March 24, 2022

On our latest podcast episode Jane Stoller a Swiss-Canadian author, speaker, and life-biz organizer of Organized Jane joins host Amy Girard to talk about organization.

Can you talk to us about what Organized Jane is?

Organized Jane is now five years old. It’s a business that helps people and businesses get more organized. I used to go into homes and help people individually in their homes. But now my business is scaled that I have a course and also products and books that I sell, but I really passionate about helping get more organized.

They say when you’re about six to eight years old, if anybody has kids listening, that’s when you start to become either organized or disorganized. So when I was six, I already started organizing everything for my pet cats to books and everything you can imagine. I do have Swiss parents, so it’s in my blood.

It just became my passion and I helped my friends, teachers, and colleagues at work when I was in corporate. So it just became a passion, but I didn’t know, I could make it my business. And I was too scared to make it my business until about five years ago.

I understand you use an adaptable approach to organizing. Can you explain what that means?

Yes, organizing is not a size fits. It doesn’t have to look like your colleague’s desk or, your best friend’s closet. Nothing has to look the same. And I think Instagram has done a really bad job of doing this for us because we want everything to be perfect. You need to make it adaptable for your life. You’re constantly changing life, your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be efficient.

We often hear our clients work on decluttering and getting rid of unused items before their remodel and even when they move back in. Do you have suggestions on how to start that process?

Yes. Remodeling is a tough thing because sometimes if you, especially, if you stay in your house, it’s chaotic. If you have to move out, you really want to assess what you’re going to need. We don’t need a lot of stuff. So, what do you wear on a daily basis? Just bring a pack for a week of vacation, like your week work week, something that you’re, you don’t need to bring, even if you’re out for three months.

Cause it’s being remodeled, only packed for a week. You’re likely going to have access to a washing machine. I hope that’s during that time. So really keep it minimal when you’re bringing stuff over, I’m likely going to have to store your stuff, which is okay for that time being. During that time before you store it, assess if it’s going to fit in the new home.

A lot of times decor is changed. My mom is an architect too, so she’s always like after they remodeled the furniture doesn’t fit anymore. If you can get rid of it even before you store it, you can pay for a smaller storage unit and things like that. So, assess before you store and before you pack it for your other place you might be living while it’s being.

So, take time to one assess, then pack?

I would actually take time to really think of it as a decluttering session for the whole family or whoever’s involved and have bin labeled as donates sell. And just try to fill those because the less stuff you bring after the remodel the lighter you’ll feel, the more the remodel will come to light. I don’t like it when you have a beautiful newly renovated space or home, and then you put all this clutter, it doesn’t make sense.

What tips do you have for organizing and more importantly, staying organized when they moved back into their homes?

Yeah. So that’s the same concept as before when you’re moving back in, you want to be really intentional with where you place things. Um, does it, does it fit your lifestyle? Is it functional, practical? The more practical is the more likely you’ll sustain the organizational system. So, um, and when you’re bringing stuff in, I would really caution people to, to, um, first you’ve probably already assessed it, but assess it again before you bring it in.

Then really talk to who’s in that room. If it’s an office, who’s using it, the kids’ rooms, get them involved. Does it meet their eye level? Where are they going to be using it in the entryways, which are big clutter traps, the entryways, and the garage?

Be we should pay more attention to what we bring in there and make sure it’s a little bit more functional because we use those every single day.

What tips do you have for organizing those spaces? Like the mudroom, because that’s where the mail comes in, backpacks, sports gear, and everything.

I hate the term mudroom because it does sound dirty and muddy, and everybody brings their stuff in the mud even stays there. It’s like those are cluttered traps and suggest things should not stay there. Once they come in the mail, the kids’ stuff, they should go back to their rooms immediately.

Maybe 10 minutes a day, you have a mudroom, cleanup or declutter and just move stuff out. Hooks are great. Bins are great, but make sure that whatever is in the bins is being used. So, if the kids have labeled bins, make sure they actually store the stuff they’re using. Maybe once a month, it needs to be a mudroom cleanup.

What about your kitchen, is it the same philosophy?

It really depends on your lifestyle and how much, like some people are doing it. I do it like constantly. It’s a habit of mine, so I don’t have to do a big overhaul and I don’t recommend big overhauls because then we get overwhelmed. We get rid of too much stuff only to buy some more. It’s stressful. We don’t have time and we never got.

But if you’re doing it a little bit at a time, it helps. A lot of people right now are spring cleaning, which is a great time. So why not embrace that and do that at that time, but then hopefully try and build an into your life as a habit.

Why is organizing and decluttering important to a healthy lifestyle?

Oh, my gosh, I could go on for hours about this, but as we know, when we’re organized, we feel less stress. If we’re mentally cluttered, which is a big problem today, we have so many distractions and things going on, we can’t have focus. We’re always late stress and anxiety is huge right now in society. And I think a lot of it has to do with just being more organized and being more efficient which can reduce stress, increase their happiness, and increase our productivity.

A win-win if you’re more organized.

Do you have tips that you give everyone when you start the process?

In my book Decluttering for Dummies, I have this big kitchen chapter and I have this inventory list and want you to write down what you’re using every single day and what you’re using every single week. And if you’re not using some of those things on there, they probably need to go.

And I know it’s really tough, but the kitchen often is a dumping place for gadgets and things and gifts. So go through the list and if you get my book too, there’s actually an inventory list. It might sound tedious, but you’re actually going through things and saying, I’ve never used this in three years.

It’s time to get rid of it. So that inventory list is really good. The pantries expired products, all of that is important too. My biggest suggestion is don’t buy in bulk as well if you’re getting so much leftover stuff. We are a Costco nation in North America, and we always overbuy. And in Europe, they shop frequently almost daily and don’t have that much of that problem. Their fridges are smaller. A lot of things like that will help to kind of keep the kitchen a bit minimal

I’m very curious about your closet organization tips, what can you share?

You really need to assess what you’re wearing on a daily basis. If you spend 80% of your time in your Lulu’s and your sweats on zoom calls and, or working out, or even whatever your businesses that should be 80% of your closet, front and center, the other 20%, you probably need to get rid of a lot of that stuff.

I keep a donate bin in my closet that just reminds me to keep donating things like that is super important as it constantly reminds you of decluttering. Have a friend over to, to help because a lot of time they’re like you’re haven’t worn that in three years, or they might I want to borrow something. So, things like that to get you started, but the closet is the first thing where you lose time in the day or gain time. So, make it organized.

Can you talk a little bit more about your business side and what you do there?

I have a lot of business experience and was like a consultant for so long so I process organizing experience. From that, I made a course that’s for business owners with six steps on how to organize the backend of your business. I actually spent 80% of my time on my business.

It’s really simple steps for any business owner. Most of them have a really good product or service but need basic business skills. And to that end, they want to scale and are overwhelmed. It really gives you those steps. It’s all in a live course every Tuesday, otherwise, all the information is on an evergreen course.

Any imparting organizational words for us or wisdom or amazing tips that you would share?

I just say don’t stress start today. Cause often we put off organizing because we think it’s such a big task, but today 10 minutes a day, I want anyone listening to organize their emails or computer files, or closet just 10 minutes. Just start. Once you do that, you’ll get something tangible. Use a timer.

If you need to like set up a little five-minute decluttering organizing session, whatever it may be are on your phone, and just do it because you will feel so much.

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