Today is very exciting, as I post my first interview style blog. This is a new series in which I will feature other bloggers. The interview questions cover both blogging in general and the topic in which they blog about. I will post interview blogs twice a month, one in written format and one will be a google hangout.
Since it is time for spring cleaning I wanted to feature an organizing blogger and I was very excited when Kristin from Organizing Life With Less was willing to answer some questions. Kristin Shares some GREAT information about blogging and organizing!
Q1. Will you please tell us a little bit about yourself and background?
I am first and foremost, a follower of Christ, as my relationship with God guides and gives reason to everything I do. I am also a wife to my youth pastor husband for almost 9 years (are we really THAT old?) and are expecting our first child any day now! I received my degree in social work, but decided that in order to make youth ministry our lifestyle, that we had to be dedicated to serving teens together. I decided to not make a career of it, but use it in my day to day life. I currently work part-time as an elementary secretary and love every minute of it, while walking alongside my husband in ministry. When I am not blogging, I enjoy baking and cooking, anything outdoors, card-making, traveling, exploring new places with my husband, and anticipating being a mother VERY soon!
Q2. How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?
I started a “family” blog back in December of 2008 and found that the more I wrote, the more enjoyed writing. Starting a website was something that always intrigued me, but also feared. After a recent move from Michigan to Minnesota, I quickly realized how much extra “stuff” we had and did not need, as we couldn’t fit it all in the moving truck. Through various life experiences and losses, my husband and I learned that there was more to life than possessions and obtaining “things”. Since I did not have a job when we first moved, I decided to start my own organizing blog in March 2013 with my first series called “100 Days of Less”.
Q3. What have been your greatest blogging achievements and challenges?
I would say that some of my greatest achievements can’t be measured by statistics or features, but by how my own life has changed. The people I have met, the relationships I now have, and the learning that has occurred while being an organizing blogger, is far beyond what can be measured. Being able to collaborate with other organizing bloggers by writing guest posts for them, featuring and reviewing an item for a giveaway, and having the time to do what I love (blogging about living a life with less) are achievements that make this all worthwhile!
I would say the biggest challenge in being an organizing blogger is not comparing myself to other bloggers. It is easy to navigate over to some well-known organizing websites and “wishing” my blog to be like theirs. In all reality, the reason I started my blog is because I wanted to be real, practical, and myself. If I am trying to be someone I am not, I will not “succeed” at being myself or an organizing blogger.
Some other challenges I would say are finding the time to write, but also knowing when to put the computer down for the day. You could seriously blog 24/7 and never be done. There is always something new to learn, to revamp, and to write. Be okay with “enough”. Finally, do not quit your job to become a blogger. I do not blog for the money, but more to share my passions, though a few extra dollars do not hurt. But if you are looking for a get-rich-quick avenue, blogging is NOT the answer!
Q4.You have quite a few followers including 6,861 Facebook Page likes. Can you walk me through how you got from post one to today?
Patience and a passion! I am FAR from a seasoned blogger, but I have sure learned a lot along the way. I would say the biggest increases in followers have happened when I am least worried about the numbers. Sometimes when I am least “active” in posting, is when I gain more followers and get more emails from readers, which makes no sense, but that is why patience is key. Keeping posts fresh and creative also helps! Though, I have to remind myself that I blog because I have a passion for living with less; that is when I find my posts are most meaningful and my readers respond the most!
Q5.You have been featured on wayfair.com as well as many other blogs, how did you go about getting these features?
Knowing the direction you want to take your blog from the very beginning, narrows down who you want to be partnered with. I found out about the Wayfair Homemakers group through another organizing blogger. Being proactive in searching for companies and groups that want to partner with other organizing bloggers, is very helpful! Do your research, ask other bloggers who they partner with, join facebook groups, and even build personal relationships with other bloggers. You would be surprised what a simple email can lead to! Most of my product reviews and features have come from an email to a company, asking if they need someone to review a product or would like a guest post. It never hurts to ask!
Q6. Spring is just around the corner and since you write about organizing and simplifying, what is your best organizing tip?
Do not let anything take up space in your home that does not have a purpose! This is what jumpstarted my life of living with less. Two analogies I often use with others is first, if you had to stand on the curb with all of your possessions around you, would you be embarrassed at the amount you own? Second, if you had to move, what would you take with and what would you leave? As you start to spring clean, go through each area of your home and know what purpose each item has and if it is worth the space it takes up.
Q7. I’m a “clutterer” I can spend hours organizing something such as my craft closet and the next time I work on a project it is all a mess not to mention the area in which I worked is usually a mess too. Do you have any advice to help “organizationally challenged” people like myself?
Coming from a recovering “clutterer,” I have learned to “have a place for everything and everything in its place”. Basically anytime I am decluttering I ask: do I need this, when is the last time I used it, and is it stored in the right place. In fact, go through this process EVERYTIME you use something. It has to become a habit. It isn’t something that happens in a day, but is a process, so don’t be too hard on yourself; allow time to make changes!
Q8. You talk about living with less on your blog, how has that motto improved your lifestyle? What have been some of the biggest challenges?
In all honesty, I have never been more content and happier. Sounds too “perfect”, but it really is true. Realizing that living with less for me, is about being content with what I have, but also not desiring more than I need. Of course that looks different for everyone, but it has taken me years to get to this point. The biggest challenge for me is realizing that I will never fully “arrive” at living with less. I can always work on being more content and always live with less of something. Just because I am an organizing blogger, doesn’t mean we live in the perfect home. We do not own many “new” things, but appreciate what we do have. I always have a donation box in a closet that fills up frequently with things I realize we no longer need. We own things that we probably do not need, but at this point in our life, find them valuable to our relationship and hobbies, like our fishing boat that we got for free and refurbished. Living a life with less looks different for everyone. Many say they just can’t live with less, but really, it’s a DAILY choice!
Q9. Let’s pretend a reader has just enough time to read one post… what post would you send them to and why?
I didn’t realize how hard it would be to just choose one! I would say the post that sticks out to me the most is How Our Insecurities Can Cause Clutter. This may seem like an “odd” post to choose to send to someone, but I think often the clutter in our life, begins within us first. It is the clutter that we allow in our hearts and minds, like having insecurities about who we want to be. We all have an idea of the “ideal” life and many will do whatever it takes to get there. In reality though, is that REALLY the life you want to live? Is it really worth the time and effort to live that certain lifestyle? Dealing with the insecurities within, is the first step to living a contented, life with less.
Q10. What can we look forward to on Organizing Life with Less?
Practical and real-life ideas. I am a blogger who blogs about the everyday joys and challenges of living an organized life with less. Many readers think that we live in a “perfect” home that looks like a magazine cover and that everything is brand new, in bins, with labels. We live in a house that is less than 1,000 sq. feet and drive vehicles that are 13 years old or older, but it is a life we choose to live. I want to continue to help my readers understand that they do not have to live a certain lifestyle to live an organized life; that living a life with less is attainable!
When it comes to living an organized life with less, realize that it takes gradual changes. I would not trade the life-changing conversations I have been able to have with others about the emotional clutter that has caused them to then live a physically cluttered life. Those changes have been years in the making , so do not be too hard on yourself! Start somewhere by choosing an area of your home or life. Be patient as it is a journey, but a journey well worth it in the end!