Emily was nominated to be interviewed for our new series called “An Organized Woman.” I learned so many quick tips and tricks from our conversation and hung up the phone feeling like I’d been her friend forever. I love it when that happens!
Emily sent me this little bio:
Emily Allen is a former obese girl turned Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. She lost 70 pounds by cutting processed food, an experience she documented on her site, www.thatswhatieat.com
Emily now teaches families how to cut processed foods and live their healthiest lives. She teaches cooking classes, speaks about healthy living, and has appeared on local news programs featuring her recipes.
(Be sure to read through the end of the post because Emily has offered an exclusive free Clean Eating Boot Camp course to Bird With A List readers! Because she’s awesome that way.)
A Few Pictures
Emily was kind enough to send me a few quick pictures of her home and her routines. Since most of her organizing ability comes from the kitchen, she focused on that.
An Organized Woman Interview: Emily
Yes and no. There were parts of my life that always needed to be organized, but I kept a clean bedroom.
Life can be chaos, and I learned as I went along how to improve.
My parents had 6 kids and both parents worked, so we often flew by the seat of our pants. A lot of the learning came when I moved out and had to take care of everything on my own. It was a classic case of the school of hard knocks!
I have tried several but have not found a pre made one that works for our family. I created one myself,and that’s what we use. We have daily routines and things I try to do once a week. It’s discouraging sometimes because I have tried so many, I’ve melded them to fit my family so it all works out. I tell myself—Done is better than perfect!
We have a 20-year-old, a 9- year-old, and a 6-year-old. It’s so nice to have kids who are a bit older because their help is actually helpful! We have a few rules they follow that really help us stay organized.
- Toy room: We have a toy room to keep their things contained. If it gets out of hand, we can shut the door!
- Limit toys in the bedrooms: They are allowed three snugly sleepy toys in the bedroom. The rest stay in the toy room.
- 5-minute clean-up: Every night as part of our bedtime routine,we do a 5-minute clean-up upstairs and a 5-minute clean-up downstairs. If anything is left out I take away the toy and they have to work to get it back.
- Marbles: (See picture below) Our girls earn marbles by doing good things. If I don’t have to do it—you get a marble in your jar. They like to save them up. We give a quarter per marble.
- Teach accountability: We try to teach accountability in a safe space. I expect them to make mistakes and they know they do not have to be perfect, but I want my children to learn natural consequences.
Finding time for my business is a big struggle. I work in an office by day and after homework, dinner, our 5-minute clean-up sessions and bedtime, I am lucky if I get one hour to blog for business.
I have to tell myself to sit down and work on it in the evenings even though the dishes aren’t done.
- Daily Routines: Most of our routines start after the kids get picked up after work. If the kids have their homework done by dinner, they earn a marble. I start cooking right away, and I clean as I cook. For example, when I am waiting for something to cook I do the dishes.
- Food prep: We eat unprocessed food, so prep time is huge. I always try to have an extra food project going while I cook. Last night while I made dinner, I also made yogurt. I try to maximize my kitchen time as much as possible!
- After dinner: Everyone has to help put plates in the dishwasher. The girls take a bath, put on jammies, and do their 5-minute clean-ups.
- Saturday: We write out a list of chores that need to be done each Saturday such as bathrooms and mopping the floors. We draw jobs out of a jar or let the kids pick jobs if we are feeling extra friendly. 🙂
Every organized person says to do one load of laundry per day…no way does that work for my family!
- Don’t feel bad if it’s not working for you. We like to change as life changes.
- Saturday is laundry day in our home. We wash clothes all day long and then I watch Netflix Saturday evenings and fold clothes.
- We like to keep Saturday open and protected. It’s a family day after the busy routines of the work week.
I’m very anti-paper. On a scale of 1–10, I’m a 6 or 7 with paper. It’s not perfect, but we eliminate paper as much as possible through autopay and e-statements. Junk mail goes in the recycling before we even walk in the house! If I throw it on the table, it acquires friends!
My kids’ treasures they can’t part with go on the fridge. When it’s time to take it off the fridge, they decide if they will recycle it or take it to their special pile. We will often take pictures of their art for a digital keepsake.
I know you run an amazing food blog—how do you meal plan? How do you organize the special diets of your family?
Meal planning has been so awesome for us.
I use a google calendar for meal planning. I plan the meals for the week on my laptop at home, and I have it at work so I can make quick adjustments.
My google calendar has our family events as reminders. This helps so much with meal planning! For example, Wednesday is dance, so we always put dinner in the slow cooker before work on Wednesday mornings.
Like I mentioned before, I always like to have something extra going on in the kitchen. I do a lot of bulk cooking. If I’m making muffins, I make a double batch and freeze them for something easy to throw in lunches. Making pizza? I make an extra pizza crust and an extra batch of sauce to freeze for the next pizza night.
I made it my mission to learn to freezer cook. I struggled a lot at first, but it has been worth the effort.
I love a good list. I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I look at a list and see all of it checked off. Sometimes I’ll even put something on the list just so I can turn right around to check it off!
Since I try to avoid paper as much as possible, I send myself “to do” emails. They are right there in my inbox and I can access them on my phone, so I can access them whenever I need to.
In April I broke my foot. I couldn’t do any of my normal routines and everything kind of fell apart. There are times when you just have to make sure you shift your focus to the good and what’s most important. You have to set those priorities and not feel guilty about them. Give yourself permission to set those priorities!
My favorite words of advice from Emily:
- Do what you can and don’t worry about the rest.
- Go easy on yourself.
- Whatever you can do is great!
- “It’s too hard” isn’t an excuse. It’s not too hard—you just don’t know how to do it yet.
Clean Eating Boot Camp
Emily has a line of amazing clean eating courses on her blog and has offered a gift for Bird With A List readers!
She already offers a free 2 week Clean Eating Boot Camp for her readers, but for a limited time you can upgrade to her 4 week Clean Eating Boot Camp (a $39 value) for FREE! Be sure to use this link or enter the coupon code: BIRD at check out over at Health by Emily.
Thank you Emily! It’s been a joy getting to know you!
If you would like to nominate an organized woman for our series, please contact fill out the form below: