One of the most popular speakers at a Hearts at Home conference is Karen Ehman…the Hearts at Home queen of organization!

Karen has been described as profoundly practical, engagingly funny and downright real. Her passion is to provide women, wives and mothers with creative tools and doable ideas to help them both simplify life and glorify God. The author of four women’s books including A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others and The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized, Karen is also the project creator of the Hearts at Home Just for Mom’s Planner an organizational tool designed specifically for the purpose of helping mothers organize their personal and family lives.

Karen has been married for 24 years to her college sweetheart Todd and is the mother of three sometimes quarrelsome, but mostly charming children: Mackenzie 19, Mitchell 15 and Spencer 12.

Today’s Workshop-On-The-Go will help you embrace your organizational style and equip you with practical strategies to work well within your style.

I’ll let Karen take it from here:

Hello Hearts at Home girlfriends!  It’s so good to be able to bring encouragement to you today!

A crucial aspect of knowing just where to begin in your quest for managing your time and organizing your home, is embracing your own unique personality.

• Are you a perfectionist type who gives great attention to detail yet stresses and depresses when the plan doesn’t go perfectly?

Are you a laid-back, take-life-as-it-comes kind of gal who is calming to be around but has difficulty starting and finishing projects?

• Are you a take-charge mom who is proactive and driven, but your “whip it in shape” personality can drive your family away?

• Or are you the fun-loving playful mom who tends to have so many irons in the fire that the home and schedule go out the door resulting in chaos, missed appointments and late fees?

You see any strength, carried to an extreme, can become a weakness. If you just ponder that though for a while, I bet you can come up with oodles of examples!

Each of these four personality types has inherent strengths built in. Left unchecked, however, they soon can affect others in the home negatively. We need to find balance.

We women need to be keenly aware of just how we are wired. And we need to make this work to our advantage when it comes to managing out time and our home.

Here are some specific strategies for each personality type:

Perfectionist Polly

First of all, don’t kill the job with details.

Many women of this type are what I refer to as paralyzed perfectionists. Unless all of the details are in perfect order with flow charts and graphs and bars, they never start! They may do what they do flawlessly, but they do much less of it.


Because their motto is if it is going to be done, it has to be done right! Such a mom needs to relax her standards just a bit. Really evaluate if the added details are worth it in the end.

Do you really need to have all of your canned goods in alphabetical order?


Maybe your family functions well this way. If so, more power to ya! If not, and instead you are continually frustrated because of “can confusion” in your pantry and your family is sick of being chided for their lack of adherence to your plan, then….lighten up lady!

Think of a happy medium. Maybe you can compromise and use this plan instead. All of the fruits are on the left, the veggies on the right and the soups and sauces in the middle. (Hey…the categories are still in ABC order!)

A detailed mom like this will need to make sure the results are worth the details and where they are not, she will need to relax a bit for her family’s sake.

Laid Back Lucy

The laid back, calm, cool and collected mom has her own set of set backs. Mainly that she can’t seem to get any project started!

Because she isn’t a “bark-out-the-orders” sort, she will need an extra push to get going. Often, that push needs to come from her calendar.

This is the mom who will wait until she sees the birthday party looming in the near future to finally buy the needed gifts, supplies and such.

Since she is a take-life-as-it-comes gal, she simply sits back and hopes that life comes at a good pace and in the right order. This dear mom will need to force herself to be proactive, to learn to set goals and then break them down into bite sized chunks and arrange them in logical order. (She can often do this with the help of a perfectionist friend!)

Although it feels foreign to her to be in charge, this mom must take charge of her schedule and projects before they takes charge of her!

Take Charge Tina

She is on top of the game, all right. A real go getter! Man can she work!

She blows into the room and blows everyone else away!!!! While it may seem great to have a task master like this– lots will get done you know– this mom needs to realize that there are other people in the home- actual living, breathing people!

People with feelings.

She needs to take a deep breath and take inventory of her to do list, making sure that she is taking into account the feelings and skills of others.

When tasks are dolled out, she needs to take note of the abilities and inabilities of family members. (“No wonder junior couldn’t take out that ninety pound load of trash. He himself only weighs fifty pounds and is in the first grade!”)

What this dear mom needs to work on is sensitivity. She already has a keen sense of what work needs to be done. Now she needs to be careful that her family is working together in a logical and caring manner.

Fun-Loving Farrah

If you are a fun-loving sort who is easily distracted making it hard to knuckle down and get any work accomplished, shoot straight with yourself. Trying to tackle tasks when you “feel like it” will not work for you! You won’t ever feel like it! You’d rather play.

Or when you are trying to get a task accomplished, say cleaning out the basement storage, you’ll be easily distracted. You’ll come across the box of old school yearbooks and instead of just moving them to their new, logical location, you’ll decide to pull them out and reminisce for a while. Two hours later, you’ll realize that you are only twenty minutes into your afternoon task even though you have spent over two hours!

A mom with this personality, since she tends toward fun, will need to be motivated and rewarded with fun.

If you happen across that box of school annuals, handle it this way instead: Shriek with delight, give a giggle of glee, but then set that box aside. Tell yourself that after the job at hand is finished, or maybe after three hours of plugging away it, you will grab a Coke and that box and recollect for a while.

It also helps for this personality type to have another person hold her accountable. Yell upstairs to your husband and have him check on you every half hour to make sure that you aren’t piddling around. Call a friend and tell her that if you do get distracted, you owe her a double latte. Have her give you a call periodically that afternoon to help keep you on task.

Final Thoughts

Try to be sensitive to the way God has wired you, but remember that everyone else in your home has been wired their own way. We need to recognize our differences, but remember that we are all part of the same team and when we work together instead of against each other, life goes much smoother!

Giveaway: One gal who leaves a comment today will win a signed copy of Karen’s Hearts at Home book The Complete Guide to Getting & Staying Organized along with a $20 Wal-Mart Gift card to purchase some organizational supplies.

Simply leave a comment telling us which personality type you are when it comes to home organization:

• Laid-back Lucy

• Take-charge Tina

• Perfectionist Polly

• Fun-loving Farrah

Or, are you a combo of two personality types? We’d love to know!

(No need to leave your email address anymore, because WordPress captures that now when you post a comment!)

Oh and don’t forget to jump over to Karen’s blog and check out the great encouragement she offers, too!

Happy organizing!

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