Good morning friends! And welcome to the very first edition of my interview series, "Your Organized Life"! This morning I would like to introduce you to Bridget Stralko! Bridget is a professional organizer, painter and mom from Detroit, Michigan and is the beautiful woman behind 'Unclutter It'. Today, Bridget shares some insight into what her day looks like, how she organizes herself and her home, and some of her favorite tricks of the trade! Welcome Bridget!
What does a typical day look like in your life?
My days are anything but typical! Every day is something different. But generally…
I wake up at 6 AM and hop on my treadmill first thing. I read a chapter out of my current book, check up on emails, Instagram messages, etc. during my 1 mile walk.
Then I journal for 10 minutes, read another chapter of a different book, stretch/meditate for 10 minutes, then pray I get myself ready before my 5-year-old wakes up for school.
I help her get ready, make her a hearty breakfast every morning, and we are out of the house by 8:15.
Then I head to a client’s house. Sometimes it’s organizing, sometimes painting, sometimes cleaning… Sometimes all three!
I try to finish up by 2:30 so I can either volunteer at my daughter’s school, or get to the gym before I pick her up at 3:45. I do cardio and lift weights, both of which help me on the job.
After school my daughter and I head home to work on homework, get a snack, and read together until her dad picks her up at 5:00.
During that time, I speed clean the house, start dinner, return any client calls/prepare for the next day and read (a 3rd book!) if I have time. After my husband gets home, we eat dinner together before we head over to pick up my daughter at her dad’s house (yes, every night!).
My daughter is in bed by 8:30. And that’s when I either read on the couch for another hour or we watch a show until bed, no later than 10. (We just finished watching Downton Abbey- my choice, not his.)
You are about to head out for the morning. What is the one thing that you absolutely must have on you when you lock the front door?
I need my phone, keys, Chapstick, and my stainless steel tumbler of lemon water. And snacks. Lots of snacks.
As a professional organizer, what is your absolute favorite tool when organizing a client’s space?
I love labeling all the things. So I always have a Label Maker handy. Costco has some cheap ones! And clear plastic shoe boxes with lids. I use them for EVERYTHING. Target has a good selection.
How do you schedule your day? Are you a paper planner lady or digital calendar lover? Do you block out your day or stick to an hourly schedule?
I don’t own a paper planner. I’m all about my Iphone. Which is backed up to The Cloud. I always have my phone on me when I schedule client organizing sessions. I would never remember a planner…My day is like a puzzle… Every hour has something different planned.
What’s your favorite space in your home and why?
My home is 980 ft.². I’m all about having things in your house that you love. So every square inch of my house has my style written all over it. So I can honestly say that every room in my house is my favorite. I also bought the house for the yard… Which is huge! We spend tons of time outside when it’s nice.
How do you manage and maintain your home?
I do a load of laundry every day. Every Saturday (or as needed) we wash the sheets, sweep, mop the floors, dust, and make sure the house is ready for another week. My house is small, so it doesn’t take much effort. I love using essential oils to make my house smell fresh. My house is always neat and tidy when I leave for the day so I’m never worried if a visitor stops by. Just don’t look in my kitchen sink… That’s always full.
What’s your favorite organizational hack?
The less stuff you have, the less stuff you have to maintain. Most people, when I walk into their homes, have more things than they have the space to store them. If you are intentional in what you own and purchase, you will have less to organize (and clean!)
Can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up as a professional organizer what was the path that led you here?
I actually went to school to be an early childhood education teacher. I taught for several years and loved what I did. During that time, one of my favorite shows was Hoarders. I was fascinated by it. And I wondered if being a professional organizer was actually a job. So I did some research in my area and did not discover many around, but in talking to people, realized there was a need. In 2011, I took a giant leap of faith, left teaching, and started my own business, Unclutter It. I have been incredibly busy organizing and haven’t looked back since.
What are your favorite tools to help you run your business? Instagram? Facebook? Are there any other digital platforms or applications that help you utilize your business?
I’m all about Instagram! I love it! I love the organizing community and all the fabulous organization related accounts. I don’t have time to do everything myself, so I’ve made Instagram a priority. You can also find my business on Google maps, Yelp, Thumbtack, Home Advisor… Pretty much everywhere else.
What’s the absolute best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t worry so much about what other people think. Running a small business means you have to make some tough decisions. I try my best to be kind and help everyone, but sometimes you can’t please them all! You have to follow your instincts and do what is best for you. If the job doesn’t feel right, don’t take it. Offer your advice, but don’t expect everyone to abide by it. And don’t get offended when they don’t. Be nice to everyone. Work hard. Don’t give up. I guess that’s more than one piece of advice… But it’s all good!
Thank you for asking me to share my organized life!