Mar
18

Lifestyle | Clarity & Consistency with Erica Midkiff

erica midkiff

At Pure Green, we believe in living life well -- that a conscious and inspired lifestyle begins and ends with you. The ways in which you care for yourself is the way you care for the world and the people around you. Yet, doing this is not always easy. To help us create more clarity and consistency, we've enlisted the help of organizer-extraordinaire, Erica Midkiff, to help achieve these goals! And because it takes practice, Erica is doing a 3-part series on the blog, complete with beautiful images, actionable advice, and all the encouragement in the world -- because, trust us, we're gonna need it! 

erica midkiff

It’s (relatively) easy to organize something once. You know how it goes—you get a burst of energy and you whip that hall closet into shape. 

Or you ignore your ringing phone and your to-do list and dive straight into your email inbox, spending hours creating folders, moving emails around, and sending long-overdue responses until you reach that immensely satisfying goal: an empty inbox.

When you’re done, you marvel at the beauty of what you’ve accomplished, and you vow to never, ever, ever let your closet or your inbox get that bad again. And for a day or two, things are great. You gently nestle your rain boots right back into their designated spot. You process each email lovingly, either answering and filing it away immediately or carefully tucking it into a folder to be dealt with at the end of the day. Life is good.

erica midkiff

But before long, the inevitable happens. You’re in a hurry—the dog needs to go out now, and you have that meeting in ten minutes, plus you haven’t eaten in five hours—and suddenly those boots are tossed in without another thought or that email lingers, read but unanswered or unfiled, in your inbox. So begins the gradual decline of organization. And it continues until eventually, things get so bad (even though you swore this time would be different) you can’t stand it any longer, and in a mad frenzy, you start the whole cycle all over again.

I promise this entire post won’t be so doom and gloom. But it’s important to acknowledge what isn’t working—it’s what plants the seeds for change. And now that I’ve made you squirm, I’m going to share a formula with you that has forever changed the way I look at organizing:

Clarity plus consistency equals sustained organization.

Get clear on what you want and make it happen through measured, thoughtful steps, then set up consistent actions to keep it that way. Instead of relying on those random bursts of frustrated energy, instead of waiting until you get completely fed up, start with why, organize with purpose, and maintain intentionally. Figure out what you want that hall closet or email inbox (or to-do list or pantry or self-care routine) to look like, and then set up ways to get those results over and over.

I use this process with my clients—I work with creative entrepreneurs to help them clearly and consistently share who they are and what they know through meaningful content—and I use it in my life and my business again and again to keep things running as smoothly as possible. And I want to share the steps with you, so you can break that vicious cycle of organization.

erica midkiff

But before we jump into the process, I want you to choose an organizing project of your own so you can walk through the steps with me. A word of caution as you brainstorm, though. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think of all the things you could be organizing at once. You know the feeling. Your breath starts coming a little more quickly, your stomach or your chest (or something else inside of you) starts feeling tight, and you begin to feel like it’s all way too much—you can’t possibly organize all these things, so why would you even try? Maybe you should just keep hiding and pretending everything is fine. 

I know that feeling well. Resist it. Take a few deep, calming breaths and remember that you have to start somewhere. And think of how much easier your life will be if you organize even one thing on your list. I recommend beginning with a smaller win (like your personal closet rather than the garage you haven’t touched in ten years) to build momentum.

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I’ve listed some ideas to get you started below, but the possibilities for what you can use this method to organize are endless!

  • Spaces in your home: closets, drawers, attic, garage, under the bed, bookshelves, laundry room, car, pantry, gift-wrapping area
  • Your digital life: email, photos, digital filing, calendar
  • Business or work: physical filing, scheduling, content, to-do list
  • Self-care: morning routine, eating healthy, time to read, exercise routine
  • Relationships: regular date night, friends’ night out, play dates, birthday and anniversary cards

Once you’ve chosen something, keep it in mind over the next week. Jot down any ideas you have as they come to you—that way, when we start digging into clarity next week, you won’t be starting from scratch. But I also want you to keep the following things in mind—they’ll help keep you from getting overwhelmed:

  • Be kind to yourself. Change is hard, even if you’re excited about and ready for it. Focus on progress, not perfection, and remember that slow growth is more sustainable than quick change.
  • Be willing to let go of what’s not working. If you’re organizing how you manage your client projects, for example, examine every part of your process for potential change, even if you feel like some things are already working. Or if you’re organizing your pantry, take everything out so you can reevaluate where every item lives, rather than trying to wedge something in next to the flour bin you thought was in a good place. Making a change in an entire system is much easier than trying to tiptoe around certain parts of that system.
  • Be willing to ask for help. An outside perspective or encouragement can make all the difference. Don’t feel like you have to do everything on your own!

If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the comments below, or reach out on my website: ericamidkiff.com/contact. See you next week!

PHOTOGRAPHY courtesy of  W&EPHOTOGRAPHIE


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