The Building Blocks of an Organized Lifestyle – Part 1

Building Blocks of an Organized Lifestyle

As you start a new year and resolve once again to get organized, you may question if that’s even possible for you.  You’ve tried before in the past, without much success.  It just doesn’t seem that you were meant to be an organized person.

Perhaps, you wonder, if being organized is a trait only a few are born with? Or is there a specific formula you missed and if you could just apply and follow it, you’d be able to accomplish your dream?

Sadly, there’s no evidence supporting organizing as a character or personality trait, nor is there a magical formula or method for you to put into practice.  In truth, being organized is a skill anyone can learn. 

And as with any skill, there is a  series of steps or building blocks,  you have to follow in order to master the skill.  Being organized is no exception.

So what are the building blocks of an organized lifestyle?  Let’s take a look….

The Building Blocks of an Organized Lifestyle

While there are some people who have a talent or strong inclination towards a skill, most people are starting from square one.  They are learning the basics first so that they can build a firm foundation that will allow them to become a master.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what steps or building blocks someone would need to complete in order to consider themselves an “organizing guru”.  They would look something like this:

Building Blocks

Let’s take a look at the first few blocks and see what each one entails and how you can conquer them to build an orderly life:

1. Choose – No one can make you be organized. Granted, they may try, but in truth, the decision is ultimately yours.  You have to choose order over chaos. You have to choose to develop the skill.  You’ll also have to choose to: break up with your clutter, gain knowledge,  make the time,  get started and put in the effort.  Until you make a choice, nothing will ever happen.

2.  Commit – Once you’ve made the choice to get organized, then you have to commit to the process. Commitment is defined as “dedication or devotion to an activity”.  In other words, no more lip service and no more excuses.  Committing to an organized life means doing the work, however hard it may be.  It means pushing through, even though every part of you wants to quit.

One thing that might make the commitment process easier for you is to define your “why”.  Before you can learn the “how” of being organized you need to establish “why” you want to get organized.  This “why” will be your motivating factor and will be what keeps you going when you want to give up.  Although you may make the choice to get organized, if you don’t commit fully to the process then you’ll never master the skill.

3.  Start – While it may seem like an easy block to conquer, getting to the starting line can be much harder than you think.  You may find that once you commit to the organizing process, things will come up in your life to distract you and keep you from starting the process.

Fear, doubts, situations, and other people may paralyze you from taking action.  Regardless of how you feel, or what others may think or say if you truly want an organized life you have to put one foot in front of the other and walk up to the starting line. Once you do, you’ll begin the journey of a lifetime.

4.  Be able to make decisions.  Barbara Hemphill says that clutter (and ultimately chaos) is the result of postponed decisions. Uncertainty, doubt, and fear can keep you from making a decision about whether or not to keep something and where or how you should create homes for the items you own.  The inability to make decisions is a major stumbling block for many people.

You need to be willing, and able, to make decisions (and lots of them!) on your journey to an organized life.  While it may seem difficult at first, the more decisions you make, the more courage and confidence you’ll gain in your decision-making.  Eventually, you’ll reach a point where deciding on something no longer torments you and in fact, becomes second nature.  When that happens, you’ll find the next building block much easier to tackle.

We’ll take a look at the last 5 building blocks in next week’s post, so stay tuned!

But before you go, what are your thoughts about the four building blocks of an organized lifestyle? Have you ever given much thought to them or realized how essential they were to your organizing journey?  Let’s start a conversation – leave a comment below!


Soulful Simplicity: An Interview with Courtney Carver

Soulful Simplicity

In a world that screams for more, is it possible to live with less?

Simplicity expert and author, Courtney Carver, not only believes it’s possible, she’s proof that you can.

A wake-up call from her doctor was all it took for Courtney to realize that there’s more to life than the pursuit of more.  With a new outlook on life, she learned how to let go of busyness and the obsession with material things and exchanged them for a lifestyle of simplicity, peace, and joy.

Now she wants to help you do the same.

In her new book, Soulful Simplicity, Courtney shows us how to pare down not only our closets but our mental and emotional spaces. Providing tips for living a life of practical minimalism, she outlines how to cut out the clutter, dig out of debt and make the space and time for ourselves and loved ones. Along the way, Courtney shares her personal story with Multiple Sclerosis (MS)—how the stress of working at a job that didn’t align with her heart impacted her health, and how she identified the source of her debt and rebuilt her financial future.

In this honest and thought-provoking interview, Courtney and I discuss:

  • the details of the wake-up call that started her on the journey to simplicity
  • the steps she took to bring simplicity to her heart, home and life
  • how our emotions keep us from a lifestyle of simplicity and how to overcome them
  • the importance of understanding your “why” before you get to the “how”
  • the choices we make and how they affect our ability to have a simpler lifestyle
  • her minimalist fashion challenge Project 333,
  • her Busy Boycott
  • and much more!

If you are overwhelmed, stressed out and exhausted from a life of too much, this interview (and book) is for you! 

About Courtney Carver

Courtney Carver changed her life by simplifying it after a devastating diagnosis in 2006. She’s the founder of and has been featured in countless articles, podcasts, and interviews on simplicity, and is the creator of the minimalist fashion challenge, Project 333, which was featured in O Magazine and Real Simple. In her new book Soulful Simplicity Carver shows us the power of simplicity to improve our health, build more meaningful relationships, and relieve stress in our professional and personal lives. You can connect with Courtney on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.


Soulful SimplicityLeave a comment below with your thoughts about the interview, Courtney’s journey, or her challenge to us to live with less and you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive a free copy of her new book, Soulful Simplicity! The drawing ends January 5, 2018, and is only open to US residents.














Professional Organizers’ Christmas Wish List

Professional organizers' Christmas wish list

At this time of year, it’s normal for service-based providers to share gift ideas with their clients and followers.  Every holiday season they spend hours searching for the best products and resources to recommend.

As a Professional Organizer, I’ve shared countless ideas for Christmas presents, from clutter-free experiences to the best organizing gifts.  So have many of the other wonderful Professional Organizers I know.

But then I wondered, what would a Professional Organizer want for Christmas? They give so much not only at Christmas, but all year long,  so what would they like to see wrapped up under the tree?  To find out, I asked some of my fellow organizers and their answers ranged from the practical to the hopeful!

What a Professional Organizer Wants for Christmas

Here, in no particular order, are the holiday dreams and wishes of some of the best organizing experts around:

“I wish we would choose to travel lighter in life. That we would shop consciously for the things we allow into our space. To gift ourselves the freedom to let go of the things we feel so charged about, but end up in a closet or the garage collecting dust; so that we could live less stressed out lives and spend more time savoring the moments.”  – Elva Fonseca, Sensational Organizing

“A massage!” – Clare Kumar,  Streamlife – Organizing & Productivity – Consulting & Coaching

“Freedom from guilt about letting go of things. No matter who gave it to you, how much it cost, what a great bargain it was, or the story behind it, it is still just a thing. If it doesn’t improve your life, it can go in peace.” – Seana Turner, The Seana Method

“I’d love a weekly cooking service to have our dinners made, grocery shopping included. ‪I can keep my house clean in a cinch but the menu planning, grocery shopping, and all the cooking still take a lot of time. Add that to work, driving kids and all the practices, I feel like a hero for having dinner at the table daily.” – Helena Alkhas, Instructor at National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals

“I wish my clients would make self-care a priority! So many times the “mess” developed when life got crazy and the client has stopped taking time to focus on their own needs and care.”  – Melissa Rogers, Modified by Melissa

“I’d say I want a house cleaning service. We all know there’s a difference between cleaning and organizing and while I love to organize a space, I’m not big on dusting and mopping. And with being so busy with clients my house gets neglected!” – Sarah Soboleski, Classically Organized Counseling

“I’d love for clients to be guilt-free for asking for help. I suppose the other way to look at that would be to be confident enough to ask for help; be proud of themselves for being smart enough to ask for help. Any way you want to word that works for me.” – Debbie Pendell, Down Pineapple Lane

“Tickets to a concert (or any clutter-free gift!)” – Hilda Rodgers, From Overwhelmed to Organized

“Understanding Brain Based Conditions, like ADHD, depression, and bi-polar. With these conditions, it’s all about learning and education.” – Ellen Delap,

“I want others to be appreciative of what they have, let go of what makes them sad, and recognize that there is joy in their lives regardless of the external factors.” – Sabrina Quairoli, Sabrina’s Organizing

“Tickets to an event/refills of nice soap or favorite hand cream/movie passes (popcorn included)/wine gift cards/chocolate… Also, TIME! Babysitting?” – Debbie Bunze

What a wonderful and varied list! Thank you to all the Professional Organizers who contributed to this post. I hope that your holiday wishes and dreams come true this Christmas!





The Best Organizing Gift Ideas for the Special People in Your Life

Gift ideas

It’s no secret that professional organizers love to suggest gifts that promote an organized lifestyle. That type of gift-giving is just in their blood!

While some people may not cherish the clutter-free gifts and experiences that most organizers recommend,  there are some great organizing gifts that are a perfect fit for those special people in your life.

Organizing Gift Ideas

Rather than knocking yourself out trying to find them a “unique” gift, why not bestow them with a gift that not only aligns with their passion, profession, hobby or interest but will also corral the clutter that goes along with it?

Here’s a list of organizing gift ideas for those often hard-to-shop-for family and friends:


We love our teachers, but honestly, they don’t want any more candles, candies, or perfume. That’s why an organizing product makes a perfect gift for them! While it may not seem like the most memorable gift they’ll receive, there’s no doubt they would appreciate anything that can help them manage kids and the clutter that comes with them, better!

Time Timer

World Travelers

Die-hard travel lovers know that to freely roam the world they have to do so with very little baggage. That’s why it’s important for them to have the right tools to organize and maximize the small amount of space they have for their worldly belongings. These practical organizing items allow your world traveler to head out on their next adventure at a moment’s notice:

Sholdit scarf


In reality, the fashionistas in your life don’t need more clothes, shoes, or jewelry. What they really need is a way to manage everything they already have. Help them appreciate and find the items they love the most with these stylish organizing gems:

Threads tax


While cooking can be a messy endeavor, professional chefs maintain an organized kitchen at all times. By having a space that is orderly and neat, chefs can easily create masterpieces that tantalize our taste buds and keep us begging for more! Show the cook in your life some love with these handy kitchen resources:

Pan Organizer

New Parents

Everyone loves to shower new parents with cute clothes, books, toys, and keepsakes at Christmastime. Although these are great gifts parents will surely treasure, why not give them gifts they don’t even realize they need? They may not be the flashiest gadget or the most adorable present, but new parents will be thanking you a hundred times over for making their lives so much easier and orderly with these helpful organizers:

Aquatopia bath caddy



There’s often a fine line to watch when giving gifts to co-workers. You don’t want to spend too much, spend too little or offer a present that promotes the wrong idea. Stay professional and on the safe side of the work line with these creative gift ideas:


Don’t let the pressure to find the “perfect” gift rob you of your holiday joy! Consider choosing one or more of these organizing gift ideas to let the special people in your life know how much you cherish and care for them.  After all, isn’t that what the giving spirit is all about?

Which of these organizing gift ideas are you going to give to that special someone in your life?

Leave a comment and let me know! Don’t worry your secret will be safe with me 🙂


Need more Christmas organizing help? Grab a copy of my 25 Ways to a More Organized Christmas! This short guide will show you how to plan and prioritize your activities so you can focus on what matters most this Christmas, as well as help you organize all the details of the holiday season.




** This post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission if you purchase any of the items I’ve suggested to you.