Make Fewer Decisions by Being Organized | With Layne Brookshire

Make Fewer Decisions by Being Organized | With Layne Brookshire

Layne Brookshire of Ms. Placed Professional Organizing joins the show.  We discuss how being organized will not only help you make quicker decision throughout your day but require you to make fewer decisions overall.  We get into some of the challenges of home organizing and why you are not supposed to have all the answers yourself.


Troy: Welcome back to Real Estate Insights with Troy Schlicker

today my guest is Layne Brookshire of Ms. Placed Professional Organizers. How's it going today, Layne?

Layne: It's good. I'm excited to be back. I had so much fun last time. How are you?

Troy: I am doing well, enjoying this little bit of warmer weather. Actually, got outside for a good part of the day yesterday so that, getting that vitamin D in and enjoying that is, is a good thing to break away from the grind of work as well.

Layne: Especially before the real heat hits, right?

Troy: Yeah. That's like I like Austin. I'd much prefer, I will take July and August a hundred-degree days, any day of the week compared to growing up in the Midwest, Michigan. Minnesota where Not even a couple weeks ago, my parents still had snow and I'm like, no, thank you. Like I would much rather deal with a hundred degrees.

But yes, it is kind of nice to have seventies, eighties, . Like you got to take advantage of those days as much as you can here because it will get pretty hot, pretty quick here.

Layne: Yeah. Yes, it will.

Troy: How have things been going in your world? I know obviously following you on social media and stuff, felt like last week especially was a pretty busy week with a lot of jobs and a lot of getting

Layne: Yeah. It's such a balance to be able to do all the things and to remember to post on socials, right? So we're leaning back into that. We had actually, it was my little sister, she was our social media manager for almost two years. And She quit to get a real job, which I was like, this is a real job.

But she, I'm so excited for her and she's onto her next thing. So I've been the in between person and I've always joked with people that I'm very good with organization of physical, tangible items, but put me in the digital world and I'm like, Okay. I don't know how to do this. I don't understand the internet vernacular, right?

So I've leaned into doing that a lot more. Made my first reel. It's very basic, but I've done it and I'm so impressed with all the clips and everything that you're able to do with the podcast and how you put it on so many different platforms too. So I got to spend a lot of time on site last week.

I spend most of my time now interacting with clients on the front end, before the sale or during the sale. And then running the show behind the scenes to keep things growing. And I just have so much fun when I get to work with the team and interact with the client. And there are always moments of overwhelm on site because you're like, how are we gonna get through all of this?

but then you do, and the answer is you chip away a little bit at a time. It's been good, it's been busy, and we're excited to continue expanding our team. We've hired on some new organizers and found a new social media guru for us, so she'll be able to project, what we're really good at so that our audience can follow along.

Troy: That's awesome. Yeah. You talk a little bit about that overwhelming feeling, say when you're on site there a little bit is what your clients feel, right? Which is part of why they urge you is that overwhelmed feeling, but they don't necessarily have the dozens and dozens or hundreds and hundreds of examples.

To know that yes, this looks overwhelming right now, but if we do these steps, if we follow the process things will look significantly better here shortly.

Layne: Yeah, I think that's, my overwhelm isn't so much how. Are we gonna get to it all? Sometimes it's that cuz you look at all of it and it's the beginning of the day, but we work eight to ten hour days and we get through it and we come back for multiple days. And if for any reason we don't finish within our estimated amount of time, we'll still come and finish it.

That's, we don't want the client to

Troy: You? Nope. All the food from the pantry is just hanging out in the kitchen. Sorry. Our day's done.

Layne: Yeah, we're not gonna leave you with that. Yeah. We always do a quick clean. Yeah. We want it to be functional before we leave. So it feels good for you. But I would say for me, the overwhelm comes in. I'm probably in the ADHD camp.

Not confirmed there, but my brain is like a pinball machine of do I wanna fold first? Do I, I can see all the solutions happening around me, and it's more of a where am I gonna start and how long is my attention span gonna last there? And so I just have to decide stick to a space and move forward with that, and then move on to the next one.

It's kinda an excited.

Troy: Yeah. No, and I think that's another component of people not being organized that happens to them too, is it's again, for a lot of people, I'm sure that, that hire you. It's not just a single space that needs to be organized. Maybe they only are focused on one space for whatever reason right now, but a lot of cases there are closets and pantries and garages and all these different place spaces they have that could be organized.

And so the thought of. For a lot of people, the thought of organizing your home feels overwhelming versus organizing, Hey, we're just gonna organize this, these few drawers in the kitchen, or, this one closet and stuff to get started. And so again, for you it's more the excitement of where do I wanna start first?

Versus, for a lot of people it's the overwhelmingness of oh my gosh, how am I ever going to start with everything that I have?

Layne: Yeah. Because they're not carving out time for that to be their whole day because they have other stuff going on. They could, but they might fall behind on other stuff. So sometimes we'll Start with a space that benefits the whole family is the biggest impact to the whole family. If the husband isn't quite a believer, we'll start on a space that impacts him after day one so that when we're back for day two, he's a little more welcoming to us coming in the house.

Cause sometimes they don't get it. Not to generalize there, but often they're like, why do we need this? Do you really need this? Okay. And then when the whole thing comes together, and I think they also see their spouse being so happy and energized by it, less overwhelmed and stressed out, they. , I get it.

And then they buy gift cards for Christmas and Mother's Day and they're very happy to continue returning to us.

Troy: Yeah. One of the things that kind of came to mind as we were talking too, comparing a little bit of the real. State and home organization side of things is there a peak season or a busier time of year for you guys where obviously, historically you think of spring cleaning, or potentially you think of the holidays as a time that you wanna try to get stuff organized because you're gonna have family and friends and relatives over, but for in your business, obviously, , you guys have been doing it for a long time and are very successful, so it's not as if there's like times where you don't have any business and then other times where everyone's wanting you, but is there kind of peaks and valleys for when it's generally more busy?

Layne: Yeah. I think it, it depends. Like sometimes it's summer, sometimes it's January, everybody does totally reach out in the beginning of the year wanting the New Year's resolution, or they're wanting a fresh start for the year, whatever the case. And then again, around the spring spring cleaning season.

But I think it, we have such a diverse client base that it depends on where each client is in their life. For a mom of young kids back to school, it's time of year is just as important as before and after the holidays and spring and before summer. Cause if your kids are gonna be home for all.

And you want the house to be set so that they can do activities or crafts or whatever the case you want, all the school stuff put away. There's a lot of hot moments throughout the year for them. It just depends on, what they have going on, if they have guests coming in, if they're moving, if they're preparing to have a kid.

So we have thankfully been able to stay busy throughout the year and I would. The one time that I always expect it to be not slow cause there's a ton of inquiries, but hesitation in purchasing is January because I think people are pretty hungover from the spending of Christmas and the overwhelm of new stuff.

And while they want help with it, Sometimes it's hard to move forward on it. So we do get a lot of inquiries for new projects and we'll go and put do consultations and put out a lot of estimates and some people move forward right away and some people have that number and they can discuss it with their partner or, whatever the case.

And then they move forward a little bit later in the year or maybe in the second quarter. But it gives them a plan to look at, if this is something you wanna do, here's what it's gonna cost. If you need to put money aside to budget for that.

Troy: Yeah. It's, there's never a bad time of year to get organized in that regard. So like you say there's or even, again, I know you guys do a lot of. House packing and then house unpacking stuff. So that's gonna be more of a summer thing. Cause the majority of time when people do that it's interesting that you men mentioned January, which makes a lot of sense, which is actually a strange busy time in real estate as well too, because very similarly you have a lot of people I think with.

New Year's resolutions are like what are my goals this year? And so their goal may be to get their home organized or their goal may be maybe this is the year to buy a home. And so you do get a lot of definitely a spike in interest and inquiries on different things. But then a lot of times, like I say, that, that doesn't necessarily lead to the actual purchase or the actual decision to move forward with buying a home or probably getting organized.

It was more of a, more of that resolution that doesn't stay stay a commitment. at that point in

Layne: But on arson.

Troy: this is, yeah, right this sounds really good. I know I should do this, but this isn't gonna be the year.

Layne: . And, but, and sometimes for me and you, we have those people who reach out and then we get to build a relationship of follow ups with them, because maybe it wasn't the right time, but we've started the conversation, we've started what, what the search might be in your case. And you can continue checking in throughout the year.

And when they are ready to purchase, you have a relationship with them instead of being a brand new person that they're interacting with. So they trust you and they, you kinda know more about their back.

Troy: Oh no, a hundred percent. It's probably one of the biggest, my biggest pet peeves in real estate is that people should be, in my experience, reaching out to, especially like realtors, loan officers, talking to our financial advisor more frequently. Again we all have lives. Some of us have families, some of us have kids, different things.

We wanna go vacations, so we can't be reached 24 7, but, too often you get the person that you know, goes to an open house over the weekend and suddenly they wanna put in an offer and you're like we aren't pre-approved yet. We haven't, is this really the best house in the best neighborhood for you?

We haven't done enough research. And there's rarely a bad time to reach out and just get some information and start planning that because especially with buying or selling a home, that's a pretty significant purchase for most people. And so you wanna make sure. Done your due diligence to make it the right decision.

And so what? And so even with organizing your home, like obviously not as big in life life altering of a decision in a lot of cases, but hopefully life altering in that the organization makes big changes in your life that way. And having those conversations about what it can do and maybe how you need to budget to make it happen in the not too distant future are conversations that we love.

Layne: Yeah, and I would say the only times we have a really big rush is if somebody hasn't reached out with enough notice for a move, which we're still gonna try to make it happen to get you unpacked and move that timeline, but, your version of it is getting pre-approved and doing the research, and ours is coming and doing an estimate of service because it's not just, we don't know if we need six people or if we need two people.

We don't know if we need product. We don't know if it's gonna be the right fit between the client and the company. That's really important too, that the relationships and the personalities work really well together. Another one I would say is if we're doing a heavy edit on a. If we don't wanna pressure the client to feel like they have to make decisions at such a fast pace to work through their whole home at once.

Cause we don't want them to have any regret on items that they let go of if they weren't really ready to let go of them or moving so quickly that they can't remember what they let go of when they later are trying to access. Something from that zone and they're like, I don't remember. I remember looking at it.

I can't remember if we kept it or not because I made so many decisions that day. So sometimes we'll break those projects up into phases so that it's a little bit easier for the client to work through three spaces and then another three spaces rather than doing the whole thing at once. Some people love the whole thing at once, but it can be quite a whirlwind.

Troy: Some people have reached their breaking point and they're like, let's just get it done and be, get this over with. In that regard, do you have a lot of clients who have attempted to do the organization or stuff on their own before they reach out to you? I'd imagine most people have it at some level, right?

 if they have, how far down the path do they usually get? Or is it something where they're they've just started and then realize this is too big of a job, or have they gotten far enough down that you have to almost undo some things and then re come up with a better plan.

Layne: I never think it's too far there's always hope for a space if they've gone a certain direction, and even if they've gone the direction of beginning to buy containers or products or whatever. , that can be a slippery slope for some people because they see something on a shelf or they see something on sale and they buy something because they know they need an organization, but maybe it's not the right product for what they need.

If they have purchased a product ahead of time, we'll try to work with what they have and say, we can build off of this, or This particular product that you've got really works better in your craft closet than your pantry. So we'll repurpose. But it's good for people, in my opinion, to have tried to start the project because they see the value in needing to hire somebody the expertise in it.

They understand the cost, they understand the time that goes into not only doing the organizing, pulling everything out, doing the sorting, doing all the editing, but then going in sourcing the products and doing the measurements and figuring out the quantity of the spices that you need. The minutia, the stuff that we love, but most people don't. Usually don't have the bandwidth for, but maybe they do have the bandwidth. They just don't know what questions to ask because they're not doing it all the time. And then it turns into, 37 trips to Target and Container Store and wherever to get the products that now they're overwhelmed and the weekend's over and they slam the closet shut and they're frustrated with the project.

We see a lot of shame around that when people have started it that they feel like they should have just been able to get through it themselves or, it's not rocket science, but I just can't seem to get on top of it. . I like when they come at that place. I like when they haven't tried either, because if they haven't, they're just like, I know it needs to get done and I'm not even try, it's not my gift.

So come on in and we can meet you at any point that you come to us. It's exciting for us. We see the space and we see the possibilities of what can happen in space.

Troy: Nice. and that meant as well, like how involved do you generally prefer clients to be, or how involved do they want to be? Sometimes like I could see where obviously if you're gonna hire an expert, a lot of times you want to let them do most of the heavy lifting kind of take care of themselves.

Not that you don't want the homeowner involved a little bit. But I also could see where it could be very beneficial of okay, I want you to organize it. , there are some parameters I have based on, the things that I like to use in the kitchen versus what maybe someone else's uses in the kitchen or the, the foods that I tend to grab in the pantry versus what someone else grabs in the pantry.

And so it's not necessarily a one size fits all. So how does that involvement work? And is there again, obviously each situation's gonna be a little different, but is there an ideal amount of involvement from the homeowner that works

Layne: Oh yeah I think we very intentionally market our service as it done for you. luxury home organizing service. And so what I have found is that is the sweet spot, is that people don't want one more decision to have to make. And then when it's your own stuff, you get stuck in the weeds while I'm keeping it because my cousin gave it to me, or I'm keeping it in case we have another kid, or I've spent this much money on it, or on and on.

So we ask a lot of questions on the front end. During the consultation and during the planning process. Who does all of the cooking? Are they right or left handed? Do you prefer, in your bathroom, what's your getting ready routine look like? So that we can set that up in a way that flows for how someone gets ready.

Do you wear glasses? Do you wear contacts? Do you to get dressed all in one room? We really like to have wardrobes as much as possible in the bathroom and closet, versus having to go all the way to the bedroom, to the dresser. Maybe it's not super far for some houses, but you end up having a trail of laundry when you do it that way.

So we try to streamline that as much as possible and ask the questions that allow us. Work mostly independent from the client, and then we check in with them each day of the project. So we'll do a check in the beginning of the day, sometimes the midday, and then at the end of the day. And of course there are certain questions that we're gonna have for them, but I would say 95, maybe even 98% of the stuff that we touch, we're able to make decisions on without needing the client.

And then as they walk through and they begin using the space, whether it's in our walkthrough at the end of the project or once they're living in the space, they're able to identify and tweak a couple of little things that you. Maybe we split the floss toothpicks into the his side and the her side.

And then once they're living in it, they go, oh, he doesn't even use that one. So those actually all go on my side, but it's a little tweak like that. Or they can explain that during the walkthrough and we can do that little tweak for them on site. But I think most of the time people want to out. The decisions and they want to outsource the work and having it done for them, even if there are few things that need to be changed or addressed at the end of the project.

It's taking this mountain of an overwhelming project down to five to 10 things that need to be discussed at the end, and that I think is the biggest value of what we offer. We can take it from however long it would've taken you to do on your own two, two to three day project, and it's.

Troy: Yeah, no, we all have way too many decisions that we have to make in life already. And so and a lot of them are decisions we don't even necessarily think about a whole lot, but they still like, just a water drip every day. The thousands of little decisions that you have to make add up.

And so if you can avoid having to make some decisions I'm sure a lot of people are pretty thankful for that.

Layne: . We have a, scientifically a limited amount of decision making neurons in our brain. and that's what we get each day. So when you feel brain dead, it's probably because the energy and the neurons for making those decisions have been used for the day. So if you can hand that to somebody else, and it's the thing that they do really well, and knowing that we set up these kind of spaces all the time.

So if we asked you to make the decision, you could probably make it. But we are probably gonna be well better versed in offering some solutions for your space. Specifically like in a kitchen. we'll set things up based on where the dishwasher is, where the sink is, if that person that uses it the most is left or right-handed, and what are the items they're using most frequently, and then keeping those within a pivot distance of the dishwasher and that, that's very normal for us.

We talked about things that we know in our industry, but we don't necessarily communicate with our clients. That's something that is a part of every kitchen project for us. But asking a client that unless they have specific needs, they don't know to think about those. So we're able to offer a different level of expertise in inputting them away based on, we do all kinds of different homes, and they're not always the same.

They're never the same. Clients aren't the same, the items are not the same, and the layout is not the same. So we're actually able to give them a benefit to not having them make the decision in a way that's stuck in how they typically do it.

Troy: Well, at the same one time Riley. Cuz as different as all the different jobs are, the homes, are the clients are there, people are still very similar in a lot of ways so there are some basic rules as far as that from an architectural standpoint, like the triangle of where you want the refrigerator in the sink and the oven.

There's reasons that, that there are these kind of rules set up, set in place that are gonna make things the most functional possible and you can carry that over to organization.

Layne: . And sometimes you're working with what you have in your canvas, and sometimes you can get really creative with that. So thankfully, the architecture on the front end of most of the homes, especially the new builds, is really sophisticated and it really does consider all of that stuff. And so it helps our work look even more fantastic because the canvas was set up really well.

Troy: So after you guys have come in and done this amazing job in someone's home to kinda get it all organized, how successful are homeowners keeping it, if not perfectly as organized as you guys did, which that's probably almost impossible, but. How successful are they at keeping it relatively organized compared to falling back to the disorganization they had previously.

Now, obviously, you guys have put some guardrails in place with specific products in drawers, in garages and stuff that it should inevitably make it much easier than it was before. But I'd imagined that to some degree people, just don't keep it as wonderful and pristine as you guys leave it to them.

After you guys are.

Layne: Hi. That's a great question. I think most of the time they do really well because you use, you talk about those guardrails it's literal boundaries. It can seem like overkill to have a container and a container all next to each other. But what it does is it keeps the items in this container, From spilling into this container, from spilling into that container if they were just on a shelf, so the zones would get blended, and it allows them to stay in three separate zones.

And so for the most part, , the Adams are still in the zones sometimes. Let's say if it's a closet, people aren't wearing a hundred percent of their wardrobes. So the stuff that is gonna look used the most is the stuff that they wear the most in, if we're doing a whole home guest, closets, linens, extra stuff that doesn't get accessed every day stays in great shape because they need to know where it is when they need it, but it's not in their everyday use spaces.

Pantries stay pretty. As long as the family is always buying the same food. If they have let's say your kids get sick of a particular type of snack and you switch it out, typically we'll create a snack section that stays pretty generic so that you can do that. But those spaces sometimes need just a little bit of reconfiguration, but it's not a whole new system that needs to happen.

It's just a quick little edit there. We have a family we were working with last week. The husband and the wife both travel a lot and they both were like, can you come back every single day? Okay, but really could you come back every single week? And we're like, yes, absolutely. We would love that, but what's actually realistic for you?

Cause we have another family who does a refresh with us and they do every 60 days and they don't really need it. It's, I'm gonna be honest with you, you don't need it every 60 days because they also have a housekeeper and they have a nanny who helps keep up the systems, which really holds the integrity of what we built.

But it also keeps their house feeling really good. . It depends. But I would say most of the time people are really successful in it. And when they want us to come back, it's not because it got ruined, it's just because they want it to be perfect again. They want the fresh start all the way again, your jeans, even my own closet, like the system is built and it looks really great, but I don't wash the jeans between every single wear and I'm not placing them so perfectly and making sure the end of the pan is exactly at the end of the I do mine over it hangar.

So the top of the pant and the bottom of the pant, they're not always totally. and that's okay. So those are the things that we come in and we just get really particular on so that when we walk away it's magazine worthy and then they can tell what items they're using and what they're not based on, if it's still perfectly in place from when we left.

And that sometimes helps people do some additional editing. So gosh, I haven't even touched it, in the last six months since they came. So I guess I don't.

Troy: Yeah. Is there, as I say, is there any kind of tip that you generally give people as you're done in leaving them to either help them stay organized or to in, in that case, maybe even. Not put so much pressure on themselves to have to feel like they need to stay that organ organiz.

Layne: Yes, absolutely. That's a great question because we don't wanna come in and create spaces that then you have to feel like you're living in a museum or that your family or your kids, or that you can't have company over or anything like that. Had a really great question on a phone consult that asked something very similar to that.

How do I stay focused on what's most important to me when I have company over, which is the relationships of the guests there and not feel, a nervous tick about people messing things up. So it's okay to live in your space. We want you to live in your space. What we want for you. More than anything is to be able to access, use and put away the items in your space with ease.

Not where is it? Oh my gosh. It's all gonna fall out on me when I grab this thing at the very bottom. And The goal I think, that I want our clients to know is you can use your space and it can get undone. The trick will be, is it about five to 15 minutes of tidying up that allows it to get back in place.

So it's not a whole Saturday, it's not a whole weekend, it's not a whole season of your life that you have to spend getting it back in place. It's just doing whatever frequency makes the most sense for you. Obviously, you're gonna have the most success if you're. Daily or even weekly. So every night before you go to bed, putting things back in the living room, cleaning the kitchen before when you wake up or before you go to bed, so that when you wake up, it's in place and you're starting from a fresh canvas each day.

The more often you do that, the more it becomes part of your routine and it can really break down to a five minute tidy and everything goes back into its home because the home is already created, right? They're not having to find a spot for it. Every time they're doing the tidy, you just take it, put it in the bin with the label that matches the item, and you.

Troy: Yeah, it's like a lot of things in life, right? If you can just stay on top of things a little bit, it will make life a lot easier than letting things get too far out of control. And then you do feel overwhelmed at that point in time.

Layne: Yeah, you do. That's, and you're right, that's with anything.

Troy: Yeah, exactly.

Layne: And if you get there, you can call us and we can put it back up. We do our refreshes. That can either be, you want the whole thing done, top to bottom, every single space tidied again, or do you just want one day of labor with a team of two and we'll work through as much as we can starting in your priority space.

And that works for a lot of people. So we start in their overwhelming space. Then, let's say they had nine spaces on their on their priority list, and we got to eight of them. Then they're like, Hey, I can handle the lemon closet because you did all this other stuff. I feel good. I feel energized.

So that's success for us as if our client doesn't feel like they can't be successful in their own home.

Troy: Nice. Cool. I appreciate you taking the time to, to jump on and do the podcast today. It's always interesting to hear your inspirational stories to help us hopefully get more organized in our own lives as well.

Layne: good. Thank you for having me, Troy.

Troy: Appreciate it.

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