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How Life Became Overwhelming (& How I Got Through It)

A lot of people have been wondering where I’ve been and what’s been going on. It’s been hard to put it all into words, but I’m finally ready to release it all. I know this is going to take a while to write but I’m finally ready to open up, be vulnerable, and share my story from the past two years.

I’m about to tell you about how I became so overwhelmed that it brought me to a near breaking point. But also I’m going to tell you how I overcame it all and came back feeling stronger than ever.

First off, I want to say thank you to YOU. I know there are a lot of you that have been patiently waiting for this update. I sincerely appreciate your patience. Please accept my apology for the extremely long delay in sharing this post.

But believe me when I say, I wanted to share what was going on, but for a while, all the pieces just weren’t making sense in my head, nor did I have the energy to sit down, get inside my head, crystallize my thoughts, and write all of this. And it’s because I still wasn’t through the thick of things. However, now that enough time has passed and the fog has cleared, the story all makes sense and I’m ready to open up.

This is a long story. If you read nothing else, I encourage you to at least read the 10 tips at the end of this story based on my takeaways in the past two years if you are experiencing your own personal overwhelm.

And finally, tomorrow I’ll also be sharing our 26-minute long new home tour!

So here goes.
 

Too Much of Everything

About two years ago (circa 2014), life became overwhelming. From running our small business that had become a complicated business, to getting caught up in perfectionism in my personal life, to figuring out where to put down roots and move, to the thought of planning a wedding while trying to please others, everything just slowly started becoming more and more complicated and challenging to the point where it all just became too much.

Too many decisions to make, too much to manage, too much to maintain, too much work, too many projects, too many emails, too much to constantly stay on top of, too many people needing answers from me, too many people to please, too many things to perfect, too many contracts, too much legal stuff, too much complex tax and accounting stuff, too much research, too much training others, too much figuring it all out, too much communication, too much responsibility, too much liability, too much pressure, too much internet, too much social media, too much information, too much technology, too much planning, too much preparation, etc, etc, etc.

It was all just too much of everything. And it was completely overwhelming, draining, and exhausting to the point where something (if not multiple things) had to change or else I was going to explode.

In a nutshell, our business had been growing and with that came more systems to put in place to stay on top of it all. And while systems are vital to stay organized, the more systems you have in place, the more systems you have to consistently manage and maintain when stuff needs tweaking, updating, and fixing (which is often the case with an online business). All of which is extremely time-consuming when you’re talking about hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of systems.

In addition to setting up more systems came the need for more resources to which projects could be delegated and outsourced with the goal of freeing up time to do other projects. Specifically, creative projects.

And with that, comes more of everything.

More emails to write, more emails to respond to, more hiring and the associated paperwork, more finding the right people, more training that needs to happen, more documentation, more meetings, more phone calls that need to be scheduled, more interruptions, more follow-up, more ongoing managing, more reviewing, more back and forth communication on more tasks, and the hardest part of all is more letting go of control and trusting that others will do as good of a job as you would have if you just did it all yourself.

There comes a point when you have to stop and ask yourself: is this just too much? Is this actually a sustainable lifestyle? How in the world do you keep up with it all?

And even though I’m a very organized person, staying on top of A LOT of stuff can be challenging and overwhelming for anyone. No matter how much I tried to “organize all the pieces” to make everything flow seamlessly, there was simply too much going on.

It’s like trying to put together a 500-piece puzzle. But no matter which way you turn, flip, or organize the pieces, they just don’t seem to all fit. It’s not until you realize it’s actually a 250-piece puzzle and you’re simply working with too many pieces. And the only way to successfully put the puzzle together is to first get rid of the excess clutter distracting you (the extra puzzle pieces that don’t belong) so you can easily organize what remains (the pieces that do belong).
 
Just writing this all out and getting back into my head from the past two years feels exhausting to think back but also freeing at the same time.
  

Decision Fatigue

At the same time the lease for our town-home was ending and we knew we had to make a decision on where to move. More specifically, we had to decide where to buy something and put down roots.

Decision Fatigue quote

No decision is NOT a decision

Do we stay in the area where our family and friends are? Do we buy a home in an area good for kids even though we don’t have kids yet? If so, what happens if we never have kids but we have more space than we need? Do we move where it’s warmer so winters feel less depressing (Ed & I are warm weather people)? Do we move where the cost of living is less expensive since being self-employed can be tough at times? Do we move somewhere that favors being self-employed for tax reasons or do we stay where our business is already located? Do we move to a tiny home where we can experience first-hand what it’s like living minimally? Do we move to the country and live somewhat “off-the-grid?” Do we sell it all, buy an RV (I dream about organizing an RV!), and travel around the country helping people get organized? Or do we renew our lease (again) and continue to rent while we decide what to do? These were all real thoughts and conversations Ed and I had over the course of 2 years. And while I’m grateful for the abundance of options we had, as a perfectionist trying to make the “perfect” decision, it caused decision fatigue to say the least.

In addition to feeling overwhelmed in our business and our exhausting home search that lasted years (literally), “planning a wedding” and the pressure and people-pleasing that can come with that was also top of mind. After all, Ed and I got engaged in 2010 and we were approaching a 5-year engagement.

As you can imagine everyone around us was (and had been for years) asking when we were getting married. And for a while if you Googled my name, one of the top auto-suggests was “alejandra costello wedding.”

I’ll finally share below how we got married.

But after the 4th year of engagement it just became a running joke with family and friends asking if we were ever planning to tie the knot. While we were planning to eventually get married, with everything we had going on, adding “plan a wedding” to the running list just seemed even more overwhelming and tiring to both of us.

And to be completely honest, neither one of us wanted a big traditional wedding. I was never the little girl who dreamed about her big wedding day with the fancy white dress and big reception.

Instead, I was always the little girl who dreamed about being a stay-at-home-mom packing organized lunches for the kids and dropping off perfectly heart-shaped Jello-jigglers to the kids’ classroom on Valentine’s Day.

But for some reason, for the longest time, I always felt this pressure to have a “real” wedding to satisfy everyone around me. And the thought of not having a “real” wedding brought feelings of guilt as if I was doing something wrong. After all, everyone around me was having a real wedding with a bridal party and 100+ guests. Shouldn’t I be doing the same?

Eventually that people-pleasing feeling went away as I came to terms with the reality that getting married was only about Ed and me, not everyone else. At the same time, I reminded myself that it’s okay to do things differently from others. After all, I’ve always been the bird flying solo that never feels like it belongs to the flock. And that’s okay.

In addition to not wanting a big wedding, we also couldn’t justify the cost of spending thousands of dollars in a matter of a few hours. Being self-employed and being 100% responsible for every penny we earn (and spend), it just didn’t seem to make cents (pun intended!) to spend so much.

Instead, getting married, just the two of us (or only with immediate family), seemed more special, simpler, with less expectations, and of course, was more affordable.

So that had become the plan for a couple of years. Yet it never happened for a multitude of reasons, mainly due to overwhelm from other areas of life.
 

Perfectionism & Overwhelm

Adding to all of the overwhelm of running our business, moving, and getting married, in 2014 I began noticing my own perfectionism was slowly increasing in just about everything I was doing from personal life to work. It’s as if my “perfectionism bar” kept rising higher and higher and the sky was the limit. This combined with being overwhelmed wasn’t a good mix because everything constantly felt like it was “imperfect.”

If you’ve ever been overwhelmed, you know it can be a paralyzing feeling that makes doing just one thing hard to do. It’s hard to think straight. You don’t feel creative. You feel stuck and trapped. You feel like you’re drowning in water. It feels impossible to break-free. And if you’re a “mind-body” person, being mentally overwhelmed and swamped with stuff in the inside can make you feel drained and fatigued on the outside. It’s a very debilitating feeling.

I have to say, while I’m only 31 at the time of writing this, I’ve never experienced more on and off overwhelm in my life than I experienced starting in 2014. If you read my story from 2008 and the tough year I had when I started my business, these past 2 years were similar but in a different way.

When you’re overwhelmed you don’t sleep well. You wake up in the middle of the night tossing and turning with your mind restless. You wake up tired because you didn’t sleep well. You don’t want to get up in the morning. The little things like getting ready feel hard to do. You don’t want to show up to work. You don’t want to check email. And you certainly don’t want to look at your never ending to-do list. It all feels just so challenging.

Instead, sleeping in, hiding under the covers, and avoiding it all seems so much easier than finding the strength and energy to start your day.

But when you avoid the pain of it all, there also comes a guilt that you need to be doing everything you’re avoiding. It’s a catch-22 and the only way to win is to nip the overwhelm in the bud and get back on track.

Somewhere along the way at the end of 2014 / beginning of 2015 was the breaking point when something had to change because I simply couldn’t take it anymore.

I looked stressed out, my hair didn’t shine like it used to, my skin was dry, I gained 5-10 lbs. from all of the emotional eating, my energy was low, most things felt hard to do (even the easy things), and most importantly I didn’t feel good, at all.

I vividly remember one night we were out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant with two of our good friends who are also entrepreneurs and one of them said to me, “I feel like you’re burned out.” I remember I froze when I heard his words. There’s something about other people confirming the thing that’s bothering you the most. In this case, I knew I was burned out. He hit the nail on the head with such striking honesty that most people don’t have the guts to say, but which I actually appreciated and needed to hear. Because if he noticed it, surely other people were noticing it as well, but weren’t saying anything.

I can remember many moments of wanting to quit my business. And now that I think about it, there were days that I did actually quit. Went to bed. And then woke up the very next day to remind myself that there isn’t anything I’m better at in life than teaching people how to get organized. If I quit this job, I couldn’t possibly do anything different and come close to being as successful as I am in this career. THIS is my life’s work. And I believe that in my heart without any doubt. I’m helping so many people change their messy habits. I’m changing lives for the better. It would be selfish of me to quit now.

There was a time in my life in 2009-2014 that I loved getting out of bed in the morning, I was excited to start the day, I was optimistic, I absolutely loved our business, I was ready to tackle any mess, I was eager to start new projects, I was giddy over a good dollar store find, I was full of energy, and I was anything BUT overwhelmed. Where did those days go? I was desperate to get back to “that life” when the days seemed more simple and work actually felt peaceful again.

 

Deciding To Make A Change

From that point forward I decided enough is enough. We are going to change some things here because my work isn’t done in this world. There are too many disorganized people out there that still need MY help. This whole “overwhelming” thing doesn’t suit me, isn’t going to get the best of me, and is just one ginormous distraction to me being able to help others get organized.

And so that’s what I did. I decided to get out of overwhelm and back on track to living my life purpose with more peace.

So how do you get out of overwhelm, re-gain control, and get back on track with life? The same way you declutter your home so it’s less overwhelming…

You simplify everything to make life easier and more manageable again. You declutter everything that’s in the way that no longer serves you. You then re-organize what remains.

It’s really that simple.

And so I spent all of 2015 simplifying my life of the “clutter” that was stealing my joy and holding me back from being my best self.
 

Simplifying My Business

I got ruthless in my business and went through everything, deciding what systems to cut out (despite all the time, energy, and resources that went into setting things up), what tools and back end things weren’t working properly that could be permanently removed, what projects to pause or completely stop (even if it meant disappointing others or losing sunk costs), what opportunities to say no to, or at least “not right now,” (even if they were amazing opportunities that would progress our business), what expenses to eliminate to reduce costs, what systems were more complicated than they were worth, what processes were too stressful to manage and/or required too much time-consuming maintenance, what systems were ineffective that could be removed, etc.

When things become complicated, remember to keep it simple!

When things become complicated, remember to keep it simple!

I basically went through every single system and process in our business and asked myself, “Is this absolutely needed?” It was very similar to decluttering a space. You start with just one thing and ask yourself, “Do I use, need, and love this?”

If it serves you, you use it, need it, and love it, then you keep it. If it’s something you don’t use, don’t need, and you don’t even love, then you pass it on. It’s a black and white process when emotions are set aside.

While another solution to being overwhelmed is to hire more people to whom things can be delegated and outsourced to free yourself up, this wasn’t the right solution at the time. Nor did I want to hire, train, and manage a project manager to manage it all for me. There were already too many people involved in too many projects. What really needed to happen was to get a handle on everything by simplifying and streamlining our business.

At the same time, I made the conscious decision to slow the pace down in my work. I may not be in all places to all people. I may not release new programs as fast as I can. I may not post on all social media platforms. I may not share as many videos as I’d like. I may not be able to help as many people at once. And my business may not grow as fast as it could. But I decided that I was okay with that if it meant a better quality of life.

At the end of the day, I’d rather move at a more manageable speed feeling like I have a good handle on things, feel more relaxed and at peace, think clearer, be more in-control, have more free time, get better sleep, and know exactly what’s going on in the business that I created.

As opposed to being in a constant state of overwhelm with information overload coming from every direction on every device and feel like it’s always go, go, go being so busy and inundated all the time, wanting to pull my hair out. There’s a difference between being busy and being productive…

If you’re a part of my Members Forum you might remember the story I shared last year of how I intentionally sold my Keurig machine (the 30 second cup of coffee that felt like a rushed way to start my day that was once purchased to “save time”) for a French-press (the cup of coffee that takes “forever” to make, but produces higher quality coffee and feels like a more peaceful way to start my day). It’s been a year and I still very much enjoy the daily process of grinding the beans, waiting for the water to boil, pushing down the plunger in the French press, and inhaling the aroma of a fresh cup of coffee. It’s the little things that make a difference.

All of these things had to happen in order to get back to where I used to be. Being self-employed, there’s nobody else to rely on to do it for you. Nobody else will do the work you’re too overwhelmed to do. Nobody will hand you a paycheck when you don’t work. And certainly, nobody else will pick up the pieces when they fall. If you don’t do it, nobody else will.
 

Feelings of Failure

For a while part of me wanted to feel like a failure for allowing myself to become this overwhelmed with everything. I spent lots of days and nights in my head thinking about where I went wrong and blaming myself for everything that happened, thinking that I should have known better and we should have slowed down when things first got hectic.

But looking back, how do you prepare yourself for something you don’t know is going to happen? You can’t. My old boss John Murray used to say “You know what you know. You know what you don’t know. And you don’t know what you don’t know.” And I didn’t know what I didn’t know. All you can do is continue to do your best, continue to constantly learn, and course correct when needed.

It isn’t so much failure if you learn from the experience and use it as wisdom going forward. Which is what we did. Because the way I see it now is that my business had to become chaotic for me to know exactly what I wanted, what I didn’t want, where we were headed, and how far I wanted to take this.

While the past two years have brought many challenges in our business, I’m incredibly thankful for all of the talented people we work with that have contributed massive amounts to our brand. I couldn’t do this alone. Likewise, I’m grateful for all of the opportunities that have presented themselves.

In addition to streamlining our business to make things more manageable again, it was time to finally make a decision on where to move to and put this decision fatigue to rest.
 

The 2-Year Home Search

In December 2014 we finally put a contract on a house that felt right. It was in the area where family and friends lived. We decided to stay local because what matters most in life are our relationships. And almost all of our relationships are here in the Washington D.C. area.

It was a one-level home, in a small country town, on a couple of acres with a peaceful view of a pond, trees, and horses. The home had been meticulously maintained by a woman in her 70s who described herself as a “perfectionist.”

The thought of moving further out, away from the city and suburbs, and choosing to live a slower pace of life in a small country town really excited me as an introvert who prefers less noise and chaos. At the same time, I couldn’t wait to get a riding mower and mow acres of grass on a Saturday morning while listening to all of my personal development and entrepreneurial books. In the back of our minds we were also envisioning having a casual backyard summer wedding with fun games, good food, and all of our favorite people. It was going to be GREAT!

And so we starting packing our rental home. We packed roughly 60-70% of the house. It felt refreshing and exhilarating to know we finally made a decision and the next chapter of life was just around the corner.

It wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 that things took a turn in reverse. The homeowner decided she just wasn’t ready to sell her home. This put us in a state of limbo living in a house that was already mostly packed.

In a nutshell, we went back and forth, contract after contract, trying to buy what felt like the “ideal home” for months. We patiently waited until March 2015 to buy this home but eventually ended up walking away due to the homeowner’s indecision to sell (which I completely understand after all of our own home-buying indecision).

It was back to square one with the majority of our boxes already packed and a month-to-month lease that could end in just 30 days. Ed and I regrouped ourselves, trying not to lose hope, and came up with the next best decision based on everything we experienced in the past year.

And that decision was to build a “smaller” new construction home in the area where we were already living. I put the word “smaller” in quotes because finding a smaller new construction 4-bedroom home in my area is relatively hard to find. The trend these days (at least in the area where we live) seems to be to build the biggest house possible with closets the size of a small bedroom. It’s absolutely crazy. Knowing we were trying to simplify most areas of life, we wanted a home that didn’t feel too big but had enough space for a family while also being mindful that we both work from home.

And so that’s what we did. In May 2015 we started building a home after looking at 200+ resale homes in the area combined with multiple real estate contracts that all fell through. Out of the six model homes that were available from the builder we chose, we picked the 2nd smallest one that had a dedicated study on the main floor (which would one day be my color-coded office), and also had smaller bedrooms (except the master which is unnecessarily big, and to me, is a big waste of space but good for resale value) and smaller closets that would force us to minimize our stuff and maximize our space.
 

Here we are about to build a new construction home

Here we are about to build a new construction home


 

And while I naively thought “building a home” would be fun (you get to pick your finishes!) and easier (less to fix since it’s new!), I learned the hard way that that isn’t always the case. In our experience, the process was overwhelming, mentally draining, and time-consuming to say the least. Had we built a home before, perhaps our experience would have been different. But being “first-time home builders” and knowing what we know now, we will likely never do this again. At least not in the foreseeable future.

 

4-Month Long Experiment

In addition to finally making a decision on where to move, I consciously decided to work on my own perfectionism. And with that came a 4-month long makeup and hair detox where I didn’t wear an ounce of makeup (except one day when I didn’t feel “good enough”) or touch a blow dryer. It was part of my own “let’s do everything imperfectly to see what happens!” experiment. The results were amazing and in those 4 months I discovered a newfound love for my naturally bare face and thick frizzy hair while also becoming more aware of when my inner perfectionist was awake and active in other areas of life. I could write 20 more pages on working with my own perfectionism but I’ll save that for another post in the future!
 

Preparing for the Move

It was now summer of 2015 and while our lease was month-to-month, our landlord was giving us until the end of August to move out. However, our new construction home wasn’t scheduled for completion until the end of December/beginning of January 2016. This meant finding temporary housing for a couple of months or packing it all up and putting it into short-term storage. Either way we were forced to move.

So we began packing up the remaining 30-40% of stuff that wasn’t yet boxed. And as we packed things we did some decluttering on our own (more on that at the end of the story) as I realized that the 60-70% of boxes that had been already packed for months weren’t actually needed or quite frankly missed.

In fact, in those couple of months of not having access to those items that were already packed, I only needed one thing. ONE thing! I needed a greeting card that was in box #55 (yes, all of the boxes were numbered and inventoried using my Color-Coded Moving Legend which was extremely efficient!). Nothing else was needed. It makes you wonder what else we’re holding onto that we may not need… or even miss if it suddenly disappeared!
 

All of our moving boxes were numbered, inventoried, and color-coded!

All of our moving boxes were numbered, inventoried, and color-coded!


 

And so we did some decluttering and letting go of things before packing the remaining boxes to eventually go into our storage unit for what ended up being 7 months. After all, a great time to declutter is before you pack for a move.

 

Before moving into our storage unit, we lined the floor with pallets in case of a flood!

Before moving into our storage unit, we lined the floor with pallets in case of a flood/spill!


 

Knowing our stuff was going to be in storage and we would be without a home for some time (we decided to live with my parents for 4 months), we started making travel plans. Specifically, we started planning our honeymoon. And yes, our wedding was still not planned yet.

 

Planning a Getaway from IT ALL!

We ended up planning a trip to Europe for September 2015 for 5 weeks (which was immediately after our move). We’d start in Paris, go to Barcelona, work our way down the coast of France then end in Italy.

Ed had been saving his travel points/miles from when he traveled around the world for work back in the early 2000s and we decided we would use them all in this one trip combined with the money we were saving while living without rent or a mortgage.

We planned and mapped most of it out (high-level) in one weekend leaving some details unaccounted for so we could just go with the flow and see where we ended up. This might come as a surprise to many of you, but even though I’m very organized and enjoy the planning aspect of things, I also thoroughly enjoy not planning and just showing up with no agenda! Seems more adventurous! And this trip was all about adventure and feeling free from it all after many months of not feeling free.

Somewhere along the way of planning (but not really planning!) Ed suggested that we only bring backpacks to make the trip lighter and easier for both of us. No Samsonite luggage, no Vera Bradley duffel bags. Just one backpack per person – nothing else. The idea of carrying minimal stuff immediately intrigued and excited me. There was no convincing necessary. I was 100% on board with the idea of somewhat being a “minimalist” for a month! It seemed so simple and that was the theme of my year!

We planned the trip about a month in advance and as the date quickly approached we reopened the “wedding” topic. After all, we both decided that our European backpacking adventure would be our honeymoon, so what about the wedding?

The idea of carelessly getting married just the two of us riding a bike in Paris with a baguette in a basket crossed our minds for about an hour or so, but the logistics of it all were way too complicated after some quick research.

Long story short, we ended up planning our wedding one week before we left for our trip! ONE WEEK!
 

Our Simple Wedding

We planned our wedding during the third week of August and got married the fourth week of August, lol. It was so spontaneous and completely carefree, and yet so perfect in so many ways. We got married under a beautiful tree on the grand lawn at the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, VA.
 

The Tree Where We Got Married!

The tree where we got married!


 
The weather was absolutely perfect: sunny and 80 degrees with low humidity.

There were 13 of us total – just immediate family, Mojo, and one of our good friends, Jon Jon, capturing the moment. There were no invitations. If you were invited you received a casual phone call from Ed and me.

There were zero venue fees because, hey, we said our “I dos” under a tree! The white chairs in the above photo were not part of our wedding. There was a rehearsal dinner before our wedding and this was the only photo I had of the tree 🙂

I went “dress shopping” with my mom the week of and found a dress on Wednesday (wedding was on Saturday!) at Nordstrom Rack on clearance for $23.90!!!! My shoes were $28 on clearance from DSW! I borrowed earrings and a matching necklace from my sister.

I had my hair done at the resort spa. I did my own makeup.

As we were saying our vows, about a dozen riders on horses (Middleburg, VA is horse country) walked behind us (so romantic!).

The only flowers were the bouquet and boutonnière that my sister’s friend generously handmade for us the day before.
 

Our Wedding Day!

Our wedding day!


 

We sat outside for dinner at a nice private table on the terrace at the resort and watched the sun go down as we enjoyed a farm-to-table meal. And for dessert we reserved the fire-pit and sat around it on Adirondack chairs. We had a dessert bar filled with chocolate mousse, crème pies, whoopie pies, Swiss cakes, a fruit bar, and an assortment of cream-filled cookies.

My sister, brother in-law, Ed, and I assembled s’more boxes (A.K.A. the “party favor”) together the night before at our impromptu “bachelor/bachelorette party,” which we would roast around the fire-pit!
 

Having a jolly ole' time roasting s'mores by the fire pit!!!

Having a jolly ole’ time roasting s’mores by the fire pit!!!


 

Needless to say, after all of our guests left, Ed and I stayed up until midnight roasting s’mores and gazing up at the stars in the big open sky enjoying each other’s company. I remember walking back to our room at the resort barefoot on the grass, not a single worry in the world, both of us happy as can be that we finally “made it official.” It was a perfect night indeed!

The next morning we had breakfast on the back patio overlooking the tree where we got married. I had eggs benedict and Ed had pancakes. We then played a game of jumbo-sized chess on the grand lawn, then lounged by the spa pool the rest of the day. It was heavenly.
 

The Newlyweds Playing Jumbo Chess!

The newlyweds playing jumbo chess!


 

If I could do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing and I wouldn’t spend a penny more! The simplicity of it all made it a day neither one of us will ever forget. The total cost of the wedding was around $2000 with the most expensive thing being dinner for 14 of us and our 2-night stay at the luxurious resort!

 

Our Minimalist Honeymoon Backpacking Trip

The next day marked the beginning of our “minimalist journey” around Europe. We packed our backpacks the morning of (Ed’s backpack was 29 lbs and mine was 19!) and headed for the airport in the late afternoon.
 

Leaving For Our Minimalist Honeymoon in Europe

Leaving for our minimalist honeymoon in Europe!


 

What happened in the next 5 weeks is hard to write in one blog post. Our experience was one we’ll never forget. If I had to sum it up in one sentence, I’d say: life is more enjoyable when you’re living simply.

There’s something liberating about getting up and getting dressed in a matter of minutes when clothing options are limited (I packed a total number of 15 garments that were all “mix and matchable” with a total of 44 different outfit combinations – it was amazingly awesome!).
 

The Contents of My Backpack (minus my shoes!)!

The contents of my backpack (minus my shoes!)!


 

There’s something about cleaning the entire house (e.g., the hotel room) and it’s fast, easy, and more importantly not overwhelming so you don’t procrastinate getting started. There’s something about being able to quickly pack everything up and move (e.g., change hotels) with ease. There’s something about having less stuff that makes you appreciate and cherish each and every item that much more. There’s something about carrying less stuff when you’re out and about that makes you feel freer. There’s something about not needing to do much around the house (e.g., because there isn’t much to do) that makes you want to get out there and explore life. And there’s something enjoyable about chores when there’s less of them.

 

Here I am at the Laundromat in Florence! Laundry is More Enjoyable When There is LESS of it!

Here I am at the laundromat in Florence! Laundry is 10x more enjoyable when there is LESS of it!


 
If you can’t tell by now, the theme here is that: less is more. A LOT more.

Our trip overseas left me coming home with a natural curiosity for living a more minimal life in a more minimal space. And if I was given the opportunity to live in, let’s say, somewhat of a “tiny house” as an “experiment,” I would totally sell our house and take it in a second. But given we were in the process of building a single-family home, living in a “tiny house” right now wasn’t in the cards (not to say this couldn’t happen one day!).

The trip was just amazing. After the first week of being away from it all, I realized, “wow, I’ve been so inundated with everything and so overwhelmed for months, I can’t even remember the last time I felt this good and relaxed (besides the day we got married!).”

And it showed.

My hair was super shiny the entire trip without any hair products or doing anything special (the entire trip I used whatever shampoo & conditioner the hotel provided since my backpack was only so big). I also found myself having more energy than I usually do.
 

Low how SHINY my hair was! This was in Aix-En-Provence (my most favorite place we visited!)

Look how SHINY my hair was! Stress and overwhelm can do wonders on you… This was in Aix-en-Provence (my favorite place we visited!)


 

Yes, it was vacation (but we still did a little bit of work most days) and that’s what usually happens when you go away. But why can’t you feel THIS good when you’re home?

In my opinion, you can.

You don’t have to go away to feel good. Feeling good is a state of mind. And everyone should feel this good more often than not. But that doesn’t happen when life constantly feels overwhelming…

One of the best days on our trip was when we did a wedding photoshoot in Paris. Our good friend Jon Jon who photographed our wedding came to Paris with us for 4 days. One morning we woke up at 5am, got dressed up in the same thing we wore on our wedding day, and headed to the Eifel tower for a fun Parisian photoshoot! We took 400+ photos kissing, dipping, dancing, running, laughing, eating a baguette together, and jumping in front of the Eifel tower. It was fun indeed!
 

One of My Favorite Photos from the Photoshoot - Being Silly & Laughing Together!!!

One of my favorite photos from the photoshoot!


 
The lovebirds strolling the streets of Paris (with a baguette in hand!)

The lovebirds strolling the streets of Paris (with a baguette in hand!)


 

What was also fun was donating my wedding dress and shoes right after our photoshoot before leaving Paris. After all, the dress and shoes had finished serving a purpose in my life and were ready to be passed on to someone else. It felt good to forever let go.

On one of the last days of our trip we came across a small mom and pop shop in Italy that had lots of fun office supplies and colorful organizing products! It was fun to peruse the aisles taking mental notes of how the Italians get organized 🙂
 

Checking out organizing products in Italy!

Checking out organizing products in Italy!


 

While I could write another 20 pages on our backpacking experience in Europe, I will leave it at that for the sake of time. If you take anything away from this part of the story, take this… less is a million times more when traveling. Which just reminded me, the day we arrived home from our trip, a lady at the airport pointed to us as we were exiting the secure area and said to her young son “Now look at them with the backpacks, that’s the smart way to travel!”

We smiled back at her, no words needed as we already knew what she was referring to 🙂

 

Living Minimally & Waiting for our Home to be Completed

We returned home to the States in early October. At this point our moving boxes had been neatly stacked, labeled, and stored in our storage unit for 6 weeks and we had temporarily moved in with my parents in my old bedroom. It felt like the old days back in high school. Except this time, I had a husband!

From October until the time we closed on our home in December it was an exciting yet hectic time. We were happy to be living with my parents, which felt like an opportunity to become closer to them as a grown adult. At the same time, we were living with just the essentials which felt so light and freeing with minimal maintenance.

We also rented co-working space for a couple of months as we quickly discovered working at my parents’ dining room table wasn’t going to be as productive as we could be if we worked outside of the house!
 

This was my minimal desk at our co-working office. It took seconds (literally, seconds!) to put stuff away. It was simple and easy with minimal distractions. Oh... and the pens were organized by color (obviously!!!)

This was my minimal desk at our co-working office. It took seconds (literally, seconds!) to put stuff away. It was simple and easy with minimal items and minimal distractions. Oh… and the pens were organized by color (obviously!!!)


 

But at the same time, the next couple of months were stressful as our new construction home was reaching its completion date. As I mentioned earlier, never building a home before caused a lot of undue stress, anxiety, and lost sleep which I will write about sometime in the future.

But we continued to move forward in faith that everything would work out just fine, thinking, “There’s a reason why we’ve gotten this far and we’re almost there. We’re going to keep our heads up because the next chapter of life is just around the corner.”

And that’s what we did.

On December 16th, 2015 we finally closed on our home after what felt like the longest 2-year home search EVER. After having our stuff packed away in moving boxes for 9 months, sitting in a storage unit for another 7 months, multiple real estate contracts falling through, and temporarily living with my parents for 4 months, we FINALLY had a place to call home. And we couldn’t have felt more excited to finally settle in, unpack (and get organized!!!!), and get back to somewhat of a normal life and schedule again.
 

The Day We (Finally!) Closed On Our Home!

The day we (finally!) closed on our home!


 

While it’s draining to think back on what felt like a never-ending home search, I’m grateful for the experience and new perspective I now have on buying a home. I’m thankful I had the opportunity to learn all about building a house, the construction behind the walls, the very tall stacks of paperwork from the builder that took forever to figure out how to effectively organize into a binder and make sense of it all, the settling of a home and the associated things to “fix” when you move into a brand new home, the benefits of buying a resale home, and all the travel time, driving, anticipation, excitement, tears, and sleepless nights that happened over the course of our 2-year home search. If we had to do it all over again, I feel 10x more educated than I did than when we started, and I’m thankful for that as well.

Although we closed on our home in December of 2015, we didn’t officially move in until February 2016 after tackling a few major home projects.
 

Ed Ripping Up the Vinyl Flooring Among The MANY Projects!

Ed ripping up the vinyl flooring among the MANY projects!


 
Phew, just thinking back on all of this makes me appreciate how far we’ve come.

One important thing to note here is that while it may seem like the past two years (aside from getting married and our travel) brought a lot of overwhelm, anxiety, and lost sleep (and it did), there were indeed many good days and many successes along the way. And it’s important to stop and be grateful for the things that are going right when you find yourself focusing on everything else that isn’t. And one way to do that is by keeping a gratitude list by writing down everything in your life you’re grateful for. Expressing your gratitude does wonders for your mental health 🙂

It was now 2016 and what happened in the upcoming months still blows my mind…
 

The Next Chapter Begins

It was April 2016 and we received an email from Daily Mail asking if they could feature our original home tour video that we filmed back in 2011. If you haven’t heard of Daily Mail, it’s a major news outlet in the UK. We agreed and the article was then published the very next day.

Within hours of the article being published on the homepage, it received something like 8000+ shares and 1000+ comments. I’ve had to refrain from reading all 1000+ comments as it seemed like 90% of them were assumptions that I have a bad case of OCD.

I’ll admit that after seeing comment after comment since 2011 asking if I am OCD, it occurred to me that “maybe I am OCD.” And so one day a couple years ago I spent a good chunk of time reading into the condition to realize that this just isn’t me.
 

Do I Have OCD?

While I’ve never come out and actually answered the question before in my videos or comments. I’ll answer it now; I do not have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is a legitimate medical condition that affects many people. It isn’t about being super organized and isn’t about lining up cans of GOYA black beans in the pantry with the labels perfectly faced forward.

Sure, I like things organized and in rainbow order, and sometimes I get fixated on the small details that don’t make sense to other people, but I don’t have OCD.

To me, being organized creates a lifestyle that is productive and efficient so you can make the best use of your time and achieve your goals. At the same time, it creates a calm internal environment (e.g., inside the home and also inside my head) for myself being the introverted INFJ I am when other areas of “external life” (e.g., outside the house) feel otherwise chaotic and overstimulating.

So there it is, the question I always get asked, I’m not OCD 🙂
 

Being on National Television

Anyway, the same day the Daily Mail article was published we received messages from multiple media companies asking if they could come tour our home for national television. And they all wanted to come TOMORROW!

As I was sitting there on the phone talking to one producer explaining how we just moved, my hair tossed up in messy ponytail wearing sweats that likely didn’t match, looking around at all the moving boxes that still needed to be unpacked, white walls all around me with no decorations, and organizing systems that were half setup, I politely asked, “Can you give me 6 months?”

If there’s anything I’ve learned about the media in being an entrepreneur for 8+ years, it’s that the media wants everything yesterday. Waiting 6 months was out of the question. Instead, they came back with, “How about 1 month?”

So I excitedly said, “Sure that works!” knowing I would kick myself in the butt if I said no to the opportunity of being on Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and Punkt 12 (a German talk show syndicated across Europe).

To say that I didn’t sleep that night is not an exaggeration. This felt like a huge deal to me (and looking back it still does!). After all, I grew up watching Joan Lunden on Good Morning America while eating cereal getting ready for school! This was HUGE! My mind was running a mile a minute thinking about everything we had to do in just 4-weeks to prepare for this opportunity. Not to mention, everything I was actually working on (for work) had to be paused and re-prioritized for this opportunity that doesn’t come around very often.

The next month was crazy, but not crazy, at the same time.

We worked from sunrise to sunset getting our home organized and setup, closets installed, paint on the walls, trying to somewhat decorate, etc.
 

Ed Installing Closet Shelving!

Ed installing shelving in our closets!


 

But at the same time, I didn’t want to rush and set things up for the sake of getting setup for a TV show. Instead, I wanted things setup the right way, for our family, which isn’t always the fastest way.

The entire month I kept reminding myself of everything I went through in the past two years and everything I learned about keeping it simple. And believe me when I say, this is what got me through the next month in good spirits.
 

Ed hanging stuff on the walls!

Ed hanging stuff on the walls!


 
Ed proudly displaying the wooden tiered shelf he just finished making for the pantry!

Ed proudly displaying the wooden tiered shelf he just finished making for the pantry!


 

I consciously chose to keep it simple and not over complicate things so I didn’t get myself overwhelmed.

And while there were lots to do, I didn’t have that paralyzing feeling of overwhelm that I experienced the year before. In fact, I enjoyed the productiveness of it all! And the way I realized how much I’ve grown is that by the time all the filming dates rolled around, there were many (MANY!) organizing systems and projects in the home that we’re “imperfect” in my mind. Yet, I was perfectly okay with that 🙂
 

This was the Day we Filmed Good Morning America!

This was the day we filmed Good Morning America!


 

It’s been about two months since all of the segments aired and while the exposure was great and the production of it all was good experience for the future, I’m selfishly thankful for the “push” and major accountability it gave us to quickly setup our home so we could finally get back to normal life again.
 

This is the Day we Filmed Inside Edition!

This was the day we filmed Inside Edition!


 

I’ve always believed that certain things happen for reasons that don’t always make sense at the time. But looking back on things, the story always makes perfect sense. While I don’t know why the video that jump-started my career (my original home tour) just so happened to get picked up again by a huge media outlet 5 years later that resulted in millions of eyeballs on my work all at once, what I do know is that a power higher than me wanted me back on track (quickly) continuing to share my message of inspiring others to live a more organized life. And I’m thankful for that because I am now back on track with a clear path ahead of me 🙂

 

So what’s next for Alejandra.tv?

Well, there’s something else I didn’t share. And that’s everything I’ve been working on for the past year. Sometime in early 2015 while I was navigating my own personal overwhelm and trying to simplify my business to make life feel manageable and more enjoyable again, I had a light bulb moment.

And that moment went something like this: If I’m feeling this overwhelmed and I’m this organized, I can’t even begin to imagine feeling this overwhelmed in addition to having CLUTTER.

I’ll admit that sometimes I take for granted how organized I really am. I forget what it’s like to lose things, to not be able to easily access items, to not be able to find my favorite shirt, or to get into fights with my spouse over who put what where. I forget because I have effective organizing systems in place that I consistently maintain. I thrive on order (and wither in chaos) so I make it a high priority to keep my home and work-space as organized as possible.

That said, sometimes I have to stop and think back to a time when I felt stressed out about clutter to remind myself how frustrating those feelings really are. Or I think back to the hundreds of messy homes I’ve seen or the countless stories I’ve heard from clients all over the world. Adding “all of that” (the stress and frustrations of clutter) to the mix of being in a state of overwhelm sounds completely awful.

And there is no doubt in my mind that there are millions and millions of people around the world that are experiencing just that – being overwhelmed in life combined with being overwhelmed with clutter.

While 2014 brought me lots of overwhelm, what it didn’t bring me were the stresses and frustrations of daily clutter. And I accredit that to all of my effective and easy-to-follow (easy is key when life feels hard) organizing systems, owning a manageable amount of stuff, and my healthy daily habits of consistently putting stuff back while keeping up with chores a little bit at a time.

And so all of this got me thinking, if the answer to being overwhelmed in my business was to simplify and make things easy and manageable again, what’s the answer for the person who is overwhelmed with all the clutter inside their home? The answer is the same – to simplify!

The less stuff you’re responsible for maintaining and keeping up with, the less overwhelmed you’ll feel in your home. It’s really that simple!
 

What I’ve Been Working On

And because there is nothing I’m better at in life than teaching people how to get organized, and now I know first-hand what it feels like to be extremely overwhelmed for a long-period of time, I decided to create a new program on simplifying your house to make life at home easier again and, of course, less overwhelming! Because being overwhelmed isn’t fun and nobody should feel this way. In fact, there’s a much better way to live!

And so that’s what I’ve been working on since last year. And while it’s almost finished, the finishing touches are taking longer than I expected to get done. But I don’t believe in rushing things. Quality is better than quantity. And anything I put my name on, I give it my all plus more even if it takes a longer time. The program should be complete this summer.

The name of the program is called SimpLESSity (similar to simplicity, but adding the word “less” to the middle!) and it’s about making life at home MORE SIMPLE with LESS STUFF (Simple + Less = SimpLESSity!).

SimpLESSity is all about reasonably decluttering your home room-by-room so you’re only surrounded by the things you actually use, need, and absolutely love with the end goal of less ongoing maintenance (A.K.A. all the organizing and re-organizing that’s required to keep any house neat and tidy) and more time for what matters most in life, our relationships and experiences — doing the things we love with the ones we love most.

Not only is SimpLESSity about making life at home simpler (by having less clutter), it’s also about seeing clutter as little opportunities to effectively help others in need. And while you’re helping someone else (giving to others in need), you help yourself in return (by making YOUR life easier with less clutter).

At the same time, the program focuses on responsibly getting rid of things. I show you how to properly get rid of clutter and what to do with it all so it’s either easily sold, given away to the best organization possible, reused, recycled properly, or safely disposed to minimize the impact of sending everything straight to the landfill. There is a better way to get rid of clutter than throwing it directly in the trash, or quickly tossing it all in one bag and conveniently dropping it off at the nearest organization that may not even accept the items you’re donating (and it’s easy to do that, especially when you’re overwhelmed with decision fatigue).

This program isn’t about setting up organizing systems or time management like my Power Productivity Program (although it does cover getting rid of things, it’s nowhere near the extent of SimpLESSity).

Instead, it’s focused on letting go of stuff and simplifying your home, responsibly. It’s about freeing yourself from the overwhelming clutter that’s lurking all over your home and distracting you from living your best life.

The program is revolutionary and I’ve never learned so much about properly donating (and all the item-specific organizations that exist) and recycling things than I learned in the past year. The research of the program has made me look at my possessions in a whole new light.

At the same time, I also became mindful of my own consumption and the amount of waste to which I contribute, whether it’s household goods or the packaging from the bread in the refrigerator. Once I became aware of the things I learned, I was no longer able to live the same way. I began to look at things differently and have been changing my habits ever since.

While the writing portion of this program took months to complete, we filmed the videos for the program the week before we moved last August. That must have been the longest week of my life. We filmed morning to night for 4 days straight. And we ended up decluttering and getting rid of 800+ lbs. of clutter while only sending less than 5 lbs. straight to the landfill! It was exhausting and amazing all at the same time.
 

All 800+lbs of clutter (each bag and box sorted and weighed accordingly!) going out the door FOREVER!

All 800+lbs of clutter (each bag and box sorted and weighed accordingly!) going out the door FOREVER!


 

And what we showed on camera was real-life decluttering to show exactly how long it really takes to declutter each space in your house. There was no magic wand used. I wanted it to be as “raw” or “real” as possible as if it was Saturday morning and someone was actually decluttering their own house and facing all the real-life challenges and decisions that actually exist when you begin sorting through everything you’ve been avoiding. Not to mention all the additional decisions on what to do with the stuff you’re not keeping.

And we achieved that. I wore stretch pants and a t-shirt, my hair was thrown up in a pony-tail, we cut straight to the chase, we got tired (but we re-gained energy), and we made real-life tough decisions right then and there. But most importantly, we kept it simple so it was easy to get started, easy to see progress, but also easy to finish and feel as if a weight has been lifted.
 

Real Life Decluttering.... This Takes A LONG Time!

Real life decluttering…. every single thing you come across requires a decision to be made!


 

Roughly two-thirds of the “clutter” we decluttered belonged to Ed and me. And yes, we actually said good-bye (forever) to the stuff as we consciously decided to do some simplifying of our own home as well.

The other third was clutter that was donated to us from family and friends for the purpose of creating this program so we could demonstrate decluttering and properly disposing of various types of stuff we didn’t own! We even had a stick of deodorant from the 1990s donated to us that we “found” in the back of our messy bathroom vanity as we weeded things out (we won’t say which of our family or friends had been holding onto this gem for 20+ years!). It was fun!
 

The messy desk we created so we could "simplify" it!

The messy desk we created so we could “simplify” it!


 

Some of the later videos show Ed and me packing up the car to make the appropriate donations and drop-offs. And then we drive all over town recycling, donating, giving away, and dropping off bags and bags, and boxes and boxes of stuff while our videographer recorded it all from the backseat of the car! Good times!

 

Here we are at the library donating 98 lbs of books and movies!!

Here we are at the library donating 98 lbs of books and movies!!


 

Now that we are in the new house with less stuff, I’ve set up donation and recycling centers all over the house for properly letting go of things, and I can’t tell you how good it feels! (Note: In my new home tour video coming out tomorrow you will see I have a lot of craft and office supplies, while I did let go of a bunch (16 lbs. to be exact!), the remaining stuff are items that slowly get used.)

The biggest thing Ed and I personally simplified in our home were our closets. Combined, we let go of 231 lbs. of clothes and shoes that were all ours. It was amazing! And now that we’ve moved and settled in, I can’t even begin to tell you how light our new closet feels. Ed and I share a walk-in closet and we intentionally only put shelving on the back wall (as opposed to all 4 sides like a “normal” walk-in closet) so it feels open and spacious. But also, it limits the amount of clothes we can store in the space. I now have something like 13 pairs of socks and I absolutely LOVE it!

In our new home tour video, I show the master closet but I don’t get into detail because the video was getting waaaay too long. However, I plan to explain all the details in an upcoming closet organizing video! 🙂 For now, I’m enjoying a simpler wardrobe with a huge donation basket at the top of my closet for tossing clothes in that no longer serve a purpose in my life. And if you look at the photo below, to the right of the laundry basket (which is my donation basket) at the top, you’ll see an open shelf. In this house, we’re embracing empty space!
 

Our New Simplified Closet Which Will Be Shown In Our Home Tour!

Our new simplified closet which will be shown in our home tour!


 

If there’s anything this program has taught me in the research, writing, and execution of it all, it’s this: It’s fun to organize, but it’s more fun to let go; and it’s most fun to let go responsibly while giving to others!

I know my work isn’t done in this world because the level of detail in this program is something that simply doesn’t exist. And I cannot wait to release it to the world as this program is my best work yet and feels close to my heart as the “simplifying” aspect of it comes from my own personal struggle of being overwhelmed and hitting rock bottom. You can learn more about SimpLESSity here.

It’s been over a year since we started simplifying life and our business, and all the choices and decisions we’ve made have been the correct course of action. I feel like we’re finally through “the storm” and in front of us is a big beautiful rainbow. And I couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come!

So that’s the massive update on what’s been going on for the past two years.

Since we moved into our home 5 months ago, we’ve been balancing our time with our new simplified business(!), setting up the house, hanging out with family and friends, enjoying life, trying new recipes, getting good workouts in at the gym (I’ve successfully lost the 5-10 lbs. I gained in the past 2 years – YAY!), exploring our new neighborhood with Mojo, and meeting new neighbors all while constantly reminding ourselves to “keep things simple!”

This wasn’t easy to write and this won’t be easy to share. But if my being vulnerable inspires just one overwhelmed person to consider simplifying one area of life, it’ll be worth it.

If you’ve reached the end of this story, thank YOU for reading and thank YOU for all your support. What kept me going during the tough days were all of your success stories, incredible transformations, before/after photos, encouraging emails, thoughtful comments, thumbs ups, likes, hand-written letters (which I read and re-read often), and nice phone calls. This business wouldn’t exist without YOU and I’m forever grateful for our community and for the opportunity to be your organizing teacher.

If you’re reading this post and are experiencing your own overwhelm, I’m ending this story with 10 takeaways from the past two years. And if you’ve been in a similar situation of being overwhelmed with work, home, life, family, etc., feel free to leave a comment below and share what helped you get back on track. There is no doubt in my mind there is someone reading this post that is struggling with their own personal overwhelm.

1. If you want your situation to change, YOU have to be willing to change and willing to take action.

2. Too much of anything isn’t always good. Too much clutter can result in too much upkeep and ongoing maintenance which steals your time from what matters most in life: relationships and experiences. Likewise, too many decisions can lead to decision fatigue. Simplify, simplify, simplify!.

3. With anything in life, you need to be crystal clear on where you’re headed in order to actually get there. Without clarity, it’s virtually impossible to reach your destination.

4. Bad days are inevitable. But knowing how to navigate the bad days so you don’t spiral down into a worse state is what will make a huge difference in how you feel the next day. At the same time, being grateful for what IS going right can positively affect your health and happiness right now.

5. When life feels overwhelming and it feels hard to make progress, do the bare minimum (for that day). Even if it’s baby steps, it’s still steps in the right direction. What you want to avoid is completely stopping altogether. Do something easy when everything feels hard. But be careful not to constantly do the bare minimum if you constantly feel overwhelmed. If that’s the case, you need a plan to get out of overwhelm and back on track, which brings me to the next point.

6. Overwhelm can cause inaction and stand-still. But when WE stop doing things (because we’re too overwhelmed), other things don’t stop piling up. All of which makes the inundating feeling 10x worse. It isn’t until we decide to take matters in our own hands and put an effective plan in place that we’ll feel less overwhelmed and more in control again.

7. Most things you bring into your life have to be managed and maintained. That said, if you don’t want to commit to a certain level of maintenance, don’t bring that certain something into your life.

8. Being organized with effective and easy-to-follow systems in place pays off when everything else feels overwhelming.

9. When you feel overwhelmed, practice mindfulness. Being mindful brings you back to center and back to the present moment. Here’s how I return to the present moment (whether I’m sitting down alone, doing the dishes, or laying in bed at 3am and can’t sleep): I begin focusing on every breathe I take. Breathe-in (focus), breathe-out (focus). I continue to repeat and repeat the breathing. And when my mind begins to wander back to all my worries and things to-do (which it does and is normal), I try my hardest to bring myself back to each breath. Focusing on each inhale and exhale, being aware of any other senses that may be present (e.g. the smell of fresh air, the sound of the birds, etc.). I then become mindful of each part of my body. I focus on my feet (after awhile they start to tingle) then shift awareness to my legs, my hands, my arms, etc. Practicing mindfulness has been a powerful technique in my world for the past couple of years. In fact, the one thing that gets me to fall asleep again when my mind is awake and active at 3am is being mindful.

10. It’s easier to satisfy your inner perfectionist when there is less. Less of anything means less to perfect.
 
Alejandra Costello Professional Organizer

SimpLESSity Decluttering Program

 

 

  • About the Author

    About the Author

    Alejandra Costello is a Creative Organizing Expert who teaches busy people how to declutter their lives with easy-to-follow (and fun!) video-based training in her SimpLESSity program and free organizing video series! Alejandra started her company, Alejandra.tv, in 2008 and to date has shared her organizing expertise with millions of people in over 100 countries around the world. Named 1 of the 5 most organized people in America by HGTV, Alejandra's creative expertise has been featured in Good Morning America, Oprah, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Woman's Day, Parents Magazine, and CBS. You can connect with her on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and .

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