In today's episode, you'll learn some easy home organizing tips for keeping your home decluttered and from a professional organizer and decluttering coach!
In today's episode, you'll learn some easy home organizing tips for keeping your home decluttered from professional organizer and decluttering coach, Wendy Zanders! She also shares about her struggles with ADD, depression and anxiety and how she overcame them. We really enjoyed talking about grateful we are that women have so many more options today for earning money because of the internet and how we can be both home with our kids more and have a fulfilling career.
Links In This Episode
- Website: https://www.WendyZanders.com
- Grab Wendy's book – From Brokenness to Strength
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FunctionalOrganizingwithWendy/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wendyzanders
- Check out my podcast episode on the Marie Kondo decluttering method – Why I Jumped on the Marie Kondo Decluttering Bandwagon
- See my blog post – How I Kon-Mari'ed My Master Closet
- Check out my new album Mindful Mamas – Affirmations and Meditations for Moms and Kids!
- See all of the episodes from The Merry Messy Moms Show here
- Join in the fun & conversation in The Merry Messy Moms Show Facebook group
Tune In Here
Wendy's Struggle with ADD
Wendy was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago and moved to the US when she was 14 to the Maryland area. She had undiagnosed ADD and it made it very difficult to succeed in school because back then, they just didn't have the resources for ADD and other learning challenges that we have now.
So she had to work twice as hard as other kids to keep her grades up, but those experiences also set her up for success because she learned the value of hard work and believing in herself. Wendy ended up spending 8 years in the military and did very well there, and another 8 years in corporate America where she was also successful. The one thing she didn't do was let her challenges hold her back!
She was able to quit her corporate job last October (2018) to be home with her kids more and to start her own decluttering and coaching business. And the best part, she has even written a book about her struggles with ADD.
Women Have So Many More Options Today!
When she was working her corporate job, she would wake up at 4:30 a.m. and get home at 6 p.m. She only had three hours each night with her kids – to get dinner on the table, spend time with her husband and do bedtime and devotions. There was no time to spend for herself to decompress. At the time, they made it work and she made the best of it. But she soon realized she could get out and do something different if she really wanted to.
She also stresses that everyone is different and it's really about making the best of what you have. If you have to work and be away from your kids and maybe don't have a desire to own your own business, that's okay, too. Choose to make the most of your evenings, weekends and vacation time with your family. Choose to spend your time being grateful for what you have and be careful not to compare yourself to other mothers who have the opportunity to be stay-at-home-moms.
She does love working for herself, though, because of the flexibility it provides. After our podcast interview, she went to play at the park with her daughter. And she gets to set her own schedule and take on as much work as as little work as she wants. She also loves how appreciative people are of her home organizing tips and how much they help others!
How to Learn to Think Positively and to Speak Kindly to Yourself
Wendy is a positive, very uplifting person as you'll hear in the episode. But she wasn't always that way – it's something she's worked on and developed.
Her nephew was killed in a car accident at the age of 20 and it totally rocked her world. She went into a state of depression. There were days the only thing she could do were to get up and take a shower. People would tell her to smile, thinking it was just some grief and sadness, but she didn't realize until later than it was full-on depression. Her house went into disarray and bills were getting paid late because of it.
She did end up seeking therapy which has helped her greatly. And going through that experience has helped her to empathize with her decluttering clients even more. She is able to avoid judgement when it comes to their homes and lifestyles.
But mostly she says, she chooses to be positive. She will turn on praise and worship music, and uses her faith to uplift her. Her husband and her church family are also very supportive. She chooses joy and has an attitude to keep going forward, even though everyday isn't roses and sunshine.
How Being Busy Became a Badge of Honor
She realizes now when she was working a corporate job that she prided herself on being busy. That she wore it like a badge of honor. There were times she felt proud of herself for working on Saturdays as opposed to taking her kids to Six Flags because it made her feel important and special.
She would say yes to things that she really didn't want to do and would take away time with her family because they made her feel special.
Keep Priorities in Check by Having a Vision for Your Family
It's common to have career or business goals, but not as common to have a vision and goals for your family. With a clear picture of how you want your family life to be, you can more easily know which things to say yes to, what to stand up for, what to say no to. It's easier to make decisions for your family with a vision.
Her Decluttering Business – How it Works
She mostly works in person in the Maryland and Northern Virginia areas to help women organize their homes. It's very individual process and she helps them to organize their homes according to their lifestyle and needs.
She does also work with people all over the country by using the video messaging app, Marco Polo. You can show her the rooms you want to organize and she can help that way while telling you all of her excellent home organizing tips.
Group Coaching and Facebook Groups
She does group session through her Facebook groups where she does live video coaching sessions for an hour twice a month and anyone can get on the live and ask questions and the people attending can learn from one another. It's also a source of accountability where you get motivation to follow through on your decluttering projects.
Drowning in Clutter? Some Quick Home Organizing Tips
When the seasons change, in fall and in the spring, go through the kids clothes and box up the ones from the previous season. Separate them and either donate them or consign them to get them out of the house.
After a holiday, go through the kids' toys and box up the ones they aren't playing with anymore. You could donate, consign, or rotate them. She suggests bringing out the boxed up toys every 2 months and this works especially well for younger kids who forget about the toys in the meantime!
Have a Yard Sale
If doing yard sales is your thing, have a big yard sale once a year! This is a great way to teach your kids about selling and the value of money.
Wendy lets her son keep all of the earnings from the yard sale. This has helped him to be ruthless about getting rid of clutter. He gets so excited to sell things that he will give up many of his toys that he otherwise wouldn't have parted with before.
He will even barter with other kids in the neighborhood! They will trade toys and this works well if you like the parents of their friends.
Donate Right Away
As soon as you have decluttered an area, donate the items as soon as you can. Think of how many times we've probably left a box of toys, clothes, books or other items to be donated sitting in the garage for years?!
It also helps you to feel like you really accomplished something and it wasn't half done.
Donating Helps You to Part with Your Posessions
When you have an organization that you can donate your things to that you are passionate about, it's much easier to part with them because you have that knowledge that someone else will get to enjoy it and wear it.
She says it's important to be ruthless and be really honest with yourself as you go through your clothes.
Here is one of my favorite home organizing tips she has. When you look at an item, ask yourself, if you were in the store today would you buy it again? If not, donate it. Allow someone else to enjoy it.
Decluttering Helps You to Spend More Quality Time with Your Family
Instead of spending your time off cleaning, if you have less things and keep them organized, you'll be able to enjoy your time off more and spend more time with your family.
The saying, “collect moments, not things” really is wise and true! This does not mean perfection.
Pretty Boxes and Bins aren't Needed to Start Decluttering
Wendy doesn't have her clients purchase any boxes or bins before decluttering because once they have cleaned out what they don't need, they usually end up finding boxes and bins they can use that they already had!
She helps her clients go step-by-step. For some, that means actually checking the mailbox because they haven't done it in a week because they are so tired and overwhelmed. They also aren't sure what to do with the papers form the mailbox so you avoid it altogether.
Marie Kondo's Method Doesn't Work for Everyone
Wendy has found that while she loves many aspects of Marie Kondo's method, it doesn't work for everyone. For instance – for cleaning out the books, Marie says to gather them from all over the house and go through them at one time. Well, they may not have four hours to really address that pile at one time and then they're left with a huge mess until the next weekend when they'll have more time to declutter.
One of her home organizing tips is for some people, just going to the mailbox once a day is a big deal. Or cleaning one shelf of a bookshelf is a good place to get started and isn't as overwhelming.
So Wendy really tailors her methods to what works for the person for whom she's coaching.
Guard Yourself Against Going from Zero to Hero
Many times when we start something new or are trying to change a habit we start off feeling so bad about ourselves. So we end up punishing ourselves and make the process really hard. To create a lifelong new habit, take it more gently and slowly, be more kind to yourself and remember the home organizing tips you learned today!
Start off by decluttering just one shelf, or own drawer, or one section of your closet. Then donate the extras and start again. Take it step by step so you create a new habit and not just a one-time thing. After a while, you will be using all her home organizing tips seamlessly!
Her Home Organizing Tips Also Inspires the Kids
They see us cleaning up and then they want to join in! She says this happens often with her clients. Let them see you donating and tell them about the organization you're donating to! You can even have them hand the boxes over so they participating in the process and learn about how other people live.
Her Book, From Brokenness to Strength
It captures her story of her struggles with ADD, anxiety and depression to overcoming them to become a speaker, author, coach and professional home organizer. It is available on Amazon and Kindle.
The message of her book is that no matter what struggles or disabilities you have in life, you can go on to do great things if you choose to. Don't let a disability or mindset hold you back!