Monday, April 8

The Incredibles: IHeart Organizing

I remember the first time I saw the IHeart Organizing blog. A friend shared it with me just over a year ago. I didn't know what a "blog" was, and couldn't imagine what this ugly little word "blog" could possibly depict. 

Then, my eyes lit upon this beautiful page in all its organization glory, my breath caught in my throat and my heart skipped a beat. In that moment, I knew that " I heart you too IHeartOrganizing!"...and yes, I might sound a little crazy, but I swear I whispered it as I stared awestruck at this creation called "blog". *giggle*...since then, I've been obsessed! Stop shaking your head at me, I've told you before, I'll tell you again, you might have your movie stars, but nothing NOTHING compares to pages and pages of inspiring photos, rows and rows of well organized spaces, and IHeart Organizing has it all! This incredible mom organized her way to a beautiful home, an impressive family life, and an incredible blogging business. Her blog and her home have been featured on Better Homes and Gardens, HGTV, The Nate Berkus Show...just to name a few! So I have asked her to stop by today to share the how-to’s of successful blogging and the power of organization. 

Yep, this is why I call Jen one of the great "Incredibles". You want to hear something even more incredible? I hear a rumor that she doesn't have a junk closet or even a junk drawer anywhere! Jen, is this true? How can this be? 

Ok readers, as soon as you pick your jaw up off the floor, read on, and enjoy the interview!

Interviewing the Incredibles Part 6: 
The Orderly Blogger

Ursula: Jen, before I ask questions about your blogging, it sounds like you're a true organizer...from the inside out. What do you attribute to this love of organization? And how can we who are a bit more "challenged" in this area catch that bug?

Jen: I have always had a love for organizing, it dates back to when I was younger and would color code my school folders and organize my locker.  Then it was my office spaces at work and later it became the home I would live in with my growing family.  I have always felt I function better with a clean slate around me, and that I can save time and money by keeping order.  And then when I started mixing my passion for DIY, crafts and color with the love for organizing, it was a match made in heaven.  Each little project left me inspired to tackle another.  And any time there is a moment where my kids know exactly where their book bags belong or when my husband doesn't have to ask where his keys are, I smile. It is a rewarding hobby to have.

Ursula: Isn't that the beauty of organization? It always pays off! It seems you became successful fairly quickly in the blogging world. What do you attribute to your success? 

Jen: Oh boy, I don't know about that.  I have actually been blogging since September of 2009!  But time flies when you are having fun, that is for sure!  Here are a few things that I have learned along the way:

  •  Blog about what you love.  If you blog about your passions and inspirations, then it will come natural and you will stay excited about it.  I hope my readers feel my love for happy colors, organizing and my paint brush.  
  • Be photo happy.  I know I love blogs with lots of pictures.  Big, happy pictures.  They say that a photo is worth a thousand words, and since I have never considered myself a "writer", I try and let my photos do a lot of the talking for me.
  • Invest some time.  I eat, sleep and breath blogging.  Not saying that you need to do so to make it, but I am always thinking of ways I can enhance my site, my posts, what I should write about, what my readers would be interested in learning and working on projects.  I am also looking into ways to continue to learn by reading other blogs, signing up for conferences and even checking out a few books on the subject.
  • Stay connected.  Social media can be a bit overwhelming to manage, but I still make it a huge chunk of every day to respond to comments and check in on my twitter and facebook accounts.  I love to meet other bloggers and interact with my readers.  It is such a huge part of why I love blogging!  As I continue to grow, it gets a little more challenging, but I will never stop making it a priority.
  • Share your projects and ideas with fellow bloggers and offer to share their success as well.  I love featuring my readers, it is one of the highlights of my blog.  And I am 100% certain that I am able to call blogging my job because of the wonderful features I have been blessed with as well.  We are a giant ring of inspiration, that is for sure!
Ursula: Wow, that is valuable information! But do you think blogging is for everyone? Or do we need to know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em?

Jen: I think it is for anyone who is passionate about what they are doing, and enjoys sharing and bonding with others.  Anyone can have a blog and write a blog, it just depends on the end goal and the "why" behind it.  

Ursula: Do you have any tips for those of us who are new to blogging

Jen: Yes, patience is key.  When I started blogging, no one was reading.  Not even my family, which is why I started the blog in the first place.  But I realized that I loved it, readers or no readers, so I just kept on blogging.  And blogging and blogging some more.  Now I blog in my sleep, and over three years later, I have readers!  Growing a blog isn't typically an overnight success story.  I am so happy I stuck with it, even when no one was listening.

I think it is easy to get caught up in going big or going home, but I don't think that needs to be the case with starting up a blog.  Check out your favorite blogs and take note of what draws you in and why you love them.  There is such a huge variety out there, but surely there will be some consistency within the ones that you check out frequently.  Do you love the pictures, the writing style, the graphics, the colors?  It's a good exercise to realize what you love so that you can put your own spin on those ideas and make your own blog a place that reflects your personal style.  

It is good to have long term goals, be motivated and extremely passionate about the topics you are writing about.  Blogging has turned into a career for so many talented individuals, and I pinch myself daily that it is even an option.  However, it is also important to realize that blogging is just like any other full time job, and that there is a lot of behind the scenes work and time involved to build a professional site. 
Do it because you love it.  I think that is my most consistent message.  Everything else will ultimately fall into place.
Ursula: As an organization guru, I'm sure this has helped you keep on task in blogging. Ok sensei, teach us! How can do we "organize" our way to success as bloggers? 

Jen: Ha, just like many other areas of my life, I didn't start out as an organized blogger.  I would often times think up the following days post, as I was falling asleep the night before.  But since I do loooove to organize, I did take the time to put some effort into the blogging department as well.

  • Create an editorial calendar.  This is a place where you can jot down post ideas within specific dates so that you always have something scheduled and can start thinking up how to word your posts in advance.  It gives you deadlines to work within personally, and also helps manage any guest posts and giveaways you have coming up.

  • Create a list of post topic ideas.  I neeeeeded this so badly, since I would think of all sorts of great things to write about, and receive many great ideas from my readers, and then it would come time to post and I would draw a blank.  Keeping an ongoing list of ideas has really helped me on days that I have nothing planned.
  • Learn how to manage your time.  With so many pieces associated with blogging {emails, sponsors, giveaways, research, projecting, writing, photo editing, etc...}, it is easy to lose track of time.  I have tried to assign each day of the week to specific types of tasks, and this has helped so I don't feel like I have to get it all done in a single day.

I created a blog planner to help keep all of the ideas and tools in one place, which has really helped me "keep it all together".

Ursula: Ok, one last organization question.  I consider this the "mother load" of questions! All of us who have children are dying to know your secret. HOW do you stay so organized with 3 little ones? Is it even possible to mold mini munchkin organizers, or do you have to breed them?

Jen: This question makes me giggle.  I am definitely no Martha Stewart and our home absolutely isn't perfect.  I find that there are times when I am knee deep in a project, working massive hours or even just busy being a mom, that certain areas start to suffer and fall apart.  We are human, I promise!  And my kids are all different. I have a son that will organize our entry cabinet by shoe type and color, and another who hides everything under his bed.

For me, it is all about finding ways to keep it simple.  My organizing projects may not always seem that way, since I like to add in the extra step of "making it pretty", but at the end of the day, they are fairly easy to maintain.  I have found that spending fifteen minutes per day, doing simple chores together as a family, has really reduced the need for us to scramble when company is coming over or from having to spend a bunch of hours on chores during the weekends.  Teamwork!  For the kids, I tried to start with them when they were younger, and everything was labeled with pictures.  Simple charts on the fridge have worked wonders {my kiddos do better when they know what is ahead vs. being taken by surprise}, and consistency is key here.  I try to show them with real life examples, that when we work together, we get to play together.  It's a bit of a family motto.

Lastly, I have learned to pick my battles.  If I keep systems simple, and they are helping around the house, then I am OK if their beds aren't made perfectly or if they missed a step while vacuuming the stairs.  No use in sweating the small stuff.  To me, what makes our home perfect is who I am sharing it with, not whether or not there is a sock trail down the hall or fingerprints on the glass.

Thanks so much for having me today!  It was such an honor to be apart of your series!


Thanks so much for stopping by Jen. The honor was mine! If you haven't taken a moment to visit her incredible blog, you can find her at 

I hope you took away as much as I have from Jen’s advice. As a new blogger, it was truly invaluable for me! This Thursday’s link challenge will be a round-up of successful blogging tips & tricks. Whether a seasoned blogger, or a newbie, come link up all your blogging tips, successes, and resources! There will also be a round-up of fantastic bloggy printables to help us in our endeavors! 


  1. my question for jen is: how do you get your HUSBAND to pitch in, help, and USE all your fabulous organizational tools? my KIDS are all gung ho and LOVE any system i come up with, but hubby? yeah, he just refuses to use them or abide by the rules and ends up sabotaging my whole effort. and this is EASY stuff, like, basket by the door for keys, wallets, sunglasses, etc. nope, won't use it. and WE get stuck at home occasionally and have to cancel plans because he can't find his keys and has to take the van or has the van key in his pocket from the previous day. any tips?

    1. *Giggle* Great question for Jen! I don't know what her answer would be, but everyone has a different challenge. Some struggle to get themselves organized, some struggle to keep everyone else around them organized! I too have a hubby that doesn't really work with my systems... but I don't lose hope! I try to create systems and methods that revolve around the way he already lives. And sometimes when that doesn't work, I just have to accept that he has his weaknesses too...we're all a work in progress! :D Good luck dear!

    2. I agree with Ursula 100%! I have been trying to figure out the best way to address this question via a post as it is definitely one of the top ten questions I receive. :) Stay tuned...


  2. What a fantastic interview!! Tons of great tips -- I'm excited to dig into the other posts you've done in this series! Great idea, Ursula!! Dare I say, INCREDIBLE?? ;)

    1. Aw, thanks! Easy peasy when you're interviewing people who are witty, informative, and just all around wonderful. One of these days I'd love to put you in the "hot seat". :D


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