Schoolhouse Birthday Bash Blog Hop: Interview with Malia Russell

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I have a special treat for you. I am today’s host for the Schoolhouse Birthday Bash Blog Hop! Every day you can meet one of the new monthly columnists for The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.

Malia Russell is the founder of Homemaking 911, a website providing help and encouragement to homemakers. She is a gifted writer and speaker and seeks to serve the Lord by helping other women learn to serve Him in their homes. I was privileged to ask her a few questions about organization.

Kristen: In your opinion, are organizers born or made?

Malia: Some are born naturally organized.  My daughter, Anne is very naturally organized.  She craves order and is very visually oriented, so a lot of chaos bothers her.  She seems to be able to find an organizational system for herself when needed, and she is good at maintaining it.  Some people who are organized are not naturally organized.  I was not born naturally organized, which is why Homemaking 911 was created.  I needed to learn the specific skills of organization, and I had to learn the WHYs of organization- sometimes the hard way!

Kristen: What is your best organizational tip for busy moms?

Malia: Examine your life for ONE area where you are organized- one small system where things are working well is a great starting point.  Then, figure out why it works so well.  For example, when I first started organizing, about the only organized thing I could find was my husband’s tie rack.  Why did it work?  It was the right size, it was in the right place, and it was holding the right amount of things.  I took that idea and tried to apply it to other areas.  I started with the closet in our entry way.  Then, I figured out what natually ended up there and found a way to make it organized that we could maintain.  So, start with something small you are doing right and apply it to other areas.

Kristen: When life becomes chaotic, how do you start to get control of things again?

Malia: I stop everything and pray for wisdom.  Then, I think about the next “musts” such as the next meal that must be prepared.  Next, I start all my modern day “servant girls” working for me.  I get the washer going, unload and load the dishes, and I get everyone working on their chores.  I will generally start on the main floor since that is where we spend most of our time and it is the entry way for guests. This area includes our hall, kitchen, dining room and living room and powder room. Once those are done,everything else seems so much easier to handle.

If the chaos is created by outside issues such as orders needing to be filled, customer questions and emails, business requirements, I will make a list of everything on my plate and start deciding what can be delegated to my assistant or children (or what requires my husband’s help).  Then I will start sending out work to get complete, and tackle everything else that only takes a few minutes.  I will make sure I am putting everything on my master list to review so that things do not slip through the cracks. I delegate liberally and have come to realize that if I delegate a task (such as mopping a floor) to someone young, and it is not done perfectly, at least it is better than not being done at all.  I can use spare time to train on proper techniques, but on a busy day, any help offered and taken is better than practicing perfectionism in terms of getting tasks completed.

To avoid getting to the point where everything is out of control, I try to look at tasks I repeat often and try to make those as efficient as possible.  Meal making, bill paying, product mailing, etc. are all things I have to do over and over again.  Becoming more proficient at these helps me keep things under control so that I can get more done in less time.

Kristen: Thank you so much Malia. I love the idea of figuring out what organizing system is working for you and figuring out why. And I agree with your observation that a task done imperfectly by a young one is still better than not being done at all. I’ve had to let go of some of my perfectionism in this area. I’m looking forward to your monthly columns in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.


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