13 Tips on Organization & Happiness from Michelle Lea Designs {contributor}


Hello! I’m Michelle from Michelle Lea Designs. A Southern girl and military wife who loves to blog about photography, organizing, design, crafts and the crazy little adventures of our family of 5! I am so honored and excited to be visiting on Ginger’s fabulous blog!


Today, I am sharing some tips on being organized. Being organized isn’t only for the type A personality, meticulous individuals. I am creative and chaotic at times, but love a clean and neat space… and organization. I think I’m always striving to be more organized, like most people. You can ask my husband, there are times that he will open my purse and it is perfectly in order and then there are times that it looks like a tornado hit. I feel like the key to being organized is to work on it a little at a time and please give yourself a break. The house is going to be insane at times, you’re going to forget to write in your planner some days or weeks and at some point you may even have to run through the drive through cause you didn’t plan a thing for dinner. The world will keep spinning and you’ll get it all back on track. No big deal, you’ve got this!

So here we go…

1. Clean up your computer desktop. Get all of those folders where they belong instead of starring at you every time you sit down at your pretty little computer. I like to use the desktop for current folders and constantly used items. You can even make your own desktop screen to help organize your current projects and to-dos, like this one from Dear Miss Modern.

2. Organize your photos. When I download photos to my computer, I save them in folders according to when I took them. I have folders for each year and then within that year I have all 12 months. I will sometimes make individual folders in each month to separate different occasions. It looks like this:


Using the zero in front of the keeps all of the months in order. December ends up being 012 December.

3. Organize your email into folders. This is an awesome idea and I was great at this in my real world job… but my personal email is a constant running list of crazy. So this is on my list of to-do’s.

4. Get rid of junk. Go watch the show Hoarders and then try to look at your possessions and scale back just a little. We are a military family and have weight restrictions each time that we move… so I’ve learned to keep a lean house. Well, we still have our junk drawers and items that we just can’t bear to part with. When we do cleaning and organization of areas, we separate it all into Trash, Donate and Sale. This helps us to part with some items that might be harder otherwise.

5. Keep your pretty little things organized together. This has been the best way for me to keep my sanity with all of my craft, paper, fabric, magazine addiction and photography items. Pick pretty collections of your items and store them all together so that you can easily find them. In my new office, I bought a large industrial shelving unit from Home Depot and did just that. I used many different containers, boxes and bowls to sort and "stage" my items.


6. Clean up your Pinterest. Do you ever go on a never ending pinning spree and go back weeks later and wonder what you were thinking? Ok, maybe it’s only me. Periodically, go through your boards and thin them out, keeping the things that really inspire you and make you happy. It’s like Christmas all over again, full of ideas!

7. Saying no won’t make the world end. I’ve been volunteering with different military organizations since 2001 and this is probably one of the hardest things for me to do. I want to help everyone, do everything and do it awesomely… but you have to say no sometimes. You just have to.

8. Schedule time to unplug. Cut the cord and plan something fun. The eye twitch will stop after a little while and you will look forward to your next off the grid time.

9. Unsubscribe from unwanted emails. Do you find yourself hitting delete automatically on certain marketing emails? I know that I do and they come daily from some companies. Each January and May I go into the trash folder of my gmail and I do a little happy dance as I hit unsubscribe on all of those emails that just became too much. You do have the option with some companies to limit the amount of emails that they send you. I am also more conservative about who I sign up for emails with as a result… which also leads to less spending.

10. Back up your computer, iPads, phones, and camera files. Did anyone see the Sex in the City episode when Carrie had the sad mac virus, you DO NOT want to see the screen of death… it always happens just as you realize that external hard drive on your desk should have been used for more than a paper weight.

11. 15 minutes. You can do it. Just straighten up for 15 minutes. This is a tool that I took from following the FlyLady. (check out her site… I still try to make sure my sink is sparkling every day) I’ve adapted her idea into my own weekly cleaning schedule. If some aspect of your house is just driving you crazy, stop and set your timer. Attack it and I guarantee you will feel so much better. When it all feels overwhelming, I just set my timer and tackle it 15 minutes at a time. Baby steps.


12.  Have a drop point at your entry into the house.  We have a table and mud room type cabinets at the garage entrance to our house. Yours can be just a table, a bowl, or a full mud room. A drop point keeps the clutter from going farther in the house and it also provides a starting point for all of the lonely lost items in the house. Isn’t it amazing how easily things walk away… but all is not lost until Mom can’t find something šŸ˜‰

13. The Most Important! Take the time to breath and enjoy those who support you and enjoy the world around you. If you’ve read any of my blog posts before, you’ve seen me say this. Life goes by so fast and we spend so much time worrying about the things that needlessly take up our time. As technology improves, daily tasks become more convenient and we try to juggle more and more… we are just running in circles and wishing away the important moments and the little things of life. Our kids won’t remember the expensive phone we bought them nearly as much as sitting on the back of dad’s truck laughing and getting to know their family. I’m just as guilty as the next person of this, but I’m trying to stop and remember every hug, laugh and tear. #1- 12 mean nothing if you don’t have someone there to share in your stumbles and triumphs. SO…


You can download my Shopping List, Cleaning Checklist and other free Printables HERE.

Have a great weekend and thank you for letting my come visit!

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