Change – The Ultimate Organizing Test

A lot has been happening in my family’s life lately. We have already and continue to make some big changes.

  1. In the fall I left my corporate job. It was a necessary move but one we weren’t really prepared for – emotionally or financially.
  2. This month I began a new part-time job in an entirely different industry and career path. I’m very excited about it but there’s a lot to learn and I’m starting at the beginning.
  3. Two kids started their first season of competitive sports – and the time commitments are pretty intense. And these are not sports with a “season” really – they are the kind where you practice extensively year-round (gymnastics & cheer).
  4. We decided to relocate our family back across the country to be closer to family at the end of the school year. This means we have to sell our home, find new jobs, and find something new.

It’s a lot. I have to admit that I’ve struggled to hold everything together some days. But we are making it work. So over the next few months I’ll be sharing this journey with you – the good, the bad, and the very messy.

Life IS messy. It does not always stick to the plans we set out to follow. So I’m finding my routines and organizing strategies are that much more important… and that much harder to stick to. I hope you’ll follow along as I share with you the challenges and successes of organizing through major life changes.


So Much More Than Good Enough

This post is for the women out there who’ve ever felt “less than” because of something they’ve seen on a blog.

Have you ever read a blog post and thought, “Oh, that’s gorgeous. What a great idea! Too bad I don’t have time for that!”?  What, you just read one of those this morning?  I thought so.

If you’ve wandered around the blog world long enough you’ve seen all make and manner of wonderfully creative ideas.  Women are out there writing about food, home decor, crafting and every manner of amazing ideas you can think of (or couldn’t think of, as the case may be).

These are women who hit the thrift stores and estate sales.  They own cricuts and silhouettes.  They bake from scratch and grind their wheat into flour for home baked breads.  They are homeschooling their children while sewing awesome blankets to sell on etsy. They are, simply put, amazing.

You know what… I’m not one of those women. 
* I like to think I could be crafty but the closest I get to creative is picking out a wall color from a swatch.
* I have illusions delusions of grand sewing skills but the last time my sewing machine got use is when my awesome mom made my daughter’s Halloween costume.
* I want to scrapbook or digi-scrap or something with the word scrap in it, but the nearest I come is scrapping plans for a home cooked dinner when one of my little ones comes down with a nasty virus.
* I tried baking my own bread but the high altitude in Colorado wouldn’t let it turn out right (at least that’s what I tell myself) so if I want something “home baked” I buy frozen loaves.
* The last (and first) time I attempted to give something in my home a shabby-chic weathered look it just looked, well, shabby.

And you want to know the real secret… neither are any of those awesome bloggers we all admire. They each have their strengths and that’s what they write about. That may not be your strength. And that’s okay.

I still haven’t found one who is ALL of those things.  Bloggers write about what they know best.  Otherwise you wouldn’t read them!  And that’s the beauty of the blog world.  You can find the best of the best in all kinds of areas.

Please, please, please do not measure yourself against others.  Take the talents others have to share and fit them into your life as best you can, and as much as you want to.  You are amazing just the way you are.  You’re out there living a life – working (whether at home or in an office), taking care of family (kids, pets, parents & spouses), and trying to find your own patch of peace in this world.  Give yourself the grace to know that you are good enough – more so, even.

Be kind to yourself.  If your organizing projects don’t include cute handmade tags that color coordinate with the color of your towels, don’t worry.  If your organizing feels more like being glad your kids at least got the towels in the right closet on the right shelf then your doing just fine. 

Here at Delightfully Organized my goal is to give you practical examples of how everyone can enhance their life by making things just a bit more simple.  The goal of organizing isn’t to impress your friends, it’s to make your life easier.  Stick around and let me help you do just that.

Confessions & Resolutions

Today I was playing around with the manual settings on my camera.  I was inspired by this post by Centsational Girl.  I decided it would be a great opportunity to take some before pictures of my biggest organizational embarrassements challenges.

These are spaces that are functional enough for now but really, really could be better.  However, because they are out-of-sight they are also often out-of-mind. 

The Master Bedroom
I have a hidden drawer in the top of my dresser.  I use it for two things – jewelry & unmatched socks.  The socks come and go as their matches eventually make it through the laundry cycle.  The jewelry is here to stay.  For now the pieces are sorted (mostly) into their original boxes.  But the labels on on the SIDES of the boxes.  And while I know which pieces are where for the most part, I still end up having to pick up the box to see if I have the right thing.

The Master Bath
The Drawer.  There is exactly one (1) drawer in our master bath.  I have commandeered 95% of it from Mr. Brown.  It works because I don’t keep it overstuffed.  But there are a lot of little things lurking in the back that probably need to go.

Mr. Brown’s cabinet.  Much like the drawer, I have commandeered most of Mr. Brown’s vanity cabinet for cleaning supplies.  Just looking at this makes me wince.  At least I have child locks to keep the little people out!

My cabinet.  Not too much of an issue for me on a daily basis because I only get in here to grab my blow-dryer and flat iron.  But definitely needs some help.

Above the loo.  This space is screaming to be utilized.  I think we’ve hung something on that towel bar exactly 5 times in our 5 years in this house.  This spot would be so amazing with some functional beautiful shelving.

Our Command Center
This space works well for the most part.  It has a clock, hooks for keys, a pen holder and 7 drawers of various assignment.  The top of it tends to be a clutter collector, however.
*Note – the paper on the side is my daughter’s “checklist” (in crayon!) of things she needed to do to plan a special treat for daddy on Sunday.

My drawer.  My father worked on this project over the holidays.  We turned our cute little drawers into a charging station.  The top two drawers have hidden power strips mounted to the inside back and hold all of our chargers (phones, camera batteries, etc).  It’s so convenient.  But because all the stuff was removed to do the modification I have held off on putting things back until I knew how I wanted it.  So for now my drawer is mostly bare.

And la piece de resistance….
Our ultimate clutter catcher…. the kitchen island.  This is especially bad because it has all the things that came out of the drawers during the modification and my sadly dying birthday roses. But even when this stuff isn’t here, it’s so hard for my family to leave this flat surface alone.

This year, I plan to find new solutions for these spaces.   Stay tuned.  And if you have any good suggestions for me, feel free to share!

Random thoughts in the middle of the night

It is late.  I should be sleeping.  One or more of my children will likely wake up with some kind of need in about 4 hours.  But here I sit, unable to sleep.  My brain is working much too hard and I have been working on idea capture.

What am I thinking about?  My life.  Specifically, how do I best combine the two worlds I inhabit. 

If you haven’t read my brief bio then let me summarize.  I have a background in Industrial Engineering.  I know, you are thinking Industrial Engineering.  I’ve heard of chemical and mechanical and even electrical.  But industrial?  It’s not the most popular engineering discipline out there but it is the one that most people never knew they always needed.  Industrial engineers solve problems on how to make things work better.  They are always looking at their worlds – both in their jobs and the rest of their lives and trying to find the way that makes the most sense, takes the least effort, uses the fewest resources or takes the shortest amount of time.  You know your annoying friend who likes her dishwasher loaded “just so”.  She could be an industrial engineer.

That’s what I do at my day job.  Yep – I have a day job.  I enjoy it, mostly.  I help solve problems and improve processes in a very “industrial” environment. 

But then there’s the rest of my time.  My family, my home, my LIFE.  You know what I do during those parts of my day.  I solve problems.  I make processes move more smoothly.  I am constantly trying to find a better way to get things done.  (and trust me, with a husband and three kids we need all the process improvements we can get)

What I find over and over is that these two worlds overlap in my brain.  When I am trying to work out a problem at work, I rely on principles of good home organization.  When I’m trying to make a functional closet space for my kids, I think about the techniques I learned in graduate school and use at my job.  For me, I cannot separate the two.  At least not in my head.  Good flow is good flow wherever you may find it.

What I realized tonight is that I’ve only been giving you, my dear readers, half of my brain.  I’ve been giving you the home half.  But you know what?  I think that’s about to change.  There’s a lot to be learned by teaching all of you some of the “tricks of the trade” among industrial engineers.  I hope you’ll join me down this path.

When Life Happens

I must apologize for my absence over the last week.  I know many of you have been looking forward to your daily information on living more organized.

Where have I been?  I’ve been having the type of week that challenges even the most organized among us.  I’ve had two sick kids and caught their nasty germs myself.  Croup, vomiting, ear infections, sore throats, whining, crying, watching too much TV… and the kids were in pretty rough shape too J.

The truth is, a week like this will put the brakes on everything except survival mode.  I still managed to shower every day.  And the laundry got clean (at least the important pieces) and the dishes were washed.  But not much else happened.  If you were to walk into my home today you’d be appalled that I profess to live a delightfully organized life.  My home is certainly not delightful and nowhere near organized.  There are toys all over the family room floor, the sheets haven’t been changed in far too long to mention, our laundry – while clean – is still sitting in the baskets waiting to be put away, and the kitchen floor has far too many cheerios and smashed grapes on it.  And, oh yes, my inbox is out of control with unread and un-responded-to messages.

But I make no excuses.  I was caring for my babies and myself and that was more important than any cleaning. 

Sometimes LIFE gets in the way of our best laid plans.  And that’s okay.  This is actually a great example of what I mean by living organized rather than simply getting organized.  When we “get” organized we then can easily get discouraged when things run amok for a little while.  But when we “live” organized, we know that there will be bumps on the road and that is just fine.  No one will judge us for not having a magazine-worthy home on the heels of illness. We’ll just brush ourselves off and get back to it tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow…. Look for some catch up posts in the series to debut tomorrow.  I think we are all on our way back to healthy now.

Delightfully ….. in pain

Your delighted organizer has spent the past week undergoing the not as delightful task of several trips to multiple dentists ending in not one, but two root canals. And I am heading off tomorrow for a trip combining the wedding of a very dear friend and an organizational project near and dear to my own heart. I look forward to sharing details with you all upon my return.

Have a delightful weekend!