Over my nearly 7 years of blogging (whoa!), I’ve enjoyed reading other blogger’s share what a day in their life looks like. This was especially true when I was getting started with my blog and wondered how in the World these ladies were getting it all done. It was reassuring to read that while they were “getting it done” so to speak…there was a mess going on in the background too. Just like me! Days weren’t as rosy and picture perfect as they appeared in those crisp, peaceful blog images. And it was great to pick up new tips / pointers about how they streamlined tasks.
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to share what a day in the life looks like in my camp. Especially now that I’m not just blogging all day. It’s been on my to-do list for years, but when Christy & Amy invited me to join a crew of fun bloggers sharing their days, it gave me the kick in the rear I needed.
So first off, a big shout out to them for inviting me! Thank you!!! I’ve linked to everyone participating at the end of this post…
Now, let’s get on with it!…
In case you don’t know me and are hopping over from another blog in this series, I’m a professional organizer / small business owner and mother of 3 (12, 11 and 7). I live in the SF Bay Area, where I was born and raised. Life is busy as I juggle the day to day of motherhood, school stuff, house projects / chores, a fully-booked professional organization business and the blog.
Not every day around here is the same. And that’s fine by me. The variety means the day-to-day is never boring. BUT there is definitely, absolutely, unequivocally a routine, order and structure to my day. I’ve been doing this so long it comes natural. Every day is full – from morning to night. This includes weekends. To be honest, I love how full my days are. I definitely have a crazy amount of energy and am not the person who enjoys sitting still.
Because there is a lot to manage, my days would fall apart if I didn’t have a plan, system, routine or structure in place. Therefore, my planner is my everything and go nowhere without it. You can see more about my planner here and here.
WAKE-UP – 5:30AM
A day in my life begins around 5:30am. I wake up, hit snooze (once or twice), then crawl out of bed to get ready. The level of “get ready” is determined by what’s on tap for the day. If I’m working on the blog or admin things at home, I don’t do more than washing my face and putting my hair in a bun. If I’m working with clients, the hairs and make-ups is done. Otherwise, I’d scare everyone. #real
One thing is for sure, I wear workout clothes on the daily. And grateful I’m able to! My work is intensely physical, therefore workout clothes are a must. I can be found in some rather “interesting” positions while organizing – ha! This one is tame, but there’s a lot of time spent sitting on the floor or kneeling on the floor…
I’ve shared some of my favorite workout clothes on the blog before. You can see those here. The other must-have on my person are these Bose wireless headphones…
( headphones )
If I’m not listening to music, I’m listening to a podcast. Sometimes I put them in my ears just so people think I’m on a call or busy. #protip #haha #kidding #sorta And these are my absolute favorite – always around my neck.
SCHOOL MORNING ROUTINE – 6:00AM
When I’m done getting ready (around 6), I take a quick glance at e-mail. I don’t do a deep dive, just scan to make sure my client isn’t canceling / rescheduling / running late…or that all is well with school-related topics. Then I head downstairs to wake up my people.
**Pro productivity tip – don’t get sucked into your e-mail or social media in the morning. Scan it quickly for anything important and then shut it down. There is no quicker way to get off course than by getting sucked into your technology at this early time of day. Also, experts have said this is a terrible way to wake up in the morning.
Charlie, our beloved cat, is indoor / outdoor and during these hot summer months enjoys staying outside at night. So first thing, I let him in for breakfast and he follows me to the kids rooms for wake-up calls.
To know me is to know I create voices and personalities for everyone…including pets. Charlie is from the south – we adopted him in Arkansas. So obvi…he has a southern accent. The kids are woken by him singing country lyrics adapted to cat life or just general funny conversations about what he possibly did overnight…
What can I say, I love waking them up with a smile!
I know a lot of folks aren’t cat-people…but trust me, even cat-haters fall in love with this guy! He’s more like a dog. And he adores the kids. If he sleeps inside, he is found sleeping with one of them. He doesn’t use a litter box (goes outside) and his mission in life is to catch anything that moves on this property. He’s delivered to us a lot of little things – alive and dead. But on his bucket list is a crow and a squirrel. One day, Charlie!
While the kids are getting up and ready, first thing I do is make coffee. Always! Coffee (and knowing I have a new fav podcast to listen to) is sometimes the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning. I am obsessed with my coffee maker…
Just press a button (the “strong” button) and coffee for one is brewing…
( coffee maker )
I’m careful with my eating because I’m a gym-rat (see more below), but one treat each morning is my favorite creamer…
With coffee in reach, I’m now making lunches, prepping breakfast and loading backpacks…
On this particular day, everyone needed a lunch. But most days is a mix of hot or cold. Our schools have a great hot lunch program. The kids pick and choose based on the monthly calendar. Once they have decided, I print out the month and add it to my cabinet above the lunch making area…
The one task I absolutely do the day before is backpack prep…
Doing this saves me loads of time on school mornings. As soon as the kids get home from school, I give them a snack and sort through their bags. I add their snack for the next day, clean their water bottles and make sure any papers are signed / ready to be returned to school. I also weed out papers that go to recycling / memory boxes / general upcoming event papers go to my office. So basically in the morning, I’m just adding cold water to their bottles and popping in a lunch.
My kids are old enough to get themselves ready, but that’s not to say I don’t check in on them to make sure they truly are up and moving, making beds, brushing hair, etc. They are at the kitchen table by 7am. While they eat breakfast, I unload the dishwasher, which is something I start right before going to bed…
OFF TO SCHOOL – 7:35AM
We have to be out the door by 7:35 because 2 of them start at 7:50. I know – early! With breakfast finished, they brush teeth, I load the breakfast dishes into the dishwasher and get the backpacks out to the car…
7:36 – not bad mom! We’re on our way. I drop off 2 of my people at one school…
And my middle guy rides his bike to school with friends. His school begins at 8:30, but can be there at 8:15 for early recess – which he really enjoys and does not like to miss. There are some intense basketball games going on at 8:15am ’round here. We have an amazing trail system in our town and there are a lot of kids who ride bikes to / from school. I drop him off at a trail stop close to his brother / sister’s school. His ride is not far and helps me avoid sitting in 2 carpool lines at 3pm. Because yes – wouldn’t you know it – both schools get out at the exact same time!
And now the bulk of my day can begin…
WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN 8AM – 3PM?
Honesty, a lot!
If I’m working with a client, I don’t get started until 9am. 99% of my clients are moms and need time to get their crew out the door and get themselves back home. In general, I run back to the house to grab last minute materials before I head off to a project. I also start a load of laundry, switch from the washer to the dryer or unload the dryer…
I pick up a few things around the house and make my own bed…
I eat a small breakfast…
If I eat too early I have a queazy stomach. I’m usually not ready to eat until 11am, but lately have been trying to eat something small before work. I still get a little queazy, but have found it passes quickly and do feel better with a little something. Today was yogurt with berries. Most mornings it’s 1 cup of steel cut oats and 2 hard boiled egg whites.
Once I’ve started the laundry, made my bed, picked up a bit and had something small to eat – the day is a total range.
There is some variety of this going on between 9am – 3pm:
- I’m working with a client / consulting new projects (most days)
- I’m working on custom designs
- I’m working on the blog
- I’m doing a project, photographing, editing, conceptualizing
- I’m communicating with clients or brands or others via e-mail. Invoicing, client product sourcing / shopping or doing general office work. Meeting with my VA. (this is an office day – usually once per week)
- I’m at the gym
- Running personal or business errands (client shopping / returns / market / etc)
On this particular day, while I was documenting in photos for you, I came home, did a few chores and then left to consult with a client in her new kitchen…
She just renovated her home and I’m helping organize the pantry, fridge and drawers / cabinets of their new kitchen. Isn’t it a dream?! She designed it herself and they recently moved in. If you are on Instagram looking for some new design inspo, it’s Nicole @ Eye For Pretty. She’s a must follow! She snapped this shot of me measuring and added it to her IG story – she’s a total doll!…
( Nicole @eyeforpretty )
I was there for an hour, took tons of measurements, then headed to another client’s home for more measurements.
This sweet family is wrapping up a bathroom renovation and I’m organizing their drawers and a large cabinet…
I’ve worked with them off and on for over a year. They were in a rental and now own a home. We already have some containment from their rental home, but I’m going to treat her to a few new things. So…more measuring and planning….and laughing!
After those 2 meetings, I had a small lunch in the car, which I packed for myself that morning….whole raw unsalted almonds, apple slices, and chicken breast cubes. (Sorry no photo of that) Unless I’m at home, my meals tend to be more snack-like. I eat several small meals throughout the day – the type I can eat on the go. Remember, that I can’t sit still thing? While I was eating in the car, I drove to the Container Store to pick up a client order for a project I’m doing tomorrow…
When possible, I avoid going in-store to shop. It’s necessary to go in for returns, but I guard my time to get in / out quickly. I get too distracted by all the fun, new organization products. Imagine that?! In the sake of self-discipline, I do all of my client shopping from home, order online and have it ready for pick up. Doing this saves hours upon hours of my life. I’m there 3-4x per week so if I’m not prepared, hours are wasted. And I love my Container Store employees – they have gotten to know your girl real well. Too well.
They also know I love to load my own trunk for images such as the above.
Next, I head to the gym…
I can say with 100% certainty that this is MY FAVORITE part of the day. Period. The gym is my therapy. As a professional organizer, I take in a lot of other people’s stuff and emotions. I’m also a sensitive/feeling type and carry their stories with me. They are always on my mind. Call me crazy, but it’s true.
I have about 15 active clients on board at the moment – that’s a lot for me. So I need the outlet. The gym is where I release stressful situations or difficult organizing challenges. It’s where I have come up with some incredible ideas or designs. It’s my white space. And it’s also a place I can push myself and aim for goals.
I. Love. The. Gym.
If I don’t have the chance to go to the gym, I’m not a very nice person to be around. For realz.
If I’m able to get in on a weekday, I’m there for about 60-90 minutes. On the weekends, I spend upwards of 2+ hours
AFTER SCHOOL – 3:00 PM
Once done working out, I run home to clean up and head to carpool. This is my “I’m so happy to be sitting in this long line” sarcastic face…
And those headphones again.
This carpool is organized chaos, trust me…
My car time includes country music – my favorite! The kids adore me and my singing. Ha!…
After picking up 2 kiddos, we head over to pick up my middle guy from the trail. Then head home for snacks, homework and I work on those backpacks I mentioned.
Remember when I said routine and systems? My kids are on board with that too…with some gentle reminders. 😉 They know when we arrive home that shoes go here, in our garage mudroom…
And then backpacks get dropped here for mom…
As far as afternoon activities, I’m the mom that does not over-schedule her kids. We have one activity at a time for each child and many weeks / months there’s nothing planned after school. Personally, school work is most important, especially because I have a middle-schooler with a lot of homework nowadays. And downtime at home or time to play with neighbors is important to us. Do they play sports and participate in activities? Absolutely. It’s just not every single night of the week or every weekend.
For example, the boys are signed up for basketball this fall, but it hasn’t started yet. And most of those games will be on the weekend when the season begins. And some activities, such as baking class and drama, happen at school after the day is over. It’s pretty darn convenient and gives me a little extra time a few days a week to work longer with clients.
My daughter recently took up tennis after enjoying a summer tennis camp. Her lesson is one afternoon a week from 4-5. Today happened to be tennis day. So we had a snack and headed to the courts to watch sister…
I make the most of every minute in my day. While she was practicing, I was watching / cheering but also sourcing products for those 2 spaces I saw this morning…
After returning home at 5, the kids settle in to play, swim or have an hour of screen time. I typically spend one hour checking e-mail from my computer. Not sure about you, but I have a hard time managing e-mail from my phone. I like having my big computer screen and my planner spread out for important dates to be plugged in. My office is under construction at the moment…for now, folding tables are making the magic happen. That blue cup also contains my afternoon cup of coffee. A must have!…
The last thing I do before breaking for dinner prep is to post on Instagram. My IG posts are at 6pm. My IG insights determined that time frame, so I’ve stuck with it all this time and it works great! The “what” I post to IG is organic. Sometimes it’s a project I worked on that day. Sometimes it’s a project from a few weeks ago that hasn’t been shared yet. I have endless amounts of project photos to share, so I scroll through my phone and pick one I feel good about. I edit the image, add a caption and post. It’s seriously very in the moment – not planned in advance. Tonight, I shared Nicole’s kitchen image because she truly inspired me that day!…
While I’m making dinner and throughout the night I check on the post to reply to comments. I only post to IG once per day – if that. In general I post 4-6 times per week.
It’s not the last time I’ll be working today, because I always work after the kids are in bed. But this hour is crucial for me to get on top of e-mail or anything important I wasn’t able to respond to earlier in the day. Especially if I was on the go and working with clients, I am sometimes not even checking my e-mail until this time of day.
When homework begins to roll in, likely this week, my afternoon schedule will flex a bit. If the kids need help with homework, I try to be more available and not tethered to e-mail.
DINNER TIME – 6:30PM
Around 6 I get started on dinner. I silence my phone (boundaries!) and turn on my music. I also pour some wine or make a cocktail…
( bose soundlink )
My favorite wine is Pinot Noir, specifically anything La Crema. Sometimes I have a glass of wine (this is a real treat due to my workout diet), but in general I have a vodka soda with lime. Just a little something, nothing too wild. It’s a school night people! Before dinner the kids are either playing out front, watching a show or swimming in the backyard. This evening they were swimming and someone was keeping watch for me…
Dinner is usually around 6:30. They are pretty easy with dinner. It’s usually one of the following: something I’ve grilled (hamburger, hot dog, chicken, fish), pasta, lasagna, crock pot meals, or chili / soup. Grilling is easy to do most every night in Nor Cal and the sides can be anything from raw veggies with hummus to salads to rolls with butter (they love that!) to steamed veggies. I save more time-consuming recipes for the weekend. And I don’t mind making different main dishes for each of them…but they have to have the same side. With every meal there is fruit and veggies on the table. I didn’t get a photo of dinner this evening. Oops!
I am a light dinner eater. I always have grilled, chopped chicken breast in my fridge. My dinner is usually a salad with chicken or fish on top. Or I warm the chicken (or fish) and add a Trader Joe’s brown rice packet on the side.
BEDTIME – 8:00PM
With the early wake-up times, bedtime is early. The boys take showers in the morning so they just brush teeth, lay out clothes for the morning, and crawl into bed with a book. My daughter needs help still so I usually bathe her and then she brushes teeth, lays out her clothes and heads to bed. (Sorry I don’t have photos of my kids doing nighttime routines – I don’t share photos of them on the blog. Or it’s very rare.) Everyone is in bed with lights out by 8:30.
While the kids are in bed either winding down with a book or after lights out, I can be found cleaning the kitchen. Loading the dishwasher. Putting away laundry. Sweeping or vacuuming. Setting out lunch box items for the next day. My kids like to hear noise in the house while they are going to sleep, so it’s part of my routine to keep cleaning tasks for the end of the day. And to me there is nothing better than waking up to a clean house anyway – so this all works for the best.
Around 9, when I am sure everyone is fast asleep, I head upstairs to get ready for bed. I wash my face, brush teeth and crawl into bed with my laptop. And maybe someone else…
I know – he’s being gross here, but had to snap it for you guys! He usually hangs out for about 15 minutes and then is ready to head outside for the night.
My night work consists of editing photos for the blog, blog writing, e-mails, client product sourcing, and other random tasks. It depends on what is happening week to week. Or what’s pressing. Or what I have the energy for! Tonight, I’m putting the finishing touches on this very post…as you can see, it’s nearly 10pm…
I don’t work longer than 1-2 hours (because I’m fried by now!) and then around 11 it’s lights out!
What a day!
As I mentioned, not every day is the same. I would love to document and share a day of me actually organizing in a client’s home. My day looks much different…as does my face by the end of the day. I’m way exhausted! But here are some answers to questions I’ve been asked:
What tools do you use to organize your day?
The tools I use to organize my day are my Erin Condren planner, graph paper notepad, and the todoist app. That’s it, folks! I also ask Siri to remind me to do things later. Amazing how this simple tool can change the game!
How to you prepare ahead for your day?
In this post I shared how I prepare the backpacks a day ahead, but for the rest of my day I check my planner to refresh my mind as to what’s happening. I not only do this every evening, but I do a sweeping check-in on the week ahead every Sunday night. It’s a sure way to not forget something happening later in the week that I can be prepared for in advance.
What scheduling tools do you use?
The only scheduling tools I use are my planner and the todoist app. I challenge myself to accomplish just 3 things per day and nothing more. When I say “just 3 things”, that is in addition to everything else I’m doing. For example, 3 things today were stopping at the bank, returning something at a local store, and mailing a card to my uncle whose birthday is fast approaching. Some days my tasks are bigger, some days smaller and fewer. But I do try to get a few extra things done to make life run smoother.
When do you fit in “you” time?
Me time is at the gym and in the evening after the kids go to bed. Some nights I take a bath with epsom salt, especially if I’ve had an extra hard day of physical work. I also love an occasional girls night out!
What are the hardest/busiest/stressful parts of the day?
Now that you’ve seen a day in my life, feel free to snoop around and visit all the girls in this series! I’m off to do that now!
Last week’s crew…
Christy of 11 Magnolia Lane
Jennifer of Dimples & Tangles
Amanda of Dixie Delights
Rebekah of A Blissful Nest
Thanks so much for reading about a day in my life! Had fun bringing you along and look forward to sharing more of these soon!
Sam, this was such a treat to read! You’re an inspiration! Can’t wait to see you soon!
Awe, hi!!! I’m heading off to read your now!!
Sam, I love all your tips! I am always in awe of what you accomplish…thank you so much for sharing! XO, Amy
Awe, you are too sweet!!! Thank you so much! I’m off to read about your day right now…I saved a few until this morning when I knew I’d be in my office with my big computer screen. I want to see it ALL!! 🙂
Such a full day! And so efficient and organized, but I’m not surprised at all! And thanks for the pro tips! 🙂
Awe, thank you!! It definitely is full days around here – love it though! And I loved reading your post as well!
So nice to meet you!
Hey lady–I totally agree on La Crema for splurge nights, but I do vodka mixed with seltzer (usually LaCroix) most nights in an effort to cut down on sugar–great minds think alike! We just adopted a new kitty so I loved seeing sweet Charlie. Thanks so much for sharing all of your great ideas and tips!
Thank you again for inviting me – this was really so much fun!! So funny, I tried to do LaCroix but I can not drink “soda”. Even though it’s just sparkling flavored water, my stomach gets so upset. I can drink Pellegrino or club soda with my vodka, but not that – and that combo sounds sooooo good! You’re right – great minds!! Oh my goodness! How fun to have a new kitty!!! We love our boy!
Thank you again! Love you guys!
So interesting ! Loved seeing a day in the life! Not surprisingly, you pack an amazing amount into a day! Am wondering why you take responsibility of all the backpack stuff instead of your kids (emptying, getting into the car etc?). My kids are in high school now, but I never, ever, unpacked their backpacks for them!!! Starting in preschool they hung their backpacks up, brought their lunch boxes to the kitchen and even in elementary school they would unpack lunch boxes and put appropriate stuff in dishwasher. They took folders and papers out and put them on the table. Our kids walk to school (no bus in our town) but they always put their homework and lunch boxes in the backpacks in the morning before we left for the walk to school. Anyway…guess I am just surprised that you are not training them to be as organized as you and giving them responsibility for their own backpacks…! Thoughts?
Great question! So, of course they help me in getting backpacks out to the car. Just depends on how hectic the morning is. They absolutely have chores and ways they chip in around here in order to earn privileges.
But since you asked – and this is personal – my oldest has ADHD and my middle son is on the Autism Spectrum. My oldest loses papers all the time, has notes come home that he forgets to give me, etc. I absolutely HAVE TO be a part of his backpack or his grades will slip…as they did last year. My middle son has papers coming home from his special day classroom that I don’t always want him to see. Anyway, it’s a bit personal and I won’t share much more. But that is why. Of course I am teaching them to be independent and responsible.
Thank you for asking!
I totally get having to be on top of your ADHD kid’s backpack–I basically need to know, straight from the teacher, what his homework is, because it won’t be coming from him, and he’s only in grade three–the agenda just doesn’t get properly filled out. I wish there were better resources to help these kids with their executive functioning skills–some days I’m hopeful, and other days…less so. The mental/emotional roller coaster can be exhausting. Anyway, just thought I’d chip in to say I GET IT. Organization is key. And teaching them the same, but the steps are itty bitty for these ADHD guys 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing–it’s so personal. But (personally), hearing these small snippets makes me feel less alone.
What a treat! Thanks for sharing!
Awe, thank you! It was so fun to share!!!
I think it is insane what we bloggers can get done between school hours! #bossbabesunite !! You are amazing at what you do and loved this little peek into your day!
Isn’t it amazing?! We are serious go-getters!
Thank you so much for popping over and leaving a comment! Love you!
Just wondering if you and your family are okay as no posts for 3 weeks. Hopefully you are enjoying a well deserved vacation.