I’m back!

Hello dear friends. It has been awhile since I’ve posted something fresh here on the old blog, and that is because I have been up to something big … like career-shifting BIG.

Many of you may recall the blood, sweat and tears I poured into our flip house last year. Well, what I didn’t bargain for with that project was how utterly passionate I would become about helping create beautiful homes for other people.

Since 2011, I’ve been sprucing up the spaces in our own house and sharing them here on the website. That’s been awesome and incredible, and definitely something I want to continue. In fact, I’ve got lots to share with you about what we’ve been DIYing over the past several months.

But I want to be able to do more … to help others find and create their own perfect homes. In other words, I don’t want to keep all this DIYery (nope, not a word) trapped within these four walls. 😉

So to make a long story short, I’ve spent the past several months stuck in my home office (see below) taking coursework and studying to become a PA real estate salesperson.

I’m happy to report I’ve passed my licensing exam and, as soon as my RE broker receives my license in the mail, I’ll be on my way. (More to follow on those details.)

Having my RE license will allow me to help families in our area (maybe even one of you dear readers) find their perfect home and/or sell their current home. Plus, I’ll have a little more of an inside scoop on properties that may turn out to be great investments for us to fix up, resell, turn into vacation rentals, etc.

To say I’m excited about the future of our business is an understatement. It feels like a natural progression for me, considering my creepy obsession passion for all things home. 😉

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I’ll be hopping on here once a week to post fresh content again, which fuels me (and hopefully gets your creative juices flowing, too). So if you like to pop in to check up on the goings on around here, there will be no shortage of projects, for sure.

Stay tuned for more details on how you can reach out to me if you’re interested in buying/selling a home. And keep a lookout for our latest thrifty DIY projects, including fresh paint colors in the living room, kitchen and dining room, as well as a complete laundry room renovation, which involves a total project fail on my part that was saved by my dear husband (yay).

It’s good to be back! 🙂

5 habits of organized people

I have always admired the uber-organized among us. Getting and staying well-organized does not come naturally to me – an easily distracted and creative-minded DIYer. It’s been a struggle my entire life; that’s why I dedicated an entire book to the subject of organizing.

Over the years, my methods have become more realistic, and my habits have improved a bit. But I still have a long way to go. That’s why I decided to share this post today. I wanted to do some research to see what sets apart the highly organized people out there from the rest of us mere mortals. This is what I found out:

1. They face their Goliaths. Super-organized and productive people don’t typically avoid tough projects, issues or problems. They charge into them, facing them quickly so they can move on and keep those things from becoming giant, stressful time snatchers.

2. They’re disciplined. Statistics show that organized people have the ability to identify and eliminate time wasters. They also tend to take personal responsibility quickly. They are in the habit of consistently hitting goals, meeting deadlines and fulfilling promises. In short, they hold themselves accountable.

3. They have laser-like focus. Organized, productive people are able to concentrate on the task at hand and tune out distractions. They understand that not everything can be important. They distinguish between important tasks and trivial ones and focus on the most important stuff first. They don’t get bogged down with busy work. Of course, laser-like focus isn’t a natural ability for many people – including myself. But it is a skill we can all cultivate. Check out this article on 12 ways you can find and foster focus.

4. They plan their days. Although this is probably a fairly obvious habit of the organized, it bears mentioning because it’s so vital to creating an advantage at the start of each day. Rather than taking precious time to figure out where to begin, having a plan or clear path for the day’s schedule creates a sense of urgency and momentum early in the morning.

5. They’re able to get back on track faster. When organized people are interrupted or things don’t go as planned, they are quickly able to adapt. Their normal, organized routines come in very useful at times when the unexpected happens, because all the other things that are important have already been taken care of or are on autopilot, providing the margin necessary to respond without scrambling or dropping the ball.

Getting and staying organized has been a life-long quest for me. I’m currently reading Jane Stoller’s Organizing for Your Lifestyle: Adaptable Inspirations from Socks to Suitcases. It’s helping me refocus my efforts and go back to the basics of setting up working systems in our home that everyone in our family understands and uses daily.

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I think that is a key part of keeping an organized home – developing systems and holding family members (especially kids) accountable for their part in managing those systems.

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Do you struggle with getting organized? Do you have any tips for how to stay on track?

Fear, faith and ‘fresh water in the desert’

Earlier this year, I got fed up with just talking about flipping a house. So I did a ton of homework and started house hunting. After a few months, I found my little white house and I closed on it Nov. 6.

Long before I took the plunge and bought this piece of investment real estate, I was well aware there would be anxious moments along the way. (This is probably why it took me so many years to go through with it.)

Now I am officially “in the thick of things” with the renovations. Because there is such a wee profit margin on this home, I’ve committed to doing most of the work myself, an undertaking that has inevitably required Herculean effort.

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Bathroom gut job

If I was honest, I’d have to admit there are many sleepless nights when I wonder:

  1. Will I ever actually finish this house?
  2. Will I live to tell about it, or will I need to be buried out back next to the new septic tank?
  3. Will I lose all my savings and have to work in fast food to pay the bills?

So perhaps you’re wondering what keeps me going during these frequent moments of doubt and fear?

  1. Sheer grit.
  2. A deep faith in God and a belief that He has led me to this place for a divine purpose.
  3. An amazing support system of family and friends who have helped me in so many ways, from sharing business contacts to physically helping at the house when I get stuck on a project.
  4. Determination to create a lifestyle where I do work that I love, make money at it, and teach my children what it looks like to work hard, be generous and live abundantly.

Of course, now that a typical day consists of me choking on drywall dust, wading through building debris, and spending far too many hours within two feet of either a toilet or some other sewage pipe, I’ve clung to the 23rd Psalm more than ever before.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
    He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Regardless of each day’s challenges, I’m reminded that the most profound growth we experience in life often comes in our most uncomfortable moments. And I think of the wise advice fellow entrepreneur Amy Howard gave me at Haven this year. “There is fresh water, even in the desert.”

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What have you done lately to venture out of your comfort zone?