Amanda LeBlanc and her team debut their new docu-series The Amandas on The Style Network Monday (January 30) at 8:00pm ET/PT. The mother-of-two and organizational specialist leads a team of young and fashionable organizers to help America get organized and let go of their stuff “in order to be free of that clutter and to live a happier life.” Having lost it all in Hurricane Katrina, Amanda knows firsthand what it means to live and thrive with less and helps her clients to prioritize and live in stress-free environments.
Amanda opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about her new docu-series that helps people “imprisoned by their stuff,” her mission to get people organized and “hopefully change their lives,” and how the Katrina disaster led her to help America: “I feel blessed for the experience and feel honored to have gone through that in order to help people understand what’s really important.”
CBS: Tell us about your new docu-series The Amandas.
AL: “It’s a great show for the average American family who is not necessarily suffering from hoarding, they just are busy moms and dads trying to juggle kids and work and family life. They’ve gotten back-logged, they’ve gotten disorganized. They need to learn how to be more efficient and how to not have to worry about their homes as much. They want to enjoy living. So we were lucky enough to work with 10 different families who have problems that everyone will be able to relate to. We go in and show the process of how to get organized.
It’s very unique in the sense that we will be teaching how to get organized in a how-to sense. It’s not just the big reveal after. You’ll see us working thorough the process and trying to get them to understand how to get effectively organized.”
CBS: Why do you think it’s so hard for people to get organized?
AL: “We live in a consumer-obsessed society and people have way too much stuff. There’s been an emphasis on keeping up with the Jones’ and the kids having the latest and greatest. In society, we’re valued by how much we own. And now here we are…our houses are filled with stuff and we’ve become a prisoner of all that stuff. We’re now trying to figure out how to keep all that stuff straight, where to put it and how to un-clutter.
It occupies your time because too much stuff in too small of a space can never be organized. There’s no solution for that. You have to get rid of the excess, and you have to figure out a new way of living without so much stuff in order to be free of that clutter and to live a happier life.”
CBS: This is interesting, coming from someone who went through Hurricane Katrina and lost all your stuff. How does that experience inspire you with the families you work with?
AL: “I try and encourage my clients to use 2 questions when I’m in their home: Do you love it and do you have space for it? Even though I was an organizer pre-Katrina and I was helping people to let go, it was from a different perspective. I prayed and prayed and prayed about how to be more effective with what I was doing. If this is really what I was meant to do, how could I make sure that I’m doing it in an effective way to really change people’s lives? So when I went through Katrina, I came out of it after a couple of days and said, ‘Oh my gosh, this is an amazing opportunity for me. This is exactly where I’m supposed to be, exactly what I was supposed to go through to help people, because I have now lost everything that I own. I have 2 suitcases, a husband, and 2 infants. This is it.’
For the first couple of weeks I would lay in bed at night and take a mental inventory. I would walk through my old house and I would be able to touch things and I would put an imaginary trailer in the driveway and I would fill it with stuff from my house that I wish that I had saved. As the days and weeks went on, there was nothing in that trailer. I realized that what was really important to me and what mattered to me was what was with me: my husband, our 2 kids and the memories that we made in that house. There was nothing in that house that was more valuable to me than that.
I realized that with all those things I had, I just felt foolish…the china that sat in the cabinet and was never used, all the different entertaining things for parties that I was afraid to use in case the kids got near. None of that made any sense or mattered. So when I come and talk to a client about her 20 purses, and you don’t have room for them but you ‘need’ to keep these 20 purses, I can talk and relate and help them to understand in a much better way than I ever could have before I lost everything.
So I feel blessed for the experience and feel honored to have gone through that in order to help people understand what’s really important.”
CBS: So inspirational! There’s so many people who define themselves by their possesions.
AL: “The other day I met a lady who was talking about losing her house, but her daughter owns an iPhone. Why does she have an iPhone if you’re about to lose your home? It doesn’t make sense to me.
My mission is to help people. I’m there to help organize your home, but my mission is to hopefully change your life. I’m there to hopefully help you understand what matters. I want to help you prioritize, I want to help you let go of feeling like you need this stuff, I want to help you build relationships. We’ve worked with couples who are on the verge of divorce and kids who are fighting with their parents and it’s all based on all this stuff.
And really, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow, so how sad would it be to wake up tomorrow and realize that your life had been about this stuff and it really doesn’t matter because someone that you love is gone the next day.
This is about living, it’s about getting down to a manageable amount of stuff in order for you to live and get you out of your home and creating memories with the people that you love. It’s not about being imprisoned by the stuff. I think that we as a society have become so consumed with having the latest and greatest, having all these gadgets and tools and clothes so that we feel complete. But what’s that really all for? Who is it for?”
CBS: From your prayers to help more, to the Katrina disaster, to having a reality TV show, how did you get here?
AL: “It’s one of those things where I really don’t know the path. I am very prayerful about everything that I do, and at the end of the day all I want is to make sure that I’m doing whatever God’s purpose for me is. So I’ve just followed along on those footsteps. I’ve never believed that I own my company and I’m a very conservative person. I take very logical, precise and well thought-out steps for my business. I have 100 people working for me but in 10 bodies because we each do the job of 10.
Two years ago someone walked into my store and he just happened to be a producer. After talking to me for 45 minutes, he said I needed my own television show. He said, ‘You have a message and a gift and I want to share that.’ I immediately thought he was some kind of creep [laughs]! But now here we are and it’s just all happened.”
CBS: Tell us about your 2 kids.
AL: “Marcelle is now 8 and Ava is 6. They’re phenomenal! My 8-year-old is organized and very much a typical first-born: a people-pleaser and brilliant and just a ray of sunshine all the time. My 6-year-old is a whirling tornado! She is carefree and has the biggest personality you’ve ever encountered. She makes me laugh and she helps me remember that life doesn’t have to be perfect.”
CBS: How do you balance motherhood and all of your business ventures?
AL: “I don’t! I don’t know that any working mother has a balance. I tip the scales in one direction or the other every day and hopefully I wind up doing what’s right. There are times when work has definitely taken over and I know that I’m not spending the kind of time that I want with my kids.
And it’s a pull because I see how much I’m helping other families and what an awesome responsibility that is as well. So I’ve had to come to terms with it. There are times that I get really emotional about it and I hope and pray that I’m not making the wrong decisions and that I’m not choosing the wrong thing.
But I also know that I’m a better mother because I work. The fulfillment that I get from it allows me to be more appreciative of the time that I do spend with my kids; it allows me to be more diligent about how I spend that time with them. So I hope that even though it might not be the quantity that a stay-at-home mom gets to spend with her kids, the quality is there. And I hope I’m doing something that will leave them a legacy that they’ll be proud of.”
Watch the new docu-series The Amandas on The Style Network Monday (January 30) at 8:00pm ET/PT.View Slideshow »»