Maura Malloy’s business–the first iteration, at least– started almost a decade ago after she moved from New York City to Indianapolis. Already a big change, let alone while on the brink of accidentally falling into a new business idea, Malloy was overwhelmed.
“I was writing full-time and looking for a way to sustain myself,” Malloy says. “During that time, I was on a trip to L.A. and was supposed to meet a friend for lunch. She was moving back to New York and wanted to cancel lunch because she was so stressed out about packing…I asked if I could help. Packing, organizing, sorting, decluttering…I loved it.”
Malloy’s friend told her people would pay to do what she just did for free–and for fun.
“When I got home, I created a website thinking I would try my hand at professional organizing while I continued to write full-time. But, after a while, I realized I loved writing about simple living…not necessarily helping strangers clean out their closets, no matter how good at it I was,” she says.
Malloy’s original organizational idea was called A Serene Space but during the pandemic, a lightning bolt of an idea struck her.
“The business idea should have always been called Less is Maura. I really started to expand on a new iteration of the business–exploring the ideas of minimalism and the intersection of minimalism and mental health– during the pandemic,” Malloy says.
A gap in the marketplace regarding organizing and simplifying is where Malloy found an opportunity for her first product from Less is Maura: The Annual Heirloom Album.
The Annual Heirloom Album is a self-paced, online class that teaches customers four main things: how to organize digital media (photos & videos) once and for all, how to accomplish a once-a-month review of digital media so you’re never get backlogged again, how to create simple, stylish annual albums and how to log videos so that they’re easily searchable.
“At Less is Maura, I am on a mission to ditch digital media clutter, create systems that make for simple living, and write about why I (and you) need them,” she says.
Malloy notes starting this process before the holidays is important.
“Organizing yourself prior to the holidays lightens the mental load during the holidays. Buying yourself The Annual Heirloom Album this December means you could have a stack of your own annual albums ready to display and share next December,” she says.
As part of her monthly newsletter, Malloy also sends a free, downloadable spreadsheet that helps organize the holiday season months so that you, too, can enjoy the fun. These spreadsheets are customizable to suit any preference and tradition and include gift-tracking, address, activity, supply and meal planning organizational outlines.
Less is Maura also offers a free mini course called The Grandparent Album.
“In this course, I teach how to gather photos from your extended family and turn them into a simple, stylish album to give to your grandparent…without it becoming a full-time job. Being a project manager for your extended family can sound daunting, but it shouldn’t be!” Malloy says.
Malloy also gives advice for simplifying life to bigger audiences– she was invited to speak at the ‘Keep It Simple’ themed TEDxIndianapolis talk in the fall of 2015. Tedx is a nonprofit organization with the mission of circulating ‘ideas worth sharing’ over the course of a four-day conference.
“I started blogging about simple living the year before TedxIndianapolis chose the ‘keep it simple’ theme for 2015…what are the chances?” Malloy says. “In my talk, I recounted the story of how Michelangelo created the statue of David. He just chipped away at a rock until David appeared. What if our lives are our masterpiece? What if we chip away at it until we discover what matters most? The challenge then becomes keeping the most important things in the forefront while allowing the rest to fall away.”
Malloy went on to explain that chipping away at the unnecessaries is the only way to focus on the essentials. “Learn to say no. Stop adding to the to-do list and stop doing what overwhelms you. Cut out the activities that don’t bring you joy. We think we are locked into a certain way of living– a busy, bustling way of being. But we’re not. It’s a choice,” she says.
You can learn more about Less is Maura, the classes, and informational blog posts at www.lessismaura.com.
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