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April 27, 2012

Get Organized for the Summer: Create a Vision + Plan + Free Printables



This is the third post in our series on getting organized for the summer. To read the first two posts go here and here.

Create a Vision

My last post in our Get Organized for the Summer Series about “when are you at your best” left some of you a bit quiet. Have you given it some thought…just on your own? Does it feel a bit uncomfortable to ponder what you want? This can definitely be out of the norm for women—thinking of ourselves and allowing ourselves to put our needs first. But, it really is okay to want what’s best for yourself. In turn, you are better for everyone else. So I’d really like to encourage you to give it some thought—even if you do so privately. This insight will be really helpful as you move onto the next steps in planning for the summer.  


So what’s next you ask? Well, once you’ve given thought to when you are at your best, the next step in getting organized for the summer is to think about your vision. What do you want your summer to be like? Do you want a pre-planned, activity-packed summer with something fun and different to do each day? Or do you want to slow down and be spontaneous? Or is it important to you to be ultra-productive, and get some big projects checked off your to-do list? 


I’ve posed these questions as an either/or proposition. In other words, I asked “do you want this” or “do you want that?” This implies that you can’t have it all—that you can’t be spontaneous and slow down, and be ultra-productive and get big projects done. Certainly that would be tough to pull off in a single day, but it is possible to pull it off over the course of the summer. 



The key is to get clear about what you want for the summer, and then establish priorities. What is most important? That’s where your vision comes in. If you had a magic wand and could create the summer of your dreams—what would it be like? How would you spend your time? What would be on your to-do list? What would you strike from your to-do list either permanently or until fall? Think about what you loved about past summers and what hasn’t worked well in summer’s past. Then, get your kids and spouse in on this, too. You might be surprised at their answers about how an ideal summer looks.


Once you’ve given some thought to these questions, write a short sentence to describe your vision for the summer. The ideal statement will allow you to focus on what is most important to you this summer. It will act as your compass throughout the season. For example, if it’s important to slow down and have a spontaneous summer, your vision will serve to remind you not to over-schedule. Your summer vision can be as simple as a few words, or as elaborate as a few sentences. Simply try to encapsulate what it is that you (and your family members) want out of this time of year. 


Here are some ideas:

  • This summer I will slow down and create space for spontaneous fun. My project list can wait until fall.
  • Relax.
  • More fun. More done. (Hey that one sounds like a tag line I know. Notice that the fun comes first.)
  • When I am at my best, I have a better version of me to share with those I love.
  • Play.
  • EnJOY the delights of summer.


Are your creative juices flowing for your own summer vision? Don’t stress out over creating the perfect statement, simply come up with something that feels right and captures what you want the summer to be. Use lots of words if you need to, or just a couple if that gets the job done. 


Create a Plan

Step 1:  Record scheduled events + activities on your calendar.

Once you have your summer vision in mind, it’s time to create a plan. I like to start my summer planning by pulling out a fresh calendar and filling in what I know for sure. I start by recording the last day of school and the first day of school next year. Then, I take a look at camp schedules and start penciling things in.


For your plan, start by printing out a copy of our summer planning calendar via the links below and put them in your command central binder.







Then, fill in activities and events that you know for sure and things that must happen at a specific date or time. Do you have any vacations scheduled? Classes? Camps? Weekend getaways? Day trips? How about weddings or showers—do you have any of those coming up this summer? Graduations? Reunions? Other planned events like Barbeques? Fourth of July fireworks? Pencil those things onto your calendar...and then meet me back here next week for the final steps in our planning process. 


Next week as we continue on with the series, we’ll talk about adding in the unscheduled items to your plan—both fun stuff and to-do list stuff. I’ll also begin answering your summer organizing questions from the initial post. Woohoo!


Have a great weekend!



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Your ideas are so fabulous and helpful. Thanks for the calendar planners.


thank you so much great ideas Aby! Makes you realize how quickly the time can pass if you don't take the time now to plan and organize the days.


having fun getting input from others... but my vision is taking shape


So GLAD that I found your site! I'm visiting to let you know that I linked one of your posts on my blog- The Messy Nest. Just wanted to be sure that you don't mind. I linked your website with it a small image.

If there's an issue, just let me know!
Take Care!

Kent Builders

Cool idea on how to get kids organize their stuff. I was smiling while reading your post, I enjoyed it a lot.

Alissa H.

I'm setting up a date night with my husband this week to plan our summer "bucket" list. I need a better name for that... since neither of us are planning to kick the bucket. But last year we made a list of our top few family memories we wanted to create with our kids and we focused on making those happen. It was so much fun! Things like going to the flying circus near us, tubing down the local river, etc. We just got back from our most awesome family vacation to date so it's time to start focusing on our next things to look forward to. Thanks for this series.


I am loving this series Aby thanks so much! I just printed out the calendars and am wishing they each fit on one sheet of paper (landscape/horizontally). Does that just make them too small?
It's so nice to write out plans and have a good visual of what the summer looks like.
thanks again!


Hi, Valerie,

Thanks for your question. Jennifer and I debated about having them portrait on one page...and thought the writing space was too small to do much planning. (We both have pretty big handwriting!) But I'm not sure we considered landscape. I'll check with her in the morning.



Hi Aby!

After reading your post about "when are you at your best", I really stopped and thought long and hard. And I see that trying to keep up with all the "amazing" trips/camps/activities that everyone tells me they & their kids are doing & then comparing what I really want to do makes me soooo cranky & out of sorts! I always feel like I am short changing my boy & that I "have" to go to the pool 3 times a week and go to soccer camp and on & on & it all makes me want to cry!

The truth is my boy (10) hates hot weather - he is a skier and LOVES winter & snow! I dont like hot weather either unless I am on the beach, so both of us would probably laze through our days reading, watching movies, playing board games and the like. I am a SAHM so our days are blessed to be our own.

But I am stuck trying to figure out how to get both of us outside during the day and not be complete indoor vegetables for 8 weeks?

Thanks for your posts, they are helping:)

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