The Basics of a Sustainable Organization System (SOS)

homes

As my daughter welcomed her new doll into her home, I watched as she looked around her room. I could tell she was looking for something. After continuing to observe her, she was giving her doll a home. She was determine where in her room she would live.

I thought to myself, why don’t we do this as welcome a new object into our homes? In my experience, one of the MOST common causes of clutter whether it is related to paper, objects, or seasonal where is that it does not have a home OR the home does not make sense.

Have you ever noticed an object that seems to be floating around the home? Sometimes you will see it on the counter, sometimes on the nightstand, and other days it seems to live in the bathroom. Or spent countless hours looking for basic objects like batteries, lightbulbs, or that bill that was due a week ago?

Yes, I believe most of us have had those moment. These simple frustrations that many of us deal with on a daily basis. They drive us insane, BUT we do not actively do anything to change it. In a time in society where the average person spends much of the time being overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious about their current place in life, I believe we have control to take action on the things that cause us stress. We owe it to ourselves to do this.

I believe that this practice starts at home. Those small frustrations build. They cause us stress, they cost us our time, and they cost us our energy. We have the power to make simple changes to prevent all of this and put more energy toward the things that matter.

This leads me to talking about SOS. Not Save Our Ship, but essentially the message is the same. SOS stands for Sustainable Organization Systems. These are the systems that will SAVE your home, your sanity, your relationships, you mind, and all the things. It will take time to build SOS in your home. BUT it is necessary.

What are the basics of SOS?

Give EVERYTHING a Home

Everything in your home needs a home, a place. Take a look at the clutter in your home. Does it have a home? Does its home make sense? Has the home been communicated with those that use the object? When starting to create your systems, you can simply start by tackling the clutter in your home. The things that are visibly affecting you. Find them a home or get rid of it, if it is not truly serving you.

Communication

Communication is one of the most important parts of creating SOS in your home. If you live with others, whether they are roommates, your children, or your significant other, you need to communicate the system you have created. For example, everyone in the home uses the kitchen. When I rearrange the kitchen, I communicate and visibly show my husband where I have placed something. I communicate the system I have created. I ask for feedback. I need to know if this system makes sense to him. If it is too complicated, it will not be followed. This can lead to feeling discouraged and lead to giving up!

Do not Over Complicate the process

Organization should be easy. It should take little effort to maintain. If it is too challenging to maintain, you will not do it. It will not be sustainable. For instance, I love a pretty jar. Have you gone out to Pinterest and looked at all the great apothecary jars and containers lined up nicely in the pantry. You likely pinned this, so you can do the same or get inspiration for your pantry. I personally use similar methods in our “pantry.” It saves space and looks nice. Here is the issue for some. It will require you to empty the food from the containers that it comes from and place it in the jar. For some, this is not a problem. For others this will be challenging to maintain. The containers will get pushed to the back of the pantry and they will add the boxed items in front of it. Consider the practicality of the process you are trying to put into your home. It does not need to be pretty. It does not need to complicated. It does not need be Pinterest perfect. It NEEDS to be practical. It needs to work in your home with your family.

Get Visual

Humans are visual creatures and creatures of habit. According to Forbes, 65 percent of people are visual learners. We take this into account when organizing your home. Labels, clear containers, pictures, and strategic placement of objects help to appeal to the visual learner. It helps the process remain easy and sustainable. This is our goal.

Organization is meant to be simple. It is meant to make our lives easier. It should not take anymore time than not maintaining our home. Actually it should take less time. It will be easier to maintain your home. Previously, I would spend the entire weekend and most of my weeknights trying to maintain my home. All of this time and energy spent only to do it all over again. I was not alone in this. I know this is the reality that many are still living. It takes a toll. It takes you away from the things that are important to you, your goals, dreams, and family. It affects your relationships.

Intentional Living Tip

Organization is a process. It  takes time to create a personalized system that works in your home. It is possible and the return is limitless. The return will allow you more time with your family/friends, more time to care for yourself, and more time to enjoy your space. It will decrease your stress and the time you spend maintaining your home. Your relationships will improve. Your health will improve.

So, keep these basics in mind when considering SOS. Take action to create systems in your home. Need help? Need support? Accountability?

Reach out to me. Check out my Courses. Join me in the Facebook group Home Intentionally.

I am always supporting you,

Ashley

4 Ways Parenting and Organization are Alike

Organization is like Parenting - hard but totally worth it

This past weekend, I was recovering from the holidays and preparing to do my routine de-cluttering adventure in my home. This is more important today then it was before kids. Before kids, it was just me. I was fairly organized and I only had my stuff to manage. BUT along comes a husband, a house, and children  (not in that order) and you have a recipe for CRAZY.

As we have discussed before, our environment greatly impacts our mental and physical health. After having children, my anxiety levels rose about my house. We have MORE stuff. SO MUCH STUFF. Frankly, it is important to me NOT to spend all of my time cleaning up after their childhood, but truly being apart of this adventure I have been blessed with. Hence, the constant rollercoaster of emotions.

Anyways, the routine emotions of stress, anxiety, and maybe even a little depression started before and continued after the holidays. I knew I needed to clean up and re-organize. It is therapeutic for me. Not everyone’s cup of tea, which is why I am here. To make this process easier, so you too can enjoy a more organized life, one that is less stressful.

I started thinking. Organization is really like raising your children. It is. Bare with me on this.

About a month ago, I was at the lights at the Zoo. It was evening and cold. But my children were more than excited to look at all of the lights. They were magnificent. And me, well instead of being in the moment, I was looking at my children running around like crazy children, touching lights, and joyfully celebrating this blessing. I was in anxiety town. I was comparing myself to the other parents. It is amazing how we do this. Our brains see what we perceive. We fixate on something. I only saw the blissful parents strolling casually through the zoo with their lattes. Where were their children? Oh, they were ever so nicely resting in their strollers enjoying the lights.

So, me I felt like a failing parent. One that obviously was doing something wrong. Do you know what I missed out on? I missed out on a beautiful evening with my children. I was not present.

Now, how does this relate to Organization. It is simple my friends. I will outline this for you below.

It is a process

Yes, this is something you have likely heard over and over again. BUT organization is a process. It is not static, but ever changing. You have to determine how to organize your space for your current season of life. That will change. The kids will grow up and visit on weekends or during school breaks. Then eventually you will need to have a place for the grandkids. Our lives our not static. As we parent, the moment we feel like we have it under control. We mastered it. Your kids are no longer in diapers and now you have to think about the potty every store that you go in and you find yourself saying things like, There is no potty on trolly. You should try to go before we go. Yup, I parent via Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. So, you will need to continuously work toward creating an organized space that works with your season. Once you have the foundation though, it will not necessarily feel like much work, but a pivot.

It is not perfect

Life is not perfect. No human is. No space is. Nothing is. But we all keep trying to be the first person to conquer life and make it perfect. Now, I am normally a fairly positive person, but in this case I am a realist. Perfectionism is not real, but dang I will always find myself slipping into. GAH! Anyways. There is no perfect solution. Your home will NEVER be perfect. Clutter will creep up from time to time.

Just like parenting. It is not perfect. You will make mistakes. Heck you may fail. That is why we have therapists, so one day our children can talk to someone about all of the things we did not do right. But likely there is more that you will do well. More things that you will teach them to help them grow.

So, the goal is not perfect when organizing your home. My goal is to keep clutter to a minimum and to create a functional space that allows me more time with my family, more time in the moment.

There are books about it

There are many books and experts out there about both subjects. FACT. My children have not read the parenting books. Although, there is great information out there, ALL of it will not pertain to your child. Every child is different. Just like every house and every family. Pinterest and HGTV are my favorite little pleasures. I love the beautiful pictures. BUT the reality is that EACH of these techniques will not or have not worked in my home. That is okay.

It is costly

Well, yes, having children is costly. I mean you have to bath them, feed them, cloth them, etc. BUT for me the values I have for my children do not cost me extra money. They do not have the perfect rooms, clothes, or things. BUT they have all of the things they need and more. My children are blessed.

When I was young, the My Size Barbie was the THING! It was incredibly expensive. Likely we would have played with it for a month or so and then forgot about her.

Now, in my home, I could have all the things. All of the fancy HGTV perfect things. A piece of me would be happy. I do love décor. Like seriously love décor. I am the person that drools and uncontrollably is pulled toward the Hearth and Home Collection at Target. I have even nearly taken someone out being magically pulled to shiplap at Menards. Embarrassing…yes. I could try to work through it, but I will not.

I do not spend out of my means. It does not meet my values. I learn how to make it, save for it, or live without it. I am okay with not achieving HGTV perfection. I value function and kid friendly over perfection.

What is the point to my rant here?

Well, my friends, the point is that everyday brings us a new adventure and our lives our changing. Parenting is challenging and so is organizing. Neither can/nor should we do alone. As parents we will continue to adapt and grow with our children. We will make mistakes and we will never meet perfect. But we will continue to work hard and make an effort to be the best parents we can.

As an organizer, I am a problem solver. I can find an area that causes stress, anxiety, or needs to be more functional and I can help you solve the issue. I do it daily in my home. It is a process. I love the challenge. Organize for your family, your space, and your values. Not the values of someone else. Know that your value, your worth, is not dependent on your things. It is not.

Intentional Living Tip:

I encourage you to start working on one space at a time. Set a timer. Do not spend time wishing you had a bigger home, more money, or a designer to come do it for you. Do not go out in pursuit of perfection. Establish a Goal. Again, not perfection.

My main goal as a parent is to help develop strong individuals who are good people and love God. That is it. Well…sprinkle in having basic life skills like professionalism, knowing how to cook/clean, etc. All in the hope that they will thrive one day as a independent adults.

For my home, my goal is to create a function (yet beautiful) living space that allows my family to grow and be more in the moment. Togetherness and joy are my words for 2019!

What are your goals?

If you are ready to take a dive into establishing a more organized home, please private message me. I would love to add you to the community aiming to de-clutter their homes in 4 weeks. Challenge ends 1/31/19.

Also, join my Facebook Community – Home Intentionally for more great tips and resources.

I believe in you and I am supporting you!

Ashley

 

 

Review of the Year

2019

Today, I was looking at family photos from 2018. WOW! The kiddos have grown. All to be expected when you have littles. BUT this year, I did something different too.

Have you ever sat on the sofa and dreamed about the things you COULD do? Maybe watched some TV and dreamed of all of the things you could be. Just watching others live their lives, but not take action yourself. Well, my friends that was me until something changed.

I had put myself in a box. YEARS ago, I decided I wanted to be a doctor. I wanted to serve patients and more specifically women/the Deaf Community. I did all of things. But life took me in others directions. I earned my Bachelors degree as it seemed I should. I went out to complete my Masters degree. All very normal. It looked like Healthcare is where I would stay.

But was I happy? NOPE! I did not feel like I was serving people. My job was transitioning to more of a high level administration. I liked it. BUT I went into Healthcare for a reason, to serve patients in a hands on manner.

I knew I wanted to make a change, but I did not know how. And after all, I am in debt. I invested in myself to become a doctor. I should stay in Healthcare.

Well, at the end of 2017, I was diagnosed with Postpartum depression. Likely a mix of hormones and a lot of unresolved crap. I was engaging in things everyday that did not make me happy. I was not engaging enough on things that made me happy. It was an unbalanced life. It was full of I should do this and I should do that.

With my diagnosis came an opportunity! Life is too short to wait around for the weekend, a vacation, the evening, or retirement to be happy. That seem counterintuitive and none of that is truly guaranteed. My life is right now and I plan to show my children today how to live their lives. Not wait and watch others.

So, in 2018, I made space. I made space in my calendar, my heart, and my home for me. I started meditating, exercising, and drinking hot coffee in the morning. Oooh I love hot coffee.

I stopped trying to control everything because the truth is that as much as my TYPE A personality wants to, it is not possible. It is not. I started releasing the control and allowing myself to live. To try new things. I busted out of my box!

I started writing again. I started this blog to serve others and to document all of the things that I was learning with this new opportunity.

More opportunities started coming. I am starting to shift into my own business. A platform where I can serve AND I could eventually stay at home with my babies. They grow too  fast and I do not want to miss anymore time.

I made changes in my life and I am a changed person from 2017. I am looking forward to 2019. I know there will be more growth, more changes, and more amazing people to meet. More people to serve and just more. I am open to abundance and joy! Once I opened myself up, life became a little easier. Everything happens for a reason.

So, although 2018 was TRYING at best, it was also amazing. I met amazing, inspiring people. I made great changes in my life for me and my family. I know I will continue to get even better.

Intentional Living Tip:

So, I ask you…what did you accomplish in 2018. Now, it is a loaded question. It may seem like nothing, but I bet you did accomplish amazing beautiful things. I challenge you to write down 100 things you did. The first 20 or more will be really high level and not seem like much. But as you continue to write, you will be impressed with your journey.

Then look to 2019. What do you want to make space for in your life? What opportunities do you want to take on?

Schedule a call with me. I would love to help you make space or determine who can! You are worth living today and getting intentional about your time, energy, and care. You are meant to serve and already born with what you need to do so!

Love ya!

Ashley

Traditional Productivity Challenged

Slow down to speed up!

Do you have your checklists ready? Maybe a checklist for your checklists? Several Post-its everywhere?

I get it. I am right there with you.

I have time off coming up for the holidays. EVERY TIME I take off, it literally ends up feeling like a complete waste of time and like I failed. Okay – maybe every time is an over exaggeration. BUT stay with me.

A few months ago, I took off several days in a row. OH, how I looked forward to that time. I planned it. I have high expectations. I have a long to-do list of millions of things to complete. Do you know what happened?

Well, several other things came up. Other things I did not plan. I did not finish many of the things on my list. Do you know what? I went to bed feeling like AN ABSOLUTE FAILURE.

In all honesty, many of us go to bed feeling that way most days. We have awesome expectations and lists that are to guide us on our journeys, BUT it does not always work out that way.

Many of us are very task oriented. I am. I love completing tasks. It is measurable. It feels good to see progress. It feels good to cross something off of the list. FACT.

HOWEVER, I learned a long time ago, that tasks are important BUT people are more important. I need to remind myself of this as a Type A Task Oriented Person. Is that a job? I do not think so. BUT I would do really well at it.

When we think of productivity, we think about task completion, project management, success, etc. When I started studying the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, I learned about the SWEET Spot. These are things that are important, but not urgent. Most things that are the MOST important in life are not urgent. These beautiful things are the MOST important, BUT we forget to build time in our day for them and we do not feel productive by doing them.

These are things like self-care, exercise, meditation, time with family, etc. When I started looking at how I used my time, I have time dedicated to cleaning, to work, to my business, to self-care, etc. HOWEVER, I was leaving empty space on the calendar without scheduling the most important things. I did not schedule time with my family. So, do you know what happened to that empty space? It would get filled with nonsense.

So, what do you do?

Let’s change the way we manage our schedule. Let’s change our view on productivity. I think being productive is being a good person, helping a friend, taking a walk by yourself, spending time with your kids, watching a movie with your significant other. There must be balance of course, but it is productive to care for yourself and others in this way. It is hard to measure. BUT it is necessary.

Intentional Living Tip:

Be the MASTER of your schedule. Decide to make yourself a priority and everything else that brings you joy! Make time for it on your schedule and in your life. You will thank yourself.

Intention for the Holiday Traditions

holiday traditions

I have always done this on Christmas. We have always celebrated this way. We have always given gifts this way. I could go on and on. Traditions are great. I love them. They are beautiful things that provide us something to look forward too, they are foundations for memories, and add to the family/individual legacy. Mostly, we are creatures of habit. We like it. We respond accordingly.

Here is the thing. Traditions are awesome sauce, BUT we change. We all know that over time we change and adapt. The person who I was 5 years ago, even one year ago is NOT the person I am today. I have changed and my family has changed. This is normal and OKAY.

We all have our own traditions. Things are family did each year or things we have always done since we had kids. Our significant other also brings their own traditions. Our families each have expectations on meeting these traditions.

Again, life changes and we want to give ourselves permission for our traditions to change. Yes, it is okay to STOP something we have ALWAYS done, if it no longer serves our family or ourselves. We may just stop it for a year. That is okay!

For example, it is IMPOSSIBLE to spend Christmas with each extended family the way you always have. Okay – maybe it is possible for you. If this meets your values and something that makes sense for your family, do it! For me, it is not possible. I do not try to fit into this perfect box and please everyone. It does offend people I am sure, but I need to first care for myself and family.

On the other hand, each year since Bella’s first Halloween, we have visited a local pumpkin patch. It was awesome! We did the maze, we picked our pumpkin, and played in the little kid zone. Beautiful memories and times with our children. This is important to us. BUT this year, it just did not work for us. Now, when I look back maybe it was due to stress or increased commitments. BUT in reality, we did not make it a priority.

Understanding our values as a family, will be helpful in allowing us to prioritize all the things. So, we make sure we do what we want to do as a family. When I say family, it is whatever you define as family. For me, it is first my children and spouse. If it does not make sense for the four of us, then it is not going to happen.

Now how do you produce the same results! How do you become more intentional about our holiday traditions AND make our holidays less stressful.

Write down your Dreams/Values:

YUP – there is homework. You have to take action to get intentional about your life. I will not sugar coat that. I want you to brainstorm with your family your family dreams, your values, and the things that you LOVE about the holiday season.

For some families that will include all the things. All of the trips to see Santa, all of the visits to family, all of the parties, and all of the people. For others, their tradition list may decrease. That is okay! Do what you love, do not do what you feel you SHOULD do or what you have ALWAYS done.

Write down your deal-breakers:

These are things that cause you stress, or that you no longer enjoy. Again, take some time to brainstorm with your family.

NOW, do you want to know what you did with these lists????

You made your life a little easier. Do you know why?

Now that you have your lists, when an event comes up or you need to determine if you want to partake in that particular tradition – you have these lists to refer to.

You have literally given yourself a blueprint to determine if this event or tradition will or wont fit into your dreams or is a deal-breaker. You will know if you want to say yes or no.

It is okay to say no. It is okay to disappoint people in this way. Be honest!

In this season of life, I do not like to commit to things a head of time. It causes me too much stress. I will do my best to attend, if it serves us. BUT I have two children under the age of two. If they are having a bad day, a last minute tantrum, or we just need to stay home and snuggle. That is what we will do. If we missed a nap and now are a hot mess, we will do what we need to do to reset. Maybe it is nap or maybe it is have a dance party. We will do what we need to do. My children are my number one priority.

Intentional Living Tip: It is pretty simple. Get in the practice of doing what serves you and your family. Do not do things because you think you should or because you always have done these things. BUT because you want to. Because they bring you joy. Because you and your family enjoy the activity. Give yourself permission today to make your own rules.

Thank you,

Ashley