Monday, February 26, 2018

One Man's Trash

Hello Friends,

Let's start today with this quote:  

"One man's trash is another man's treasure, what he doesn't appreciate, the next man will." 
                                                                                                                               ~ Unknown

So often, I encounter clients who have not ever donated anything, well other than cash that is.  As far as their personal belongings, donating is unknown territory.

Unless they want to have some sort of garage sale, donating usable discards to a local charitable organization can be a wonderful way of recycling perfectly good items and sharing them with those who really need them.

First we address the usual hurdles:

  • Fear of seeing someone they know wearing their clothing.
  • Fear of seeing their cast-offs at a friend's home.
  • Fear of the unknown, after all, if you've never done it, how do you know?

Once we get everything loaded in the car, the rest is easy.

Here's a short video  must have Facebook to see it  showing how to drop off donations at our local Goodwill.

If you want to know more about donating and how to do it, schedule a coaching session with me.  I even research the best places to donate your collections, clothing, furniture etc. as part of my service and if you like and you live locally, I can drop off your donations for you.

But the point of this story today is to highlight donating as a way of bringing others joy.

Introducing my friend Amy.  She purchased this beautiful linen, embroidered tablecloth at her local thrift store for pennies on the dollar.  She discovered upon unfolding it that it was unfinished.  None of the letters were embroidered.

This is a ceremonial tablecloth to use on Jewish occasions such as Shabbatthe Jewish day of rest - from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. This tablecloth would be used for Friday night dinner, when saying prayers while lighting candles, over challah, and over wine.

I learned all this because I'd offered to finish it.  You see I'm a professional organizer by day, but a sewist and maker by night.

First, we decided upon a color thread.

Then I embroidered one letter, to try things out.

It came out very well

In Hebrew it says, Lechvod Shabbat v'Yom Tov. In honor of Shabbat and Holidays. 
This thrilled my friend as now she can use it for all the Jewish holidays.  

I am picturing many happy meals and memories to last a lifetime.  
All because someone thought to donate it unfinished rather than putting it in the trash.

What is something you "rescued" from the thrift store?

Are you afraid of donating?  What's holding you back?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Your Photos - Have They Seen the Light of Day?

Hello Friends,

This is the best time of year to sort and organize your photos.  Curl up on the couch with a box of pictures, a cup of tea and start sorting.

It really helps if you get them all in one place first.  Don't worry if they aren't organized, just get them all into boxes so you can sort them easily.

And let's back up a step further.  Perhaps you already have them stored in plastic totes like these?  

Take them out and put them into a photo boxes like this Legacy Box Collection.  The large box holds up to 2500 photos and takes up a lot less room.  Plus they are archival safe.

If these are beyond your budget, shop around to find a storage solution that works for you.

Recently I worked with a client who stored her framed photos in totes like these down in the basement storage of her parking garage.  A very hungry mouse, chewed a hole in the plastic, and then proceeded to chew through the picture frames and eat her prized photos!

So if you think you're photos are safely stored, think again.  If they are located in a basement, they could be subject to flooding, mold, mildew, insects and mice.  I've seen it happen in the most beautiful of lower levels.  If they are in the garage, the same thing can happen plus humidity and frigid temperatures.

If you sort with family members, it can be so much fun to reminisce, share family stories and the history of generations passed on.  This time could be recalled later as a favorite memory with your children.

For sure get them off your camera & phone!

I urge you and encourage you to get your photos out of those dark boxes and into the hands, hearts and minds of those who will appreciate knowing that there is more to you than meets the eye.  Photos of us reconnect us with our past selves.  Photos of other people open up new awareness about our family history and give us a sense of belonging.

Good intentions may not serve you when it comes to photos.  Ask for help if it seems too daunting of a project.  

One of my grandmothers meant to label all the cardboard boxes filled with photos she had stored in her attic, but glaucoma took her eyesight way too soon and she never finished.  She was an only child with her parents long gone.  Those unknown, unidentifiable photos ended up in the burn barrel on my mother's ranch when she cleared out her storage trailer.  Those boxes were moved at least 5 times in the last 100 years - and no one thought to ever look at them!

Today, my uncle who is my mother's brother, sent me a very special photo that I have never seen before.  This is my great-grandmother, Anna Cady.  She is my namesake twice as my middle name, Anne is after her and when I divorced, I changed my last name to hers.

I've never met her but all my life my mother has told me that I am a lot like her.  We both loved calico cats, beautiful photography, crafting and sewing. I have an antique writing desk that was hers, her cast iron Dutch oven and 2 quilts that she made by hand.  And now, thanks to my uncle, I have a photo of her too.  

There is some resemblance!

 I'm so grateful that my uncle didn't wait to share this with me.  

Where are all your family's photos stored?

What are your intentions?

What's holding you back from getting them into the light of day?

Who do you want to share them with?  Contact me, let's get started.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Where to Start?

Hello Friends,

The longer that I work in this industry, the more information I find about organizing.  There are so many methods to choose from.  Kon-Mari, Hygge, Minimalism each with its own ideas of how to get started.  It seems there is an unlimited number of books to read and even more research being published having to do with the psychology of clutter.

As you survey your own home in all it's chaos, considering where to start can feel overwhelming.

Reading a book can cause the thrill of anticipation, but upon actually facing the mess, many people just close the door and walk back into complacency.  That is until out-of-town guests plan to visit, or hosting a graduation party is on the horizon.

Having a deadline can motivate us to take action.  

Start with a plan.  How many rooms need attention?  How deep does the organization need to go?

How long are we giving ourselves to complete it?  Add another 3 hours.

What preparation do we need to take, such as gathering boxes, ordering a dumpster, arranging a donation pick-up?  And asking for support - be it a professional organizer, a group of friends or a family member.

Once you have all this in place, you're ready to start.  If you just launch into the process, likely you'll feel overwhelmed at some point and just give up, likely with a bigger mess than when you started.

Pick your happy place.  Start with the place in your home that gives you the most joy.  

Is it your kitchen?  Your home office?  The couch in front of the fireplace?  The comfy chair where the sunlight streams in the window?

Thrifted for $35 from the local second-hand shop.   Joy doesn't have to be expensive.
Start here.  Tidy up everything in sight of your happy place.  Declutter, dust, vacuum etc.  In this way, you have a clean, clear space to relax and feel at peace. 

Then go tackle the big stuff.

Where are you in the process of starting your organizing journey?

Tell me more about your happy place.

*Local readers in the St. Croix Valley. I'll be speaking at the Hammond Community Library on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at 6:30pm.  Spread the word and come join us!
Let's Get Organized!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Where Did I Go - Part III

Hello Friends,

This is the final installment of this Where Did I Go series. Promise. There is a lot more coming to this blog this year, but we had to get this out of the way.

We left off with me waiting for a rental to open up so I would be able to move before my house was sold.   I wrote down my criteria for joy:  2 bedrooms, located in my neighborhood and one more thing...

I prayed that I'd have a big enough bedroom to recreate the one I'd worked so hard to declutter and redecorate.  It was my happy place and I wanted to take it with me.

The one and only rental that became available was the first and only one that I saw.  I was in a foul mood that day and my friend, Mary, had to practically drag me over to the showing.

I believe in signs and wonders and this "owl" sitting on top of the garage flipped my bad attitude in a hurry.  I love owls and one translation of my married name means owl.  It felt meant to be from the start.  

I didn't mind the peeling paint, no garage, the coin-op laundry, the fact that college students were likely the other renters or that I couldn't move into my treetops apartment for 6 weeks.  I was delighted to find out the basement efficiency was available almost immediately.  I was grateful and excited!

As I'd mastered the art of asking for help,  I reached out to my church, and a big group of guys from the Men's Ministry, came over with trucks, my pastor rented a u-haul and they moved me in a span of just a few hours.  Some of my things went to the church's garage, very little went into the basement apartment and some into storage on the premises.  One man commented that it was the most organized move ever!  Of course, I'm an organizer!                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And, I said goodbye to my house.  My youngest son, home from college with me, walked through our house, remembering all the good times and funny stories contained in those walls. Literally, he showed me a secret hole he used to hide things from his brother and there were items still in there!  

Then for a month I lived in the tiny basement apartment.  I will never ever forget waking up there the next morning and wondering what the heck had I done?  Hence no pictures. 

It was quite an adjustment and I was really glad it was sunny and warm outside and not the middle of winter.  Thankfully there was an egress window and another small one for the sun to shine through.

Then, before I knew it, it was time to move upstairs.  Again, my church, actually my pastor and his son, moved everything out of their garage into my new place and I called in more friends to help me move from the basement to the 2nd story.  

I believe I had every friend I've ever made, help me with some aspect of this transition.  From the sale to multiple moves, my friends gladly stepped in for me.  I will never forget how loved and supported I felt. I can't wait to help someone else!  I had enough help to last a lifetime.  

It took awhile to unpack and because it was 85% smaller than my previous house, I had to be really creative with storage.  I did not want to be surrounded by my "stuff".

My "Hoosier" became a food pantry.

I outfitted my tiny bedroom closet with a storage system for my clothes which eliminated the need for a dresser.

 And my prayer was answered!  All the elements of my old bedroom fit perfectly in my new space.

For the living area, I had to downsize my original ideas for furniture.  My old furniture was just way too big for the space.  Several trips to Ikea and just like in  Goldilocks & the Three Bears, it felt just right to me.

Scale is so important.  Color is too.  I'm not a Minimalist in the truest sense, I'm more Hygge but with a KonMari approach.  Which method resonates with you?

So what about the second bedroom?  Follow me...

Welcome to my art studio/office!  and a place for the kids to crash when they visit.  Whoever invented blow up air mattresses, bless them.  Who needs a guest room anyway?

Thanks for letting me show off this version of a tiny house.  It has been very freeing living with a lot less space and a lot less stuff.  And to top off this change in residence, I not only changed my address, I also changed my phone number, my email address and even my name.

So allow me to introduce myself, my name is Valerie Cady and this concludes the series on Where Did I Go?

Read Part I

Read Part II

Are you facing a move this year, find yourself unexpectedly in your own transition as I did, or are now on the other side of a big change?

 If you need assistance I can help.  

Whether it's getting ready for a garage sale, de-cluttering your home, or sorting through those boxes of memorabilia, I can help you figure out what to throw and more importantly, what to keep. Together we will turn your biggest headache into a place of joy.

It's not just from my own experience that I draw from, I've worked with nearly 50 clients since I started my business 3 years ago - and that was all while working another job.  Now I've committed to Winnow & Spruce Organizing full time!

Won't you help spread the word and tell your friends and family about my services? 

Find me on Facebook @winnowandspruceorganizing and invite your friends to like and  follow

Refer a friend to my website

Subscribe to my Email List and receive a freebie!

Follow and share this blog.

I am grateful for your support.