Workplaces, classrooms, entertainment venues and more: our homes are doing a lot these days! That means it's more important than ever (but much harder) to keep them as clutter-free as possible. Not only that, spending so much time at home is all the more reason it should feel like an oasis.
We definitely need to cut ourselves some slack and realize this is not the time to demand our homes qualify for the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. However, having some order and knowing where things are will cut down our stress tenfold. Many of us are having to be creative and designate areas as workspaces and education centers. One of the key things we hear is that everyone should have their own space to work if that’s possible. Whether it’s the kitchen table, a corner of your bedroom, a home office or you invest in something like a work from home office cubicle, your own space is important. It helps you stay more focused.
Whether you need to clear out a storage space (as you can see from Lanee’s house pictured above), clean out a closet to fit a desk in or you need to get a room, garage or entire house in order, you may need some expert advice.
Last year we talked to Professional Organizer and Owner of Essential Living, Nadia Audette. Here are a few of her tips:
ESTABLISH Your Goals. Do you find yourself daydreaming about having an organized household? Maybe you’ve seen a photo in a magazine or on a website, or you’ve been to the home of a neighbor who seems to have it all together. Start by writing down your goals. Make a list of must-haves and wants and take time to visualize the end result!
EVALUATE what you have. Take a good look around and start thinking about how you can de-clutter. Remember, your home is not just a container for your stuff. It’s meant to be a place of joy, peace and order. Notice the areas that are spilling over with too much stuff and get ready to purge the excess.
ENTER. Sometimes this is the hardest part, but if you are willing to carve out time and get down to business, it leads to the most rewarding part. Going through things item by item is tedious work, but it’s important because everything needs to ultimately end up in the proper place.
EXIT STRATEGY. The best way to get to the finish line is to create 4 categories for the items that you come across during the organizing process:
1) Keep: items that are useful and that add value
2) Store: sentimental items and things that do not need regular access
3) Donate: anything in good condition that can be useful for another home
4) Trash: broken, torn, missing pieces, and expired items that need to go
Things might seem impossible at first, but these tips will turn clutter and disorder into a sleek, orderly, organized space.
Ready to dive in deeper and get inspired to make it happen for yourself? In this episode, you'll get more tips, stories and ways to de-clutter! Plus find out just how much being more organized can affect your happiness! You can do this! Take a listen!
Sandy Kovach [00:00:00]:
Someday, I'll get organized. Many of us have said those magical words, but there is even more of an urgency right now with us spending so much time in our homes. Not only do we want our homes to feel like an oasis, since many of us are also using it for work and School and even an entertainment venue, it's become more important than ever. Last year, we talked to a professional organizer, and her recommendations on organizing our homes and lives were very eye opening. I'm Sandy. And on behalf of Lanee and I, we welcome you to Imagine Yourself.
Lanée Blaise [00:00:33]:
Today's episode Shows us the way that decluttering and organizing your bedroom, your office, your home, Absolutely mirrors the ways that you can declutter and organize your life.
Sandy Kovach [00:00:47]:
Alright. I'm buying it.
Lanée Blaise [00:00:48]:
You're into it? Because we've got in the studio today a courageous lady. She is willing to leap tall buildings Filled with piles and piles of other people's junk and clutter. Do you like this, Sandy?
Sandy Kovach [00:01:04]:
I do. I'm picturing hoarders right now.
Lanée Blaise [00:01:06]:
There you go. She's not afraid. She will shine a flashlight on their situations, and she'll navigate them through it all. Nadia Audette is a professional organizer, a superhero, a home changer, a life changer. She's the owner of Essential Living. Welcome to the show, Super Nadia.
Nadia Audette [00:01:27]:
Hello. Hi, everybody. Hi, ladies. How are you?
Sandy Kovach [00:01:31]:
Hey, Nadia. So, we're probably not hoarders candidates, but I'm thinking you can probably help us. And you have helped Lanee. Right?
Nadia Audette [00:01:38]:
Yes. I have. I had the privilege of working with
Lanée Blaise [00:01:41]:
I met you, Nadia about 2 months ago. I realized that even though I'm a tidy person and I keep certain areas of my home very neat, I had these deep, dark Recesses
Sandy Kovach [00:01:52]:
in the closet. Sounds scary.
Lanée Blaise [00:01:55]:
I mean, it is I have, areas in my closet, areas in my basement, And those areas were just getting worse and worse. I couldn't even open the doors to 1 room. And I I really felt stuck. And I don't know Marie Kondo personally. I needed someone who's kind but firm.
Sandy Kovach [00:02:13]:
Firm. Like, throw that out and no. You can't keep this.
Lanée Blaise [00:02:17]:
Like the bell bottoms. Remember? Yeah. Do you ever have a don't mention any names or anything.
Nadia Audette [00:02:23]:
Lanée Blaise [00:02:24]:
Do you? Never. But do you ever have people who don't want to Change and don't want to purge because some of these things have lots of parallels to real life.
Nadia Audette [00:02:34]:
Yes. Keep in mind, I'm going in someone's home. This all their personal belongings. And I'm going through your drawers. I'm going through your stuff. It could be nerve wracking. There's so many underlying issues of emotions that person could be going through.
Sandy Kovach [00:02:46]:
It's like people don't wanna throw things away because there's that emotion tied to it. Whether they're doing it themselves or they have someone like you, an organizer. But if we don't get rid of the clutter in our house, that causes more issues, not just a mess in your house. Right?
Nadia Audette [00:03:02]:
Absolutely. It's baggage, And it's something that you have to address because just like any underlying issue in our lives on a daily basis, if you don't address the problem, it's gonna get bigger Or you're just gonna one day explode or, you know, you're gonna be hoarders. Yeah. Unfortunately.
Lanée Blaise [00:03:19]:
Nadia Audette [00:03:19]:
know? And I've come close to those situations. I personally haven't dealt with a hoarder hoarder, but I've come close. And I'm not a therapist. By all means, I don't have the answers to that part, and there are people that deal with that. But I definitely can see how it happens. And, like, going back to what you said, Sandy, there's a reason why people call me. And there is a reason why if you're noticing it, if you're acknowledging it and it's bothering you that bad, you need to take the proper steps Because I really truly believe that everyone deserves to have a happy life, healthy life. Your home should be an oasis.
Nadia Audette [00:03:54]:
You live this crazy life Outside of your home, you can't control any of it. You can only control the things that are coming into your world. So when you come home from a hard day of work, From a trip that you're traveling for clients or maybe you're one of those crazy sports moms or dads, and you're just constantly busy, busy, busy. No matter what your circumstances, you should always come home and make it feel like it's an oasis. Like, you're walking into a place where you can feel calm, At ease. And don't get me wrong, everybody's house has imperfections. The normalcy of life is there. Isn't it about habits also? Absolutely.
Nadia Audette [00:04:36]:
Lanée Blaise [00:04:36]:
far as breaking old habits that aren't working for you and learning to incorporate New habits and new ways. Is that part of what you're doing to it? This still, I feel like goes across the spectrum Of keeping our lives organized. If we're constantly late or we're constantly overbooking our schedules and overwhelmed, if we constantly buy The same things over and over again.
Sandy Kovach [00:05:01]:
Because we can't find them.
Lanée Blaise [00:05:02]:
Yeah. See that. Then we need to get organized.
Sandy Kovach [00:05:05]:
Yeah. Oh, that's happened before. I don't realize I have something in the back of my pantry. Yeah. Or I wanted a Santa hat because Our station plays Christmas music, and I know I have a Santa hat in my Christmas boxes. I don't know what happened to it. I thought I had my Christmas stuff organized. But whether it's a Santa hat or a Box of crackers.
Sandy Kovach [00:05:23]:
You know? You wanna know where things are. Right?
Lanée Blaise [00:05:25]:
Absolutely. Don't wanna keep buying it over and over again, you know, because you you can't figure out where it is. It's about Habits getting that life reined in.
Nadia Audette [00:05:34]:
Definitely. I want you to be able to use something and know that you have a place to put it back. I want you to know that you don't have 65 can openers. I want you to know. I want you to
Sandy Kovach [00:05:44]:
You wanna know where your crackers and your Santa hats are
Lanée Blaise [00:05:47]:
Right. The can opener.
Nadia Audette [00:05:48]:
And and your Santa hat is not in your pantry. No. Yeah. Right? So everything has to have a designated place. And listen to me right now. You waste so many hours and days out of your life throughout the year looking for stuff, replacing it, the money, The stress and just countless clutter in your house. So imagine your like, I wanna say it. Imagine yourself
Lanée Blaise [00:06:11]:
Nadia Audette [00:06:12]:
Imagine yourself walking into your oasis, and that's what I really want to get to the nitty gritty. What does that look like? And that can mean million different things. Maybe it's not I mean, eventually down the line, if you wanna get nice furniture or artwork, that's just cosmetic. But what does it look like On a day to day functional basis, for me and my kids, I know if my husband or my kids ask me where something is, 99.9% of the time know where it is.
Lanée Blaise [00:06:44]:
Let's talk a little bit about mindsets in general too, and how you can Shift the way you look at things. I have a quote by Deepak Chopra that says, in the process of letting go, You will lose many things, but you will find yourself. You really want to be able to dig in deeply and find what's really important. Even on a bigger scale, in the words of queen Elsa from Frozen
Sandy Kovach [00:07:09]:
Well, this is
Lanée Blaise [00:07:10]:
wait a minute. I'm frozen too. Let it go. Let it go. That's what I say too, there are people that sometimes in your life you have to let go of. We had a whole podcast episode just recently About changing your thoughts and how that changes your life. Sometimes there are ways of thinking that you need to make changes to. Yeah.
Lanée Blaise [00:07:31]:
I just want to encourage everyone out there, especially because I'm a living testimony, that that process of releasing. Releasing some of the junk, whether it be physical or emotional or whatever it is, is very freeing. Sometimes it's more to it psychologically that people are holding why are they holding on to some of these little trinkets? It may Remind them of something from their past. Maybe you need to even still let it go.
Sandy Kovach [00:07:59]:
And I think it's because we're nostalgic about things. And, Nadia, you could probably speak to this. I'm never gonna use this, but I don't wanna let it go because it has some meaning. Do you ever encourage people to, well, just take a picture of that and keep it in your phone and there's your nostalgia, or is it that's not working for people.
Nadia Audette [00:08:14]:
Sentimental items should be anything that brings you joy, had meaningful attachment. Maybe you went to the zoo on The special day with the grandparent that passed away, and you wanna keep that zoo ticket or whatever it was that day. The sentimental toast that I have, They're probably the size of a shoebox, just to give you an idea, and I've bought 3 or 4 of them. If you just have a designated spot and you have those Few small totes or bins or decorative boxes, whether it's photographs or trinkets, anything. If you can make it look nice and put it on a shelf and it has a place and it's not creating clutter. Go ahead. Put it out. I want you to enjoy it because I want you to look at it and smile.
Nadia Audette [00:08:55]:
But at the end of the day, if it's not something you want to necessarily look at all the time, Put a nice little tote, label it, make sure it's in a safe place.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:02]:
If you don't really need to see it and touch it, but you just wanna remember it, Do you ever recommend people just take a picture? Here, I'm gonna do an example. I have, like, 75,000 Old radio station shirts that I will never wear again.
Lanée Blaise [00:09:16]:
Sandy Kovach [00:09:17]:
But I don't wanna throw them away.
Nadia Audette [00:09:19]:
Sandy Kovach [00:09:19]:
Been there from all the different stations I work from over the years. So I'm thinking I should probably just take a picture or something. Right?
Lanée Blaise [00:09:25]:
I know what Nadia's gonna tell you. It's gonna be quilt time. Quilt, quilt, quilt.
Nadia Audette [00:09:30]:
Not you personally. Yes.
Lanée Blaise [00:09:31]:
Not you personally.
Nadia Audette [00:09:32]:
Not you personally, Sandy.
Lanée Blaise [00:09:33]:
Showed me. Oh my gosh. Don't get me out here.
Nadia Audette [00:09:35]:
So I have a client who's doing this for her daughters. They are in a swim league, and she has a 1,000,000 shirts from all their swimming meets and everything. And she's about to Send it you send it in. You literally box girl, you are not gonna do the quilting. Stop. You don't have time
Lanée Blaise [00:09:51]:
for that. You personally say She's correct. You got so many other talents. Quilting might not be one of them.
Sandy Kovach [00:09:57]:
No. Can you imagine?
Sandy Kovach [00:09:59]:
I cannot imagine even picking up a needle and thread. Yeah.
Nadia Audette [00:10:02]:
Well, I would teach you, but I'm not that to do a quote. But, anyways, there are services out there, companies out there. You send the box in. They make a beautiful quote for you. You're laughing, but Or in your case, Sandy, this is for real. You take that picture and you donate those shirts or go ahead and toss them. Because I don't think you're the quilting kinda girl,
Lanée Blaise [00:10:24]:
Nadia Audette [00:10:24]:
I don't think you're gonna use the blanket. But No.
Lanée Blaise [00:10:26]:
No. I'm going to sneak into Sandy's house tonight, I'm going to take all of those t shirts. I'm gonna send that box away to that special place. I'm gonna get it quilted up, and then it's gonna be really cold
Nadia Audette [00:10:35]:
Lanée Blaise [00:10:36]:
And she's gonna Pull that quilt up over her body while she's watching TV, and she's gonna say, thank you, Lanee and Nadia. You have changed my life.
Nadia Audette [00:10:43]:
I do wanna say this in regards to And I'm glad you brought that up for an example because you know you're not gonna use it. Right? So we're laughing and everything else. But on the flip side, let's say, for example, Somebody passed, a loved one, whether it was a father, grandfather, a best friend, whoever it was, what if you had those clothes Or certain clothes that you remember them in all the time.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:05]:
Well, that would I would go for that. Yes. Not a stupid radio statement. No. But Something legitimately that brings is nostalgia that you remember loved ones Yes. Or maybe your kids' clothes from when they were younger or, like, you were using the example of, You said somebody's, swimsuits Yep. Like her daughter?
Nadia Audette [00:11:21]:
It was it's just T shirts just like you. They wear swim meets and things like that.
Lanée Blaise [00:11:25]:
But that's yeah. But this is very good.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:27]:
For your kids. I could see that.
Nadia Audette [00:11:29]:
So, again, instead of boxes and boxes and boxes, you have that 1 or 2 blankets. I've even seen pillows. They've taken, like, a dad's flannel, and they made a pillowcase out of it. And I thought that was pretty cute.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:40]:
That is cute.
Lanée Blaise [00:11:41]:
Yeah. And it has that warmth and that Tangible nostalgia.
Sandy Kovach [00:11:45]:
Alright. So we've gotten some great tips so far, especially with things that we don't wanna throw away, but we don't necessarily Want them cluttering our lives either. What other tips do you have for us? Like, where do we even start?
Nadia Audette [00:12:00]:
Think down in your head and your heart, like, what is the place that you really need that's driving you crazy every day? It gets worse before it gets better. When you start, and you just have to start, don't look at your stuff. Don't feel guilt. Don't feel anger. Don't feel nothing. I want you to go into the positive situation knowing that it's going to happen. It's gonna get done. Stay focused.
Nadia Audette [00:12:23]:
Stay disciplined. Turn on some music If it makes you feel good, drink a Red Bull. Whatever you gotta do, that cup of coffee, maybe a glass of wine, whatever it is, I want you to prep yourself to kick some butt. Next step, You're gonna start with having 4 categories, and it's gonna be heap, keep and put away, or let's say, like, sentimental items. Right? We're gonna go ahead and put those away. Trash, donate. I'm a big believer in donations. I've come from a place in my life where we were very poor.
Nadia Audette [00:12:52]:
We've come to this country having nothing. I know what it feels like to have nothing. So I want to make sure when people donate, You go ahead and donate to a place where you feel good about it. Those are your 4 places to start. Okay? Your sort piles. The easiest one, I think, To start with is trash. Let's say, for example, we start where do you wanna start, Sandy? What room? Pick a room.
Sandy Kovach [00:13:13]:
I would start in my office. Perfect.
Nadia Audette [00:13:15]:
Office. So we know there's gonna be a ton of paperwork. Right? There's gonna be papers. There's gonna be trash. There's probably going to be a ton of recycling, That kind of thing. So we're gonna go ahead and start with a pile. It doesn't matter where it is. Find a spot, and don't bounce around.
Nadia Audette [00:13:31]:
So if you start on the right side of the room, stay on the right side of the room. Work your way across. Don't start to the right and then dip on the left and go underneath the desk And go on the bookshelf. Don't go all over the place. That's how things just don't ever end. And be realistic about the situation. If you walk into your office right now, Sandy, You might say this is gonna take me a year to go through all this, but in reality, it won't. Set yourself small goals.
Nadia Audette [00:13:56]:
It's not feasible for everybody to do it during the week. Right? We have hectic lives. You You have weekends, you have time, put it on your calendar. So if it's a month from now, put it on your calendar. Take 6 hours and Commit to yourself that you're gonna do it that day. Don't book anything else. Well, I really should, you know I I have to go to a dinner, and I could Just cancel my 6 hour organization with myself. No.
Nadia Audette [00:14:17]:
Don't cancel. Your life is a priority, and you owe it to yourself. Nobody else is gonna do it for you unless you call me. Does that make sense? So put it on your calendar, start in this particular place, and then work your way around. So if you're gonna start on the right side, right when you walk in and you have a pile there, get through that pile. And then pat yourself on the back after you get done with that pile. Sort through it. The trash, the donate, the recycle, and feel an accomplishment.
Nadia Audette [00:14:45]:
I think it's super important to own that moment of feeling Accomplished. It's always gonna be easy if you're ready and you're focused and you're disciplined. There's no magic in it. It's dedicating a commitment to yourself, Knowing that you will have an end result if you work. Which is true of everything in life. Right? Everything.
Lanée Blaise [00:15:04]:
Everything to accomplishing your goals, getting to new career goals, new
Nadia Audette [00:15:08]:
Lanée Blaise [00:15:08]:
Weight goals new relationship goal. Absolutely. It's work and you stay committed.
Nadia Audette [00:15:13]:
You don't skip. You don't cheat. Yeah. There's no way around it. I don't have, like, A magic button that you could push and it's poof, it's gone.
Lanée Blaise [00:15:20]:
And you said celebrate the accomplishment Yes. At the end.
Nadia Audette [00:15:23]:
Celebrate the little victories. I heard that somewhere from another podcast, And I'm like, that's genius. We're so quick to move on to the next thing. We're busy, busy, busy, but we don't take the time to really be proud of ourselves, and it's so important To take that moment. Even if it's a couple minutes, a second, it doesn't matter. Just feel good about what you're doing, and it transfers over to everything else. So going back to Why you should organize your house or wherever it may be. Because it's going to make you feel good.
Nadia Audette [00:15:52]:
At the end of the day, you're gonna feel So much better, and then you feel like you can move on to the next thing. Enjoy the more important things, like your family, your friends. Those are things you can't buy. Those are moments that you're gonna lose, you're gonna pass on, and and I'll give you a quick small story if that's okay.
Sandy Kovach [00:16:10]:
Nadia Audette [00:16:11]:
I had a client who didn't celebrate any holidays for many, many years because they were going through Lot of personal issues, lot of health issues, and one of their goals was to have Christmas dinner at their house For the 1st time in, like, 8 years, to me, that was like, oh my gosh. I'm determined to help her. This is gonna be amazing. I can't wait. I can already envision it. Doesn't matter how hard it's gonna be to get there. It's gonna happen. So we did it.
Nadia Audette [00:16:40]:
We organized everything. It was good to go. You could see the relief on her face. You could see the wheels turning in her head, how she's gonna decorate, and she got so excited, And it fulfilled me so much. It was beautiful. She sent me pictures of them with dinner and how happy they were. I could tear up right now talking about it. It was wonderful.
Sandy Kovach [00:17:03]:
And that right there is a great example of how getting your life organized can make such an impact. So I think that's our takeaway right there.
Lanée Blaise [00:17:14]:
Sandy Kovach [00:17:15]:
Before we let Nadia go though, anything else, Lanee?
Lanée Blaise [00:17:18]:
The last question I have for you is, how do we get in touch with you if we want to Ask your question or if you live in Michigan and you're interested in getting professional organizing, is the best way through your website?
Nadia Audette [00:17:31]:
There's a few ways you can get in touch with me. Definitely have my website elorganizing.com. Another platform you can reach me on is my Instagram or Facebook page as well, and that is my name of my company, Essential Living Professional Organizing.
Sandy Kovach [00:17:45]:
And we'll put all the information on imagine yourself podcast.com as well so that people can just click over and find you. Well, Nadia, this has been so much fun, and I'm just Gonna go and stare at my office and figure out the first thing I wanna do.
Nadia Audette [00:17:59]:
that's good. Let me know if you need some help.
Sandy Kovach [00:18:01]:
But I'm not quilting. Thank you, Nadia, for coming in. So, Linae, we are imagining ourselves.
Lanée Blaise [00:18:07]:
Overall, imagine yourself letting go of the Straining, cluttering, crappy things that you've got going on. And letting the beautifying, uplifting, organizing, and reimagining Janine begin.
Sandy Kovach [00:18:21]:
And if you're ready to begin, we have even more tips on our blog page at imagine yourself podcast.com. While you're there, make sure where you check-in and say, hey. All our social links are on there and our email address too. So until next time when we have something new to imagine, a reminder to be kind to others