Designing Organized Spaces

Designing Organized Spaces


This has been a very humbling month for me.  This past month I received not 1 but 2 different opportunities to be a guest speaker and 1 opportunity to be a guest blogger for a very popular blog (I can’t tell you who it’s for just yet,  but I’m totally pumped)!  One talk is going to be on designing organized spaces and the other one is about being a productive business owner and a mom.  Even though the guest speaking engagements will not be until September and October, being an organized person I’ve started working on what I was going to say.

designing organized spaces

Kick Your A$$

When I started to see the parallels between both guest speaking topics, it all boils down to this:  sometimes we need a kick in the ass to get motivated! When I think of both upcoming speaking engagements I know that both are about different topics yet both actually have the same underlying message.  I’ve decided for my talk on designing spaces to be organized I was going to take a ‘kick your ass’ approach.  I did ask the organizer if she thought that it would be too saucy and she replied, “Sometimes we need a little sauce.”

Designing Organized Spaces

When it comes to talking about organizing and designing spaces, I work together with my client(s) to determine how they currently live and what they wish to achieve.  I always start with asking them what their vision is for their space.  When I hear their vision and physically see their space, the two typciall do not jive.  When they are not jiving I often hear the following,

“I’m just so busy.”

“My spouse is the one that is messy.  Everything would be just fine if he/she would put their stuff away.”

“I just can’t get rid of _____.”

and my absolute favorite:

“Well we have X number of  kids you know.”

We don’t just wake up one morning and find that we’ve suddenly become disorganized.  Having our homes ‘fall apart’ or ‘getting away on you” is something that happens over time.  Is it something that can be fixed?  You bet!

Designing Organized Spaces

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Kick Your A$$ – Designing Spaces to be Organized

Here’s my kick your ass response: So tell me something I don’t know!  Yes, you’re busy – but are you more busy than the next person?  What makes you so special that you’re SO busy you can’t get stuff done?  Are you running the country or something?

You tell me that your significant other is a slob and they don’t put anything away.  Join the club sista!  I’m living with one so I totally get it!

You’ve got “X” number of kids?  Either stop having them, or quit using them as an excuse.

Pretty blunt?  I know….I certainly don’t ever speak to my clients that way (and I have to admit it’s kind-of fun being so blunt and pretending to be all tough),  but here is what I do say:

  • YOU control your life.
  • YOU control how you and your family are going to live.
  • YOU have control over all of this!

This goes back to asking my clients about their vision.  If your vision is to stop having shit laying all over your house, then what can you do to prevent it from happening?

  • Recycle any paper, magazines, flyers right away?
  • Create a spot in your home for all of your kids school work/agendas/art, etc?
  • Never leave a room empty handed?
  • Put away laundry as soon as it gets done (or soon after)?
  • Get rid of things that are not adding value to your life?

Designing Organized Spaces

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These are just a few examples and certainly don’t even touch on this subject.  Penelope Trunk recently wrote an article called, I just read about the life-changing magic of tidying up.  I love how she talks about her own journey of getting rid of her stuff.

I’d love to share a conversation that I had with my sister-in-law.  She is married to my husband’s brother.  Just after our renovation she came over and stated that she loved coming over as our house was always clean.  We had a good chat about how the two ‘boys’ are a bit messy (and I’m being nice here).  Here is what I told my sister-in-law:  I don’t let my husband dictate our home.  If he drops something down (OMG – if I see one more pair of pants on our bedroom floor you may see them flying out our window) I ask him to put his dirty clothes down the laundry chute (yes – we have a friggin laundry shoot yet he still seems to drop them on the floor) and most times I bend down to pick them up and put them down the chute.  Is he old enough to know better?  Of course he is.  Do I want to nag every single morning about his clothes?  No.  It’s my vision to have a clean and tidy room so for the most part, I pick up his laundry.

We will be coming up to our 23rd anniversary and over the years I have made it very clear that I will not live in a pigsty and that having an un-kept home is not an option for me.  Since this is important to me, I actually do most of the cleaning.  Does my hubby pitch in?  Absolutely.  But let’s be honest here, I tidy up almost every evening so that when I start a new day, my house is nice and tidy. This is a choice I make to live the life I want to live.  I have control of this and you better believe I take the reins and lead our family in this department!  Do my two teenagers have untidy rooms?  Of course they do!  Do they know when I close the door to their room that it is the silent signal that they better get their rooms cleaned before mom loses her shit?  Of course they do.  Have I lost my shit over a messy house?  Oh ya!  I will warn my family that Mount St. Sheri is about to blow.

Guess what?  We lead a very busy life so I totally get when people say they are busy! Here is the difference:  ALL of my actions that I do in my home go back to the vision for my home:  I want my home to have peace and calm every time I walk through the door and I have communicated that very clearly to my family.   I give in on many things as I strongly believe a marriage is a two-way street.  This however, is a non-negotiable subject that, as my dad says,  is a non-starter.

Designing Organized Spaces

My Best Advice

Decide how you want to live your life. We don’t have control over the weather and some other things in this world, but we sure do have control over how we live our lives.  Life is way too short to wish away and think of the “what if”.   When you stop and create a vision for your spaces in your home, then every decision moving forward is based on that vision.  Pure and simple.  No wavering, no indecisiveness on things – just a path that will lead you to where you wish to be.

Designing Organized Spaces

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When I attended a very powerful full day workshop put on by Elizabeth Critchley called The Power of Perspective, I told her it was life-changing for me – both personally and professionally.  Professionally, it helped me gain perspective working with clients coming from all walks of life.  From a personal perspective, it gave me insight into how I want to live my life.  Instead of saying, “Geezus, I have to clean my house again,”  I find myself saying, “I am choosing to clean my house because I love a clean house.” A small shift in perspective can be very powerful.  You should try it!  My small shifts in perspective have actually caused me to stop dead in my tracks.  For example, I stop to think whether I should pitch all the shoes that I’ve just stumbled over out the door of the mud room or whether I should just bend down and put them away.

On a side note, Elizabeth will be running a fall series of workshops so if you are in the Calgary area, I strongly urge you to check out what she has to offer!  Her one-on-one coaching may also be an option for you whether you are in the Calgary area of not.  And this is not a sponsored post.  I’m just sharing what Elizabeth has to offer.  I consider her an important part of my personal and professional life.  I can’t say enough about Elizabeth!

So how do you want to live your life?

Sheri Bruneau Get It Together
Related Posts

Holding On Vs Moving On: A Perspective Shift

The Power of Perspective

Organizing and Design Go Hand in Hand

Sifting Through Your Clutter

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