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    Organizing My Life

    09.20.2013 / WORK


    I get a lot of emails asking about work/life balance and am for sure considering setting up an auto response with this post as my reply, because these are my feelings exactly. I think, sometimes, we approach the topic on too singular of a level. Sure, each day will not be completely balanced between equal parts work and play and family and friends and give and take. There are busy seasons where takeout night is every night and there are lulls where family walks and afternoon picnics are finally doable. That’s balance, oddly enough. The complete lack of balance in each day is precisely what causes balance in the long run. The choices and changes and shifts and “too much”s and “too little”s are what cause us to grasp the steering wheel and adjust, evening out the wrinkles of chaos like a hot iron over time.

    And I suppose that was all a tangent to say that there is no such thing as work/life balance, just like there is no absolute anything. There is a spectrum – always – one that can only change when we shift our own perspective to see it. Of course, there are certain things I like to say when asked about work/life balance, because how daunting would it be if you were seeking advice to a question that didn’t exist? And there are certainly a multitude of things I do that offer calm amidst the storm. Asking for help is one. Heading to yoga is two. Drinking water is three. And organization is everything else.

    Poppin recently asked me to pick a few of my favorite products to boost my productivity, and gracious, if this wasn’t like asking someone fasting if they’d like a burger. I’d like five burgers please. Always.


    As a kid, office supplies were a complete obsession. I’d beg to visit my parents at the schools where they taught so I could spend my afternoons washing blackboards and sharpening pencils and – on a good day – laminating name tags. Oh, laminating. The ultimate burger.

    So, I picked some Poppin goodies and spent the weekend in heavy duty organizational mode, which was basically a dream. (No joke – I tried to register for my wedding and baby at The Container Store because nothing makes me happier than filing and containing and sifting and my gosh, why was I not a professional secretary?!) And I realized that, while I maintain a pretty organized ship around here, there were a few areas I was lacking.


    One was a correspondence station. (I feel like kind of  a dork just typing that sentence.) I keep all of my stationery in a vintage fishing tackle box on my shelf, but I almost always move everything to another area of the house because I don’t have enough space around my computer to write. I’m a leftie, and lefties are tricky. So, I’ve been using this white serving tray to house my favorite notes, stamps and everything I need to send off a quickie thank you during the week. I like scooping up the tray and spreading out a big blanket in the backyard, because for me, it’s far easier to write a sincere thank you when I’m not distracted by a computer or email or phone, you know what I mean?

    The other area I needed a heavy-duty organizational jolt was when traveling. Saving receipts and boarding passes and itineraries made my tiny wallet tired and everything would often overflow into my purse, then my backpack, then my carry-on and then, eventually, a sad little pile on my desk. So this little portfolio is my new savior. I stash magazine clippings, travel documents and notes in here until I head back home to sift through on the plane ride home. Bam.


    And that’s how I Poppin. On the go, at home, in the backyard – staying organized is a pretty big key to maintaining my sanity. Which means I get to enjoy a clear head with the ones I love.

    If you’re in need of some sprucing up or reorganizing, enjoy a gift from my friends at Poppin (sidenote: their packaging is the happiest thing you’ll ever see): $10 off any purchase of $40 or more using code DesignforMankind.

    This one’s my favorite find, but their scissors are kind of out of this world, too. Happy organizing, friends.


    Image Credits: My dear husband

    • karen

      oh my goodness, i hear you on laminating–my mom is a teacher and i still remember getting to help her laminate on the days i behaved myself in class (something about me always wanting to talk to everyone and avoid doing math problems :)

      this is fantastic, a good reminder that it’s okay if balance ebbs and flows and to not get caught up in the omgismylifebalanced debate that sinks so many great ships.

      thanks (as always) erin!

      • I’m sooooo happy to hear I’m not the only one that loved laminating! ;) Thank you, sweet Karen.


    • PS – I’m pretty sure your keys are Internet famous. :)

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