The Only Thing that Changes is Everything

Blog 4%2F20%2F18 (6).png

“I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change... I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back....” -Erica Jong

Changes are happening here at Organized to a T. Or I should say, additions are happening here at OtaT.

A little over a year ago I was working with my biz coach (for my fellow organizers, you will never regret working with Geralin Thomas. Seriously.) and she asked me why I wasn’t working with other organizers to create their social media graphics. I vaguely remember my response being “people will pay for that?”. (Funny story, pretty sure I said the exact thing when someone told me I should become an organizer!)

Despite the great fear of failure I started working with a couple of organizers to brand their businesses and design their social media graphics. Then I helped them redesign their facebook pages. And start their Instagram account. And researched custom hashtag lists. And then I was handling their entire social media presence.

All of a sudden I looked at my invoices and saw that the creative part of my biz was making up 50% of my income.

So it’s time for my creative biz to have its own dedicated name, space and website separate from Organized to a T.

I’m happy to introduce you to Easy Breezy Creative. I’ll continue to work with organizers as well as other heart-centered female entrepreneurs who are tired of seeing “social media (?)” on their to-do list. The next few weeks are going to be spent launching my website and portfolio and I’m excited for you all to share in my journey.

And no, my organizing biz of 8.5 years isn’t going anywhere. I’m still working with clients all over the country in my virtual organizing program and every day continues to be an exciting challenge.

Here’s to being brave, celebrating change and continuing to grow!

Going Beyond the About Me Page

Blog 4%2F20%2F18 (2).png

By now you may have read the About Me Page so you’ve learned the talking points about me: background working in advertising, loves to help people live their best lives, relocated to North Carolina after growing up in Southern California.

 

A Few of My Favorite Quirks:

  1. The smell of peanut butter makes me green

  2. I’d sell my soul for the perfect slice of coconut cake

  3. I’m pretty sure I’m going to win the HGTV SmartHouse Giveaway this year (and no, I’m not sharing the link.)

  4. I have the weirdest taste in music. Ever. While writing this blog I’ve heard Sinead O’Conner, Ludacris, Justin Timberlake and Michael Buble

  5. Speaking of music, the first concert I went to was Kenny Loggins. Highway to the Danger Zone indeed

I’ve always made a point of making people’s lives easier. I’m sure I get it from my mom who has always made sure everyone in her life is taken care of. After graduating from college, I (naively) thought I could make a difference by entering the world of politics. I moved to Washington, DC where I stayed for 4 years gamely trying to improve life through legislation. Between that never coming true (and becoming fairly jaded about politics) and my car door freezing shut one Valentine’s Day, I scurried home back home to California to begin work at an advertising agency.

I poured my heart and lost a bit of my soul at that job only to be laid off when the recession began. After working vehemently for months to find another job in advertising I realized something very important: I didn’t even like working at an agency. It wasn’t a good fit for me and I certainly was not cutthroat enough to achieve rank in that industry. Lucky for me coming to that realization was how Organized to a T was born. It took until I was 30 to find a career I was passionate about.

Being a Professional Organizer has allowed me the opportunity to bring positive change into people’s lives. And that opportunity is something I am grateful for every day. As I expand my business into creating social media graphics for my fellow organizing peers and other female entrepreneurs I’m so happy to find that I’m able to bring about positive impact. My goal everyday is to make lives easier, less cluttered and give back more time for the fun in life!

Not Getting Stuck in the Past

Blog 5%2F17%2F18.png

I’m beginning to think that TimeHop is the devil.

(for those of you that don’t know, TimeHop is an app that scans all your social media accounts to show you what happened on that particular day in previous years. Some of my status posts go back 9 years. It’s terrifying)

This morning I scanned TimeHop, hoping for cute puppy pictures and instead was informed that one year ago today, I launched my new website.

The new website that I’m currently re-doing.

My reaction was delightful mix of frustration, disbelief, annoyance and lastly, shame. I couldn’t believe that I just built this website (with my own two hands mind you) and here I was re-creating it. Why didn’t I just do it right the first time?

I’ve heard similar reactions from clients. They will see a picture (or simply have a vivid memory)  of a room that used to be organized and will very quickly feel defeated. They assume they “failed” or they are incapable of keeping a space organized. They feel like they are starting all over and will need to begin from scratch.

The same thing goes for my graphic clients. They will think to themselves “what was I doing a year ago?” “Why didn’t I educate myself better when it came to social media?” “Why did I wait to call you?”

Only problem is, not much of that is true. Life is organic. It’s constantly growing and evolving and let’s be honest, the last thing you want it to become is static. Changes happen, circumstances change and we need to choose to roll with it. The truth is you aren’t starting over. The work you put in made a difference then. And it’s making a difference now. I’m not having to entirely rebuild my website. The frame is there. I’m just changing the look. In fact, the process is made easier by the work I did a year ago.

Don’t get stuck in the past. Don’t allow the shoulda, woulda, coulda’s to define you.

Forward. Positive. Motion

 

10 Easy Steps for Organized Meals

Blog 5%2F10%2F18.png

Constantly feel like cooking meals has become a major chore? Fear not, here are 10 ways to make cooking an organized and joyful event!

 

1.    Let’s start with the basics…if you want organized meals you are going to need to do some planning. That’s right friends, it’s time to bust out the cookbooks, recipe box or Pinterest board and write out a list. I personally like to pin my meals of the week to a specific board on Pinterest so they are easy to pull up on my iPad when I’m ready to head to the kitchen. Consider your schedule for the week. Would it better to cook everything on Sunday? Or do you like to come home every night and whip up a fresh meal? Make a plan (and stick to it)!

2.    Double check that list and don’t make it when you are in a hurry. There is nothing worse than forgetting that one essential item to a glorious meal that you have planned.

3.    Speaking of which, before cooking commences make sure you have everything you need on hand. Maybe you assumed you had baking powder only to realize halfway through mixing that you do not, in fact, have baking powder. My tip to combat those forgotten “every day” ingredients? Make sure to do a double check around the pantry and cupboards that you have what you need on hand. If you don’t, add it to the grocery list.

4.    Ponder food storage. Are you going to be taking these meals to go? If so, make sure you have enough food containers to make it happen.

5.    Give some thought to timing. Are you going to make multiple items? Does one require more cooking time then another? Does anything need to be defrosted? Is there something to do (cutting vegetables, making sauces) while meat is cooking? The message here is don’t stand idle. Idle time makes cooking time even longer.  

6.     Ok, cooking time has arrived (finally). You have all the ingredients on hand, you are energized and ready to make this meal happen! I like to fill the sink up with soapy water for a ready bath for those dirty dishes. I also like to pull out the trash can from under the sink (or wherever you have it hidden) for easy throw away. Make sure the dishwasher has been unloaded if it’s clean and everything on the counter that you don’t need has been put away.

7.    Keep out ONE tasting fork or spoon. Assuming that the utensil hasn’t been contaminated by raw food (and really, please don’t be taste testing raw food) all you really need is one. Either that or you will end up with 20 dirty tasting forks and not one to actually enjoy your meal with.

8.    While you’re at it, you might as well do any snack prep for the week. I slice up some cucumbers, whip up some hummus and mix together some homemade ranch.

9.    While the last meal is in the oven get started on those dishes. I know, nothing is more tedious then doing those dishes after you’ve done ALL that cooking but trust me, it will just get harder the longer you wait.

10.    Take a moment and embrace the magic that is completed cooking. WELL DONE!

What I Learned From Being Sick

Blog 5%2F3%2F18.png

This week I’ve been a hot mess.

(Remember when I mentioned that I’m nothing if not unwaveringly honest about my fails?)

I was sick enough on Tuesday to stay in bed, cancel client appointments and not appear on a planned webinar. Wednesday was spent continuing to recoup and then be mad at being sick. (Yep, that’s right, I literally get mad about being sick and wasting time in bed)

I had so much to do this week, friends. I’ve joined an online female entrepreneur group and this was the launch week. I had client work to begin and finish. I had the aforementioned webinar that I needed to be present for plus finishing the handout and follow up with panelists.   I’m in the middle of an email engagement course. I had workouts to do. Meals to cook. Dogs to get exercised. My website to update.This blog to write. Social media posts to post. Emails of prospective clients to return. A calendar to stick to. A grocery list to get together. Volunteer work to do. Relationships to nurture.

The list goes on and on. We’re all busy. You get it.

What wasn’t on my list was giving myself a bit of grace. I got sick. It happens. There was literally nothing I could do about it. And what wasn’t going to help was stressing myself out over what I hadn’t gotten done. I had to remind myself I have great clients who understand when I am not available. And understanding fellow volunteers who didn’t miss a beat when I wasn’t there to help with our webinar. And wonderful loved ones who brought me popsicles and took care of my dog.

What I did (finally) remind myself about this morning was that I did my best. And I will do my best when it comes to catching up this week. So what if this blog post was totally unplanned and not particularly long? So what if I missed an Instagram post or two? Life goes on. And it will go on better if I treat myself with a bit of grace.

I hope this can serve as a reminder to you to approach setbacks with kindness and gentleness. Here’s to a great rest of the weekend and recharging weekend. Cheers!

The Three Things You Must Have to Get Organized

Blog 4%2F26%2F18 (1).png

So, you’ve decided to get organized.  *insert trumpets, cheering crowds and confetti* A phrase I learned a long time ago (and has stuck with me since) is fundamental when it comes to getting organized: “Set yourself up for success”. That philosophy rings true for a lot of moments in life and is especially true when it comes to organizing! There are three essential tools for any organizing project. And even though it pains me slightly to say this, the list does not include my beloved label maker or post-its.

 

TIME: I won’t lie. Organization takes time. How much time depends on the level and depth of the project. But don’t shortchange yourself by not devoting the appropriate amount of time to what you want to get done. It’s absolutely fine to divide the project up into a few days or a few weeks. Be realistic with finding that balance between that time you are willing and/or able to give and the end goal of being organized. Make sure you allow yourself time to take breaks so you don’t get burned out and just quit all together!

 

SPACE: The process of organizing isn’t rocket science: Bring down, purge, sort, put back, take donations or trash. But what you do need for this process is space. Ideally, you would make the space in the room or area that you are working in. But sometimes, life ain’t perfect. You may need to bring things into a different space in order to properly see and deal with everything at the same time.


PATIENCE: Sometimes the process of organizing doesn’t happen overnight. You may hit some roadblocks and bumps in the road. You may find making decisions stressful or even impossible. The project may take far longer then you had originally estimated. Your space didn’t magically become unorganized overnight...it likely took some time. In turn, it’s going to take some time to become the space you need and want it to be. But if you able to take a deep breath, visualize your goal and think about how life will be easier, you’ll be able to get there. Feel like you need the help of an expert? I’m here to help!

Taking the Drama out of Purging

Blog 4%2F20%2F18.png

Purging (verb): to rid of whatever is impure or undesirable; cleanse; purify

 

I know. It's the word most likely to strike fear into a client's hearts. Purging. They have images of their beloved items flying out of their windows while I stand with one hand on my hip and the other cracking a whip. I promise it's not quite that scary.

Purging is an essential part of organizing. There are very few people out there who don't live with too much stuff, myself included! Who hasn't bought a shirt they've only worn once or a kitchen utensil that never saw the light of day? It happens. But to get a space truly organized, you have to begin with purging. Purging will allow you to only keep those things you want and need. Purging will allow you more space for the things you love. Purging will free your space and your mind.

 

If you're having a little trouble with this part of the process, here are some things to ponder:

FIND A CHARITY: Is there a charity that you feel great about supporting? Tagging items with them in mind may help in your ability to let them go. Don't have a favorite charity? How about thinking about how your extra scarf or sweater will help someone less privileged stay warm? Or how your child's toy (that they haven't played with in months) will brighten someone's day?

VERY FEW ITEMS ARE IRREPLACEABLE: With the exception of family heirlooms and sentimental pieces, things that are lost can be found again. If you truly find you need something you purged, you can always replace it. But my guess is once it's out the door you'll forget about it.

THINK OF THE SPACE: How exhausting is it to look at an overcrowded space? Or be shoving things aside to get to what you need? Purging will help the space work for you and not the other way around. Space will allow you to have those items you most love and need to be displayed so that they are given the proper attention.

LIFE WILL BE EASIER: Less to clean, less to sort, less to deal with, less to maintain. With fewer things, comes more freedom. And more time. Who doesn't want more of that?

8 Simple Ways to Get Organized

Blog 4%2F12%2F18 (1).png

MEDICATIONS: Throw together a quick spread sheet of the medications you take that includes name, dosage, schedule and prescribing doctor. Keep this on hand for everyone in your house so in case of an emergency you won’t need to gather the mediation bottles. In addition, here is a great list of apps that will track the medications for you (among other features).

 

MAIL: I strongly urge people to go through mail daily. It takes 5 minutes at the most to sort, open, place in a to-do folder or throw away. If you only want to go through it weekly, make sure it at least gets placed in a designated area or basket so it’s all together when you take time to go through it

 

RETURNS: Need to return or exchange something to a store? Put it by the door or in your car trunk. It’s an easy reminder to get it taken care of

 

RESUABLE BAGS: They aren’t going to use themselves. Same as the returns, put them in an easy location to grab as you walk out the door or leave them in your trunk. Because I sometimes take different cars to the store, I prefer to keep them in the house. (or you can spread them amongst all the cars in your family!)

 

GROCERY LIST: Put a pad of paper on the fridge so that household members can easily write down items they’ve run out as soon as they realize they’ve run out. Don’t try to remember these items when you are at the store. You never will. Want to use some tech to your advantage? Take a glance at this list of grocery store apps. Also check to make sure your local store doesn’t have its own app!

 

BOOKLIST: This one is for my fellow bookworms. Use an app or website (I love Good Reads) to track your books so you can remember what you want to read, what you’ve read and which authors you’d read again. Extra bonus of this app? It lets you scan the ISBN number and automatically loads the book into your “Want to Read” shelf.

 

COUPONS: Only save the ones you will actually use. Find a place for them that will visually remind you they exist. For some people that may be our wallet, for others it might be in the house. Review them once a week to make sure they are still valid and you still have a need for them.  Tired of the paper? Here is a review of coupon apps that can you help you find a favorite.

APPS: Speaking of apps, every once in a while do a purge on your phone and tablet. Haven’t used an app or don’t like it anymore? It’s time to go so it stops cluttering your screen and using up valuable space.

On Keeping It Real

The truth is I've been trying to make blogging a priority in my business.

And failing.

Pretty spectacularly.

It's not that I don't like writing. I do. In fact, I'm pretty sure that in the 3rd grade I announced to anyone that would listen that I was going to be an author when I grew up.(To be fair, I'm not sure most 8-year-olds would list "former advertising strategist turned professional organizer who also likes to design graphics for other female entrepreneurs" as a career choice.) What I found the most challenging was just.getting.started.

This week I wrote in my planner "BLOG!!!!!! (just write one already!!!!)" under Tuesday, April 3rd. And as its Tuesday (when I wrote this), I'm actually sticking to it. I sat here for a bit, staring down at my blog idea lists and watched the cursor blinking at me. Another list of rules circulated in my head: "Find a balance between professional and your personality", "Easy to read, easy to follow", "Make sure you could potentially use this blog to sell products in the future". Cue me frantically looking around my office for any distraction possible. Finally, I took a deep breath, rolled my eyes at myself and said out loud "screw it and just be real".

1.png

Here's another truth. There is never going to be a perfect time to start consistently blogging or to start organizing your spare room or to write a solid social media strategy. The biggest (and hardest) step you will take is the first one. My fellow recovering perfectionists will likely start contemplating the usual worries: "But what if it doesn't work?" "What if I hit a roadblock I can't hop over?" "What if NO ONE READS THIS (besides Mom)?". The truth of the matter is that any or all of those might just happen. It could get ugly. You could experience setbacks. Your plan A may become your plan K. But all that means is you take that second step in a different direction. You adapt, change your strategy and keep the end goal in mind. But you keep moving forward.

So, friends, I'm issuing a challenge to you. Find something on your to-do list. Doesn't matter if it's big or small. Breathe deep. And take that first step.

 

2.png

Making Working From Home Actually Work

Because of my recent transition to virtual organizing I’ve started fully embracing this 99.9% working from home concept. I’ll admit it…I was positively gleeful about the whole thing. Think of the freedom, the ability to work in my pajamas and the access to the kitchen! If only it was a simple as that.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said “with freedom comes responsibility” and she wasn’t wrong. Yes, working from home is amazing and allows you a certain degree of flexibility that not everyone is granted. But it also comes with a whole new and different set of distractions just begging you to get off task. Below are a few easy ways to take back your work day and enjoy the benefits of non-office work life.

1. Get Dressed: I know, when you picture yourself sitting at your desk in your jammies a smile spreads across your way. But the truth is, you’ll feel (and so be) more productive if you have clothing on that you haven’t been wearing for the last 7-9 hours. I’m not saying you need to throw on a tie or a full face of makeup…trust me, I’m wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt as I type this. By all means, wear something comfortable but just wash your face and brush your teeth too.

2. Have a Start Time (and End Time): Give yourself a schedule and try to stick to it as much as possible. If you’re more of a morning person, take advantage of those early hours. Hit your stride in the evening? Plan on working later. Try to set up doctor’s appointments at the beginning or end of your day. Same with personal errands.

3. Try to Stop Interruptions Before They Happen: One of the first things I did was purchase this sign for my front door. Not only does it keep delivery people and salesman from interrupting but it also prevents my co-worker/dog from barking her face off at the doorbell. If you have family or friends that love to stop by unannounced, mention that around  X time you take lunch.

4. Speaking of Lunch (and breaks): You should take one. Even if it’s 5 minutes standing at your kitchen counter. I’ve found that working at home means I tend to really stay in the zone until I find myself with a dry mouth and rubbing my scratchy eyes. Force yourself to get up and do a lap around the house. Drink a lot of water because it will make you get up (and because it’s good for you). Set a timer/alarm if you have to. Just keep moving.

5. Close that Browser: You know which one I’m talking about. The tab with all those distractions. You will be way less tempted to see what’s new on your feed if it isn’t even open. Same thing goes with your phone. Place it out of your line of sight so you aren’t tempted by anything popping up. You can even turn it over so you can’t see any notifications (but can still hear if a client or co-worker is trying to reach you)!

6. Designate a Work Space (that isn’t your couch): “But my laptop can go anywhere!”….well sure, but that doesn’t mean it should. Having a designated, organized space means training your brain to focus. You aren’t getting up to find a pen or forgetting your to-dos because your notes are elsewhere. That doesn’t mean you can’t work outside or work from bed on occasion, of course! But by having a spot to go to everyday means you are setting a clear boundary for work mode and keeping the spots in your house (like the couch) as relaxation spots. At the end of the day, you can close the door to your office literally and figuratively.

7. Drill Down the Project List: Get specific and have goals you want to accomplish each day not just in general. Have a planner (digital or paper) and assign a day and time to each to-do. Sure things will come up and you can be flexible but give yourself a bit of structure.

8. Have a Signal for Family: In my house the office door being closed is the equivalent of a Do Not Disturb sign. Everyone know that it’s usually because I’m on the phone with a client or focusing on the task at end.  Having that conversation early on will set everyone up for success.

9. Get Thee an Accountability Buddy: This is ESPECIALLY important if you are a solopreneur or don’t have anyone to whom you report. Talk often and on a regular schedule with a clear idea of goals and a tracking system.

10. A Change of Scenery Does a World of Good: I sometimes find myself in what I affectingly refer to as “the state of hermit”. When you find yourself feeling closed in by your home office walls, hit the road! Head to a coffee shop or a co-working space or even your local library. Change your view and you might just change the world.

 

 
3.png