner that I SWEAR BY (and have loved since 2012) and also a VIDEO of me showing it’s features and all of the ways I use mine to organize my own life at the very bottom of this post)!

If you know me in real life, you already know that I am extremely Type A.  I like things organized, planned, and thought out from conception through conclusion.  I will always and forever use a paper planner.  No phone calendar for me!

I have owned some version of a paper planner every single year since I was in junior high school!  I vividly remember decorating the front cover of my planners with cut out pictures from magazines which represented my interests at the time.  I worked on them for HOURS making sure they looked perfect!  Even then, the aesthetics of my paper planners clearly were very important to me. 🙂  10 year old me would DIE to see the gorgeous planner that adult me uses daily!

Erin Condren Life Planner 

2011 was when I first discovered Erin Condren.  I was an elementary school teacher and was sitting in a faulty meeting when the teacher across the table from me pulled out her Erin Condren Life Planner.  One glance was all it took for me to know that I NEEDED that in my life.  I spent the remainder of that year finishing up the boring paper planner that I was using, all the while counting down the days until I could order my very first Erin Condren Life Planner.

I spent FOREVER designing my perfect cover and 8 years later it still remains one of my most favorites that I’ve ever owned:

2013: I loved the swirls and lace on this one!  I remember spending FOREVER deciding between various shades of grey and was so happy with how it turned out.  So pretty.

2014: I loved that pretty butter yellow (currently the exact shade of my iphone)!

2015 was the year I decided that I was going to try one of the Erin Condren knockoff companies and save myself some money on my precious planner.  I bought this one (a 2 year planner so it took me all the way through the end of 2016).  I.  HATED.  THIS.  PLANNER.  The cover would constantly fall off!  There wasn’t anywhere to store important papers so I bought folder inserts which made everything so heavy and bulky.  The coils on the side were MASSIVE and made turning the pages such a chore.  Literally everything would fall out all the time and made everything in my life feel so UNorganized!  The worst.

In 2017 I decided to try a DIFFERENT knockoff company.  I loved this cover but didn’t love everything inside!  I had so many issues with this planner!  The coil was better but everything else was just eh.  This one was close to an Erin Condren and yet…not quite close enough.

And yet…2018 had me thinking that I STILL could use a planner from yet a DIFFERENT knockoff company!  Whyyyyyy did I ever think this would be a good idea?!?

Albert Einstein once famously stated, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.

So true, Albert.  So true.

2019 led me very happily straight back to where it all began!  Oh Erin Condren, I’m so sorry I strayed.  I learned my lesson.  Yes, your planners cost more than the others…FOR A REASON!  They truly are the very best there is!  I will never, ever stray again.  Erin Condren Life Planner for LIFE.  Here is my current 18 month planner.  Gorgeous, functional, and perfect in every single way.

All of my planners since 2012!  Makes me smile to think of all of the amazing memories written within these covers.  I love looking back and seeing my day to day life throughout the years!

The official Erin Condren Launch Day is a VERY big day for loyal Erin Condren fans.  It happens each spring and it’s the day where all of the new cover designs are revealed!  True Erin Condren fans literally count down to this special day and obsessively check the website each day leading up to it’s release. I ordered my new planner as soon as it debuted!

I’ve tried all types of planners…January-December, July-June, even July-December of the following year!  After many trials, I’ve determined that the planner that makes the most sense for me in the season of life that I’m currently in is 12 months July-June.  I LOVE being able to see my childrens’ school schedules all together in one planner!  I sit at the very beginning of the school year and fill in the entire year’s events (days off, PTO meetings, PTO events, half days, conferences, etc.).  ***NERD ALERT:  I may or may not light a candle and play music while I’m doing this to make it a special event.***  It makes me feel so much more organized than only writing in the events until December and then having to sit down in January to fill in the rest of the school year!  I suspect this will change one day as my children get older but for now…my life and my planner are completely tailored around their schools’ schedules.

And….drum roll please….my newest Erin Condren Life Planner!  It arrived this morning and it’s GORGEOUS!  I also use this video as a tutorial as to how I organize my own planner to organize my entire life.  I discuss exactly how I use each section and why.  Enjoy 🙂

If you have never heard of Erin Condren or her AMAZING life planners, here is link directly to her website.  FYI this is not an affiliate link, just a link to the very best planner out there.

Do you use a paper planner?  Have you ever had an Erin Condren Life Planner?

Xo,

Jenny

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Book Review: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing {Marie Kondo}

Have you watched the new Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo?  Everyone is talking about it!  It is currently causing millions of people to reorganize and declutter their homes. I read and fell in love with her book and her logic years ago.

Synopsis

Despite constant efforts to declutter your home, do papers still accumulate like snowdrifts and clothes pile up like a tangled mess of noodles?

Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes tidying to a whole new level, promising that if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again. Most methods advocate a room-by-room or little-by-little approach, which doom you to pick away at your piles of stuff forever. The KonMari Method, with its revolutionary category-by-category system, leads to lasting results. In fact, none of Kondo’s clients have lapsed (and she still has a three-month waiting list).

With detailed guidance for determining which items in your house “spark joy” (and which don’t), this international best seller featuring Tokyo’s newest lifestyle phenomenon will help you clear your clutter and enjoy the unique magic of a tidy home – and the calm, motivated mindset it can inspire.

My Thoughts

When The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing was released in 2014, I ordered and read it immediately.  It’s fantastic!  I currently keep it in my nightstand to refer back to when I need a refresher.  It’s about keeping the absolute most special and useful physical things in your life and getting rid of everything else.

The older I get, the more into minimalism I become.  I started on this journey a few years ago and I work on it bit by it each day.  It’s important to me and has been so beneficial to our entire family.  I used to be the EXACT opposite.  I used to buy things just to buy them without giving much thought to if I even wanted or needed them first.

My thought process really changed once I had my children.  The baby industry is RIDICULOUS, making new moms think they need every baby product on the market.  By the time I had my 2nd child, I knew that there were very few products that we actually needed and would be using. The true things that all babies actually need cannot be bought!  This really opened my eyes as to what we were bringing into our home and why.

One of my favorite things to do is to hold our annual garage sale.  I spend all year putting stuff into bins to sell and when the time comes to haul those bins into the garage, a feeling of peace comes over me!  I LOVE getting rid of stuff.  In my opinion, a clutter free home leads to a clutter free mind.

I work hard on keeping my house clean and free of clutter.  I truly believe that when my house is clean and clutter free, I feel calmer.  I make our bed every single morning.  I try to do at least 1 load of laundry each day.  I try to never have dirty dishes in my sink.  These things not only keep our home in working order, but keep my mind in working order as well!

My daughter had a play date here a few months ago and when her friend’s mom came to pick her up, she told me that couldn’t believe how organized my house was when there are 2 young children living here.  I loved hearing that!  I truly believe that kids can have toys, but those toys don’t have to take over the entire house.

I’ve been trying to teach my kids to clean up after themselves.  When they finish playing with something to put it away before taking out something new.  This is a work in progress 🙂

Our family and friends know how we feel about this. When it comes to buying gifts for our children, they have been respectful in following our wishes to not allow clutter into our home. Our kids already have way too many toys that they don’t play with.  TOO MANY TOYS. In this house, toys truly just equal clutter because they are abandoned within 5 minutes of receiving them.  As for clothes, I’m very picky with their clothes and like to pick them out myself.  This leaves my absolute favorite gift that people give my children…gift cards for experiences!  Plays, concerts, zoo/museum memberships, movies, fun restaurants, etc. Experiences are ALWAYS welcome, especially ones that will give our family lasting memories.  One can never have too many memories with family…but one can DEFINITELY have too many unplayed with toys.

As for Jon and I…when we got married, we had a massive (gorgeous) comforter with THIRTEEN throw pillows.  THIRTEEN.  Every single morning, I would artfully arrange those pillows and every single night, I would carefully pile them in the corner of our room.  I would fold down the comforter so that all of the designs were in perfect harmony.  It was stunning.  It was gorgeous.  It was a production.  It was insane.

Our bed now is simple, beautiful, and perfect.  It takes me exactly 1 minute to make each morning.  So much better.  Our nightstands are always neat and clutter free.  When we go to bed each night and wake up each morning, we are surrounded by peace and not by chaos.

I work hard to keep our home clutter free and only keeping things that we love and that “spark joy” as Kondo would say.  My husband came home from work one day and discovered that I had gotten rid of everything in our downstairs bathroom because I was “over it”.  That was over the summer and I still haven’t replaced everything in there because I refuse to buy things until I find things that I absolutely love!  In hindsight, I probably should have bought all of the new stuff BEFORE getting rid of the old stuff?  Live and learn…

Bottom Line

If it doesn’t spark joy, you don’t need it.  Period.

Did you read Marie Kondo’s book?

Have you watched her Netflix show?

Do you practice minimalism?

Xo,

Jenny

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