Bathroom Organization Made Easy

A life without love is like a year without summer.

Have you ever gotten up in the morning only to realize that you cannot find you underwear, work pants, the shirt you were hoping to wear, any of your make up, or a brush?!?! Those are just the things YOU need. You have not even begun to wake up your family yet to help get them going. It is only 5:30 AM and you are already stressed and running behind.

Sound familiar?

Mornings can be a very stressful time. When we start our days in a fit of stress, we pass that allow to our children and our significant others. They start their days in a stressed place and no one starts off where they need to for success. Unfortunately, that feeling of stress and overwhelm is often carried with us throughout our days.

I know that all to well. The moment when you get to your workstation, but you are still so stressed from the morning it is hard to let go and begin. UGH! You spend half the morning just trying to release the tension only to remember that now you are behind at work.

The never ending cycle. This is just one way that clutter is impacting your life. So, let’s talk about sustainable systems that can turn that stressful morning into one of organized freedom shall we?

Its in the little things

One of the biggest challenges in the bathroom is all of the little odds and ends that we use daily or on a semi – regular basis that fill our cabinets, drawers, and showers. All the things that we use to get ready, our children use to get ready, and our significant other uses. All the things!

Simple solutions here. We need small boxes, drawer organizers, anything that contain the chaos. Remember these are likely things that you have in your home or that are fairly easy to purchase/find in stores.

Let’s talk about it.

Candle Containers – Yes, I love the warm glow of a candle and I surely like the pretty jars they come in. Have you ever purchased a candle based on the allure of the jar? I am pretty sure I have. I know that is how I have selected wine – just like with that it does not always turn out well. Anyways – these beautiful jars can easily be used for storage after the candle has met its last day.

  1. Place jar in the freezer for 12 – 24 hours.
  2. Take the jar out and remove wax. Should come out fairly easy.
  3. Remove label and clean jar.
  4. Put stuff in it!

Small jars and boxes – These jars can be simple apothecary jars (can be found anywhere including Dollar Tree), plastic jars or small containers, or boxes (jewelry boxes or box lids work wonders for this.

We know that we have options for storage. Let’s talk about how to get to that point.

Towels

Roll or fold symmetrically for a more organized look. If you have multiple colors, arranging them from light to dark can also help them appear more organized.

Other options include: a wine rack or a basket for an organized look infused with a touch of unique décor.

TOSS DONATE KEEP

Yes, my friends. You may have watched this play out with pretty little post-its on the first Sex and the City Movie. I know I did. Carrie goes through her closet before she sells her apartments and labels things Take or Toss. I believe she takes a lot of the things, but that is another topic.

Go through each drawer one at a time. Make a quick decision about whether to toss, donate, or keep the item. Now, the bathroom tends to be one of the easier places to do this because most things in our bathroom are not sentimental. Those things tend to hold us back a little. If you come across something like this, set it aside. We will discuss sentimental things later.

Okay, good work. You have categorized everything into piles – TOSS DONATE KEEP

Take the TOSS items to the garbage or recycling. Items to DONATE should go to your car immediately. You do not want time to rethink it and bring it back in. It happens – trust me.

KEEP

Okay – you have a pile of things, all the things you would like to keep. These items serve you. They bring you joy. WONDERFUL! Now, we need to give it a home. That is our prime goal. It needs a home that makes sense to you and everyone that uses it.

Place the items in the keep pile into new piles. These piles will likely represent like objects. Example – Make up, Hair brushes, Styling Tools, Products, Lotions, etc. You can further break these piles down later.

Take a look at what you have. Do you need any containers or anything to contain the chaos in the drawers?

Remember, at first it may look nice when you put it away in the drawer, but our goal is for it to be functional and sustainable. Will it stay looking like this or does it need a little support?

In the bathroom it will likely need support. If you can repurpose something in your home – go for it! I love saving money. If you need to purchase supplies, you can do that too. Make sure you determine a budget. You do not need a big budget or the most luxurious things. These will likely be in drawers or behind doors. Do what brings you joy.

Put everything away neatly.

I recommend a short discussion with family, if they were not involved in the process. Let them know what you plan to do, why you are doing it, and follow up with an explanation of the new home for all of the things. It is important to ask as you review with them, if the placement of the object (especially something of theirs or a community object) makes sense. It will not stay where YOU want it to, if it does NOT make sense to EVERYONE!

Let’s talk decision fatigue briefly. We make a lot of decisions in the AM. What we will eat, if we will have coffee or tea, what we will wear, etc. If you can limit the decisions you are making, you will be more successful in making the REAL decisions later in the day. Those decisions will affect work, life, etc.

Ladies, for your make up, consider sectioning out the make up you use daily. I have a lot of make up and products. I do not use most of it on your average morning. So, instead of having to look at it all or decide what if any of it I want to use, I have the stuff I know I will use out and available. No decision needed!

Consider the decisions you make in the morning and how you use the space. Do not over complicate it or strive for perfection. Strive for simplification. Strive for good enough to get you out the door in a happier mood!

Intentional Living Tip:

Get in that bathroom and de-clutter. Get rid of the products you do not use, are damaged, or no longer meet your values. Donate any unopened products that you do not like or do not use. Keep anything that brings you joy or serves you. There is no defined list or limit. This is personal. Then get to organizing. It will get worse before it gets better. Do not let that overwhelm you. There will be a mess for a moment as you work through the process. BUT when it is done. It is all about maintenance!

Want more support to take a deeper dive into all the things in your home. Need a coach, someone to hold you accountable, and guide you through all the challenges.

Check out Courses. Not sure what you need at this point because you are overwhelmed? Reach out to me. I would love to talk and help you get started.

Want more information on a morning routine or want more tips for an organized bathroom? Check these out.

1 Simple, Cost Effective Solution to Bathroom Organization

6 Ways to Fight Off Decision Fatigue

5 Steps to a PRODUCTIVE Morning

I am always supporting you,

Ashley

 

 

Create an Inexpensive Dry Erase Board

dry erase board

It is no secret that I love to take notes and love a good checklist. In college, the whiteboard was one of my favorite ways to work out all of the chemistry and math problems that would swim relentlessly in my head until I solved them. It helps to tame the verbal processor in me I supposed.

In all honesty, it is relaxing for me. As a mom, I still have a relentless swirl of solutions, problems, and to-dos in my mind. It helps calm my mind and gives me some power over the constant thoughts in my mind. It helps give me focus and supports me to make sure that everything is completed with the least amount of stress.

Recently, I have been looking at my “command center” space. It has a place to organize our papers and a whiteboard calendar. It still did not seem to be enough. I wanted a large whiteboard, but this is an expensive request. I do love the challenge of trying to use what I have in my home to create what I desire.

So, I began to think about what I had. I have a poster frame. You know the cheaper ones with the plastic framing and plexiglass. Originally I wanted to just hang the frame with the calendar and note space. But then I decided to make it a little more realistic, more like a whiteboard.

Supplies:

Poster sized paper, wrapper paper, or some other base to use.

Plexiglass – whether purchased or part of a poster frame.

Post-it notes – or a printed calendar, grid pattern, etc.

Command strips or double sided tape

Optional – magnets, glue

Putting it together:

  1. You can do this little project quickly. Once you have your paper (use pattern or whatever makes you happy), lay it out on the table or flat surface.
  2. Save space at the top for the Month, Year.
  3. Place 5 rows of post-its on the paper. You can measure it out perfectly or I challenge you to just take action. You could also use electrical tape to create a grid or use a printed calendar for this space.
  4. Add a space for weekly notes, gratitude lists, quotes, cleaning schedule, or shopping list. This could be left as blank space or printed out.
  5. Add double sided tape to the paper and fix to the plexiglass.
  6. On the back of the paper, add command strips and attach to the wall.

Super simple and fun! It took me about 10 – 15 minutes. This project could cause you to fixate on perfection, but I recommend that you just put it together. If you look at mine, I only added 4 rows because I only had 28 post-its available at the time. Yes, I will be going back to add or change, but it is a process.

 

If you want FREE printouts, check out the new page on my site for downloads Freebies

 

Thank you,

Ashley

6 Communication Strategies for an Organized Home

Love your skin..jpg

Have you ever walked into a room in your home and immediately felt emotional? Maybe agitated? Overwhelmed? Angry? Stressed?

All the things. What did you do following these emotions? Did you go into a crazy town cleaning spree without talking to anyone? Maybe threw away some stuff that later you needed? Maybe you lashed out at your kids or husband because the house was a mess? Why can’t they understand what I need? Why do they not love me enough to keep the house cleaned? Why does he not understand what this does to me?

I have done all of the things and more. I am sure my husband and those really close to me have experienced the crazy. AND yes my self talk is a little shall we say dramatic sometimes. No one can deny that. Here is the thing. We cannot always control the thoughts that flow through our minds or our emotions. BUT we can control how we react to a situation.

I am often asked how do I get my husband or kids to clean? Why won’t my husband throw his laundry the hamper? Why don’t my kids know to put their long sleeved shirts in this drawer?

Here is the thing that often we fail to remember. I am telling you this from a place of love and understanding because I have and still do occasionally struggle with this myself. We are co-habituating in a house with more than just ourselves. I can see you nodding yes. But that means that we need to understand that each person in our home has a relationship with the things around them, they are on their own unique journey, they organize differently from you, and they are sharing this space.

Let me give you an example. I like clean spaces, limited clutter, and I hate digging for things. So, in order to “control” the clutter, I took it upon myself to organize our home. Well, here is the deal. I organized our home for me. I only considered how my brain worked, how I used the space, and neglected a very important ingredient for success.

Can you guess what this is?

Communication. When I would organize a clients space, I would ask them questions, provide recommendations, and walk them through the new system. I would also provide them tips on how to maintain this newly organized space. In my own home, I was missing this step.

How can I use communication to create a sustainable organization system in my home for my family?

Verbal Communication/Strategies

talking

This may be one you want to talk through and forgo texting, but I think I missed the true millennial gene and prefer to talk to someone. Odd I know.

Ask Questions:

You will not know how someone uses an object or why they are leaving their clothes on the floor unless you ask. I guarantee you in most cases it is not because your spouse or children HATE you. Again, that self talk can get a little dramatic, right?

Example: Hey Jim, I noticed that you tend to leave your towels on the floor in the bathroom. Is there a better place to put the hamper?

Example: I am re-organizing the pantry this weekend, I was going to get a bin (like this one) for the pasta to go in and place it here. Does that make sense to you?

The examples can go on, but you get the idea. Don’t overcomplicate it or go on and on. Just make it simple and to the point.

Talk it out:

I do not know about you, but I have yet to fully be able to read my partner’s mind. I mean I feel like sometimes I do know, but remember the self talk some time is really crazy. So, I have found that having a discussion really helps.

You will want to drop your stories first. That means that you will want to take a moment or longer to do some deep breathing and let go of the self talk that is telling you that your spouse is an insane person that clearly does not care that the clothes he left on the floor is driving you to go crazy yourself. Ask yourself, Why would someone who loves me do that to me?

Chances are my friend they do not know it drives you insane. So, come from a place of love. Not a place of interrogation, anger, or agitation.

Example: Jim, I noticed that you tend to leave your clothes on the floor next to the closet. It honestly is driving me a little insane and sometimes I forget to wash your clothes because they are not in the hamper. Is there a better place we could place the hamper in our room?

Yes, when you read this out loud, I know you are thinking that I have lost my mind. I know you are thinking that is cannot possibly work, but it actually can. Now, it will take time. I am not suggesting taking your spouse or children through the entire house right now and ask them or point out everything that drives YOU insane. Probably will not be successful.

Create a Plan:

Now, it is easy to get into a mode and want to do all the things on a Saturday morning because you just got done watching 3 episodes of Marie Kondo and are SUPER PUMPED to throw everything out that does not bring you joy. I get it. BUT here is the thing. We all have a different relationship with materials, a different threshold for clutter, and a different timeline on when and how to work through it.

Take a deep breath here and instead slow your roll. Explain to your spouse or children that you would like to work on a particular room or space. Make a plan together for the space and the a timeline for completion. This will increase their involvement and make it less emotionally terrifying when mom is running around with a garbage bag.

Non-Verbal Communication/Strategies

Label.jpg

Nancy Drew:

Yes, Nancy Drew only the best detective series EVER. Put your detective hat on and watch where your significant other or children are leaving their belongings. Take note of how they are using the kitchen, etc.

Maybe the hamper in the hallways does not serve you, although it looks prettier there and maybe is more of a logical fit. Maybe it would make more sense to have a hamper, basket, etc in the bathroom near or where they are leaving all the dirty towels. It is already habit.

Label:

You all know I love my labels. This system really, really works! Purchase or borrow a label maker, use chalkboards, or just a little sharpie and label your bins. These a really nice non-verbal reminders of the system that is in place. This way you will not need to constantly remind anyone to do it. Win win for everyone. I mean look at the picture above – labels are lifesavers.

Use picture labels for children’s bins. You can even have them pick out, draw, or take the pictures used. Again, involvement is key in this. It makes it more exciting for everyone.

This is not something I recommend doing without verbal communication. You still need to ask the members of the family, if this makes sense to them.

Re-assess:

Organization is a process. Organizing for a family is a larger undertaking. Remember you all have different thresholds for clean and you each have a different way of organizing. So, finding a balance is CHALLENGING!

You will need to re-assess the system you put in place. If it is not working as designed adjust using one of the strategies above.

Intentional Living Tip: Before you lose your mind because all of your hard work was ruined in a matter of minutes, talk about it. Does everyone in your home understand and/or have the same expectations for clean and organized? Does everyone understand and like the system that is in place. I use all of these strategies in my home and teach others to do the same. They are effective and necessary to truly create a sustainable organization system.

Thank you,

Ashley

15 Cleaning Strategies Every Mom Should Know

Cleaning.jpg

In a former life, I would spend my entire weekend cleaning and re-organizing all the things only to have my house looked like a Frat had partied in my home for days and left a mess for me to pick up. UGH! I am tired and overwhelmed just thinking about it.

After working through my own stressful situation of catch up and talking to many moms, this seems to be a consistent problem in homes across America…maybe the world.

So, I decided enough is enough and I was on a mission to solve this epidemic, if anything to improve the sanity of mothers everywhere.

Do you know what I found? Many of us do not have a cleaning strategy or schedule. So, when we go to clean the house we end up walking around, taking things here and there, wiping this up and that up, but not actually feeling accomplished. Hence, the overwhelm and frustration, my friend.

So, let’s talk strategy then shall we. Below are the top 15 strategies that are tried and true for taming the chaos and maintaining a clean home.

  1. Non-Negotiables:

         This is my favorite mom approved cleaning strategy. It is so simple, but works so                 well. All cleaning tasks are not created equal. So, it is SUPER simple. Pick 1 – 3 tasks           that you know help your home feel more clean and organized. Do these every day.             Set a 20-minute timer and get the fam involved. Clean until they are done!

         Example: At our house, we make sure the floors are cleaned (everything off them),           the counters are clean (wiped down, no clutter), and the sinks are clean (wiped                   down, no dishes).

  1. Connect to Something You Already Do:

         Multi-tasking does help sometimes and can be highly effective. Cleaning and                       Organizing can be a lifestyle change and need to be practiced, like any habit. Habits           are more likely to stick when we connect them to something we are already doing.

         Example: Listen to a Podcast or music while cleaning. Drink your coffee, while                   starting the dishwasher. Clean the bathroom, while your kids take a bath or while             you get ready for bed.  Washing your face, wipe down the sink.

  1. Batch Clean:

Often, we hear of people batching their tasks for efficiency. They may divide their               week, day, or hour by specific tasks.

         Example: Mondays are focused deep cleaning for bathrooms, Tuesdays are focused           deep cleaning for the kitchen, etc. Or maybe Monday you dust and vacuum all                     rooms, Tuesday you mop, Wednesday, you do laundry, etc.

Batch Cleaning

  1. Schedule it:

         Remember how we discussed needing to have a strategy or plan for when we clean.           Having a cleaning schedule can REALLY help toward a more organized home and               reduce stress. You have a plan and know what you need to do.

         Example: Daily: Laundry, Dishes, and straighten. Weekly: Vacuum, Swiffer,                         bathrooms, kitchen, bedrooms, living room, lawn care, etc. Quarterly: Gutters,                     change the furnace filters, etc.

  1. If you cannot clean, straighten:

         Sometimes it is not always possible to do a deep clean. BUT it is possible to take 20-             minute and straighten up the house. Toss out garbage, pick up clutter, and make                 sure everything is where it should be.

  1. Involve the Family:

It takes more than one person to make a mess. The entire family should be involved in picking up. Do not feel bad about it. It is necessary to maintain a clean home and your sanity. But also as a good leader, it is important to teach your children how to maintain their space, care for their things, etc.

  1. Make it a game:

Everyone loves a game, right? Well, maybe not. But a cleaning game can give your family the motivation they need to get things picked up.

Example: Set a timer and see who can pick up their rooms the fastest or who can check off everything on their list first. This can be tracked with a checklist, or job chart. You can consider using a paper document or an online tool like Trello! Works wonders.

  1. Toss out the Clutter:

Your time is valuable. Do not waste it cleaning and straightening things that do not serve your family. This can be challenging, but make it part of your monthly goals to de-clutter a different room each month. Toss or give away anything that does not serve you or your family. Sometimes, you must develop the muscle a bit, so it does take practice. BUT it will save you a lot of time.

3 Steps to De-Clutter for Good

  1. Create a System:

Most people would agree that having a system helps in most things in life. Organizing is simply about creating systems in your home. This makes it easier for you and your family to put things away.

Sustainably Organized

  1. Know where your paper goes:

Paper can take over a home. Seriously, it feels that way sometimes. Have a place for bills and other mail that needs your attention. Have a plan to review it, then file or shred it.

Example: Consider a basic near where you bring mail in and make a plan to go through it weekly. Connect it to something you are already doing. Maybe you sort through the papers when you meal plan.

  1. Create an Entryway or space for all the things:

We often have a lot of stuff that we need as we pack up in the morning. This may be seasonal wear, jackets, or bags. Pack them the night before and have everything in a place near the exit.

Other things to include, a place for spare change, wallets, keys, baseball caps, etc.

  1. Do a Load a Day to keep the Mountain Away:

Do a load of laundry a day. I do not know how this works, but somehow when you miss doing a load of laundry or two; you are left with like 10 loads the next day. I am sure there is a science behind this mystery. To prevent this nightmare, just do the daily work.

  1. Essential Oils All Day

Essentials oils are awesome for cleaning. I love a good way to clean with little harmful chemicals. So many of us are affected by scent. It can make us feel better. Dash a few sprinkles of essential oils around your home. I like to add some to a mixture of baking soda and water. Then lightly sprits the air. It is a great natural freshener. OR use a diffuser. They work amazingly, but can help your home feel a little fresher and remove any old, stagnant smells.

  1. Cook and Clean:

As you are cooking, try cleaning up after yourself throughout the process. That way when it is time to serve the dinner, your kitchen is already fairly clean and the dishes used to prepare the meal are also clean. Then it is primarily about cleaning the table, plates, and cups.

  1. Wash your rugs:

I like to find the most efficient solution to any cleaning job. Because we have kids potty training and I like to change things up frequently, I recommend purchasing the cheaper rugs with the rubber mat on the back. Toss those in the wash by themselves. It can get messy. Then lay out.

If you want, you can dry them in the dryer, but the rubber does start to break down. Your choice!

Intentional Living Tip: Stop living with what drives you crazy because you just accept that this is how life is supposed to be. Life is supposed to be what you make it. It should be joy-filled. Use one or a couple of these strategies for a cleaner home, so you can have more time and less overwhelm!

Join me in my Facebook Group, Home Intentionally for more tips and tricks!

Thank you,

Ashley

 

A Letter to Postpartum You

morning

Dear Postpartum Momma,

From the moment you knew that you were pregnant, you were a mom. You had fears, you were overjoyed, and you were planning. You were a mess of emotions, fears, and dreams. You kept telling myself that God does not give us anything that we cannot handle. Yes, not because you were not happy. But you did not trust that you were ready. You were overwhelmed.

You were never that glowing momma. You were a terrible pregnant person. You were a hormonal mess, eczema on your face, and tired. You did not get that excited bliss feeling and nesting phase. For you, it was not the decorating the nursery part, but a last stitch marathon of organization. Organizing everything to make your maternity leave easier.

Then she was born. She was perfect. She was beautiful. She did not come into this world the way you hopped. She was born C-section because she was and still is stubborn. You will forever carry a scar that has changed your body. That is okay, although, yourself talk will tell you otherwise sometimes. You were able to birth a beautiful daughter in the way that God wanted you to. It was the safer way, the way it was meant to happen.

Your maternity leave was beautiful. It was joy-filled and you surprised yourself in all the ways you did this well. There was some anxiety. It only got worse when you started back to work. There were moments you cried in your car or office. You tried to hide it because you should love being a working mom, right? You felt like you were drowning. But others do it all the time. Why were you not good at it?

Well, my friend, you did it how you were supposed to. The only thing you could have done is ask for help and stop comparing yourself to the perception of the life that other working moms live. If you ask them, they are likely struggling with something too.

Then you became pregnant with your second child. You still had a baby at home. You had not figured out how to be a wife or mom yet. But you were excited to meet him. This pregnancy was different. You still did not glow. You were even more tired. Each ultrasound showed some sort of something. Something wrong. You were falling into a depression because you felt that you had failed him already AND you had robbed your daughter of her time with you.

Finally, you were in labor. In labor! You were in a new home. The crib was up and the diapers were there. The rest of the home was a crazy, chaotic mess. It was not your home yet or at least it did not feel like it. But you were in labor.

You had decided to do a v-bac. Yes, you intentionally decided to go through vaginal birth. Why? Not sure. Other than you wanted to prove yourself or you felt challenged? Who knows?!?!

You did not know if you were strong enough. The pain was out of this world! You were experiencing back labor and could not do anything to improve the pain. All of the breathing and training was out the window. You did not know if you could do this. Surprisingly, you did not swear during this time period. Odd. Very odd.

Thank goodness for the epidural. You were able to do it. You succeeded in birthing a baby boy. Despite the concerns for his life. You knew he was struggling based on the monitor and the facial expression of the resident. You knew you need to do this. You pushed through the fear and you birthed a baby. This is no simple feat.

Now, the work started. You are an intelligent person, but did not know what to expect with a vaginal birth and tear. It was awful! It was so awful! The recovery. The tears. You pushed through. Even after that first night. The one were you felt like you were crushing it and than your daughter screamed for 3 hours like someone was murdering her. You cried with the baby. You all cried. You felt like you failed her. You hurt her. More tears. But you made it.

Maternity leave was different. It was full of fears, tears, anxieties, and all the things. You were a hot mess express. But you decided to pull yourself out. You decided to not let your depression be your story and the story of your children. All of these happened as part of your story.

You released control. You decided you could control YOU. You could control your reactions to everything. To the overwhelm of motherhood, house work, and all the things. You were the heroine of your story. You decided to stop surviving and start living. You know what? You opened yourself to a beautiful journey. A beautiful imperfect journey of action and motherhood. God gifted these children to you. He knew you were perfect to be their mother. All your flaws and all.

Perfection is no longer your goal. Sweet woman, you are not in control. You are not perfect. You are not alone. You are not the only one that has fears, that has a bad day, that has ever snapped at your husband, that has ever snapped at your child, or whose house looks like a hot mess by Wednesday! You are not in control. But you are enough. You have everything you need. Stop and celebrate all the wonderful things that you do each day. Stop and without judgement know that you will fail. These are only opportunities for improvement. You will improve and feel like you are crushing it. Then sometimes you will be challenged and go back to old ways. It is okay.

Here are some things I want you to remember:

Ask for help

You cannot do this alone. We used to have a community care for our children. So, say yes to anyone who offers to help you or ask yourself. There are tons of family and friends that love you and your children…they will be glad to help.

Go on a Date Night

You are tired. Yes, there are a thousands tasks for you to complete. But your marriage is so important. Your husband is important. Do not forget that. Tend your marriage like a garden.

Self-care

This is not an option. It is not something you are gifted with once you check everything off on your checklist. Heck – dare I say start with your day with it. You will see a change.

Live all your dreams in the present

You used to dream. You did. You used to feel like you were capable of all the things. If someone dared say you could not, you would. You would do it and you would do it so well. Keep driving and keeping living. Go after your dreams and do not shy away for your life no matter how scary this is.

You are enough

You are enough. God has already gifted you all the thing you need to accomplish your dreams, to be an awesome mom, and wife, etc. You already have everything you need. Remind yourself you are enough.

Prioritize

Know your values and what you need in this season. I know we think we can do all the things. But it is important for you to focus on what is important to you and your family. Say yes to the things that bring you joy and no to the things that do not. It is okay to say no and it is okay to disappoint someone. You need to make yourself happy.

Surround Yourself with Wonderful People

You have been blessed. God has gifted your amazing people in abundance. They love you. So, continue to love them and be honest with them. They want to know how you are and they will call you out on any BS. They will challenge you and help you grow.

There are many more things that you should know and tell yourself. But friends you are strong, beautiful, and intelligent. You will do wonderful things. Believe in you. Trust in you.

Love,

Ashley

3 Simple Steps to Organization

organized homeI was sitting in my kitchen thinking about my current project. I have a dreamers mind. I am able to see the beauty, the potential in all spaces, things, and people. What does that mean?

Well, you know when you are watching an episode of Fixer Upper or Property Brothers as they go through a home, they allow you to see their vision. My mind does that. As we walked through homes, I saw all of the potential unfold. I saw the beautiful back splash that could be, the fresh floors, or the new paint I could apply. I saw it all and let me tell you it was beautiful.

I am a dreamer. When I dream, I truly dream really big. I am a little childlike with my bold, vivid dreams.

Do you want to know what stands in between me and these bold, beautiful dreams? It is perfectionism and patience. When I am patient with a project and work with the means I have today, I do create something beautiful. I need to trust in the process. My word of the year, is trust my friends and it keeps coming up.

What does this have to do with organization?

Most often, I hear from clients that they want to get started but they do not know where to start. Or that it will cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. With more discussion, it is because they WANT all new furniture, beautiful vintage lockers, and all the pretty baskets in their home.

Yes, I do get caught up in this too. I am a dreamer. BUT the reality is that organization is about a process. It is about creating systems, not perfection! This is often why the organization plan did not work before for many of my clients. My clients were more focused on the pretty bins and creating a perfect view. BUT it is not about the view necessarily. It is about the system. Creating a system for your unique family. This is not found on HGTV or Pinterest. Sure, you can get ideas, but you have to understand how your family uses the space.

So, what are the steps to creating this system. I like to call these The Basics of a Sustainable Organization System (SOS)

But before we can get there, we need to start at the top of the process.

De-clutter

I want you to recall that this is a process. Where to start is often a question that comes up.

If you are ready, feeling motivated, and ready to let go, then start with the space that causes you the most stress. Start with one drawer, one cabinet, or one closet at a time. It is a process. It will get worse before it gets better. BUT simply start taking action and trust in the process.

If you are struggling with feeling motivated, start with the least stressful place in that location. Usually this is a place that does not contact sentimental objects.

The goal is to start with one space or room. I want you to remove all of the items in that space. Organization is about giving everything a home, so you need to take everything out of where they currently live to determine where their home should be.

Once everything is out, then sort by Toss, Donate, and Keep.

Toss anything that is broken, garbage, or expired.

Donate anything that is in good condition but that no longer serves you.

Keep items that serve you. These are items that make you happy or that you love. Marie Kondo would tell you that they inspire joy.

You can always put something aside, if you are not sure. Things that cause us stress are gifts, sentimental items, etc. Conquer Clutter Overwhelm

Know that this is your journey and it is a process. If you cannot toss or donate the item, then find it a home. Maybe it is something that you place in a visible place because it causes you joy. If it does not, but you just do not know what you want to do with, find it a home. Maybe that is a place in the basement, a drawer, or the garage. But maybe sure to come back to it. Step an alarm, a notification, or schedule time in your calendar to review.

It can be challenging, but start with the clutter. Start by removing any of the unwanted items. This will help you truly see what you do have and help you only organize the “stuff” you are keeping.

Categorize

Separate the items that you are keeping into “like” objects. Example, if you are in the kitchen maybe all utensils, all mugs, all glasses, all  plates, all bowls, etc.

This will help you understand visually how many things need a home. It will allow you to determine or estimate the space that you need to store them.

Organize

Once you have categorized your keep piles, then you will truly start to organize them. At this point, you will determine where they should live based on how you use them and what makes sense to you and your family. Maybe your mugs are near the coffee maker. Or maybe they need to be closest to the sink because you need to first fill out the mugs with water and then go to the Keurig.

At this point, you can also begin to determine if any baskets or boxes are needed for organizing. I like to use organizers for smaller objects, like batteries, zip lock bags, straws, etc.

Your budget is something that should be considered. Do not over extend yourself. You can get something from the Dollar Tree or re-purpose cereal boxes to organize your belongings. At some point, you can certainly upgrade, if that is important to you. The goal here is to simply give everything a home. The top source of clutter is because objects do not have a home.

Keep it simple, label when needed, and communicate the new home with your family. I like to use a verbal and non-verbal system. I first verbally discuss the home with my family. Let them know what I am thinking and ask if it makes sense to them. Take in input because that helps to create buy-in to a more sustainable, organization system.

Then label it! This is a non-verbal protection to help maintain your system. It prevents you from nagging, but allows it to continue to be a maintainable home.

Reevaluate continuously. As you notice that things are not going into the space you had selected, take a moment to determine why. Does this spot really make sense? Does it reflect how your family uses the home? Did the label fall off? If you need to move it, then find a better home for your family. This will prevent clutter.

Intentional Living Tip

This is one of my favorite places to start in my home or to have others start, especially when they are feeling overwhelmed.

Walk around your home and collect all of the clutter. These are things that cause you distress or stress as you walk around your home. Often these are things that are on the floor, piled on the counter, or elsewhere in your home. Place all of these things in a basket.

Review each object. Determine if it should be tossed, donated, or kept. If it is to be kept, then find it a home. Maybe you know where it should go, but that particular drawer is a mess. Then place it to the side and come back to it once you have created its home.

It is a process, so it may seem to get worse before it gets better. BUT it will all come together. You will, with time, create a more organized home or room.

Take action today.

Always here to support you!

Ashley

 

Morning Miracle – The Kind for Moms

A Morning Routine for Moms.jpg

Last week, my mornings were a struggle. A mess! My home a mess, my mind a mess, and oh the stress! The anxiety, the whirlwind of all the things. It did not just stop with me, but everyone. After much personal development and review, I made some changes. Yes, I did that in a week. I needed to make a  mindset shift. I needed to decide to make a change.

Yes, I can tell you all the reasons why I was struggling to get out of bed. I can make every excuse. Literally, I can make every excuse in the world. Some good. Others not so good.

But here is the deal. After a lot of reflection, I sat with myself. My mornings are the pivotal part of my day. How I start my day is how I continue through my day. Yes, of course, there is always a way to change or shift in the day. BUT I think we owe it to ourselves to start our mornings off great. Let’s make a vow to stop reacting to our morning.

Here is the deal friend! I read the Morning Miracle by Hal Elrod. It was striking to me and I could not wait to try it. I had these dreams of how I would wake up the next morning like it was Christmas Morning, run downstairs, and immediately change my life with an hour of awesome. I began to imagine all of the ways I would be awesome. The next morning came and I did not get up. I snoozed my alarm….a few times. The next day the same thing.

Finally, I declared that I would wait until Monday. It makes more sense to make a change at the beginning of the week…right? So, Monday morning I woke up and went downstairs. Before running downstairs, I looked at the clock. I thought about hitting snooze…a couple times. This time, I looked at that clock and said I will not hit snooze on my life! Fact that was what I said. Yes, I am freak.

I got up, let out of the dog, and got the coffee started. I snuggled down into the couch to drink my coffee, and started to listen to my guided meditation. AND do you know what? My son began to cry. I waited. You know how you sit very still and silent, hoping they will go back to sleep? They will not know you are there? You know like a T-Rex?

Well, I finally decided after a few seconds that I needed to pause the mediation and get my sweet son. At this moment, I had two choices. I could get Noah, drink my coffee, and really try not to be stressed and annoyed that I did not do my morning miracle practice (day 1). OR I could pick up Noah, grab my coffee, and sit in the rocking chair. I could snuggle my sweet baby in the dark, drink my coffee, and do all the things. So, this particular morning I sat with Noah in the dark, rocked him sweetly, listened to my guided meditation, I did my affirmation, and did my journaling. It was perfect.

The goal of morning miracle was is to give yourself time to start your morning more motivated and more inspired. I know that the days that I start my morning in the dark, with my coffee, the bible, my meditation, and journal are the best. Sometimes I get a little crazy and add the exercise in. One day this will be a permanent part of the morning.

It honestly does not matter what your morning looks like for you. As a mom, you must know that it may take form at a moments notice. Unfortunately, your kids are not a T-Rex, so they will likely know you are up. If you do not get them, they will find you. So, hiding does not seem to help. I digress.

I want you to work through the following steps to a joyful morning. And know that it may not, as many things in life, look the perfect way you planned.

Get up early

Get up before everyone else, whenever you can. Yes, I know you are already tired. You get up and do for everyone. You work, you are a momma, and you are tired. Yes, I get it. I am right there with you my friends. I am a full-time momma, I have a business, I work full-time, I am a wife, and all the things. I am tired too. BUT getting up early allows me time to care for myself. I have more energy during the day. I am more inspired and motivated. I am better in my relationships. Just do it. The first day, you may not feel completely awesome. BUT it is worth it.

Make a Plan

What will work for you? What do you need. My beautiful friend, Cortney of balancewithcortney.com, told me to start my morning with asking myself what I need. It is only the first few seconds. But get up, wash your face, brush your teeth, drink some coffee, and do something that inspires you. My recommendations: guided meditation, journaling, positive affirmations, exercise, did I say drink hot coffee, read, or just enjoy silence.

Guided Meditation

Yes, in the beginning you may be like me. Meditation? Keep my brain quiet? No, thank you. Too hard. Not for me. All of the excuses. BUT you know what? It is beautiful quiet time that teaches you to calm those thoughts. It teaches you to be in the moment. Did I say it is a practice? A process. It is not perfection. You may not crush it everyday, but it is worth trying. There are apps, recordings on YouTube, and Amazon Prime. Just try it.

Positive Affirmation

We so often do not talk about ourselves positively. Yes, my self talk is crazy town dramatic and the first words are often the negative ones. The ones that tell me I am not enough. BUT I am enough. Every time I say that I am not. I say a lie about how I look, how I care for the ones I love, etc. it has an effect on others. It effects my husband, my children, and God. I want my children to look positive selfcare. God gave me all the things that I need to do all the things I want. I am enough. Talk to yourself about your awesome. Even if you are not feeling it. Try it.

Journaling

Writing can really help. It will help us process all of those self talks, the stories or lies we tell ourselves. It will help us determine where we need/want to improve. Most importantly, it will help us track our progress. It will help us celebrate all of the changes that we need made in a years time, a day, a month, a week, whatever.

There are so many things you can try. I highly recommend reading Miracle Morning. It is a great book on how to create a practice and all of the beautiful ways to make it happen. It is inspiring!

But friend, know that it may look different for you. Maybe it is not an hour. It is time for you. Time for you to care for yourself. Time for you to be in silence. You are enough. Your morning may look different every day, it likely will get interrupted, but it is necessary. Do you know the beauty of your children seeing this? They will learn to and how to care for themselves? What a beautiful gift to give them!

Intentional Living Tip:

There are days we will feel like we are crushing it! We will feel like we are the best wife, the best mom, and awesome at our jobs. We will feel like we can take on the world. Yes, world domination is just around the corner. THEN IT happens. Yes, IT. The day we wake up and everything goes wrong! The day you feel like a failure. Those days, I want you to focus on all the good things you did. Are your kids alive? Were they fed? Are they relatively clean? Are you breathing and relatively clean yourself? Yes to all of those? Then you succeed! You are not perfect. That is okay. You are a mom. You owe it to yourself to give yourself some time. On the days you feel like a failure and the days you crush it. You are enough!

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, reach out to me. Check out the productivity Courses. You will walk through the tools I use to make time and to shift my mindset to this life change.

Need support, check out Home Intentionally, the Facebook Group. It is a great community to support you.

I am supporting you!

Thank you,

Ashley