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December 5, 2023

Episode 121: 12 Ways Small Business Owners Can Add More Organization to Their Lives to Reduce Stress & Increase Productivity with Laura Siess of iheartbins


 

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Life can be pretty chaotic, especially as a small business owner. From spending time at home to maintaining your business, you are constantly on the move—and an unorganized space can only make things more overwhelming.

As a full-time working mom running her own side hustle, Laura Seiss understands the importance of organization and the major impact it can have on both your business and personal life. That’s why she started her organizational blog, iheartbins—to help others turn chaos into peace.

In this episode of Priority Pursuit, Laura dives into 12 ways small business owners can add more organization to their lives and how you can get started today!

 

Organization at Home

Home should be a place where you can go to escape the stress of daily life. However, as a small business owner, oftentimes, your home and business become one and the same—even if you don’t always work from home. Because of this, it is especially important to make sure your home is organized.

Sometimes, when we accumulate things, they weigh us down emotionally and physically. When this happens, the tendency is to shut the proverbial door to hide things and spend more time away from home to avoid the chaos and the weight it can bring. However, by doing that, nothing actually gets dealt with. It instead continues to build until it becomes almost impossible to manage.

However, according to Laura, there are ways to approach this chaos and start bringing order to your home.

 

Start with the Clutter

Everyone has a different definition of what clutter means to them. It comes down to how you feel when you walk into a space. Is it overwhelming? Does it stress you out? Laura suggests going through your space with this in mind and decreasing the amount of clutter based on how you feel about a space.

 

Start Small

Don’t feel like you need to tackle your entire home all at once! Instead, pick one area to start with. Laura recommends beginning with a smaller space to make the task more manageable, especially when you are just starting out. This could be as small as a single drawer or as large as a full room. It is completely up to you and what you see as feasible.

Once you’ve selected an area to start with, empty it out and separate the items you find into categories. By seeing and touching everything you have in the space, you can decide what you truly need to keep there and what can either get moved to another place or thrown out entirely. 

 

Put Value on Your Space

A lot of people hold onto things because they believe getting rid of them would be a waste. You may be thinking, “I spent good money on this, I shouldn’t throw it away.” 

However, as Laura shares, the money has already been spent regardless of whether or not you keep the item. In fact, the act of holding on to the item becomes the waste as it takes up your space with no real purpose. With this in mind, it is important to place value in your space and environment as well as your items. Doing so will make letting things go an easier process. 

 

Consider Your Lifestyle

Once you’ve separated your items and gotten down to what you need, love, and use—it’s time to consider how and where you’ll use them.

When you open a space, Laura recommends taking time to sit with it. Don’t be in a rush to fill it just because it’s there. Instead, explore how you move in the space and the way you utilize it. This may spark some ideas on how you can best organize and arrange your things.

 

Get Creative with How You Use the Space

Unless your home was custom-built for you, it wasn’t designed for your unique way of living. In some cases, your home may be 20 years old or older, and we simply don’t live the same way people did at that time. Because of this, it’s important to take a look at your own habits, interests, and lifestyle when deciding the flow and organization of your space.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with how you use the space! For example, Laura’s home originally featured a formal dining room. However, that didn’t fit into her and her family’s lifestyle, so they made the conscious choice to convert it into a library and crafting area instead. Now the space is being utilized in an effective way that adds to Laura’s family’s life.

 

Give Yourself Permission to Have Messes (and Create Systems to Work with Them)

No one’s home is spotless all the time, not even Laura’s. You are busy living life, and your home shouldn’t take away from that. Take away the pressure of constantly having a clean house and give yourself permission to have messes.

That being said, it’s also important to create systems to handle these messes. What these systems look like is completely up to you. For example, Laura’s laundry room is where things tend to end up when there isn’t necessarily time to organize or put things away. She also uses a basket to collect or corral things into one spot. That way she can then take the basket throughout the house and put things back where they belong when she has time.

Speaking of time, Laura recommends setting some aside in your schedule to handle things if they are starting to get a bit messy. It can be 30 minutes, an hour, or however long works for your schedule. Again, there are many methods here, so play around with it and see what works best for you.

 

Organization at the Office

As a small business owner, you have your hands on every element of your business. As such, it’s easy to get caught up in the starting and running of your business and not take the time to create solid foundations and processes. However, these systems can help you stay organized and efficient as you continue to build and grow. 

 

Create Systems Based on Tasks

Just like at home, creating and maintaining systems in your office or business will keep things functioning efficiently. To create these systems, take an inventory of your daily, weekly, and monthly tasks and look for ways you can build efficiencies. Would a filing system help with customer invoices? Do you need a place to keep meeting notes?

As you work to organize and create systems, consider how you utilize items and your space. For example, if there is something you use consistently throughout the day or week, think about placing it in a location that is easily accessible.

 

Organize Online

In today’s day and age, most businesses keep a majority of their work online. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create organizational processes. Be sure to separate your documents and other digital items based on how you need to access them. 

Do you need things separated by project? Or do you need access to all of one type of document at the same time? Create a system that works for you. This may take some time to set up in the beginning, but it will help you stay efficient and organized in the long run.

 

Tools for Organization

There is really no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to organizing—and that goes for organization tools as well. Because of this, there isn’t a specific bin, item, or software that Laura would recommend for everyone in general. But she does have a few tips on tools that may come in handy!

 

Dial in Your Calendars

According to Laura, people tend to overestimate how much time they have to feasibly accomplish everything they want. By writing or typing everything down in one place, you can document your time in a visual way that makes things a lot clearer and more manageable.

There are plenty of different options as far as calendars go. Whether you prefer to keep everything digital (like shared Google Calendars) or pen and paper (planners, dry-erase board calendars, etc.), just make sure it fits your unique needs.

 

Play with Baskets and Bins

Baskets, bins, jars, bottles, and every other container can help keep your items organized and together. However, there is no one right way to use any of these. For example, a clear shoebox bin can be used for kitchen storage, art supplies, first aid kits, or even actual shoes!

Even Laura continues to play around with different containers to see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t feel like you have to stick with whatever you try first. Instead, be open to using containers in different ways as you explore and find what works best for you.

 

Label What You Want

Labels can help put parameters on how you use a space so randomness doesn’t show up where it doesn’t belong. Or, as Laura shares, they can be used more like decor or styling. It all depends on your preferences.

Not everything has to be labeled to be considered organized. Laura recommends considering who will use the item(s) when deciding whether or not to label them. If you are the only one who uses it, you probably don’t need a label (you know what it is after all), but if it’s something your whole family uses or you may need to direct guests towards, a label may prove helpful.

 

Get Started Today

The biggest tip Laura feels anyone just starting out needs to know is to start small. Again, you don’t need to tackle your entire house or garage when you begin to get things organized. Instead, pick a small area—like a drawer. 

Are you ready to get started? Here’s a quick first step you can accomplish today!

 

Tackle Your Junk Drawer

To get started, set a fifteen-minute timer. Then pull out your junk drawer and clear it out as best you can. Sort through the items and decide what items you need, love, or use. You’ll probably find a few items that either belong somewhere else or that you no longer need at all. Be sure to clear these out and place them where they should go.

Once you’ve decided on what belongs in your drawer, arrange it based on how you will need or want to access the items. And you’re done! If by the end of your time you feel inspired to keep going, great! Working in these timed spurts can help show you that organizing doesn’t have to be an overwhelming experience. It just takes one step at a time! 

 

 

Be sure to listen to this whole episode (at the top of the page or wherever you listen to podcasts) to hear more insight and advice from Laura about ways small business owners can add more organization to their lives. If you’d like to connect with Laura, you can visit her blog or find her on Instagram (@iheartbins) or Etsy.

 

Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode

 

Try HoneyBook—the all-in-one CRM that streamlines your workflow—to save 45 minutes per day on admin tasks.

 


 

The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.

You can find The Priority Pursuit Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts.

 


 

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As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

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