SAF_LLAF_LiveBeau_404X404When people think about organizing their life, they often focus on the external value of a “makeover” to their space. Yet, taking the time to order your environment and your life has much greater internal value – both individually and communally.

An ordered life is one that isn’t just “organized;” it’s arranged around the things that matter most to you. It’s a life that puts first-things-first.

I’ve found that people who are just “organized” actually can become enslaved to keeping up with the never-ending needs of home and work. “Organized” is a fleeting state of a-place-for-everything; whereas “ordered” is a state of living life intentionally and with your values at the center of the equation.

To be sure, being “organized” is useful, too; our minds clear as our space clears. When your environment is sensible and simple, you’re open to hospitality and possibility. Just be sure that the end goal is not tidiness, but that the arranging of space and schedules actually makes the way for your true life priorities. 

I consider an ordered life one where you have integrated your personal and professional life and where the inside matches the outside. After all, what good is an “organized” life if you are chaotic and disordered internally? For me personally, I’m a wife, mom, author, speaker, and a business owner. I am on the go every day and boredom is not in my vocabulary. I invest a lot of time in arranging my schedule around my priorities, which include homeschooling our boys, running our farm and family, stewarding a business, and leading employees that bring hope and solutions to the overwhelmed.

A prioritized life empowers you to live like a flower—a lovely and fragrant offering to a harried and distracted world. Just like receiving a bouquet or unexpected dandelion offering, an integrated, intentional life is a breath of fresh air, a reminder of beautiful living. Here are some ideas from my own life and 15 years in the field as an organizing expert and life manager on how to live beautifully:

  1. Rethink order and beauty. Embrace order as a gateway to beauty. (It’s hard to enjoy aesthetics in the midst of chaos.)  Train your mind that organizing your life and belongings is not a chore; it’s an investment in a lovely life.
  2. Repurpose old things to new life. Rescue vintage buckets from the corners of your garage and shapely jars from your recycle bin or canning supplies, and turn them into vessels for flowers, pencils, or utensils. Bringing yesteryear into today provides comfort through nostalgia and conveys simpler times in today’s busy world.
  3. Re-envision your space. Arrange your home or workplace around centers of activity and community (instead of by sterile rooms). Create a homework zone, a reading nook, a crafting nest, a creativity wall, or a workout niche. Make room for the things you love and create a refueling or reconnecting space. Incorporate flowers and plants in these areas. As well as beautifying and updating your living space, flowers boost emotional health. Harvard research proves people feel more compassionate toward others, have less worry and anxiety, and feel less depressed when flowers are present in the home. In my own home, I nest seasonal flowers in teapots, milk jugs, and vintage blue glass jars to add whimsy and joy to my day.
  4. Rehab your mind. Change in our natural environment or habits begins with a change of thinking. Make a list of the beautiful, lovely, praiseworthy things you can think about and post it near your sink. What we think about, we become. In my life, I write these items on 3 x5 cards and carry them around in my purse.
  5. Rejuvenate your senses. Take a break from the busyness of life and treat yourself to a visit to a relaxing spa, botanical garden, lavender field, or local flower shop. Surrounding yourself with the sounds, scents, and beauty of nature invites us to engage our senses, slow down, breathe and experience peace.
  6. Refuse to dichotomize. Trade up from balance to integration. A completely balanced life is impossible and requires constant reallocation of time. An integrated life is one where we intentionally break down separations and blend our personal, professional, spiritual, and emotional lives together. An integrated life is a beautiful display of peace in an out-of-control world.

I invite you to join me in the ongoing journey of living an ordered life. Please share your ideas on how to live beautifully at @flowerfactor #LLAF.

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This is part of the Live Like a Flower series.

Vicki Norris, president of Restoring Order® – a professional organizing service for homes and businesses, has turned her passion for order into a lifestyle brand helping consumers lighten up so they can live their true priorities.