Wednesday, May 30, 2018

What's In A Name?

Hello Friends,

One of the first questions people ask me is "How did you name your business Winnow & Spruce Organizing?" As with all important decisions, it was a process and it took the better part of a month.
My naming criteria was:

1.  It had to be original - no other companies in the US could have its name.
2.  It had to be descriptive.
3.  It had to sound clever.
4.  The had to be available.
5.  The name would lend itself to a symbol/logo.

I started my process with writing all the words down that are synonyms for organizing, decluttering, sorting etc. I love using a handy webpage called Visual Thesaurus and in my search came across the word "winnow".  

My favorite definition of winnowing means separating the wheat from the chaff, an ancient harvesting process which was done using baskets and air.  After the process was completed, the wheat remained as that's what nourishes us; the things we keep and love and the chaff; the excess, the unneeded stuff, blows away in the wind.

I knew right away that "winnow" was going to be in my company name.  It was perfect.

Turns out it is in the bible too.  The word "winnow" is in the bible 8 times and in my favorite book, the book of Isaiah with verse 41:16 being especially meaningful to me.

Basically, get all your stuff in one place, sort it all and toss out what you don't need. Put what you love back so you can find it and you will be happy.  This to me is organizing in a nutshell.

But winnowing is just the first step of organizing, making it beautiful is the second.  Finding just the right storage, placing items where they look the best, can be found easily and make the owner the happiest.  The second part is all about experiencing the joy that our belongings bring.

So I looked up synonyms for beauty and stumbled upon "spruce".  

Besides being a tree, it means neat, elegant, chic.  This is what I hope will be the end result of everything once it's organized; neat at the very least, chic and elegant if that's what the client would like.

I like the play on words that both winnow and spruce bring and because I'm a nature lover and winnow is close to willow and spruce is also a tree, it makes me smile.

I added the word "organizing" to make it clear what I do and my business had a name!

Finding a logo took a bit longer, but when I saw this image of wheat stalk, I knew it was the one.

Have you ever named a business?  How about a child?

What was your process?

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Millennial Kitchen

Greetings Friends,

Last weekend, I took the train to Milwaukee to visit my oldest.  He just graduated from college (insert proud mother!) and needed help moving to his new digs; sharing a house with 2 friends.  

Dropping into his life for a few days was so much fun and brought back my own sweet memories of flying out to L.A. to begin my adult life after college a million years ago.

They begged me to organize their kitchen.  How could I say no?  #dreamjob

There were 3 criteria:

1.  One housemate needed all his Tupperware to stay together as he prepares his food for the week on Sunday and packages it all up in containers for work.  Inspiring!

2.  My son wanted to have his kitchen inventory photographed before it was put away so when he moves out one day, he'll know what is his to take.  Smart!

3.  Every cupboard/shelf had to be labeled.  This crew plans on having lots of parties and they want everyone to be able to find and return what they use in the kitchen.  Dreamy!

This kitchen looked beautiful, but it had its share of challenges:

1.  No silverware drawer.  Just one narrow drawer for utensils.  

2.  Not enough cupboards for food storage and no pantry.  

3.  No way to tell which side of the cabinet door to open as there are no knobs.  This was so frustrating!

 I am happy to report that all challenges were creatively solved later in this blog post.

Moving had to happen first and I was charged with packing up my son's old kitchen.  Of course, I started with tossing all the expired food.

How do you avoid having expired food?  Meal planning!  

The bags of grains were messy and hard to store, so as is usual in most homes, 
I found many empty jars to pour them into and then labeled them accordingly. #kombucha

Why did I label on top of the jars instead of the fronts?  My son is nearly 6'7" and looks down on everything.  Organize for your habits, not for Pinterest.

After pulling an all-nighter, he was ready to move!  Oh, to be young again...

These were 3 of at least 8 appliances that needed to live on the counter; juicer, bullets, food processor, coffee makers, a toaster, Britta water pitcher etc.  I am sure they will be winnowing.

Moving this bookcase into an extra doorway gave my son a much-needed pantry.  He cooks most of his food from scratch!  

I labeled everything with temporary labels to see how they liked the organization of their things.  
We tweaked accordingly.

Found this bad boy at Home Depot.  It was the perfect housewarming gift.

These new labels were a big hit!  Not only does it look more professional, I located each label in the corner of the door that opens, rather than at the hinge.  Problem solved.  Sometimes I amaze myself.

The silverware challenge was resolved with more empty mason jars.  I located them right above the dishwasher and labeled accordingly for everyone's ease.  Sometimes the easiest solution is the simplest.

When it was all done, the guys were thankful and I was pleased.  The true test is that first party!

Meanwhile, I got to organize the gel pens next.  I found the perfect storage!  #coloringbooks

It was a lot of fun to organize their kitchen for them.  Thanks guys!

If you're low on time, I can do this for you too!  We meet for 15 minutes to craft a plan and then you go on about your day to return to a beautifully organized space.

If you struggle in the area of meal planning, contact me for coaching.  I can teach you the skills to manage your food and save money which may lead to healthier eating and even weight loss.

What is the most important thing in your kitchen?

Can you beat 8 appliances on your countertops?

Do you make your own Kombucha?