How NOT to get stabbed by an avalanche of DVDs

For much of my life, until recently, I was classified as a “seesaw organizer.”

What exactly is a “seesaw organizer?” Let me describe one for you.

In the past, the spaces in my house – or dorm room or apartment or cabin or wherever I was in life at the moment – would typically fall into one of two categories: meticulous model home or hazardous waste zone.

I still don’t completely understand why I default to one of these two polar opposite housekeeping conditions. Perhaps it’s because I’m an all-or-nothing person. My mind works something like this: “The kitchen floor is really dirty. I’ll clean out the silverware drawer and organize the plastic cereal containers first to kick things off …” “The living room needs dusted. I’ll iron the curtains and redecorate the walls while I’m at it …”

Maybe I’m a perfectionist. Maybe I’m a procrastinator. Maybe I just like to see a really dramatic before and after. Whatever the reason, letting things get really bad and then spending hours – OK, days – making rooms perfect again became a recipe for housekeeping failure.

Eventually, the piles stacked higher and the inspiration and motivation to whip them into shape diminished due to growing life obligations. Don’t get me wrong; I still desperately longed to have spaces worthy of the pages of “Better Homes and Gardens” magazine. When my home was clean and organized, I felt immense joy and peace. When it looked like a war zone, I felt stressed out and anxious.

I would share my plight with friends and listen as they tried to cheer me with statements like, “You have young kids right now. You’ll just have to let some things go.” And while I understood the wisdom and practicality of their advice, I still felt in my heart there were some areas I didn’t want to let go. I had a passion for a beautifully organized home that I didn’t want to bury for a decade while my kids and harried lifestyle took over my schedule.

I needed to start by getting a lot smarter about my time and resources. The pinnacle moment when I knew I was ready to dig in and get organized for real came after one particularly disturbing organization frenzy.

I was in the middle of a seesaw upward, determined to get the closet in our office/guest room dunged out – at least to the point where I could make an educated guess as to what might be in it.

Messy-closet-with-caution-tape(The closet that nearly killed me)

As I was wading (yes, this is an accurate description) through stuff on the floor, I bumped into the top closet shelf, triggering an avalanche of DVDs. Unfortunately, I looked up just in time to get smacked in the face by one of the falling DVDs. Since none of them were in their cases, the raw edge cut my face under my eye. As I sat there clutching my injured cheek, buried in the rubble, emotion overwhelmed me. How did I let things get this bad?

After that meltdown, I vowed to get off the seesaw and find some simple, foundational methods of organizing my life that worked for me permanently. The five solutions I found changed me forever! So I wrote about them in an e-book called, “Organized for Real: How to Conquer Life’s Top 5 Chaos Hotspots.”

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This e-book will be made available to all of you very, very soon (hint: this summer) and I am super excited about it!

Although I may not have a home that looks like it belongs in a magazine every day, I now feel at peace with the spaces I live in and I’m reaping the rewards of an organized life. Plus, I can find stuff and enjoy a home where rooms are kept reasonably clean and clutter-free on a regular basis.

More importantly, the junk and chaos are no longer hindrances to bigger and more meaningful goals in my life.

The steps I explain in “Organized for Real” are simple and totally worth the effort, although they are not necessarily easy. But if the potential of injuring yourself by the clutter in your home is a real fear for you, perhaps it is finally time for you to get off the seesaw, too.

Keep an eye out for this must read, coming soon from a self-proclaimed recovering “messie.”

Master bathroom details (plus a giveaway winner)

I am happy to report that the master bathroom renovation that began last September (I know … embarrassing) is approaching its finish line. I wouldn’t feel so badly about how long it has taken if, say, we were ripping out walls, replacing the tub or changing out flooring.

But no. This redo only involved minor, aesthetic updates. I’ve come to accept that some projects just have a habit of taking forever. I can’t really put my finger on why but I suspect it has something to do with my tendency to become unhealthily obsessed with Netflix series take on too many projects at the same time; you know, a sort of “lots of pots on the stove yet nothing’s ready to eat” situation.

Regardless of my personal shortcomings, I have enjoyed putting together this master bathroom. My goal was to create a light, neutral space with a natural, coastal feel. (We live in the woods near a lake).

I started with a lake-inspired gray on the walls, adding a few white stripes and an inexpensive chair rail to give the space a more finished look.

Then I built a shelf from scrap wood and added some free DIY wall art.

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The DIY driftwood mirror I made (without nails or screws) contributes to the coastal feel.

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Two things I added to the room that, I believe, make it seem more upscale are the plantation shutters and the sink faucets.

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The light fixture was a bit of a challenge. I fell in love with a few that were out of my price range, so I settled on a $50 version from my local home improvement store. I added clear glass shades to give the fixture more of a rustic vibe.

Coastal-inspired-light-fixture

Since we don’t have the budget right now to replace the shower/tub combo, I gave my current shower situation more of a spa-like feel with a new shower curtain from Walmart and a SprayShaper™ shower head.

Waterpik-showerhead

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I always like to have at least one handheld shower head in my home because they really are the easiest way to bathe kids and pets (indoors, at least). ;)

Speaking of the Waterpik® SprayShaper™, today is the day I announce the giveaway winner of that shower head and a handful of other goodies, courtesy of HGTV star Kelly Edwards

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Drumroll please …

The winner is Leigh Anne Borders!

Giveaway winnerCongrats Leigh Anne!

The one project I still have to finish with regard to my master bathroom update is the vanity makeover. Stay tuned for details on that project coming soon.

And in case you forgot the master bathroom “before” …

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Do you have any thoughts on why some projects seem to drag on forever? I’d love to figure out the magic formula for getting to “done” faster.

How to get organized for real

Do you feel like your finances, schedule and even sometimes your thoughts are out of control?

Does the clutter and chaos in your home give you anxiety and stress when what you really long for is joy, peace and rest?

Do you feel like your family’s health and well-being are suffering due to your lack of organization?

Then you need to read this e-book:

Book-cover-low-resFor many years – heck, for most of my life – I tried desperately to keep my home and life organized. I’d do well for awhile then “fall off the wagon.” Things would pile up and my schedule would get out of control. I’d vow to do better next time. I would embark on another epic cleaning and organizing binge, and the cycle of struggling would begin all over again.

I finally decided there had to be a better, more consistent and less stressful way to live. So I got serious about finding organizing solutions that worked for chronically messy and busy moms like me.

I discovered that if I regularly practiced a few basic strategies in five key areas of organization, everything else in my life seemed to fall into relatively good order. I began to experience lasting joy and peace and I even started noticing that my home seemed more comfortable and my family was way happier, too.

I started sharing my tips with friends and family members and they encouraged me to write a book about them. So in an effort to help other people out there struggling like me to keep their crazy busy lives organized, I wrote “Organized for Real: How to Conquer Life’s Top 5 Chaos Hotspots.”

This super affordable e-book is jam-packed with helpful (and easily doable!) information. It will be available this summer through my website and on Amazon. I wanted to give y’all a heads up before it launches because I am so excited about the book and I really believe it will be helpful for many of you. The principles in this book have changed my own life dramatically!

I’ll be sharing more about the book release soon, so stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, do you have an area in your life that you wish could be more organized? Would you like some advice on how to get organized for real? Leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer your questions or concerns.