Are you Functioning on Autopilot?

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Getting Organized, Organized Home, Simplify, Uncategorized, Women

Busy schedule

Yesterday, for the first time in I don’t know how long, I stayed home to play catch up.  Since I spend most days on-site with clients and most evenings running from activity to activity, my own to-do list often takes a backseat.  

Whether you’re stressed with a demanding job, busy taking care of your kids all day or helping with aging parents, we often spend days, even weeks, running on autopilot. The trouble is that functioning in survival mode can only last for so long.

Sound familiar?

There are certain things (like writing this article for one) that requires thought and uninterrupted time; A novel concept for most of us.

So how do you get ahead when you spend every day catering to everyone else?

1. Just Say No. Have you ever noticed that it’s always the same group of people who volunteer at Church, school, or extracurricular activities? The more you do, the more people ask of you. There is only so much time you have to spare, so it’s ok to be selective. Don’t feel compelled to say “yes” to everyone who asks, especially if it comes at the expense of your sanity.

2. Schedule a day to catch up (and I don’t mean taking a vacation). Vacations are great, but they don’t address the root of the problem.  Getting away is a nice distraction, but eventually when you come home, you’re walking into the same chaos as when you left. The only way to truly breathe a sigh of relief is to schedule a day to play catch up in your home.

3. Lead by example.  If you want your kids to make their beds every morning, make sure that you make yours.  If you want them to put their backpacks away, don’t leave your purse on the table.  If you want your kids to pick up their toys, don’t leave piles of clutter around the house. You see where I am going with this?  Kids mimic the behavior they see. The best thing you can do for your family is to empower them to pitch in and help out.

Life is like a roller coaster, and it isn’t going to slow down for you. Sometimes it’s best to sit out the ride until you get your bearings.

Happy Organizing!


Are You An Impulse Shopper?

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Simplify, Women

The other day I had about an hour between dropping off and picking up my daughter from guitar lessons so I decided to kill some time by browsing one of my favorite stores, Home Goods™.

Home Goods is like Disney World for adults. Regardless of how many times you go, there’s an excitement that builds as you walk through the doors wondering what hidden treasure you are going to find.

As I perused the isles, I had to stop myself on more than one occasion from putting something inside my cart that I didn’t need.

As I debated in my mind whether I had a use for a wrought iron cookbook stand for $7.99, (btw, I didn’t), it got me thinking about the lasting impact of impulse shopping.

I can’t tell you how many times I have walked out of Target™ or Costco™ having spent a few hundred dollars on “who knows what” and then hated myself when the credit card bill came at the end of the month. Even after paying the bill, the volume of unnecessary items remained.

girl with clothes

We shop for various reasons: sometimes out of necessity, other times out of boredom, or perhaps shopping is your “reward” for having a bad day. How do you think the term “retail therapy” got its name?

If you are someone who shops to fill a void in your life and are ready to make a change, the first step is identifying your triggers.

  1. The Bargain Hunter. This person gets a rush out of finding the best price. Why do you think stores are constantly sending your coupons in the mail or flooding your inbox with the latest deals? We feel justified spending money on something we probably don’t need simply because it was a good price.
  1. The Competitor. Also referred to as “keeping up with the Joneses”. This person has to have the latest hot item because everyone else has it. Parents are the worst offenders when it comes to buying unnecessary toys or gadgets for their kids. How many kids got hover boards for Christmas last year? The danger with The Competitor is that they are caught up in a vicious cycle of constantly seeking others approval based on materialistic items.
  1. The Dreamer. This describes the person who buys a whole set of bakeware because they are going to become the next Martha Stewart. The dreamer isn’t realistic with their time “when am I going to do this?” or their space “where am I going to store all of this?” Trust me, I’ve seen more home brew beer kits collecting dust in basements and garages then I care to admit!

There is no question that a certain level of shopping is necessary, however the average American spends more than they need. Emma Johnson, wrote a great article for Forbes called the Real Cost of Your Shopping Habits where she talks about the snowball effect of owning more stuff.

I am not suggesting that you never set foot in a store again. What I am proposing is that you give pause before putting something in your cart and ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • Do I really need this?
  • When am I going to use/wear this?
  • Do I have room in my house for it?

Once you begin to incorporate this mantra into your routine you’ll notice that you not only have more money in your bank account, but that you have less clutter in your life allowing you to focus on what is really important.

Escaping Your Clutter Rut

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Quick Tips, Simplify

clutter rut

We all get stuck in ruts. Ruts in our jobs, our workout routines, heck, even in our marriages.  It’s often hard to imagine how you got there in the first place, but what’s even more daunting is wondering how you’re going to get out of it.

Many of my clients find themselves stuck in a “clutter rut”. They get to a point where they are inundated by papers, clothes, or toys with no end in sight. Despite the best of intentions, they keep coming up empty and frustrated because they lack the right strategies to dig out of it.

Below are 3 steps to help you climb out of your clutter rut once and for all.


1. SET GOALS. Ok, so you are disorganized, we get it. You’re constantly late for work because you can’t find your keys. You’re tired of getting dinged with late fees because you can’t seem to manage paying your bills on time. Start by determining what you want to accomplish, then work backwards by figuring what it will take to get there.

 one step at a time
2.  SMALL INCREMENTS.  Organizing doesn’t have to be epic. Getting organized is a process that takes time, planning, commitment and follow-thru.  Do a little everyday. Trying to tackle everything at once will only end in frustration. Incorporate a “de-cluttering time” into your day is the best way to work it into your routine.  
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE.   Setting complicated rules to follow will surely result in frustration.  If you pay your bills in the kitchen, that’s where you should set up a command center.  If your kids do art projects at the kitchen table, set up a portable art station nearby. Find the system that works best for you.  Most importantly, be realistic in what you will be able to maintain. 

The more you ignore your clutter rut the deeper it goes.  We all have busy lives and organizing should be a part of it, just like working out and eating well. Taking care of our physical space is just as important as taking care of our health.
You deserve it.



5 Quick Organizing Tips to Simplify your Life

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Getting Organized, Organized Home, Quick Tips, Simplify

For many, being disorganized is something you’ve come to accept. You’re in a constant rush to get everything done, and simple tasks are not even on your radar.  If you are tired of the lack of organization in your life, you’re not alone. We often overlook little things that we can do throughout the day to add a sense of calm to our lives.  Below are 5 small organizing tips that will make a huge impact in your everyday life:

1.  Make your bed every morning. “Why make your bed when you’re just getting back into it?”.  Coming home to a neatly made bed is a small but effective way of starting your day off on the right foot.  * It takes less than 5 minutes to make a bed.

2.  Hang up your coat, pocketbook, and keys. How many of you walk in the door and throw your coat over a chair, your keys on the table and your pocketbook on the floor? Not only does it add it visual clutter, but you run the risk of forgetting where you left it-adding time and stress to your morning routine.

3.  Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. This is one of my personal pet peeves. Establish a routine of running the dishwasher on a schedule so you always have an empty dishwasher to fill with your dirty dishes. There is nothing like coming home to a nice, clean empty sink.

4.  Sort the mail every day.  Paper clutter is at the top of everyone’s list of annoyances so anything you can do to eliminate unnecessary clutter is a bonus. Start by sorting the mail every day and immediately put all junk mail in the recycling bin. Divide the rest into “action”: things you need to do (ie: pay a bill, RSVP to a party, etc) and “reference”: things to file (ie: insurance documents, medical papers, etc). It takes less than 5 minutes and saves you valuable time down the road.

laundry5.  Put laundry away.  I’ll let you in on a little secret…this one is the toughest tasks for me to stick to, but I am always so glad that I followed through on it.  Most people don’t mind doing the laundry, it’s the folding and putting away that’s the tedious part. Make a commitment to putting away each load after it’s completed (or at least on a schedule). Sorting through folded (or worse, not folded) baskets of clothes looking for something to wear adds unnecessary time and stress to your day.

If you are already racing the clock to get out the door in the morning, it’s worth setting your alarm a few minutes earlier to accomplish these small tasks. Trust me; it will make you feel more at ease throughout the day and more relaxed when you come home. 
Happy Organizing!

A “Wunderful” List Making App

Written by Laurie Palau. Posted in BLOG: A Life More Organized, Organized Home, Organizing Apps, Simplify

shutterstock_1331319953 Reasons To Love Wunderlist

wunderlist-iconThis past weekend my husband and I were out to dinner with friends of ours.  We were rushing to get out the door once we were in the car Josh (aka the hubby) realized he left his phone at home. The entire dinner he kept reaching for it;  it was like he was missing a limb.

It’s crazy to think how dependent we have all become on our devices, considering 10 years ago most of us only used our phones to make calls.

Even though the majority of American’s today own a smartphone, only a small portion use apps to stay on top of daily tasks.

Successfully managing daily tasks is a core component to living an organized and stress-free life.  

The reality is that everyone is overextended and running in 50 directions. It’s unrealistic, not to mention exhausting, to rely on our memory for every detail.

Writing things down is a great start, but how many times have you walked out the door only to have left your list on the kitchen counter? Or been out running errands and stopped somewhere unexpectedly and forget what you needed to buy?

Wunderlist  lets you create some simple to-do lists that you can access from all your devices, all of the time. 

My Top 3 Favorite Features:


1. Simple as 1-2-3:
Wunderlist allows you to customize a list for anything and everything from grocery shopping, to work tasks, household projects, the lists are endless….literally! You can set reminders, due dates and add notes if you’d like.  Not tech savvy?  No problem. It is so basic anyone can use it.

2. Wireless Sync:  
No need to worry about duplicate lists or forgetting to sync your devices together.  The wireless sync option updates your lists across all of your devices simultaneously. So if you are working on your computer and add a task, it automatically shows up on your phone.

3. Sharing Capabilities:
Want everyone in your house to have access to your grocery list? No problem!  Share lists among family members or team members so they have access to view, add and edit as necessary.  No more waiting to tell mom you are out of milk.


Best of all, this app is FREE!  There is a pro version, but frankly, the free version is phenomenal.  Once you get more advanced and comfortable with using Wunderlist, you may want to upgrade, but for starters, the free version is more than sufficient.

My advice for those who are leery is to start slow. Some of my clients feel safer keeping their paper lists as a back-up until they become more comfortable navigating the app. More often than not, the transition is so simple and seamless they can’t imagine how they lived without it.

Wunderlist is available for Apple and Android.

Happy Organizing!