Meet Mama Amanda
Who are you?
Amanda Lavallee – Kaleb’s mommy – Organizer365
What is your biggest strength as a mom?
My number one thing I try to focus on with my son is to give him the love, space, and encouragement to be himself. I have stepped back to watch my son’s temperament, likes, dislikes, frustrations, weaknesses, strengths, abilities, choices – you get the idea. I want to be the woman he’s proud to call his mom and to do that I am choosing to build him up and give him the tools to be even more than he could imagine himself being. I continue to see his natural gifts and talents and will encourage him like his own personal life coach. I believe in choosing your feelings/thoughts/responses and I have been working to teach Kaleb so he can overcome obstacles as they come in life. I guess you could say my strength is being able to let go of the outcomes I want from my son. This can be hard because I’m the mom/boss/bigger/adult, and want to control him and his actions because I could play that card if I wanted to. Instead, I’m working on controlling myself and respecting him so he can blossom.
How do you love to spend your time away from your children?
SPA! Getting a massage is so necessary for my whole body/mind/soul. Aside from that (which I really don’t do that often ha-ha) I love to travel, hike, take long walks, eat out, and see a movie… I may tackle a larger organizing project/DIY at home or a smaller one like his room. I basically need to be in the trees/mountains or at the beach at least once a month or two.
1. How long has organizing been a part of your life and why?
I have been organizing for 10-15 years for friends, family and myself. I had a Vietnamese friend in elementary school whose home opened my eyes to the amount of STUFF I had compared to her and her family. That eye opening moment left me changed and inspired. I have always been attracted to organizing products and innovative products that make life simple and streamlined.
2. As a mom, why do you feel it’s important to have an organized home?
Having an organized home sets the foundation for your kids on what is “normal” at home. New humans usually don’t come “neat & tidy.” They play and play and play some more – it takes that emotional maturing (after high school and for some after college) to go back to the images they remember growing up about what home looks and feels like. However, some baby humans once taught organization LOVE to stay organized and can even get frustrated when things are out of order! I believe it’s important to have an organized home because it creates boundaries to what’s allowed as far as a “mess” or playtime/toy items. Being a mom/parent is a superhero job and having systems in place helps life feel more simple, relaxed and manageable.
3. How do you help your kiddo stay organized? Will he clean up on his own?
I have clear bins for each toy category. My son is allowed ONE bin/toy/game at a time. If Kaleb wants to play something else he has to clean up the current thing before he can start the next. There have been many times that I’ve been busy while he’s playing and he’s pulled out 3 different bins and wants to pick another – no problem! I have him pick ONE and put the rest away – no arguing he knows the rules – he’s not allowed to play with anything if he cannot clean up. It helps that at his Montessori school they can pick ONE “job” and they have “mats” (door rugs) as the area to do their job and when they want to pick something else they have to put back what they have before getting something new. This teaches them about the space they are allowed to take up and keeps them on task focused on one thing. I worked in a daycare as my first job and babysat a lot and I saw first hand how toys and kids worked. I decided the best system is 1. One at a time 2. Toys are separated into categories/types and each have a “home/bin/box” (when you see a daycare or school you will notice the organization) 3. Any bin that has not been touched in a while gets donated or sold 4. Bins can be swapped out to keep the creative energy and interest going 5. Art supplies available upon REQUEST no drawing/painting on the wall or cutting up household items thank you! (for older kids just organized by type).
4. What are your favorite tips for keeping an organized home?
1.Start organizing your kid’s paperwork/crafts/keepsakes/pictures early on – time flies and you want to do this while it’s still fresh in your memory! You can break down by age/grade to simplify things 2. Create systems that make sense to you- your style and your family and keep creating them until you have found the right “combination” – a system should feel easy and manageable. If it doesn’t “fit” change it! (Ex: think work schedule but for the home – each category needs a schedule and gets maintained by a certain time/day/week/month) 3. Donate. Sell. Update as needed and repeat. – have an area for donating/giving items away, returning items or items you are actually going to sell (if it sits, be honest with yourself and get it OUT) 4. Only keep items in the house that are day-to-day things that are needed (depending on your home/space availability) 5. Break up managing your home systems (who cleans the kitchen/dusts/vacuums/laundry) by who loves/likes to do what – I personally LOVE to vacuum, but doing the dishes not so much.
5. If you had to choose one area to organize, what would it be and why?
I’ll pick two. My favorite areas to organize are closets and kids playrooms. I’ve always been fascinated with closets mainly because I’m obsessed with clothes! There’s just something about all the types grouped together and shoes lined up for display and easy access – I love it! Also when I think of clothes I think of the person I’m organizing for and think how getting dressed for the day is now much more enjoyable and they are feeling great and ready to take over their world!
6. Do you organize as a job or hobby?
Organizing is my #2 job, being a mom is #1, and I feel very strongly not to mess with that dynamic! I became a professional organizer by accident; I didn’t know there was such a thing! When I graduated high school and went off to college my majors were interior design, psychology, and business. I loved them all and couldn’t decide! It’s very important to me to help others and organizing has been a Godsend to my life because I get to help others and make money while doing it!
Thank you so much Amanda for the interview! I (Jaclyn) have benefited many times from her awesome services. My garage was a disaster and Amanda came to the rescue. Just imagine going to work and coming home to a perfectly organized garage!! Like magic! She also helped me organize a few rooms when we moved to our new home. She is so easy and wonderful to work with.
You can check her out at http://www.organizer365.com/