Today I’m interviewing Amber of Re-Organizing Mom. Amber is a beautiful friend and if you’re not already following her on twitter, you really should. She also writes at Unlikely Mama and has graciously agreed to be my official Blogher correspondent, given that so far no one has offered to sponsor my trip from Australia to New York. Go ahead, go over to her site and soak up the awesomeness. I’ll wait.
Before you had Alexa, were you a super-organised person?
Wow, was I ever! I actually had an organizing business. I would go into other people’s homes and whip them into shape. Even as a child I loved to tear my room apart and put it back together. I was really into moving furniture around, even drew our floor-plans before I would act When I had a “real job” in the corporate world, people would comment that my desk was too neat. That I must not have enough to do. I’m just the type that puts my things away when i’m not working on them. So I try to keep just one task at hand at any given moment. Well, I should say, I used to keep one task open. NOW I’m fluttering through my day trying to remember why I entered a particular room
Did you manage to keep yourself just as organised when Alexa was first born or did it all go out the window straight away?
I can honestly say the only real things that were kept organized were my pumping, and our family website postings (pictures, updates, etc). I had very little control over most of what was happening while Alexa was in the NICU, so I kept to a rigid pumping schedule…which meant all my supplies had to be in order and everything was timed (maybe too much). The other side of that was I had more free time than most new moms. While I went to the hospital almost everyday (missed maybe 2 days in those 5 weeks), I was still home alone more often than most with a new baby. Soooooo I updated the website like crazy. I downloaded all the photos each day and organized them into folders (online and off). It kept me sane. It gave me something to do.
Once we brought Alexa home we still nursed on a similar schedule to the pumping, and the website was kept updated (though not as frequently because there just weren’t as many details day to day like there were when we were surrounded by doctors!). Peter was home for the first 2 weeks with Alexa, and then my mother came and visited for a few weeks. She didn’t stay with us, but was over visiting just about everyday. This helped me keep things in order around the house. It probably would have been best if my mother was the one cleaning instead of always wanting to hold the baby…but she didn’t offer and I didn’t ask. Lesson learned (IF there’s EVER a next time, lol).
After everyone left and I was home alone with Alexa, I basically did nothing ALL day until Peter came home. She nursed around the clock, and wouldn’t sleep unless she was in my arms (well we could trick her into sleeping in the swing from time to time), but for the most part I held her 24 hours a day. I would, however, hand her off to Peter for a couple of hours at night so I could clean, do laundry, stuff diapers, etc.
The house may never be as clean and orderly as it once was, but I’m ok with that. We get the important stuff done around here,,,and the most important thing we do is fully engage our daughter. I know you can relate
How did you get the idea for Re-organizing Mom? Is it anything to do with my theory that if you have any chance of getting something done you need to blog about it?
I really like your theory! But, no…I started it around the same time that I decided to finally dissolve my professional organizing business for good. I just felt like a fraud trying to help my, just one remaining, client. It’s hard enough for me to remember to pay my bills or shower, adding a list of things to research for her….or just trying to find the time to type up session notes, goals for next time, etc….well I knew it was time to call it quits.
Just because I don’t feel like I can run a business doesn’t mean that I don’t want to get back to my old self some day. Starting a blog (that I am sorely neglecting!) about organizing seemed like a logical step. Maybe one day I’ll muster up the energy to start posting over there again. Sadly, I haven’t been taking any of my own advice. I have so many ideas in my head, just no time to put pen to paper (or well…fingers to keyboard, ha).
Best 5 things people can do to start getting organised?
- Take stock of what you have and purge purge PURGE things you don’t use, need, or LOVE. Keeping things you don’t use cost you valuable time when you need to find something you do use, and paying for a bigger house to store clutter is a waste of valuable money.
- Create a “natural” space for everything. (EX: Does your mail pile up on the table next to the TV? Why not create a mail station right there. It’s obviously where you’re naturally inclined to sort it.) Basically, see where you normally find yourself leaving things, and create an official space for them right there! It will save you time and the headache of getting used to taking your tasks elsewhere.
- Go paperless. Paper is a HUGE clutter problem for most people. It’s also something physical we can lose or bury…and then forget to deal with. If you can, stop all paper statements. They will be less to file (you don’t really need to file them anyway!), Less garbage, and it’s faster to pay bills online anyway. You can always download and print a statement if there’s something that you really want to save.
- Make lists! For everything from groceries that need to be purchased, to random things you wish you had time to do. I keep a book in the kitchen so that I can jot down food that we run out of before I forget about it. I also tend to text message myself (from phone to my email) of things that I need to look up…using my inbox as a sort of ongoing to-do list.
- Work in 15 minute blocks. Does your state of disorganization overwhelm you? Can’t imagine tackling the whole problem at once? Well then don’t. Set a timer and then sit down with your pile to sort, or your chore to do. Work for the alloted time, and when the timer sounds, be done. Don’t think about it again until the next day. You can do 15 minutes a day, I promise
And the biggest mistakes people make?
This is a hard one, because not everyone makes the same mistakes. Though…I would have to say, most of my old clients made the mistake of thinking they could do it all themselves.
I’m not saying that everyone needs a professional organizer to come in and whip them into shape…but there are some ways to take the burden off only you. Don’t try to remember everything you have to do just by making a “mental note” of it. If you’re already disorganized, chances are there’s some stress in the mix. Forgetfulness is soon to follow, I know it does for me
Automate things to make your life easier.
- Don’t want to be a nag about chores? Use an online reminder program (like ChoreBuster) to send those nags to your family’s inbox.
- Can’t remember appointments to save your life? Use your phone’s calendar program to input the date and time as soon as you schedule one (almost everyone has a smartphone these days right?).
- Keep forgetting to pay bills on time. Enter in the due date into your email program’s calendar (Outlook is my fave, but Google calendar is great too!), just make sure to enter in a date that’s BEFORE they’re due…specially if you’re still sending checks.
- For that matter, why are you still writing checks? Pay bills online, set up auto-debits, set up email reminders from your major creditors.
Basically, make technology work for your. Create your own personal assistant. It takes some time to set up and get used to doing, but it’s SOOO much easier in the long run.
Thanks so much to Amber for participating in this interview and for all her insights, in spite of my somewhat disorganised and haphazard emailing!
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