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How To Get Your Life + Business Organized

Ocean view of blue water, beige sand, and tide rolling back out

Most of my life, I’ve been an incredibly messy person. The best way to describe it was similar to a puppy who was starved when young, then can never get enough food (stuff) later in life, no matter how much you give them.

No matter how big a space was, I would find a way to fill it. Because I would do things like:

  • Buy things I forgot on a trip because I was too busy to pack or couldn’t get my brain together to pack
  • Pack twenty ‘cute’ dresses but no sneakers (for something like a hiking trip with one night out)
  • Fall madly in love with a completely obscure thing that I didn’t need on the front page Etsy (remember that?!?) and convince myself I’d suffer endlessly without that thing. Then buy 10 of that thing, in case I ever ran out
  • Decide I wanted to re-do my whole house’s furniture because I was going to sell the old stuff (three years later…)
  • Go on a book/makeup/food/clothes/candles buying bender
  • Fill every crevice, nook and cranny
  • Buy all the organizer things “to get organized”

You can imagine that this spills over into my business life, too, but I’ll save you the long story and get right into how I worked on organizing myself better over the last year.

Here's how I organized my life & business: 

  1. Realizing that everything has a sunk cost.Meaning, that money was already spent and accounted for. It wouldn’t be coming back to me whether I kept or donated that object/piece of clothing. So I started getting rid of everything—including those pesky monthly business subscriptions—that I didn’t USE.
  2. The only way to stay organized is to have a place for EVERYTHING. Everything. For serious. It takes a few times to make it a habit, but if you put your scissors (or your latest blog post draft) where they belong, they'll be so much easier to find when you need them.
  3. In order to have a place for everything you already have, you can’t buy new things. This. Is. Hard.
  4. If you are a mild to severe shopaholism sufferer (guilty): You need to figure out (a) the source of your impulse to shop and address that, and (b) figure out what you like to do that doesn’t give you the temptation to shop. For me, that is spending time outside with horses (<no not free, but this has been a part of my life since I was 9 and much more fun than shopping), hiking, walking, calligraphy and graphic design.
  5. Finish and put things away, RIGHT away. No, you cannot wait until after you get another cup of coffee. DO IT NOW! Or else you’ll forget and end up with a desktop buried in files.
  6. Outsource my digital organization to Shoeboxed (for documents and receipts) and Steadfast Bookkeeping to clean up my accounting books, and many hourly assistants to get and keep everything else in order.

What are some strategies you use to keep yourself organized in life + business? Share in the comments, because I can always use some more help here. 

If you're struggling with buying too much, click here to find out if it's the right time to invest in your business.

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Looking around your office and thinking "organized chaos"? Here are a few lessons I've learned about organization and business.

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