Twelve months ago, my mother in law came into town for a week and we organized EVERY SINGLE ROOM in my house. I know what you’re thinking: your mother in law?!? HAHA, yes, she is also an amazing organizer, and just like my own clients it takes a 3rd party to REALLY make the BIG changes. So, she came into town and WE DID IT!

As a “creative soul meets Southerner” I struggle with making fabulous décor decisions and being organized while also being a huge sentimentalist. (“Ummm, y’all, my Mam’ma gave me that vase, yes, it’s ugly but I can’t throw that out.”) And on a VERY personal note, I went through a tough divorce. My three children, myself and the 2 dogs lived like gypsies for a bit – so once I was finally settled again, I was holding onto EVERYTHING and not being my usual organized, sassy self. I took a week off of work and it was organizing meets deep therapy – that also made my home look AMAZING {again} and really reminded me, what is important, and that less, really, is more.

If you need to do a serious deep clean/organization like I did- I 100% insist that you have to hire a professional. Throwing out items en masse, figuring out your organizational style etc. actually gets pretty emotional. You need someone like me to keep you laughing as you throw out those old sorority t-shirts you’re never going to wear again. Now, if you’re not quite ready for me to make you cry because I tell you that you’ll have to throw out half of your wardrobe, then here are the baby steps! In many of my lectures on décor and decluttering, I make sure all of my clients know that usually, you’ve got to start SMALL. Give yourself some grace, remember that there is perfection in imperfection.

Here are 7 basic organizational tips to jump start your organizational efforts:

1. Get yourself ready first

Just like in airplane safety videos — where they tell you to put on your oxygen mask before putting on your child’s — I make sure that I get ready before worrying about everyone else. I get up 15 minutes before my kiddos and that gives me time to get myself together. Also, I can get it done in 15 minutes because my closet is organized, my jewelry and makeup are organized yadda yadda~ you’ll get there too. You’ll be surprised how much it will change you.

2. Make your bed.

A few years ago, the book & speech by Admiral William H. McCraven went viral~ “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World”. To quote the Admiral ~

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day, It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.  Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

I don’t know that I can say it any better?

3. Do a load of laundry in the morning.

There is always going to be debate on waiting and doing one MASSIVE amount of laundry once a week versus doing loads when you can. Our house, we do the loads throughout the week. Small task! In fact, all 3 children (12, 14, 15) all must do the majority of their personal laundry. But, as I’m making sure everyone has their breakfast, lunch, letting the dogs out- I throw in a load. I have a cycle that is 15 minutes long- right before I’m getting everyone out the door it’s done and I throw it in the dryer. I can home and presto- fresh, clean clothes for one of the children to fold.

4. Schedule time to procrastinate.

Don’t update your “to do list”, don’t email teachers, give yourself a few minutes to zone out and recharge. Just Do IT… or actually don’t.

5. Carry a notebook.

It’s hard to imagine in this age & day but I am telling you organized people write things down! I have a notepad, and an old-fashioned calendar that I carry around- I’m constantly writing in it. Having 3 children and being self-employed- I wasn’t able to get the notes on my phone the way that I needed. At the end of every night- I go through my notes… which leads me to organizational tip #6…

6. Email yourself.

Take the notes and “to do” list, email it to yourself, whatever doesn’t get done that day- copy and paste it onto the next days… and so on. You’ll have an electronic version of what needs to be done and you can keep updating it as needed.

7. Say no.

I used to feel like I had to say yes to everything — play dates, helping out at school, all sorts of extra stuff — and I was driving myself crazy trying to stick to an even crazier schedule. Don’t give an excuse. Simply say no before you take on even more responsibilities. Done and done.

I’d love to hear your own personal organizational tips, and tricks – and if you haven’t read “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World,” then I highly recommend you pick up a copy or download it. It’s about small steps and I truly am ALL ABOUT small steps!

Lizz Luckhart Schleifer

Lizz Luckhart Schleifer is the owner of Lizz Luckhart Designs - Haus & Garden Styling, a Modern Southern Belle and a Busy Mom of 3 active children. She specializes in helping over-scheduled Moms & Dads DECORATE, DECLUTTER and DECOMPRESS.

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