10 Common Assumptions About Professional Organizers, Are They True?

Today I wanted to share with you 10 common assumptions about professional organizers and if they are true or false. Obviously this is from my experience and perspective, so other professional organizers may answer differently, but I thought it would be fun to share with you my thoughts!

{ONE} We want you to get rid of everything. FALSE. This is not at all true. We recognize that everyone needs and wants a different amount of items to bring satisfaction and fulfillment to life. We are all in different life stages, requiring different amounts of things. The most important thing is that you get rid of the items that are no longer useful to you, or no longer bring you joy.

{TWO} Every space in our homes is organized or perfect. FALSE. Most professional organizers likely have a “Monica’s Closet” (for you who are fans of the tv show Friends!) I have a few spaces in my home that seem to get disorganized easily or pile up with stuff. We have an attic crawl space, a storage closet in our garage, and the desk in our kitchen which all get out of control from time to time. Truthfully, organization is not something that is once and done. It is a constant process.

The next three assumptions are similar but separate assumptions…

{THREE} We judge you for your disorganization. FALSE. This is certainly not true! We understand that not everyone has the time or ability to easily organize a space. We recognize that you likely hired us because you want your space to be organized but don’t know where to start or how to efficiently do it. We don’t judge your disorganization, and think it’s amazing that you took the step to hire someone to help you get organized!

{FOUR} We judge you for how much you own. FALSE. Like I mentioned with number one, everyone has different needs and wants for how much they own. And everyone is in different life stages, requiring different things. I will certainly organize any amount of stuff, as long as it fits in the space! My only rule is that we do purge any items that you are no longer using or loving because it’s silly to organize things that you no longer want or need. My goal is that when I organize a space, everything has a home!

{FIVE} We judge our friends and family member’s homes. FALSE. This is also false! Most of the time when I go into someone’s home, I experience how THEY make me feel not how their home makes me feel. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to clutter and cleanliness. While I would not like clutter in my own home, I don’t judge other people for clutter in their home because I don’t have to live there!

{SIX} We are perfectionists with attention to detail. TRUE. I will have to say, this assumption is true. I like to call myself a “recovering perfectionist” because I feel like the word perfectionist has a negative connotation. I don’t want to be the type of person who has high or unreasonable expectations on others. I’m learning that sometimes good enough is good enough!

{SEVEN} Organizing comes naturally to us, so it’s really easy for us. TRUE + FALSE. This is true and false. I think there is a natural component to the ability to organize – whether it’s inborn or we are taught to keep our things tidy and to have a place for everything. However, I am not always motivated to organize, declutter, or clean. Also, some projects are challenging and take a lot of thought and time to complete, so while it might come naturally, it’s not always easy.

{EIGHT} Our homes are always tidy. FALSE. This is definitely not true. In my home, I have 5 people who are currently living here. There are constantly things that need to be cleaned up or tidied. Where people live, there will always be things to clean!

{NINE} We are minimalists. FALSE + can be TRUE. This can be true, but certainly not all professional organizers are minimalists. Everyone wants a different amount of things to feel fulfilled in life. Some people like an abundance and some people don’t. Being a minimalist makes it easier to keep things clean and organized with minimal effort, however that doesn’t mean all professional organizers are minimalists.

{TEN} Our kids are also organized. FALSE. Just because we are organized, does not necessarily mean our kids will be organized too. I have two kids who are more on the disorganized side, and one who is more on the organized side. I have taught all three of them techniques to keep their spaces neat and organized, but not all of them follow through. Which is perfectly fine since they are each their own individuals and need to learn to navigate life, and find what works for them!

Well, I hope you found this post interesting or entertaining! Let me know if there are other assumptions you have about professional organizers!

45 Things I’ve Learned In 45 Years

I know this blog post is a little different than my other posts, but heading into the new year I have been thinking about all the things I have learned over the years that I want to truly implement in my life this year! You know how sometimes you can know something in your head, but your heart hasn’t caught up? With several of these things, that is the case for me! I know they are true, but it’s hard in the day to day to carry them out. So, this blog post is just as much for me as it is for you. To write things down and see them in black and white makes a bigger impact than we know!

1 Love is always the answer. This sounds cheesy, but it’s true. If we love others we can’t go wrong.

2 Vulnerability is not a weakness. Usually vulnerability allows others to feel comfortable sharing their own struggles. It is a beautiful thing to have people in your life who know you intimately and can encourage and challenge you to grow and be better!

3 Your body is amazing (everything it has done). Oftentimes, especially as a woman, we can dislike our bodies – shape and size. Instead let’s focus on what our bodies have done and what they can do!

4 Gratitude changes your perspective, be thankful. It can be so easy, especially in this time period with social media so prevalent, to become discontent with what we have, what we can do, with who we are. Instead we should focus on all the positives in our lives!

5 Forgiveness frees you, holding onto resentment doesn’t hurt your offender only you. It’s not easy to forgive. It is certainly a process. But you will find deep peace in forgiving and letting go!

6 You cannot change or control others. You can only control yourself. You are not responsible for others’ behavior, feelings, or reactions. Only focus on yourself and what you can do to change a situation or relationship.

7 Little acts of kindness go farther than you can imagine. You never know what someone is going through. Buying a cup of coffee for the person behind you in the Starbucks line or even just holding the door for someone could really make their day. Or just a smile may change someone’s entire day. I think smiles are underestimated. Even now with wearing masks everywhere, people can see the smile in your eyes.

8 Everyone has their opinions. You do you! Oftentimes people have conflicting opinions, so there is really no way to please everyone! Follow your heart and your gut, and don’t worry about the critics!

9 Fun is underrated, do crazy fun things!

10 Age is just a number, it’s never too late to start something. I used to feel this for sure! There are many examples of people who became successful later in life – Samuel Jackson and Julia Childes just to name a couple. George Eliot says, “It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

11 We aren’t promised tomorrow, so live today to the fullest!

12 Purchasing that “next thing” will not make you more happy.

13 Don’t sweat the small stuff. For real though… I spent way too much of my life being anxious about things that in the long run really didn’t matter. I could have been putting my energy into other things.

14 You will almost always benefit from putting others first. I know this sounds counterintuitive, but trust me on this one!

15 It’s okay if everyone doesn’t like you. You’re not for everyone, so just be yourself!

16 When someone is rude to you or says something rude it usually has nothing to do with you. They are hurting and have not processed the pain.

17 Exercise! Even if it’s just walking. Exercise releases endorphins which is the happy hormone!

18 Never underestimate the power of drinking lots of water! It gives you energy, makes your skin look young, and more!

19 It’s okay to have needs! Everyone has needs. We are human. We can’t do everything ourselves.

20 Communicate your needs. People can’t read your mind. If you need help, ask.

21 Set boundaries. It’s okay to say no. You only have so much time in a day and only so much bandwidth. Say yes to the things you enjoy and will bring you fulfillment.

22 Find something you love and are passionate about and do that! Being able to do something you are passionate about brings energy and life!

23 Don’t be afraid to take risks. It can be scary to step outside of your comfort zone, but oftentimes we are glad we did it, and if we fail…

24 Failure is not a bad thing. It’s a teacher. We can learn and grow from our failures.

25 Being positive is a choice. Choose positivity. We can choose to focus on all the negative things in life, or the positive. Focus on the positive and give more attention to the positive!

26 Adversity is not bad. It helps you grow and to become a better person.

27 Give financially to a cause that’s important to you. Being generous brings fulfillment to life!

28 Volunteer your time to a cause that’s important to you. Being generous with your time also brings fulfillment to life!

29 It is what it is. Sometimes things out of our control happen, so roll with the punches.

30 Rest. Prioritize rest in your life so you don’t get burnt out. Schedule it in if you have to!

31 Don’t go to bed angry. Communicate your hurt. Reconcile. Forgive.

32 Learn new things. Read. Take a class. Watch a YouTube video to learn something new. It is good to stretch and exercise your brain to keep it in shape!

33 Prioritize people over to do lists. I still struggle with this as someone who really likes to get everything checked off my list! But I’m getting better at not looking at the clock when I spend time with people, but instead to just enjoy their company. Along with this, I stopped worrying about if my house was clean or everything was perfect before having people over!

34 Spend money on experiences over things. I believe this with all of my heart! My grandparents were big travelers, so they were an example to us of this principle. Memories are so much more valuable than things!

35 Notice small miracles. I think people can overlook small miracles. Recognizing them builds your faith.

36 Compliment people when you notice something you like about them. I know this can be hard for some people who are shy, but people really appreciate being noticed. Especially in this time when so many people are focused on themselves.

37 Thank people when they help you or do a job well. This is more appreciated than we know. People like to feel valued, like their time and effort was noticed.

38 Listen more than you talk.

39 Give up your place in line. For a mama with a young kiddo, for an older couple, for someone with less items than you.

40 Make the time to cultivate good friendships! It can be easy to get busy in your everyday routines and not prioritize friends, but my friends are truly a Godsend. I don’t think I would make it through this life without them!

41 Don’t worry about perfection, good enough is usually good enough!

42 Burn the nice candles. This one is silly, but I spent many years “saving” my nice candles for a nice occasion, but that occasion usually never came!

43 Your actions will have a bigger influence on your kids (or those you have influence over) than your words. You can teach your kids (or people you influence) all you want how you think they should live, but they notice what you do and will usually replicate that.

44 Pain is not a bad thing. It tells us something is wrong.

45 Pray. This is the only way I am able to get through life!

Well, I hope this was inspiring or encouraging to you today! Also, hope you enjoyed a glimpse into my photo memory lane!

Inspired By Grandma

Unfortunately on Sunday February 2nd of this year, we had to say goodbye to my Grandma. She had lived a long, beautiful life. She was 93 years old, and suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, so it was bitter sweet to say goodbye. Grandma was basically like another mother to me. My grandparents lived 10 minutes from our house, so we spent a lot of time over there. Before my Grandma was a mother or grandmother, she was a teacher. Even after she retired, she continued to “teach” us. I wanted to write about my Grandmother to honor her. Tomorrow I will be saying my last goodbye at her funeral, so I thought it was an appropriate time to share.

Grandma taught me that you don’t have to follow a recipe to whip up something with ingredients you have on hand. Or if we were following a recipe and we had missing ingredients, she always knew how to improvise. Not to mention her cooking was amazing! There’s just something about a grandma’s cooking, right? Almost every Sunday after church Grandma would host us all for lunch – our family, which included 5 kids plus my two cousins. I remember she would wear her apron to the dinner table. I always thought that was funny until I became the main cook of my own little family and learned her secret – that an apron is a sly way that an adult woman can wear a bib! Grandma grew up in the south, so it was fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, fried okra, and banana pudding! There was always a feast on Sunday afternoons.

My Grandparents with my husband and me on our wedding day.

Grandma’s house was a wonderland for kids! They lived in a big house with a basement – where all the fun happened. They also lived on acreage, including a wooded path behind their home. They had a big red barn where Grandpa did all of his woodworking. Every summer they had a garden, and they had a pool too. We spent many summer days over at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, picking ripe fruits and vegetables from their garden, swimming in the pool, and slurping popsicles out in the sun on the deck attached to the front of their house. Summer was the best time to spend the night at Grandma’s house. She would let us sleep with her. We would balloon up the sheets to make a “tent” and laugh and laugh. With the windows open, and the cool summer breeze rushing in through the screen, we would be lulled to sleep by the tune of the bull frogs and crickets who lived outside her window.

My Grandma meeting my firstborn, Cora. Her namesake is from my Grandma’s mother.

A famous story told in our family is “that one time Lorraine (age 6) and Joy (age 4) ran away to Grandma’s house.” Who doesn’t love Grandma’s house more than their own?! Now as a mother with my own children, I am horrified to think about two little pairs of legs walking nearly 4 miles to their Grandma’s house! Don’t worry, I apologize to my mom every time this story comes up! My Grandparents raised our cousins, so our plan was to live in Tim’s room and he would bring us food. When we arrived on their property, we hid out by the big pine tree at the edge of their front yard. We kept peeking around the tree, to see if anyone would see us. We then ran to the next tree – a little closer to the house. Grandma caught a glimpse of the flashes racing across her yard. When she came out and saw that it was us, she of course immediately called our mom – drat, the plan to live in Tim’s room was up. But, she did give us popsicles and let us swim in the pool in our clothes. We were hot after all.

My Grandma with my daughter Cora at my sister’s house in Atlanta.

I loved writing and poetry when I was younger. Grandma always encouraged me to write – a poem or a short story, or just write about your day – what you saw, heard, or felt. A few days after Grandma passed away, I had the urge to “deal with” my teenage angst ridden journals. I had found them in my closet several months back when I was doing a closet purge and I had decided then that I was ready to let those journals go. I didn’t want my kids to one day stumble on these horrible tales of my childhood. I seemed to write only when I had negative feelings, and I wanted to shred those and dispose of them for cathartic purposes. I began the process of shredding. When I got to the mauve Precious Moments journal, and opened the cover, I saw the beautiful scrawling which was my Grandmother’s writing. I ran my fingers over the words, tracing them as I read them. She had given it to me right before I entered high school. She wrote in the front a sweet poem about keeping record of your days. This journal I noticed I used in a different way than the other journals. The other journals were more of a “Dear Diary” scenario. This journal I WROTE. I wrote poems, deep thoughts, and unprocessed unfiltered feelings. Although the content was still angsty, I decided to keep this journal. The timing was so serendipitous. It’s like my Grandma was talking to me through the history of words on paper.

My Grandma, sister, and my sister’s son came out to visit us when we lived in Oregon.

My Grandma  was a teacher at heart, and never passed up opportunities to teach us. She loved to bird watch, and would teach us about the different birds and different bird calls. When we would walk through the woods, across the dilapidated wooden bridge, she would point out different types of trees. One time, I remember collecting leaves, which we would bring home and preserve between two sheets of wax paper using an iron to melt the wax. We got out the encyclopedias to look up what type of tree the leaf belonged to.

Grandma with my son, Luke. My Grandparents came to Austin to visit us!

A great way she taught her grandchildren was through travel and learning about other places. Her and my grandfather traveled all over the world! For each of their 7 grandchildren’s 5th and 11th birthdays, they took us on a special trip somewhere. I had to share my trips with my cousin Tim, because he was my age. Which I didn’t mind because we were good friends. For our 5th birthday trip, we loaded up the camper and drove to Savannah, Georgia. I don’t really remember much from this trip, other than a ride on a ferry boat. I also remember walking down the shoreline, and finding a huge jellyfish. A photo of my cousin and I squatting over this sea monster is still displayed in her home today.

My Grandma with my daughter, Cora.

For our 11th birthday trip, we drove all the way down the northeast coast states – starting up in Maine and working our way down. We went to a small fisherman’s town in Maine, where I learned you don’t eat the tails on shrimp. We went to New York City where I saw the first homeless person I had ever seen, was lectured by a woman with a cane on the subway that I should learn manners and give my seat to the “elderly” (referring to herself), and tried to walk up all the flights of stairs in the Statue of Liberty because the elevator was broken. Well, at least we made it to her feet! We went to D.C. where we walked past the white house, saw the Capitol Building, the Lincoln Memorial, and of course The Mall. We also went to the Smithsonian Museum.

Grandma always had funny, made up songs for everything. She liked to make us giggle. One time, on a trip traveling in her camper, we were sitting in the top bed overlooking the road as Grandpa drove the 5th wheel. We drove through a section of roadway that was nothing but pine trees across the hillside, as far as the eye could see. She started singing, “pine treeeeees, pine treeeees, pine trees. Pine treeeees, pine treeeees, pine trees,” then she paused for a moment and started this chorus again. We were both rolling with laughter!

My Grandma with my sons, Luke and Cade.

My college degree is in Journalism. I loved writing, even when I was very young. I attribute my love for writing and poetry to my Grandmother, who encouraged it in me. Today, I may not have a job using my journalism and writing skills, but over the years I have written in different capacities including currently writing blog posts. I thought it apropo to write a tribute to my Grandmother. I’ll end with a poem that I wrote about my Grandma when I was young.

A Grandma’s Love For Nature

By Joy L. Vendrely

I always wondered why Grandma stopped to look at flowers…

…For hours.

Why did she want to look at a waterfall?

That’s all.

Or admire a mountain with trees spread across…

…As if she were lost?

Grandma loves to collect shells from the ocean off the sand,

Just because she can.

I always wondered, but now I know…

…Because nature told me so.