Jen Checks In: Keeping It Real (September 2014)

Hi there!  You might have noticed I haven’t posted on OLJ for a couple of weeks now.  This hiatus was not intentional.  I still don’t have any organization-related content to share this week so I thought instead I would take the time to check in with you.  If you’re interested in hearing where I’ve been, what’s going on with OLJ, my plans for the rest of the year, and my feelings about my online sharing, please check out my video:

Big hugs and thank you’s for your patience and support along the way as I navigate this online world and my place in it.  Much love to you all!


* All opinions are genuinely my own. *


43 thoughts on “Jen Checks In: Keeping It Real (September 2014)”

  1. First of all, I want to thank you for all you share across your various channels. I have to say that since I found your channel, I have taken on organization of a few areas of my apartment. There is still so much to do in a home, as I’m sure you can relate. I have this one linen closet that I’m at a loss with how to fix. I wish I could tweet you a picture for some suggestions. LOL! But no, seriously I think you do a great job of being very clear with you videos. I was one of those people who thought you were a professional organizer. So I have even more respect for what you do because you’ve self taught yourself or figured it out with trial and error.

    The second thing I wanted to say is that you do a fantastic job managing all these channels. Your personal brand is completely congruent across all the channels. I subscribe to them all, so as an observer I must say that your presentation is awesome. You make great quality videos and it shows because you hold yourself to a certain standard. So keep doing what you are doing…it works.

    Have a fantastic time in Italy! I’m so excited for your upcoming series especially the holidays! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the lovely compliments. My advice for your linen closet is to think about what items you access most frequently and make them easiest to reach. The rest will fall into place 🙂

  2. Jen, I am so thankful for all you do for us. You have inspired me to try and be more organized in my life. Your ideas and product recommendations are spot on. I am here for any post, suggestion or tutorials you want to share. If you don’t post its okay, I usually just watch an older video. I always pick up something I missed the first time. I just wanted to say thank you for all you do and share. You are a blessing in my life. Take care and have an amazing trip to Italy. I can’t wait to here all about it.—Sonja Hullett

  3. Enjoyed the “chat.” I’ve been watching your channels for over a year, but have rarely commented. I love your videos and enjoy hearing from you whenever you have a chance or something to share. It does take a lot of time and it’s impossible to do everything all the time. I appreciate that you don’t just put up a video or post just to be posting. I think it makes the quality of your content high, because you’re only sharing when your really have something to say. I’m excited about your upcoming planner review series – I love watching planner reviews and planning videos – there can never be too many planners!

  4. Hi Jen! I think you should do a video about tech organization. This can include organizing website bookmarks into folders, meanwhile using XMarks to have these universal on all browsers. Also there are password managers out there like KeePass and LastPass that organize your passwords in an encrypted format. Finally, there is a website called that puts all of your bank accounts into one spot, and budgeting is made easy.

  5. I definitely agree with Patty!

    I think you are an awesome ‘summarizer’ of ideas. From what I can tell you research quite well what will suit you and then present it to us how you tailor it or your life/lifestyle. I also agree that you have very high standard for yourself. You have definitely evolved in terms of how you ‘direct/style’ your videos and I think it comes really naturally to you. I think it looks very polished and you make it look easy!! (But it’s not!)

    If I could put in some requests!!! I would love to see you talk more about time management and what the ‘gurus’ say… the ones that talk about systems or theories of how to manage time not just planners.Maybe take on some challenges or do some organizing tags. Or budget shopping or even how you shoot? How you have researched what cameras and equipment you have chosen. I know I have asked before but what about an update with your blog, how you organized your favourite things on the side bar. Who has helped you update it. Or how often you work on the back end of things. (I think I just typed out months worth of stuff, LoL)

    I want to see the nail application one too! LoL I know that is on another channel though!

    Anyhow, keep doing what you are doing! You have inspired me too. I appreciate all of your hard work!

    Lisa 🙂

  6. Thanks for sharing Jen! Do you want to hear something kind of silly? I was thinking of fall, and my son’s birthday and the Thanksgiving dinner we do at the same time, and it was seeming overwhelming. AND THEN I remembered….Jen will share (hopefully?) her amazing Thanksgiving Party!! YEA FALL!

    1. You know I will! 😉 The holidays can be stressful with so much to do but I try my best to keep focusing on the love and joy I get in sharing time with my loved ones and that is everything.

  7. Hey Jen!

    I think you do a great job with the content you provide and with all your channels! Well, I don’t watch Winnie’s channel but I still enjoy seeing her in your other videos! 🙂

    The thing that I was thinking of when I was watching your video is that I never EXPECT any of the channels that I follow and enjoy to post content. I don’t sit around and think, “Why haven’t they posted something lately?!” People have lives and I would never expect them to be constantly posting content…especially when it’s just to be adhering to a schedule! It’s always fun to get the email notification that a new video has been uploaded and then sometimes if it’s not a topic that I particularly want to hear about, I might just scan through the video or not watch. (By the way…I particularly love the packing videos!)

    Anyway! Just wanted to say, post at whatever pace you feel like and post whatever you want to post! Thanks for taking the time to share your life with us and pass on your knowledge and tips! 🙂

    Can’t wait to see/hear more about your Italy trip! (And I would love to see a packing video for that trip! If you were planning on it!)

  8. First, I love you Jen!! I have only watched for the past year or so but I really, really appreciate your videos! Second, please, PLEASE take breaks when you need to! I know a lot of ppl voice their judgments about how easy your life is or how you are only making busy work for yourself but I feel like a lot of that stems from jealousy. Not everyone has to work outside the home or have 3 kids by the time they’re 30 to lead a fulfilling life!

    You and Don are lucky to have the life you have and if you enjoy being a housewife and YouTuber that’s amazing! Take breaks when you need to, like you said, once it gets overwhelming things get bad, I know I would MUCH rather you take a couple of weeks off then stop altogether.

    Don’t listen to the haters/judgers! You only get one life and should do whatever makes you happy! I hope you enjoy Italy!!!

  9. Jen I’ve been following you for the past 4 years and all I can say is I love all your content (my favorites are the travel and tea & talk ones)…as a blogger I understand and see how much work and energy you put on your posts and videos but above all I LOVE YOUR HEART yes! In capital letters! and how genuine you are. I don’t care if you post a 3 or 30 minutes video I just enjoy watching how honest and inspiring you are, I just watched your check in and at the end all I said was “she is such a beautiful human being”

    Thanks for being you and don’t feel that your videos are boring or anything believe me, you never know what soul you are blessing just with your smile. God bless you!

  10. Hi Jen, Thanks so much for your post and the time you share about your life. Like another poster said, “it is incredibly generous” and like everything else that you do – truly genuine. It is this honesty that I draws me to watch you consistently and read your website. Please never stop being yourself. If you feel pulled in many directions, it is because you are a good person and want to do the best you can for the other important folks in your life – viewers included. Finding the balance is key and you will do so eventually. Just have faith and trust your process. I like the idea of posting when you are inspired to share something important and meaningful. And when you don’t post, being silent is a good message too. All of us need some private space in life. A time to be quiet and enrich ourselves so that we can go back out into the world and share again. It is a way of honoring who we are and the gift we have been given. I look forward to many more years of the evolving Jen. All the Best!!

  11. What can I say that’s not already been said??? I truly don’t see where you find the time to film and post on all your channels much less enjoy your life. But I am so glad you do! I enjoy watching ALL your videos – doesn’t matter what they’re about. It seems I can relate to them all. You have been an inspiration to me with everything you do and I’ve found multiple ways to create my own organizational style by watching your videos.

    I, also, would like to see more time management videos, whether they be electronic or on paper. And reviews of different planners would be very interesting. I too have so many planners – in all sizes, types, colors. I’m constantly trying to find the one that would be best to use in my situation. One that can hold what I need for work, for personal use, and not be too heavy to carry. I am especially interested in how you were able to downsize to a personal size from the A5.

    I will watch your videos no matter what the content is because I enjoy each and every one of them. Keep up the good work! Relax and enjoy yourself on your journey to Italy. I am sure you and Don will have many stories to tell!

  12. Jen,
    I have been with you since the start. You have inspired myself in many many ways.. I love watching all your videos on all your channels. I am glad that you are just real about the videos not just doing videos just to make money or for popularity.
    I do have a request.. I miss your videos that you done a few times of you speed cleaning. if you could do one of like you cleaning the hole house would be awesome.
    thanks again and keep up the awesomeness..

    Judi 🙂

  13. jen, your videos are so good and interesting. I love how you are able to share who YOU are while being so informative at the same time. I want to thank you for that. One suggestion….instead of making each area you film in separate channels, why don’t you combine a few? You could certainly share adventures with Winnie on OLJ. I even think positively polished could be added on to that.
    It might be easier to balance all that what you want to accomplish.
    Whatever you choose, just know there are subscribers who appreciate your work and look forward to spending time with you!

  14. Hi Jen, I love all your channels and am looking forward to your holiday planning videos, and I am recently into using a planner and reviews of planners out there would really help someone like me. I love your holiday gift suggestions, and I was wondering if you would be interested in making more videos for other occasions, like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, Valentine’s day, Easter etc you always have wonderful ideas. Thanks, and have a great trip.

  15. I usually try to organize everything. Though I’m a homemaker, still there are a lots of things to. Usually everyday I do a to-do list everyday. Actually I stopped doing that. Your vlog inspires me to resume that again. Now I’ve made a organizer in my own way. And it is helping me immensely. Still I’ve lots of thing to organize. One thing I want to share with you that, I’m making all the boxes of my own using all sorts of cartons. So, I’m taking a lot of time, but I’m getting very much satisfaction from that. If you agree, then I can share few photos with you. Thank you for sharing all inspiring videos.

  16. Hi Jen!! I have a super duper idea!! You can travel to my house and organize at my house!!! :0) hee hee
    Okay, just wanted to say that I totally adore you. You have inspired me more than you will ever know. I am one of those people that go back to all of your old videos and rewatch them over and over again. I learn something each time I watch them. I really love the planner videos. I just bought my first Filofax and I got an adorable Vera Bradley bag for my planner and another case that I use to put my LePens in!! It is actually a baby bottle insulated case but works great for my pencil case!! You would be so proud of me. :0) I will have to send you pictures!!
    I wanted to tell you not to beat yourself up so much. We will all wait for your videos-however long it takes. I don’t know if you are aware of how many other bloggers and Youtubers mention you in their videos…there are quite a few.
    I also wanted to suggest something that might make life a little easier for you: you could do smaller videos. Do it On a Dime does some really short videos, but it is always good stuff. If you haven’t checked her out-do so. She is another one of my favorites. Maybe it is just as much work putting together a little video..not sure. Thought that could be an answer for you though. As much as I enjoy your longer videos…I would equally like shorter ones…especially if it is helpful to you!! You have to do what makes you happy in this life.
    Thank you for inspiring me to organize my house, my time, and my life!!!

    Kim McCoy
    Williamsburg, Virginia

    1. Do It On A Dime is great! Love her vids. Try as I might, short videos are just not in the cards for me. I just like chatting too much with you guys! LOL 😀

  17. Hi Jen,
    I’m a relatively new subscriber. I have been watching most if your channels for a couple months now. I loved this video because one of the things I enjoy most about your channels are that it’s just you! You show your life, share your experiences and seem to be a very genuine person. I love that! I have no idea how you keep up but you do a fantastic job and I always look forward to seeing new videos and blogs posted. I tend to be “high content” so I will try to keep this brief. Like I said before, one of the things I enjoy most about your channels and you yourself, is your a genuine person showing and sharing how you organize, products you enjoy and basically your life in general. I love seeing your new ideas come to life and you inspire me to try new things in my home that I may have otherwise thought I couldn’t accomplish on my own. I truly believe that’s because you come across as a normal, everyday person instead of a professional organizer (even though I find you more interesting and knowledgable than some of the professionals on YouTube).
    I love your honesty and how it feels like I’m just listening to a friend who is trying something new that she thinks I may be interested in. I could go on about all the videos I’ve watched and enjoyed but I’m sure you get the point of what I’m saying. Basically I feel that if you were to completely plan all of your videos and blogs or do specific organizing or reviews just for your channel, not yourself, I don’t think it would come across as well as they do now (not that I don’t think you are capable because I’m sure you could do instructional videos just as well) but because you share your passions and projects from a personal standpoint. Anyway, I just think you do a great job and I really enjoy watching.
    I love your idea of creating your own planner line! I know it would be wonderful and I hope you pursue that, if it’s what you decide to take on. I would probably be first in line to try out your products! So, in closing, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your life with us and although I love getting notifications of new videos, I agree with you that this should be a passion not take over your life and become a chore. You’re funny, entertaining, and I love that you are so open about your opinions and experiences.
    Keep up the great work and enjoy Italy! I am so jealous! Lol! Looking forward to seeing some videos and pictures of the beautiful country once you return.

    Deana Wright

  18. Hi Jen,
    I hope you read my message on Youtube. You are so generous with your time and I am so thankful for you sharing with us. I just wanted to mention again that you are so kind for the amout that you do share. It is lovely to watch vlogs/read blogs that are full of positive energy. You are putting joy into the world and I hope you realise how truly good that is. These days it is easy to spew out hate. Sad but true. You on the other hand share so much joy and kindness and I wish that you could feel this positivity in return.
    Anyway that is all I wanted to say.

  19. Hi Jen!

    I watch all three of your channels, so to be honest I didn’t think it had been long since your last post! Your dedication is second to none.

    My request is a laundry room/ storage room video! We just finished our basement and I haven’t moved anything back down there a I’m not sure what should go down there and how to organize it.

    Thanks for all you do!!

    – Jen

    1. I shared this a couple of years ago and the organization hasn’t changed since. You can watch the video here: httpvh://–MnjORNg8

  20. Hi Jen, hope you and yours are well! 🙂

    I found your vlogs and posts about 2 years ago when I saw your 2012 Disney World packing series and Vlogs of your Half Marathon trip and I have been hooked ever since! I cannot tell you what an inspiration you are to me!! My life planning and home organization have seen a marked improvement as I follow your tips. I look forward to a Tuesday when you MHWL Weekend vlogs come as it gives me a peek into your Blessed life with your lovely family and gives me a wee escape from my life.

    Keep doing what makes you happy, your followers will be here for you! I hope you have a wonderful time in Italy and I look forward to your travel Vlog as I am going on an Italian cruise in November:-)

    Take care, love Clodagh xoxo

  21. Jen! You look beautiful in this video….. your have a healthy glow! Btw… have a ton going on – you have three vlogs and not to mention your blogs. I look at each one and enjoy ALL of them, however you can only be stretched SOOOO far. Don’t be stressed about making everyone happy – just as long as your happy is all that matters. 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us – you are truly an inspiration. xoHUGSxo

  22. This totally random but I sent you an email asking some questions and was wondering if you weren’t using it anymore because it was like more than a month ago . I understand completely if your busy I just wanted to know . Please get back to me as soon a you can. 🙂

  23. Hello Jen.

    I am in my early 50’s and have enjoyed watching your videos for a couple of years. I have seen ebbs and flows and highs and lows of your on-line presence. I became aware of you by searching for packing videos and agree with you that showing how to pack is one of your greatest strengths for people like me who like to be prepared! In fact, I would LOVE to see you do a packing video for your trip to Italy, focusing on how to prepare for and survive a long international flight.

    I think it is great to occasionally check in with your viewers. It also invites your viewers to check in with you and share their thoughts in turn. I think we are all in a grand experiment regarding the world of social media. It is interesting to to see it evolve (and sometimes devolve) and to see the successes and challenges of people using it to share their hobbies, make money, etc…

    In this video it seems like you are revisiting familiar struggles. Is it a job or a hobby? Do you have a regular posting schedule or not? What’s public and what’s private for you? Do you want and use the input of your viewers or not? These are a few of the struggles I observe as you are “keeping it real”.

    I’d like to offer a few thoughts as to what it’s like at least for one viewer (me) on the other end of the posting button. One of the most valuable things we can all receive in life is feedback; even if we choose to not change anything, it offers the opportunity to reassess and clarify (which I see you regularly do already!). 🙂

    There is a principle in parenting that basically says it is easier to go from “no to yes” than from “yes to no”. If you tell Johnny that he can’t go to the movies and then change your mind, you will have a much easier time of it than if you first tell him he can go to the movies and then say he can’t. I think the same holds true with any kind of blogging/vlogging schedule. If you tell your viewers when you are going to post and then, for ANY reason (even if it is the most valid of reasons) don’t, you are going to get pushback. The same holds true with any topic that you share… if you share details about your family members or an event and then decide not to in the future, for ANY reason (even if it is the most valid of reasons) don’t… you know the rest of the sentence. 🙂

    So I guess what I would offer is that you might have an easier go of it by not committing to something you might not be able to hold true to for at least a significant period of time. I have seen other bloggers/vloggers set a schedule in stone… and it works for them. But from what I hear you express for yourself is that for a myriad of reasons things many times don’t go according to plan. I wonder if it would remove a sense of “false responsibility” for you to have more of a “freedom within limits” mentality… in other words to have an idea of what you plan to do in your head (or in your planner) but not to broadcast it.

    I would also suggest (gently) that you extend the same grace to others that you expect from your viewers. I know you did not mean this in the way it came across, but it seemed odd that you called out planner companies for not sending you their materials in the timeline you expected and counted on, to only then turn around and share you did not film or post on this channel because you had too much catch up work to do after being gone from home. If I were one of the planner companies you had communicated with and saw this video I would feel a little offended that you did not keep things discrete. It came across that you were miffed with the planner companies for not keeping their word… and that in turn is how some of your viewers can feel when you’ve said you would post something and then don’t.

    I think you are, as many bloggers/vloggers, in the challenging spot of trying to figure out what’s sustainable in terms of your energy, time and passion as you “create content”. I’m neither a blogger or vlogger so I do not have front-line wisdom from that vantage point. I’m only a viewer. And probably a viewer in the minority in terms of age. I can see the reasons and the advantages of keeping your channels and blogs separate but your current posting “schedule” is unsustainable.

    Taking in to consideration what kind of temperament you have, I wonder if it would be prudent to merge your channels and blogs in to one. The first word in the title could be a clue as to what the video or post would be, giving viewers a chance to proceed or not. Examples: Winnie. Nail Polish. Vlog. Review. Haul. Organize. Planner. Makeup. Knitting. Baking. Vacation. Luggage. etc… This would allow you to post whatever you are passionate about in real time instead of a predetermined schedule. You might have a week or month heavy on Organizing or Travel or Vlogging or whatever. And you might have months free of things like Knitting or Nail Polish because you aren’t in to it at that time. And the point is, GREAT! Because you are “keeping it real”. In other words, sharing what you are in to at that moment (“This is what’s going on in my life at this moment folks! I’m excited about this planner I just got!” or “Isn’t Winnie cute today?” or “I’m in the thick of going through my files. Here’s what I’m finding out I need to change.”

    I wonder if this approach would remove some of your posting “guilt” and need to apologize which then results in either over sympathetic or inexcusable hostile remarks. As with any change there would be a “settling in and out” phase, but I can’t help but wonder if in the long haul this approach would be sustainable for you.

    In closing, I think your strength is YOU. It is your personality, your ability to shine through the camera lens, your natural way of communicating. I truly believe most of your viewers keep coming back to be connected to YOU. Bonus points if you are covering something they are going through (like organizing their closet or looking for the perfect mascara). As one committed viewer I think it would be fun to keep checking in and seeing “What’s new with Jen today?” and enjoying whatever you’ve posted (and if you’ve not posted that day, knowing you will when you have something you want to share). In fact, if I were you I would be tempted to come up with a new name for all your channels/blogs to merge in to, something like your title for this post… “Jen Checks In” or “Jen Keeps It Real”.

    Thank you for indulging my lengthy comment. I have only commented a couple of times in the past two years, but really felt impressed to share my heart with you today. You are a stranger to me in real life, but someone I care about and want to see on-line for a long time to come!

    Best wishes,

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Carla. I appreciate you taking the time to express them. You make some very good points and I appreciate your input. 🙂

  24. Please post the eagle creek packing video and don’t save it!! Would also love to see a video on your engagement ring- all about having a tiffany ring, how much you live it, your engagement etc 🙂

  25. I’ve been a subscriber for a while now to all your channels and I have picked up so many great tips and ideas from your videos so I just want to say a huge thank you for that! I love watching your videos, any and all and they always make me smile. Keep doing what make you happy and the followers who are with you for the right reasons will love whatever content you put out however often or not you upload. You share so much of your life and how you do things with people and you don’t have to, but I for one really appreciate it! I love your travel vlogs (It was a WDW one that first introduced me to you and your channel) and your seasonal vlogs too!

    Thanks again!

    Sarah 🙂
    Saloca in Wonderland

  26. Jen-
    Everything you share means so much to so many people. I love all of your videos and learn something from everything you post. You are a domestic maven and organizing inspiration! I wouldn’t stress out about pauses in video posting. You share so much regularly. I look forward to what you have in store for the future of your channels and blogs.

  27. Jen! I am a relatively new subscriber. I ran across your videos this summer when I was starting to pack for a study abroad trip I am on now. Now that I am in a new situation in another country, I am using MANY of your suggestions in organizing my room and am trying my best to make all provided storage work for me. Thanks for your videos, post when you can, but if it is too taxing, take a break girl! I am a blogger too and know that updates are tedious sometimes!

    As a side-note, in Europe I cannot watch normal television shows on my computer. When I am bored and want a reminder of home, I get on YouTube and watch your videos!

    Thanks again,

    PS: Vertical organization really if a life-saver!

  28. Thanks for checking in Jen! I love your longer videos! I’m always sad when I see a short video from you and always smile when I get to watch a longer video from you – makes my day!

    Don’t feel bad about not keeping up with some things (don’t feel pressured to have to keep up with everything), just do the best you can and we always appreciate any content that you are able to put out there and I know I always enjoy going back and rewatching some of your previous organizational videos when I need some inspiration! You’ve definitely inspired me SO much!! Whenever I need a push in organizing something, I go and search your videos to see if you have one on that subject and play it as I organize alongside with you 🙂 Makes the task much better! Thank you for being an organizational inspiration to me!

    I would love to see the Eagle Creek packing video sooner than later please!! I particularly love all of your packing videos!

    And I can’t wait for your holiday prep videos!!! Those are my favorite and always help get me in the holiday spirit!!

    That would be so awesome it if you designed your own planner! I would so buy that!! Maybe you could partner with one of the planner companies that you’ve reached out to and work together with them to create your line within their company? Not sure how the logistics of that would work out, but it might be an idea…

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