As you probably know, I like to focus on the positive in life and on this blog. But sometimes, before you even know what is coming, life smacks you in the forehead and lets you know that despite all your planning, sometimes you just don’t have the upper hand.
In 2006, Stefan and I did something that a lot of people thought was pretty crazy. We bought an old farmhouse near Frankfurt and started renovating it and converting it into what we considered a dream home. But anyone who has their own home, especially an old one, knows that working on a house is a never ending job. And when you’re doing that will also trying to manage your own 4 companies, it’s nearly impossible. At least something in that equation is going to suffer. And in this case, it ended up being me…
You see, not only was I working long hours (and on weekends, too) but so was my husband. And in addition to the “real” jobs, we had a to do list as tall as the house, a bunch of housework to keep up with, a garden we had started since we wanted to become more sustainable, a big dog to take care of and the list went on and on. But I’m sure you’ve heard it (and lived it) all before!
Things got even more complicated a few years later when I found out I was pregnant. If I thought I was overwhelmed before, I was about to get schooled.
So as you might imagine, it wasn’t too long before I was starting to lose control of everything. Our house was a mess and basically only really got clean when someone was coming to visit us, nothing was getting done on our to do list and eventually I even started becoming less productive at work — the one place where I had always continued to focus most of my efforts. I was headed for a burn out in a hurry and I knew I had to make some changes quickly or things were not going to turn out well.
I could have easily just caved, but instead I decided it was time to learn how to organize life.
I got myself together and first started with getting my businesses back on track. Because that’s where money was coming from to keep “the dream” going. And I began creating plans and realistic to do lists for myself that helped me manage my time better, become more productive and get everything done around the house that needed to be done. Needless to say, I didn’t get it all right the first time, but I kept tweaking things and making adjustments, pecking away at the chaos. And eventually I was looking at a clean house! It definitely wasn’t free of clutter or anything I would want to use as a showcase home, but at least I wasn’t freaking out that my toddler was going to catch something from eating off the floors!
Once I was back in control of my businesses and the daily housework, I could finally give a bit of time to myself as well. I started to feel like a real human again and didn’t have to constantly feel guilty about sitting down for a few minutes during the day instead of constantly keeping at the chores and work.
And so I knew it was time to work on the clutter.
As I regained control in my business and at home, I started to have more time for myself as well. And once I was starting to feel like a real human again, I found myself ready to tackle all of the clutter we’d been gathering for 12 years. I had a 12 month timeline all worked out and had managed to declutter the closet and our bookshelves… when life threw us yet another twist. A job opportunity in a new city was being offered to my husband, and it was just too good to refuse. So my plans to declutter all of our belongings in 12 months suddenly became something we had to do in less than 3 months…and although it wasn’t easy, we managed to pull it off with lots of planning and consistently chipping away at it all.
After many friends and family members noticed a change in us, despite all of the chaos of moving and purging stuff by the truck load. We were happier & somehow also healthier… and they wanted to know our secret. Part of it resulted from how happy we were that we could bless other people with things that had just been taking up space in our house. We used Freecycle a LOT for that project and to have someone show up and truly be ecstatic about the table or box of baby toys they were taking was a wonderful feeling. But it was also just being released of so many “things” that were just littering up our life and ending some of the chaos that had been bearing down on us. That’s when it dawned on me that if my friends were having the same struggles with the daily routines of life and needing to be everywhere all at once, there must be numerous other people out there trying to achieve the same goals but having to struggle through the whole process.
You’ve got enough challenges in your life already — living in a clean organized home and having enough time to do all the things you love in life shouldn’t be something you have to chase after fruitlessly.
Later today, for the first time ever, I will be releasing my new course, Decluttering Made Easy. It’s a full 52-week program that will not only help you turn your home into an organized, decluttered oasis, but also teach you how to manage your time better, set goals, prioritize your life and be more productive. these are lessons that not only apply for a few days or a week .. but for the rest of your life. And it can all be done in just a few minutes a day.
I’d love to tell you more about it, so go check out the new website. And if you hurry, you can also grab yourself a free ebook about how to use Evernote to kill paper clutter and organize big projects, as well as get a quick start checklist for decluttering!