You Are Complex: Meet Home Organizer & Clutter Coach Eliza Martel
Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job, unique to you. After all, you’re one-of-a-kind and your needs are complex – that’s why your supplements should be too.
To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, each month we’ve been highlighting individuals in our community – taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work life, wellness routines, and all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
In honor of National Simplify Your Life Week August 7th-13th, we got to chat with Home Organizer & Clutter Coach Eliza Martel. Through her business Eliza Uncluttered, she helps people create intentional spaces for intentional living.
In this insightful interview, Eliza gives us the rundown on her day in the life as a business owner and mom, shares where to begin when it comes to decluttering your home, and explains the connection between physical clutter and mental clutter. We hope you enjoy our series…and remember, keep being you!
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Energetic, honest, Optimistic
What does a typical day in the life look like as a mother of two and professional home organizer?
Oh man, I would love to tell you our days are perfectly organized, but that is not the case. I will say, we are doing pretty well overall thanks to a loose plan we follow.
In the beginning of summer, I had come up with an "ideal" routine for our days at home, but I quickly realized that life can be unpredictable, and putting too much pressure on checking all the boxes was becoming overwhelming. Now, it's more about getting ready for the day and having just one special thing to look forward to each day.
I am not sure if you would call the days of the week themed, but there is a schedule for them: Mondays are for heading to the park and enjoying outdoor fun and socializing. Tuesdays and Thursdays the kids spend time with my in-laws so I can focus on work. Wednesdays are reserved for visiting my parents. And Fridays, well, we consider it our designated fun day where we can go on an adventure or simply relax and play at home.
I would love to share a little about my morning routine, which has become a sacred time for me. I've been working on it for quite some time now. Being an early riser, I find it surprisingly easy to wake up an hour (or sometimes even more) before the kids. It also helps that I came across a clock that glows green, when they are allowed to come downstairs for the day. The morning is my special "me time" and things don’t go as smoothly without it. I start off with coffee and take a seat in my favorite spot on the deck. Lately, I've been on a mission to break the scrolling habit, so I've been exploring a fun bird listening app or simply observing the nature around me. Sometimes I'll stretch, but honestly I just love sitting on my sofa and being still.
After the kids come down and we get ready for the day, it is very go-with-the-flow for us. Just ensuring everyone is fed, hydrated, and the house doesn't turn to complete chaos is a win! [Text Wrapping Break][Text Wrapping Break]As evening sets in, we have a pretty solid bedtime routine. Around 7 o'clock, we start with baths if necessary, teeth brushing, and getting cozy in pajamas. The kids usually have some sillies to share which, depending on the day, is either adorable or makes us want to pull out our hair. My partner and I swap which kid we put to bed each night, it gives us a chance for some one-on-one time that we may have not gotten during the day. And once they're tucked in, we head downstairs to unwind before bed. Sometimes we opt for watching a show together, although TV isn’t my favorite. Other times, we play video games on the Xbox or he will do something for him and I will scroll Instagram for fun.
August 7th marks the start of National Simplify Your Life week, encouraging folks to declutter and simplify their lives. What are a few simple steps you'd recommend for simplifying?
The first step is to identify where you can simplify. Take a moment to think about your day and pinpoint the biggest speed bumps and hassles. I love to do a brain dump for this. Just let all your thoughts come straight to paper (or a digital note). Write down things like picking out your outfit for the day, not being able to get the kids out the door with a cluttered mudroom, or never being able to find your keys. Whatever it is, get it out of your head so we can see it on paper and then prioritize.
Next, pick the biggest hurdle and that’s the starting point. We work in that space until it is done and then move to the second biggest priority on the list.
Now, actually simplifying a space is really pretty basic. We just need to remove the clutter. My definition for clutter is anything in an area that does not belong. Whether it is a piece of trash, a hairbrush out of place, or that thing you are just holding onto because you have always had it. I always have a trash bag, donation box, and a “does not belong” box on hand to do quick sorting for a space. (The “does not belong box” is just for items that you can bring to the areas of your home it does belong.) This will help keep a somewhat organized space, while you are in what is known as the messy middle.
Decluttering can be challenging at first, but the good news is that it's a skill that gets easier with practice. We'll start with the easy wins to build momentum: the trash and the things you instantly know you can part with or bring to where they belong. If you start to feel unsure on whether an item should stay, here are some questions you can ask yourself: Does this item bring me joy? Have I used it in the last six months? Would I buy it again? And if you know you need the item, but this area is not where it should live, ask yourself “where would I look to find it?”
What's something that often gets overlooked when it comes to decluttering and organizing?
That decluttering should come first. Don’t go running out to buy the pretty baskets or storage solutions. Once we know what is staying, we will be able to know what kind of storage we need. And honestly, sometimes you don’t even need the baskets.
You mention decluttering your physical space to make room for your mental space! Can you elaborate more on this, and how decluttering can impact other areas of your life too?
Before starting my own decluttering journey, I was a stay-at-home mom with two little ones in a new home that was still a work in progress. It felt like living in a never-ending cycle of picking up, tripping over, and cleaning the same things day after day. Then, I stumbled upon Dawn from Minimal Mom, and she offered a fresh perspective that completely shifted my mindset.
Dawn explained that the items in our homes are inventory that we have to take care of. The more inventory we have, the more energy and mental bandwidth it takes to maintain it all. That was just what I needed to hear to get me to dive right in. Granted, it was a slow and steady journey, but after a year, I noticed what progress had been made.
With fewer things to pick up and maintain, I found myself spending less time and energy on cleaning and taking care of stuff. I had this opportunity to use my time to step out of a reactive mode and become proactive. I could actually plan ahead, problem-solve, and use this newfound bandwidth to do things I enjoy or even just figure out what I enjoy.
The things we own in our homes constantly occupy our mental capacity. They fill our heads with to-do lists, reminders, and sometimes guilt. But when we can declutter and clear our minds of these thoughts, we create room for other meaningful things. We can focus on activities that bring us purpose and fulfillment, rather than feeling like a nanny, cook, or maid.
I encourage everyone to simplify. It's not just about creating physical space; it's about reclaiming mental space and opening up new possibilities for a purposeful and intentional life.
What are your favorite healthy snacks or meals to fuel a busy workday?
I've certainly experimented with various health fads over the years, but I've discovered that sticking to whole foods is the ultimate way to go. Nuts, fresh-cut veggies, or a banana with peanut butter are my go-to snacks for fueling a busy workday. These non-processed foods keep me energized and on the move. While grabbing a bag of chips when I’m in go mode is always tempting, it never seems to provide the lasting fuel that I need.
Do you have any go-to self-care rituals you want to share with our readers?
I'm a firm believer in combating burnout and completing the stress cycle as a form of self-care. There are a bunch of ways to accomplish this, and I find that any method that the Nagasaki sisters have shared in their book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, is helpful. But my all-time favorite self-care ritual is having a dance party, aka physical activity. And it’s not necessarily something I schedule in, but when I feel a trigger of stress I know it is time to turn up the tunes. It's a simple yet powerful way to take care of myself and express how the music makes me feel.
What does wellness look like for you?
To me, wellness is all about feeling good, inside and out. Last year, I experienced a bad case of sciatica. It turned my world upside down. The pain had a way of taking over and affecting every aspect of my life. I found myself feeling frustrated, even angry at times. But here's the thing: when I finally found relief and got back to a state of wellness, it was like a whole new me emerged. I felt a deep sense of gratitude and joy that comes from being able to move freely and enjoy life. So, for me, wellness means finding that sweet spot where comfort, energy, and happiness collide. It's about taking care of my physical and emotional well-being.