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Baby Steps to Organization:: Step Two: Are you a S.H.E.?

by | Aug 12, 2010 | Bedrooms, Decorating Inspiration, Organization

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Baby Steps to Organization:: Step Two: Are you a S.H.E.?Candelabra/Arteriors

I want to reorganize my upstairs so I will have a guest room and so the entire second floor will function better. But I’m the master at getting sidetracked. You probably know that about me by now if you have been hanging out here long. I’m good at dreaming up ideas, even rather good at accomplishing many things in life, but not always so good at following through on all of the things I really want to do. I think I have more ambition than time.

I also think I have organizational and decorating ADD. That is probably pretty close to the truth.

Did any of you read “Sidetracked Home Executives” back in the day (Ok, YEARS ago?)? If you haven’t heard of that book or the “Sidetracked Sisters” you can find them now via FlyLady (even before Flylady I was into the S.H.E. sisters!). Anyway, their book was hilarious to me because it reminded me of myself.  I can have the greatest intentions EVER to complete a project and along the way I find myself swept away into some other wonderful idea that wasn’t really a part of my plan but sounded fun at the moment.  I am the classic S.H.E.

Sometimes I am sidetracked by crazy and unnecessary but fun rabbit trails, but often I am simply pulled away by other urgent obligations that keep me from completing my original project in a timely fashion.

So if you are like me, how can we stay on track when we start an organizing or decorating project?

Baby Steps to Organization:: Step Two: Are you a S.H.E.?Casae Decor Guest Bedside Table

Here are two of my basic but tried and true methods for getting the job done if you tend to get sidetracked!

1. Set realistic goals and deadlines.

It helps me if I set a realistic completion date and a few goals for my project. It works best for me to set a goal that coincides with some other event like company coming over or whatever. I am motivated by a REAL deadline, not just a date.

In fact, if necessary I have been known to INVENT an EVENT (like inviting people over on a Friday night) so I’ll finish a project by Thursday!  Being a recovering “perfectionist procrastinator,” the near and looming deadline is what keeps me going.

2. Keep your focus on what counts.

Only let yourself get sidetracked by things that MUST get done to maintain your routines and your family’s sanity (like feeding your kids or keeping the dishes washed) and slap your wrist if you start a new project in the middle of your main project, even if it is a good idea.

Getting sidetracked away from your project because you need to feed the kids, your dog just threw up on the floor, your mom came to town and decided to make you slipcovers, or five college students unexpectedly decided to spend the weekend at your house* is understandable and OK. Have mercy on yourself, real life happens! You need to expect those types of interruptions to happen in the middle of most projects so allow time for them and be FLEXIBLE.

But getting sidetracked because you decide randomly to organize 22 years of pictures in shoeboxes when your real goal is to set up a guest room and re-purpose closets is NOT OK. Do not ask me how I know this.

The idea of organizing family pictures is brilliant. You might REALLY NEED to organize them. But the decision to organize photos NOW, for instance, in the middle of moving furniture around to set up a guest room, is not so good. That rabbit trail will keep you from accomplishing your mail goal.

What is my solution for rabbit trails?

Keep a notebook with a list of things to do “after the completion” date so you can get work on those “rabbit trails” later.

Are you easily sidetracked?

Tell me your sidetracked stories so I know I am not alone!

*in my case, all of the above have happened this week in the middle of my project.

Baby Steps to Organization:: Step Two: Are you a S.H.E.?



  1. Liz

    Ahhh…I guess I need to type faster to be #1 :-)
    I really get sidetracked all the time, so I’m right there with you.
    Thanks for always inspiring us to do better!

  2. Momma Rhyne

    Yea, I LOVE getting new fabulous ideas and starting but the finishing part needs some work, LOL. Love your photos!!

  3. Kara

    First up, I’m so excited that I actually made it first. Woohoo! I’m such a nerd.
    Second, I totally remember reading the SHE books when I was like 11 years old. My mom bought one, and I was an organization freak back then, so I read it and loved it. I still use some of those same ideas in my own home. Unfortunately, I still get sidetracked waaaay to often.

    • Melissa

      Congrats on being first to link! I’ll be putting your button in my sidebar on Saturday!

      And yeah, I was young too when I read those SHE books for the first time and LOVED them even then! :-)

  4. Jess

    I totally invent deadlines! I am such a procrastinator! And easily distracted. Thanks for hosting!

  5. Amy

    Thanks for posting on this topic. I’m terrible with getting sidetracked!

    Heck, I get sidetracked so badly, I don’t even know where to begin telling about it.

  6. Marla

    Hi Melissa,

    What was the question again? Oh, yeah, rabbit trails…

    I am a second generation (at the least) SHE, and my worst rabbit trail was when, following my parents deaths, DH said to me, “Just box up the stuff from your folks house so we can sell it fast. We’ll take the boxes to our house and sort it out later.”
    So one house ‘sorting’ led to another (ours), and we still haven’t found that dern rabbit! But all my seasonal decorations are neatly boxed for storage (sitting in the hall because now I want to sort out the garage)…Oh, and I have been ‘gilding the lily’ on the back patio so now I have half finished paint projects in the family room for the night…Now must clean up the kitchen for tomorrow morning…But first, need to remove the prelim remodel drawings from the DR table to set it for breakfast… I forgot that lamp I need to finish rewiring that I started yesterday…Oops, nearly tripped over the bookcase sitting in the middle of the room on the drop cloth that is primed and waiting for the first coat of paint…Well, what do ya know, there’s that cup of coffee I sat down on the entry table this morning while saying goodbye to DH!…Now, where is my PODA list…

  7. Sandy

    My girls always tell me I am so easily distracted… like when cleaning clutter… I go from room to room, if something catches my eye I focus on that for awhile, then end up back where I started and get back on track, but then comes something else I see…! It all gets cleaned up eventually, just one bit at a time.
    To finish a project a deadline is a must for me!

  8. Cara

    I just wrote about FLYLady and SHE today too! I’m working on getting the basics down while at the same time trying to do some room makeovers and lots of crafty projects too. It’s just too much!! You’ve definitely provided some good tips. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to set some deadlines for home projects as well.

  9. Paula

    I think I’m the SLOWEST when it comes to decorating my home. I have so many ideas, but…

    My most side-tracked project to date would probably be painting my kitchen cabinets. I love painted wood; and in a perfect world – i.e. if money were no object – I would walk into my nearby home improvement store & order those gorgeous custom cabinets that are bisque with a vanilla bean glaze… not going to happen though! So, I decided the next best thing would be to paint them myself. Except: I didn’t want it to look like “Paula painted her cabinets” – I mean, that could be worse than paying for what I really want, right?

    Here’s my plan though: I take one of the sample doors from the cabinet dept. over to the guy working behind the paint counter. “Can you match this color, please?”… “yes ma’m!” Of course, I only bought a small size to make sure it’s “just right”! After I go home & paint one of the cabinet doors in my laundry area (that’s behind closed doors… which is my testing area till I get it right!) I decided that MAYBE I can try using a little antiquing glaze just on the recessed area of the wood. Andrew (on Divine Design) made it look really easy- peasy! But, it wasn’t easy-peasy. It really looked like -you guessed it: Paula painted her cabinets! So, now I have a cabinet door missing in my laundry room… waiting for me to finish what I started… at least 6 months ago!


  10. Gina

    I’ll be missing you on Friday’s, but looking forward to a monthly party. And I’m pretty we must be long lost sisters or something, I was feeling very much like I had decorator’s ADD just this week-too many distractions and too many projects……so glad I’m not the only one to do this. Thanks for your tips, I’ll be remembering these for next time!

  11. Leanne

    I’m always setting deadlines to actually get things finished. I’ve planned parties just so I’ll get rooms painted. I’m easily sidetracked so I set up little rewards for myself once I accomplish a project. It’s way more fun for me to start a project than to actually finish it, so I need a reward at the end. Thanks for hosting a fun and inspiring party every week.

  12. Tiffany

    I’d have to say we’re definitely cut from the same pie…or something like that. :) We have so many projects to do around here and have done a lot of stuff since bought our farm…but we still have tons of loose ends to tie up. Awful! But at least I know I’m not the only one. :)

  13. FairfieldHouse


    You have me pegged. At any one time I am juggling a dozen home improvement projects. I look forward to participating in your Sept series.


  14. Franki Parde

    You are INDEED a SOUL SISTER!!! franki

  15. Julie

    I could have written that post myself! Distraction is one of the reasons it takes me so long to clean my house – while I’m dusting my desk, I think it would be a good idea to clean out the drawers and reorganize the whole thing. Happens all the time. I actually have a son with ADD – my husband teases me that the nut must not fall far from the tree. :-)

  16. Emily

    I haven’t joined one of these in a loooooong time, shame on me.

    It must be this time of year, lots of us with the organizing bug.


  17. Sherry

    As I was linking to this party…I was grilling pork burgers (setting the grill on fire), baking potatoes, frying up some hamburger for an upcoming meal, tossing some ready made fries in the oven, spray painting a plate rack, and relinking to this party because my first link didn’t work… Oh, yes I get sidetracked.
    Thanks for hosting!

  18. Fiona Sanders

    I’m not as much of a S.H. E. as I used to be, but I still have those tendencies at times. I think my big issue is that I am a dreamer with big ideas, and the creativity does not stop flowing, and there doesn’t seem to be a way to catch up with all the ideas. And of course you add onto that the lack of time and money……..

    I DID read all those SHE books, they are awesome! But I think my favorite was “The Happiness File”. It took the card system a step further, and I reread it every once in a while for some fresh encouragement.

    I think the thing that has helped me the most in getting organized (not fully there yet, still a process) has been, “The Happiness File”, flylady, and my outlook program on my computer.

    But I am so glad I am not the only one that struggles…… :o)

  19. k. hanson

    We must be soul sisters. I am exactly like you! I really struggle with it and I get frustrated with myself for not ever accomplishing everything I have on my oh so long list.

    I have had 3 paint samples on my wall for a bout a year…still haven’t painted the room… I have a new blender in my closet that I won’t break out until I have time to make the perfect smoothie with it… My garage has items that I’m going to sell on Ebay one of these days… I still want to write that blog (you’ve got me there). These are just a FEW samples of my perfectionist procrastionation!!!

    Love these posts on organizing… keep them coming!!

  20. Erin

    I look forward to a topic specific party!!

    I’ve been working on getting organized myself, and have project I’m getting ready to start for my office. So, my wheels are already spinning for next month. :)

  21. Richella

    Oh, honey, did I ever read the SHE sisters’ book! And found myself in every page; that’s for sure. I need to get back on the track with FlyLady or someone. . . I am a sidetracked home executive if there ever was one!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

  22. Mary Jean

    I’m so desperate for some sort of organization method. I’m buried alive ins stacks that just keep getting restacked!!! I need major help!!!

  23. Lynn

    Thank you for sharing this post. I am THE WORST! And I am really starting to get so disgusted with myself because I can’t EVER get anything organized. It helps to know there are others out there. I just wish I could go to the brain store and buy me a new brain, one that organizes , organizes organizes and gets things done.
    My best wishes for all of you

  24. Kathleen Ellis

    Hi Melissa!
    I just re-discovered you when I “stumbled” (divinely found) upon the Relevant 2010 website! I have registered and am looking forward to what promises to be an amazing event!
    I’m looking forward to meeting you and hearing what you have to share!

    I am definitely a “distracted organizer”! My hubby now makes a rule before we tackle cleaning out or organizing projects….stay focused or he moves on to something else!
    I enjoyed your posts!
    Have a beautiful weekend~
    ;-D Kathleen

  25. Elizabeth

    Haha. This is me, the side-tracked one! I am famous for starting something and ending up doing something entirely different. Setting timers really helps with this. 15 minute increments. That really helps. When the ding goes off it rouses me from whatever I’m doing and forces me to re-focus.

    Have a great one!

  26. Ronnell

    I am SO going to miss the linky Fridays! I don’t have a blog but to read several including yours on a regular basis. I find so very much inspiration at The Inspired Room.

  27. brook

    Ha, I was just cleaning out my bonus room upstairs. I’ve been putting it off all summer (or possibly a bit longer!) and then I found the fabric I was going to make dresses out of for the girls, and found the pattern, but needed another part, so I went to that website, remembered I want to go out of town in a couple weeks and looked for hotel rooms, somehow ended up here when I remembered I was looking for the dresses, and now I am on my computer with my whole room torn apart. At least I have so far managed to resist the siren calls of those boxes of photos that I was moving… Hopefully I can get this room into shape before my DH, born organized, gets home. He will be thrilled if I can get off these rabbit trails, even just for long enough to get one thing done! Thanks for all the inspirations, I will be back to look more in-depth later :) Probably in the midst of sewing the dresses!

  28. Cari Lyons

    You wrote 2 words which have set off bells in my brain…”Perfectionist procrastinator”. Where can I learn more about this? It describes me perfectly.

  29. Mackenzie

    Just found your wesite through Pinterest and really needed this! This is me, S.H.E. but I have already picked up many great ideas from your blog and plan to continue reading through many more of your posts. Thanks for the spark of inspiration!



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