Order Before Beauty

Order Before Beauty
Order Before Beauty

I’ve invited my friend, Brandie “The Home Office Organizer” to give us some tips where to get started on living a beautiful life. It all begins with getting organized. It is very difficult to see, appreciate or focus on beauty every day when your home or office is in disarray. Disorder affects our creativity, productivity and our sense of peace about life. It brings about frustration rather than contentment. Creating order and systems for our belongings is a way of finding beauty that we can appreciate in our day to day activities.

Welcome, Brandie!

Have you ever felt overwhelmed and not known why? Take a look around your room right now. Are you able to find everything you need, when you need it? Do you know where your keys are? What about your last bank statement? Your child’s last school picture? If you don’t know where these things are, how does it make you feel?

I wasn’t “born organized”, but I love helping people create order and beauty in their homes and home offices. Home offices are dear to my heart, as it is where my life changed (and my career as a Professional Organizer began) several years ago. I took control of my home and home office and created a place where my family can make memories and my creativity can flow. You can do the same thing. Here are some tips and resources to get you moving in the right direction.

Order Before Beauty

Order Before Beauty

Three Things You Need To Know

About Getting Organized

1. “Organized” simply means you can find what you need in 5 minutes or less.

Isn’t that wonderful? Every person has a different personality, way of learning, living and working. No one organization system will solve everyone’s problems (no matter what their marketing or commercials say). There are so many products out there, and you are bound to find the perfect one for you! Also, don’t be afraid to let you creativity out to play!
If you like electronics, use a PDA or Outlook for your calendar.
If you like more attractive and personalized things, consider a russell+hazel product.

You can even make your organization tools and storage containers! Try these:

Lid Rack as a mail sorter

Clothespin Labels

Stationery box

Using things from around the house

Organizing kids’ activities

Book Recommendation: “Organizing For Your Brain Type” by Lanna Nakone

2. Order clears your mind and frees you up to become the person you are meant to be.

There’s a lot to be said for simplifying your life. Having a little empty space in your life frees up corners for other things to come in. It doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you love. It means you look at your life and your space and “edit” out what you don’t love or use, leaving you with your most prized possessions. Your home and home office should reflect you and your family.

In her book, “Time Alive”, Alexandra Stoddard’s chapter, “Order Precedes Beauty” says:

“Without order there is no beauty. Living can be a messy business. The more engaged we are in living fully and well, the more stuff we seem to accumulate. We live in an orderly universe. Our homes and offices need to be kept orderly so we can spend our time in beautiful spaces that answer all our needs, arranged so that everything is both practical and uplifting.”

The act of simplifying and organizing means we value the beauty in our life, and allow it to show through in a place of honor. Living our life consciously in this way illuminates the path of our life and inspires us to move forward.

Book Recommendation: “Time Alive” by Alexandra Stoddard

3. Organization is a process of establishing habits, not an event.

I picked up the phone, and the woman on the other end had questions about my services and how I could help her. When I got to the part about how long the project would actually take in hours, there was stunned silence on the other line. I couldn’t blame her – it does take a while! In our microwave, drive-thru, instant gratification world, we sometimes forget things worth doing take time. It also doesn’t help when your three year old is throwing a fit over not eating her peas, the laundry is slowly spilling over into the hallway and about 30 minutes before bed, you learn your son’s science project is due in the morning. It can be too much some times!

So, here’s the good news – you don’t have to do it all today or even this weekend. The average American woman spends 55.2 minutes a day looking for things they need (according to a Real Simple study in 2003). What if you spent 10 minutes everyday working on one corner of your home office? Sort thru that corner and decide what goes, and what stays. How soon could you get that 55.2 minutes of your life back?

Bonus Girlfriends Tip: If you’re feeling extra motivated: invite a friend over, put the tea kettle on the stove, plug in a movie and get going. Rotate homes and repeat. What if you did this every month for a year? How different would your home look by this time next year? Imagine the possibilities!

Book recommendation: “Real Simple: The Organized Home”

One of the worst things about disorganization is the small pieces of joy which are taken from you. Life gets busy, and things can pile up. It’s all part of life, and it’s messy sometimes. Take time out every once in a while to re-evaluate and get things back into order – whatever that means for you.

If you’re a visual person, use pretty file folders for keeping your action paper in check (To Do, Bills To Pay, To Read, etc.).

If you like things to be a little easier, just label a box “Important Papers” and toss in statements, insurance information and other records (use a new one for each year).

Organization is a tool, and should be used to make your life better, not to make it more stressful. As long as you can find what you need in 5 minutes or less, use what works for you. I know you can do it!

About the author
Brandie Kajino, The Home Office Organizer, is a dynamic speaker, author and professional organizer. Brandie organizes home offices for home-based professionals. Her website offers resources, articles, services and a blog to help home office professionals get organized and simplify life.

Visit her web site at www.thehomeofficeorganizer.com or her blog at www.organize-simplify-transform.com.

top photo: Russell + Hazel


  1. Fabulous post.
    Just what I need to do at this very moment.

  2. What a great post! I am feeling the need to get organized. I can totally relate to disorganization affecting the beauty of my home. So glad I stumbled on your blog this evening. Off to peruse a little more!

  3. This is so up my alley! I am actually in the process of helping someone get organized and these are such great ideas.
    I know this is a website where some major time will be logged!
    Thank you dear Melissa :)

  4. i was just today reading up on how to be better organized and i come to your beautiful blog and look what you have here!! you are reading my mind melissa!!! i loved this post! thank you for featuring brandie and all of her tips! i am going to re-read this post just to make sure i get this all down…also i will be off to visit her site!
    ps. i have missed you too!!!

  5. Can really need some inspiration. The grey and boring weather doesn’t “wake anyone up”!!
    Hope you have a good Tuesday.
    Love Elzie

  6. Great Post! I always get caught up on #3. I’ll do a whirlwind organization of say, the pantry, but before the week is out….I can see the old me emerging and the area going back to it’s jumbled mess. I will definitely visit her site. I need Help!!!

  7. Another great article. I so need to get my office in order.

  8. Thanks for this, will come in handy for my big move to OZ.

  9. This was so timely as I’ve been setting up my office space and am trying to figure out how to keep everything quickly accessible and attractive. I love Alexandra Stoddard and I’m loving reading through your previous posts!! It’s so easy to overlook the necessity of beauty in our activities, especially things like bill filing, etc. I love your blog!

  10. It is SO TRUE. I feel so much better when I am organized and clutter free….I pay more attention to details and get more done. I haven’t always been very organized but it was one of my New Years Resolutions to PURGE all unnecessary objects and find al place for everything else!
    Thanks for the post!

  11. It’s exciting to know that I fall within that five-minute guideline. Otherwise, I agree with Alexandra, no beauty without organization.

  12. Need to work on this one Melissa!!

  13. Well this is one post I can learn a lot from



  14. Thanks for all your kind words! :) If you have an organization question, feel free to leave it here in the comments – I’ll be checking in. Or, you can leave a question on my blog too (see address above).
    Wishing you all happiness and success! :)

  15. Hi Melissa! Great post! I’m semi-organized. It comes and goes. I think it all has to do with “personality style” – to some degree.
    Some are perfectionists and some really don’t care. I do care – I just get too busy. But I agree with the writer – it’s hard to be creative in choas!
    Fun to read a guest on your site!
    Blessings! Sandy
    (PS I hope you WIN my GIVEAWAY!!!!!)

  16. Oh this is a great article for me. I’m definitely going to pick up that Real Simple book from the library this weekend. What I really need help with is organizing the many toys that seem to multiply whenever I blink.

    Thanks Melissa… only a day into Inspiration Week and I’m already feeling more motivated and inspired!

  17. Paris Parfait says

    Great tips! I’ve been in the process of re-organising files and research papers. It does make a difference in one’s creativity, if you don’t have to think about all these routine things.

  18. Hi Melissa,

    I could really use some organization, in some areas more then others. For example, I have not address book. That’s right, when I need an address, I shuffle through a pile of papers to hope I saved a certain envelope or note, sometimes I have old addresses that are years old and no longer valid, mixed in with everything else. So then I have to try to remember which is the correct one etc. I realize I have nobody to blame for this but myself but yet I still do it. LOL Your post was very timely.

  19. Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for coming by and visiting me the other day….you have an AMAZING site….it’s sooo professional and informative. Good job! Loved all the stuff you put on there.
    I’m going to be checking back and seeing what your up to next.

  20. i have sooooo missed you while i was awol…i sooo need this organization for my newly painted studio…i will share it soon…hugs, r

  21. Brandie,

    Wonderful article! I was wondering if you have any specific tips for someone who has a chronic illness, but who really wants to be more organized. My energy resources are very small, so the piles begin to take over. Any suggestions?


    Hey sweetie!


  22. What a great post….it’s so true! I love the statement “Without order there is no beauty.” …this is so very true. My goal this year is to organize my closets and get things cleared out. Thank you for the incouragement!

  23. Debbie,
    Thank you, and great question, thank you for asking. Chronic illness makes the right organization system even more important. I would suggest the “Organizing For Your Brain Type” book to start with. It is the best book I know of on the subject – very thorough and she gets right to the point. If you use a system (files, etc.) that works with your inner workings, you’ll be more apt to keep it and use it.
    Does that answer you question?

  24. Great recommendations! I love to organize!

  25. Great post and a subject close to my heart. I am an organized person, but I find the mail and papers to be the one thing I cannot keep under control. Constant vigilence. I think I need a “system”!

    Thanks for this!! Terri xo

  26. What a fantastic list. I’ll be referring back to this post for sure!

  27. 55 minutes?? You know, it feels like 55 minutes but I am always trying to convince myself otherwise–I have to revisit this! (I’ll be looking at the clock all day tomorrow!!)

  28. Brandie,

    Great suggestion! I will check out the book that you suggested. I really appreciate your help! I look forward to checking out your website, as well.


    Thanks for hosting such a lovely person!


  29. Penny, Mosaic Artist says

    Great Tips!

  30. Fabulous tips M, fabulous! Organisation and de-clutter, the keys to a happy life! J & j xo

  31. Excellent inspiration. Thank you!

    I cleaned off my home office desk today. I have been wanting to make it more functional as well as somewhere I really enjoy “being” and working.

  32. Willie Kissinger says

    How does one manage lots and lots of paper–specifically things that are clipped out of newspapers & magazines? I am drowning in all this info. Thanks

  33. Hi Willie,

    THanks for asking – it’s a great question! The first question you want to ask yourself is why you are keeping those clippings? If you just want to read them, set a time-limit for yourself, like 30 days. If you are using them for research, have a “passive research” file you can use for tossing in clippings (this is really useful for writers and students).

    If you’re using them for another reason, post another comment. :)


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