Hi! And Happy New Year!

May 3

Ummm, whoa! It’s May 3rd. And this is my first post of 2021?! Hi and a very happy new year … or new May to you! The longest stretch in the history of this blog that I’ve not written a post. To say I miss you, blogging, writing, connecting, and sharing photos is an understatement? Doesn’t even touch how I feel. Last week, I logged into the website for the first time in a couple months as we were working through some technical issues and was sincerely shocked to see my last post was in December. Could it really have been that long? I asked myself that question out loud, in fact.

I mean, do I even remember how to blog? How to SEO correctly?

So, first of all, Hi! A big Hi to YOU! How has 2021 been treating you?

I can’t believe all that has happened in 4 months. I’ll try to touch on the highlights and main points, but there’s no possible way to catch you up to speed. Only way is getting back into a steady blogging rhythm. Wish I could be here 2-3x per week like the old days, but it’s not possible anymore. Ideally, it’s in the plans for me to blog at least once per week. Going to aim for that goal from here forward. And in the process we’ll get reacquainted.

Since it’s been a while I’ll share personal stuff first, then move to business!

HOME & LIFE

For the heck of it, I scrolled back in my phone to January 1 to see the first photos of 2021. It was my organized home office…

If I’m being really accurate, my favorite first photo on January 1 was this new year’s kiss…

Lucy!

Then there’s several time lapse videos of me dismantling Christmas decor from around the house, making celery juice, working out or shots of the fridge all clean and organized. Ha!

The photos you’d expect to find that first week of any new year. Decluttering the holidays!…

For the most part, all is well. Typical life stuff. Everyone is healthy. New topics to navigate – both personally and professionally – when it comes to Covid life. Life isn’t totally back to normal in our county. Not all schools are back to in-person learning and a lot of kids are still learning from home, including my oldest. Gyms only just opened in the last few weeks. Sharing more about the gym next, which I did quickly rejoin as soon as we entered that tier. Restaurants are open but limited capacity and in the last few weeks people were able to dine inside as opposed to outdoors only. Traffic is definitely picking up. Life is slowly but strangely returning to normal. And it seems to be happening at a rapid pace.

Overall 2021 has been good. I’d say fair…for sure has had ups and down. Although every year has those, right? It’s life. It’s been incredible in the business…yet challenging (more growing pains – see more on this below). Have definitely been in deep thought mode on a few personal topics, mothering, and the business. Some goals for 2021 have taken shape. Seems odd to have them take shape in May…but you guys know, a goal can be made or a habit changed at any time of year. Not only in January!

Really, I’ve just been slammed with doing work for or taking care of other people that having a period of time to shake out goals didn’t happen until recently.

In between it, I continue to find peace and happiness in the simple things. A clean kitchen. The opportunity to declutter any space in my own home. (The longer I do this job and live on Earth…the more I want less in my life) Fresh flowers I buy every week from the grocery store…

Last week they had one of my favorites – peonies. Hard to believe that short season is upon us…

Another inexpensive self-care tip = baths. Which I’m back to enjoying about 2-3x per week…

Oh, and maybe enjoying some wine too. Haha! Trying to cut back on that.

Cautiously getting my friends back on the calendar. For a long time I was focused on organizing safe social time for the kids as opposed to me. Seemed they may need it more. But I realized earlier this year I need my people back in my life for my own sanity. I spend plenty of time around people while organizing with clients or being surrounded by my team. And you know I’m an introvert, so time alone is perfectly fine with me. But after long months of social distancing, nothing beats your personal friends. In person!

I don’t share my personal life on social so my connection to friends and family is strictly over the phone or Facetime. It’s been awesome to reconnect. Totally strange though – do you hug or not hug, wear a mask or not, ask if people have been vaccinated or not. Most get togethers have been here at the house, as opposed to restaurants. Or we’ve hiked. Or friends have invited me over for front porch time…actually love this! Best of both worlds…being together but still keeping it safe.

My friend Jenn, local Starcycle owner, invited me over a few weeks ago…love this girl! Her laugh…

Another recent get together was special. One of my best friends from high school was in town the full week of Spring Break. Whenever she’s in town, the 4 of us get together with all the kids. I have a large friend group from high school, but the 4 of us are definitely close and cherish this alone time. Such a fun night! A night that went pretty late….and included us Facetiming random friends from high school at all hours. The kitchen was so loud….laughing, story telling…fun times!

And look at my Aiden at the end of the counter…what the heck?! This kid…

Oh, here’s an update. He has his permit…a little late due to Covid, but how in the heck do I have a son that is almost driving?? Look at my babe…what the what?!…

You moms out there with kids these age…whatever you do. Take lots of photos and make sure you’re in the photos too!

I’m going to die the day he drives away without me in the car. We’re incredibly close…always have been. I’ll lose it…so the day that happens, someone make sure to be in my driveway with a glass of wine (something stronger?) and a hug…real tight. And a box of kleenex.

He’s a fine photographer though…even if we had him take about 20…lol!….

I’m blessed to have friends going all the way back to kindergarten…and these girls are a few of my best childhood friends. My gal on the far left – we’ve known each other since 5th grade. Love these 3!

On the topic of seeing people in person, my niece got engaged a couple months ago and I am hosting her wedding in the backyard! !!!! To say I’m excited…this is going to be magic and can’t wait to make it extra special for her. The wedding is in September so the weather and colors should be near perfect. Look forward to sharing the details as they roll along.

In February I had the opportunity to head to Hawaii for a few days. This was MUCH needed…and not nearly long enough!

The memories made in Kona. No words. Truly. Truly a special time I will never forget.

The trip was a mix of work and pleasure. I thought I’d spend a little time on the beach, at the pool and relaxing in the spa, get massages, etc. My body was wrecked from Elfa season by the end of February. Fully expected a large spa tab. But turns out I instead spent a good majority of my time at the gym!

Gyms in our county weren’t open in February, so I took full advantage of the hotel gym spending long periods of time in my favorite outlet. Heaven.

Not much else to share personally so speaking of the gym, let’s move along.

FITNESS

You guys know the gym, health, clean eating…it’s a huge part of my life and my mental health. And it’s my outlet to work through heavy business topics. Not having the gym as a coping mechanism during the pandemic definitely took its toll. Grateful for the home gym here and I spent months down there creating new workouts to keep me inspired and motivated. BUT nothing comes close to the wide range of equipment found at the actual gym. Or the escape I feel. Leaving the house makes a big difference. More focused.

Here’s me day one back in my second home…

Smiling under the mask, course.

Have fitness goals this year. Close to my goals of 2017…training for a competition but not competing. I’m craving something really challenging. Something to push me physically and mentally. I have a birthday coming up this month too, so I think age is playing with me. Like, if you’re going to do it Sam and ever see your body really hit that dream goal, do it this year!

With everything on my plate right now, crazy as it sounds, it would definitely simplify my life. While training, food is prepped and planned so that would make day to day easier for me. All I have to do is commit to a specific workout plan then find the time in my day. Even if that means I’m up at 5am to accomplish it. I’ve been casually searching for a coach. Hard to find them…especially a good one. We’ll see.

Anyone else craving a challenging physical goal as we come out of this pandemic? After all this time at home?

CPO & BOOK

On my long-term goal list – writing a book (more than one) and possibly testing to become a Certified Professional Organizer.

Last year in this blog post I shared a conversation with a book publisher. Nothing is concrete yet and the hold up in the process is me. They are very ready. I wasn’t ready. They approached me at the end of 2020 when I already had plans for 2021. I didn’t have writing a book on the list…and writing a book isn’t like writing a blog. Personally, I want to give the book concept a ton of thought – how would I want it laid out? Tutorial style? Sharing how to install and do things? More of a go-to reference manual for easy home organization ideas…for every area of your home? How would it look? I definitely don’t want a dust-collecting coffee table book…although I would love the pictures to be beautiful. I truly want a book people will reference and enjoy and learn from…but still something pretty.

The details. I obsess over these types of details.

So adding a book to the mix of everything 2021 – hard to swallow. Sorta threw me into a tailspin, if I’m being honest. Additionally, I could already see the pipeline of projects rolling in as we neared the end of the year – we were near 50 (and those grew to about 60 by February). It was however New Year’s organizing season! How would I be able to work AND write? Not to mention, I just hired 3 new team members…they needed my attention and training. And I’m the founder of this business. I have to be there to train and help these gals learn on the job. And have access to me / be available.

The publisher wanted the book writing to begin in January, with it wrapping up in August to go to print…with a release date of January 2022.

Again, just didn’t see it working out for this year. BUT I definitely can see it as possible next year. No questions.

In the meantime, the idea of testing to become a CPO was in the back of my mind. Could this be a good year? Would I have enough time to read the suggested book list?

THEN…a sign it was meant to happen this year. One of my local colleagues from the Peninsula invited me to coffee. We connected and turns out she and a mutual peer were considering a CPO study group for the October exam. I squirmed in my seat. Made me nervous to even think about. But if I had a study group to connect and learn with, our own little support group – why the heck not?? Even if I fail, I can always try again in February. But I will already have all of the knowledge, will have read all the books…many people don’t pass on the first go round. It’s truly (from what we have heard) a brutal exam. Not easy and a lot of trick questions.

Of course, during my coffee time with her and our first Zoom meeting as a group, I did throw out all of my questions including WHY I would need to do this. Meaning, what’s the point?? Why would I? We hashed out the why’s and the why not’s. And the what’s the point’s?? All good feelings and thoughts. Valid answers and reasons for taking the test OR not taking the test. But in the end, I do believe adding CPO to the end of my name will be a good thing. It will show my dedication to this craft / profession. Will show I care enough to have studied from the best professional organizers in the field (we have to read several books written by professional organizers) and other business experts.

Will be interested to see if this affects business in a positive way…not sure it will affect that at all. It hasn’t affected the business to date. BUT what I do love is the idea my book would be authored by a CPO. So I’m doing it! I’m nervous but grateful for our small group of 6. We’ve banded together and dissected the reading list, set some timelines and goals. The first 3 books I’m reading are Essentialism…I have heard amazing things about the book…

Organizing from The Inside Out

And Organizing for a Living

I’ll keep you updated on new learnings from these books and how the process is rolling!

BUSINESS

Business. I’d have to check Quickbooks for the accuracy of this statement, but we could have already met our annual goal. Mean it! That is how busy and how much fun we’ve been having. SO MANY TRULY AWESOME projects and career highlights this year.

I’ve been in the trenches of new home builds and home renovations…

My measuring tapes have never been more loved. Can’t keep enough graph paper in stock …

Measured a record breaking number of closets, garages and pantries…

 

Ate a lot of car breakfasts…(OH, I got a new car this year. More on that another time)…

While on my way to install a record number of closets…

We also installed several overhead racks in garages this year…

Made countless trips to / from our local Container Store. Lot of purchases, returns, and material pick ups…

Lots of hold times during the Elfa sale…even worked weekends…

I pinch myself every week for a full pipeline of projects and the most incredible families who hire us. We are definitely putting in the hard work to keep that pipeline healthy but I’m forever grateful.

The business continues to be streamlined behind the scenes. My assistant, Tara, and I spend a lot of time refining processes and pivoting when needed to make my life a little easier. I’m still always going to have stuff on my plate, but hiring has definitely eased the load. And we’ll continue to hire when needed. And we need to now. I’ll share more soon.

But anyway, business couldn’t be better. I’m always learning new ways to make it efficient. Be a better leader of the team. Be a better organizer for our clients. And more.

Onto a few < after’s for you!…

PROJECTS

For this collection of photos….sit back and get comfortable. Yes, these are all from the first 4 months of 2021! And to be honest, there’s more … but not sure this post can handle the photo bandwidth. lol!

Keep in mind I will return to expand upon each and every project…but in the meantime, if you have questions about products used, you can find them on the like to know it account or the shop page! Or just email us!

Starting with the 2 closets that have been the highlight of my career. His and hers. Ladies first…

( crystal hangers )

Her closet looks a little different now. I recently returned to organize her handbags up top. Look forward to sharing all the details!

His…

( black hangers )

Custom garage + organization…

Some projects are special. This garage is one of those. The project started at the end of 2020 and has been ongoing. Just something unique about this one…

Custom master closet + organization…

Kitchen re-organization…

( tray dividers )

( bamboo turntables )

Pantry organization…

Playroom organization…

( floor tote | eyelash bin | oxford bin )

Tween closet design, install and organization…

Dining room turned work space…

Unpacking…LOTS of unpacking this year…

Organized utility and cleaning closet…designed, sourced, installed and organized…

Organized cabinet for kids art supplies…

( multi-purpose bins )

Reorganized pantry…

Space planned and reorganized kitchen…

Reorganized garages…

 

( weathertight totes )

Organized bathroom for 3 sisters…

( cubes )

Designed, installed and organized garage mudroom wall…

Organized custom closet…

Installed and organized overhead racks…

And SOOOOOooooo many elfa designs. All designed, installed and organized by us!…

If you follow the Instagram account, you remember just how much elfa we were dealing with. Mental breakdowns were a regular for this girl. So much manual labor…and thinking, planning, executing…making sure pieces weren’t missing (normal when the sale season rolls around). Our local TCS was impacted so we had orders scheduled for fulfillment in other Bay Area stores, but that meant I had logistics to deal with. It was a big season of designing, installing and organizing. Not only elfa but everything else. And the truth is, I couldn’t do it without the help of my team.

NEW TEAM MEMBERS

Soon I will officially introduce you to everyone. But we’ve been busy learning and having fun together…

Missing Maria in this photo…

( Karyn, Kelly, Lindsay, Kim )

We now officially have 5 organizing assistants, my assistant Tara, and 2 virtual assistants who help with online details (Like To Know It, Pinterest and the shop pages)…and I can’t live without my painter, Eddie!…

He’s my one and only who demos, preps and paints before I arrive for installations. He is the best. Period!

Again, I’ll officially introduce this team with photos and more soon. Forever grateful for the opportunity to not only build this business…but also share the passion with people who love what I’ve built. Eager to learn and grow and help make an impact.

At this point the word count has reached nearly 3,000…and I’ve inserted more than 80 photos. I could keep sharing but seems like a good time to bring this to a close.

I’ve missed you guys and look so forward to getting back into a rhythm here. Hope you’ve been well…let me know in the comments.

Back soon with more!

xo,

Sam

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