Category Archives: My Organizing Ministry

These posts talk about how my organizing ministry was born, the various ways I use it and have used it naturally all throughout my life. I also talk about Simplified Living Solutions in these posts. (www.simplifiedlivingsolutions.com)

Tears of Joy!

Last week I traveled 4 hours away to help a client of mine that had moved out of the area a few years ago. Although she tried to find a professional organizer in her area to help her, the one she found was new and was just as overwhelmed with the situation as she was. So much so that she has since gone out of business. Unfortunately, there are no other professional organizers in her area, so she reached out to me for help. Her initial email to me said “I know it would be a lot to ask you to come and help me, but I’m fairly desperate and have lost all pride”. How do you say no to helping someone when they say something like that, no matter how far away they are?

Since she had only unpacked the essentials, and left everything else out in the garage when she moved in 3 years earlier, I knew we had to start in the garage. As with any organizing job, finding the place that “clogs” up the rest of the home and unclogging it is crucial. The garage took the longest amount of time to complete, but it was also one of the most rewarding spaces because of that. Now all of the stuff that was in her house that really should be in the garage was able to be filtered out into the garage zones once we had them established.

Garage-Before-After

Garage – Before & After

Next we moved on to the kitchen space, then the closets, the living room, the master bedroom/bath, the laundry room, the guest room and the home office. We worked for 6 straight days, all day long and got through the larger part of her home. Letting go of things you love or thought you might use someday is always difficult and that was no different for this client. But with each passing day, she gave up more and more. She even went back and let go of things she had decided to keep only the day before. I was so proud of her and all of the hard work she invested in this process.

Kitchen-Before-After

Kitchen – Before & After

Home-Office-Before-After

Home Office – Before & After

Home-Office-Before-After

Home Office – Before & After

She had shared with me before I came that her master bedroom and bathroom were the areas that were bothering her the most. She couldn’t find peace anywhere in her home. She felt overwhelmed, stressed out and beat down – something I commonly hear from our clients. I knew the sense of relief she would feel when her master bedroom and bathroom were clutter-free and organized and so I didn’t let her see things changing as I was working. I wanted her to see it ONLY when those spaces were completed.

Once I had the areas organized, I let her look. Her mouth immediately fell open as she blurted out the words “I think I could cry”. With that, she threw the entire upper part of her body down onto her outstretched arms on the bathroom counter and began crying uncontrollably. I began crying. I knew how much relief I had brought to her life. I knew how long she had wanted that space back in control and peaceful. But her reaction was priceless and beautiful!

Bedroom-Before-After

Bedroom – Before & After

Once my client stopped crying, she stepped back and stared at me in disbelief and exclaimed “this is definitely your ministry, a life-changing ministry at that!”. I know it seems funny to most (and even to myself sometimes) to leave all of your financial security behind to follow what you believe God created you to do. But knowing you have the ability to use what you love doing to change people’s lives in such a dramatically positive way and choosing not to go for it makes absolutely less sense! 

No Need to Fear

Back in April, I blogged about my nest egg shrinking and shared that my natural inclination was to worry about that. I talked about how in those moments of fear, I have to remind myself that I should not worry about such things. He’s in control. Since I know with 100% certainty that I followed His direction for my life when I left my financial security behind, I just have to trust that everything will be OK. I also talked about the way that I combated my insecurities about my nest egg shrinking was to tithe 10% of my monthly income.

I ended the post by saying that I know that when you tithe faithfully, it all works out somehow. And I promised that I’d be blogging in the very near future about the way(s) in which He would blow my mind to provide me with very clear proof that tithing during times of fear was the right decision. I said that He would do that strictly so I would be encouraged, and so that I could share the story with you. I ended the blog post simply by saying “trust in Him” and honestly that is the bottom line in anything you’re dealing with.

So here’s the icing on the cake or the proof in the pudding as they say. It’s been almost exactly 2 months since that post and as I suspected when I originally wrote it, there have been so many “God Taps” to indicate He is in control and I have nothing to fear. Here are just a few of them:

The proof is in the pudding

#1: My organizing business, Simplified Living Solutions has been so busy since then that I have not even had any “free time” to blog on Modern Day Noah. From April 6th (when I tithed) to June 6th, Simplified Living Solutions sales represented 121 times more than what I tithed that one time. Yes, you’re reading that right – one hundred and twenty one times more! 

#2: Although there are very few people that even know about this blog, I received a call from a friend within 10 minutes of the post going live who said at the very moment she received the post, she was reading a book that said the very same thing – how important it is to contribute 10% of your income.

#3: Someone whom I had only met once before said that the post inspired her to help sponsor a local Christian radio station that is only on the air thanks to the generosity of their faithful monthly supporters.

#4: I wrote my first book over 2 years ago and it’s been lying on my desk ever since because I have felt stuck about what to do next. I’ve never written a book before, I’ve battled with my own insecurities about it. Is it good enough? Am I explaining things properly? Is it in the right order? And the list goes on and on. One morning when I woke up, I immediately got down on my knees and asked God to give me direction and the words I needed to tell the Modern Day Noah story the way He wanted it told. Without even connecting this prayer originally, I received an email the next day from my new friend, author and speaker Connie Cavanaugh. (How we came to know each other is a God story in itself. You can read more about that here.) She wanted to let me know that she was willing to read through my book and give me feedback and direction that would move me closer to finalizing the book so that I can get to work on the Modern Day Noah book! I never even asked her to do that! She said that she felt God’s prompting to help me and pay it forward like others had done for her when she was writing her first book! Tell me that wasn’t God’s hand in this situation!

The moral of this story is to always battle fear and insecurities with faith in action.

It’s Taken Me How Long?!

It’s amazing to me how long something can be growing within you before you act on it, or even realize it’s growing within you. I came across this blog post today that I wrote for my Simplified Living Solutions’ website from September 2009 where I talk about the fact that I realized even then that God wanted me to move in the direction of being a public speaker or a motivational speaker. It’s so hard to believe that I wrote that post 5 years ago and am still not much closer to doing that! At the time I wrote that blog post, I realized that the first time He prompted me to get up in front of people to motivate them was in 2002 when I was prompted to stand in front of my entire church to try to motivate them to get together with one another more often. That was 12 years ago!!! It seems that I’m constantly taking tiny steps in the direction that I feel He’s leading me, but it’s amazing when I look at the fact that I’m still not much closer to being where He has wanted me to be for at least 5 years!

Anyway, here’s the blog post. I hope you enjoy it. And, I still believe that I will overcome this fear!

I have been working really hard this last year to overcome my fear of public speaking. Part of being a professional organizer, and a successful business owner, is giving presentations on organizing. I have had to turn down so many great opportunities to speak to groups because of this fear. Since I seem to be a goal driven person, I do not let the fear stop me (though it has definitely slowed me down). I just look at it as a step that I must take in order to get to the goal of being a successful business owner.

Now here’s where the comical part comes in. I feel that God is heading me in the direction of becoming a motivational speaker. Hysterical, right? It all started when I heard Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup book series, speak at a conference I was at in 2007. I realized that I knew, lived, and believed in, everything he was saying. Basically that I could have written and given that very presentation, and with as much passion as he said it with, if I didn’t have this public speaking fear holding me back. I believe that’s when the seed was planted and it’s been growing quietly inside me ever since.

I started this business because I realized that helping people with my gift of organization was what I was created for. I love, love, love helping people. During this journey, and really throughout my life, I have had so many people tell me how much I motivate and inspire them. They are touched by my courage, strength, resilience and my you can do anything you set your mind to doing attitude.

A big part of being a professional organizer is motivating clients to tackle their clutter and inefficient habits. I now realize that I have so much information within me that I can share, that I want to share, with people to help them ~ to motivate them. I have so much I want to say, and such a strong desire to overcome this obstacle, so that I can help others be all that they can be, all that they were created to be. And here’s the catch, here’s the key to success, I know that I will overcome this obstacle.

Guard Your Spirit

I know all too well how powerful it is for people to declutter and rid themselves of those things that they no longer need, use or love. I am so fascinated by the psychology behind people and their stuff – why they have it, why they keep it, why it’s so hard to let go of it and the damaging ways it affects their lives – that I’m writing a book about it.

As I talk about in the book, clutter is not just physical stuff. Clutter is anything in your life that isn’t serving a purpose or moving you closer to your ultimate goals. It’s anything that you no longer need, use or love. And it’s anything that is clogging up your life or space and preventing you from being all you were meant to be.

Henry David Thoreau Quote

Henry David Thoreau Quote

As hard as this may be to believe, my “real” full time job was the biggest piece of clutter in my life. Though it paid very well and provided me with excellent benefits, what I did for my full time job went completely against who I am innately and what I stand for. I absolutely thrive on helping people. Working in customer service at a utility company as I did for my “real” job, I learned that you really can’t help people in that role. There are too many things out of your control. If they don’t pay their bill, you can’t stop the inevitable eventual disconnection of service. If their heat goes out and all of the company’s servicemen are prescheduled on other jobs, you can’t send anyone out to help them. And so it goes, on and on.

The majority of the people that would call took no responsibility for the situations they found themselves in. Rather, they truly believed everything was my fault and they weren’t afraid to tell me so. Because I am an extremely sensitive person, I took everything people said to me very personally. Even though I knew they were really venting and taking out their frustration with the company on me, being told how horrible you are over and over everyday is a very difficult thing for someone like me to shake off. It really weighed on me A LOT. I think I even eventually started believing the negative things they were saying about me after a while.

Whenever I see a problem, I immediately think what can I do to make it better? So working at a job talking to people all day that have problems and I can’t do anything to make it better for them was excruciatingly difficult.

You do what you have to do though, right? When I started working there 27 years ago, I was a poor single mother with 2 very young children to raise by myself. This job provided my children and I with the things we needed and so I never looked at this job as optional even though it felt like I was serving out a life prison sentence.  However, after I came to know God in such a close way later in life, it was hard for me to look past the damage it was doing to my spirit. I could feel it killing and eating away at my spirit. And I struggled with sitting idly by and allowing it to continue doing that.

Having been set free from this job (my clutter) for almost 10 months now, it’s amazing how much lighter I feel. How much happier I feel. How much more alive I feel. And how my spirit is healing and soaring like never before! I can see the beautiful sprouts of my new happy life coming out everywhere. And to date, I have never once regretted my decision to leave!

There’s a Monkey on my Back

When I started my professional organizing business, Simplified Living Solutions, I knew that it was extremely important to me that everything my team members or I did presented a very professional image. I wanted potential clients to know that we were a real company that they could take seriously and trust.

From the beginning, I made the decision that I would never tell anyone that I had another full time job. I was afraid that if people knew I worked another full time job, they might think that I was just sort of dabbling in professional organizing and that would not have projected the professional image that was so important to me.

Monkey.on.back

I consider myself to be an extremely authentic, genuine person and so from the beginning this decision has felt like a lie to me. In all reality though, in the 7 years that I’ve been in business, there have been very few people that directly asked me if I had another job. So in that sense, I really wasn’t lying per se, but rather I was withholding information about myself. Nonetheless, whatever you want to call it – lying or withholding information – it felt so yucky!

It’s funny how this innocent enough decision became a big monkey on my back. Even though my decision to withhold that information wasn’t really shared with any of our clients and didn’t really impact the level of service we provided them, it really impacted me. That one minute decision started decaying away at my true authentic self. Even though most people weren’t even aware that I was withholding this information since they never asked, I knew that I was lying – or that I had made a decision to lie.

That’s one thing that has been so freeing about leaving my “real job”, I can begin to confess, and let go of, these little white lies. In the end being able to do that will bring me closer to living a more authentic life which is truly what I desire. What I’ve learned from all of this is that even though the decision I made to tell a little fib didn’t really impact anyone else, it had a very strong impact on me. I found that this decision alone caused me to be a little more guarded in my interactions with clients than I wanted to be. I love nothing more than having real conversations, with real people about real stuff and you can’t do that 100% authentically if you’re not being 100% authentic.