Apps are Lifechangers

Hello Friends,

Like most of us I use apps every day. In fact, I can't imagine life without them!  Apps make life easier and can be game changers for everyone - freeing up valuable brain space, giving us more time in our day and increasing our efficiency to just get more things done.

Here are 3 of my favorites and truth be told, I get a little commission if you decide to use the linky to sign up for one or all.  I never recommend anything I haven't used myself and these 3 apps are necessities for my business.  

If you own your own business, move away from paper accounting and get Quickbooks Self-Employed. They are offering a special this month to join for $5 a month for 12 months and then it will be $10 a month after that.  Well worth it friends.

#QBAmbassador  #sponsored
Once you log in, connect your business bank account and the transactions will automatically upload each time you log in.  Spend a little time each month categorizing them - it will tell you the exact categories to put expenses in matched up with the Schedule C federal tax form.  Then click on Reports to see your P&L for year to date or any month/year you like.  There is also an option to connect a mileage app to it as well as scan in all your receipts/connect emailed receipts too.  It literally takes the headache out of tax time as you can either give your accountant your log in or simply print out the P&L for the year and share the chart of accounts if you are at all unsure about your categorizations.  And you always know your numbers.  So important as a business owner to always know your numbers!

Click this linky to get the special!  

Next up is Acuity Scheduling.  

If you want to eliminate the challenges of scheduling clients through multiple emails, texts, phone conversations, this app allows me to schedule on the spot.  I simply share my unique linky in person,over the phone, or through an email and text and the client clicks on it and sets up their own appointment!  

It shows the dates/times I am available, asks for their contact info then syncs with their calendar and mine.  I've set it up for reminders too - 24 in advance and 1 hour before the appointment so no more last minute cancellations either.  So far, clients love it and it has quite literally changed my business.  

Click here for a free trial.

Finally, Evernote.

Moving away from many pieces of paper, post its, napkins, has been a goal of mine for a long time.  Evernote captures everything you need in one place.  It is especially helpful when planning a project or event.  Upload photos, measurements, scan in handwritten notes, typed notes, even pin things from the internet to attach in one solid place.  If you're a client of mine and we've worked on paper or sprucing up your home, Evernote is one app I suggest every time. 

What's the app you can't live without?

Need an organizing consult to learn more tips to free up your time and space? 


Infuse your home with joy.

Hello Friends,

What makes organizing for clients so much fun, is the progress that happens so quickly.  It amazes people how much can be accomplished in just 3 hours.  Especially when it's taken 10+ years to accumulate!

You'll know I've been organizing because I enjoy creating something around joy.  I love finding something in the space that makes a client"s eyes light up and their face break into a smile and then creatively incorporating the item into the space so it can be enjoyed.

Often it's something that is crammed into a cabinet, or stored in a box, but when it's displayed in a way that it is given the spotlight, these bits of joy really shine.

Some examples of joy that changed everything!

A child's craft cabinet with containers of markers, paint brushes, crayons and a tray of origami paper.

The cutest folders ever to prioritize paperwork for taking action on.

A sweet memorabilia display in a laundry room to remind one of days gone by.  
A kitchen cabinet with small whimsical decor along with favorite recipes.  

His and her sock bins in a bedroom closet.

None of these joy infusers cost any money - except the sock bins from Dollar General.

What room or space do you wish had more joy in it?

Let's uncover it together!

A sermon, a broken heart and a Facebook ad that changed everything

Hello Friends,

What does a sermon, a broken heart and a Facebook ad all have in common?

About 6 months ago I was invited to attend a church service with a friend.  The key scripture shared was Nehemiah 1:4-6.  The pastor invited us to ask ourselves....what breaks my heart?  I had trouble thinking of something concrete in that moment, so I diligently took notes instead. 

"God will break your heart.  Pay attention to that emotion and God will prompt you to pray.  Let your tears be the trigger to pray.  He will move you into action. He will ask, 'What will you do about it?'  Look at your workplace as a place to make a difference.  When burdened, don't act right away.  Pray."

I left that service asking myself, 'what breaks my heart?' and remember praying about this question the next day in a quiet moment with God.

A few months later, I found myself in tears driving home from a couple of consultations.  I'm not one to cry in front of clients, but later in reflection, I'll let their situations filter into my heart and my spirit is moved.

Through my work, I've realized that some people desperately need and are ready for organizing but for various reasons cannot get their homes decluttered on their own and feel they cannot afford to hire an organizer for help.

It breaks my heart.

Ah God, you are so good to answer my prayer I thought to myself, feeling sad, but what do you expect me to do about it?

Days passed.

In looking for something else, I randomly came across the sermon notes and marveled at how something was unfolding.  I prayed.

And then as so often happens, a Facebook ad popped up on my newsfeed. How do they know?

This ad advertised the opportunity to become a Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach.  Huh?  I wondered if this opportunity was for me.  I signed up for a webinar and then was chosen to participate in another to ask more questions.  I found that their approach matched up with my core values  - always a sign of a good thing for me.

You see, many years ago Dave Ramsey helped our family get out of debt when I read one of his books, The Total Money Makeover.

We were so far in debt that I never added it all up!  We owed the IRS, property taxes, an SBA loan from earthquake damage to our home, (living in LA there are earthquakes!), a mortgage, medical debt, student loan debt, credit card debt, and debt to creditors from a business, it went on and on.  We were drowning and to top it off our home was for sale, and the three of us (we had a toddler too) were living with my dad, having relocated to another state so my husband, at the time, could start working his way up from the bottom of a new career field.

Fortunately, my dad came alongside me at this time, because there were no financial coaches, and taught me how to budget.  Then I put the principles of the book in place using the baby steps Dave Ramsey recommends.  In the span of 5 years, we'd sold the house, paid off all the debt and saved up enough to put a down payment on another home as well as had another baby.  We were debt free.

Since that time, I've had an interest in finances but never followed through, leaving it to others to decide my financial fate and continuing to make less than perfect financial decisions myself. 

I decided it was time to learn more on behalf of my clients and for myself.  I took the class and as of last week, I have earned my designation as a...

Ramsey Solutions Master Financial Coach. Cue the music!

As a coach, I seek to understand your situation, provide information and give hope.

I can walk you through budgeting, give you a process to get out of debt, coach you how to deal with collections, avoid bankruptcy, help you work out payment plans, develop understanding of your student loan debt, point you to investing, go through the various types of insurance, put a plan together to save for retirement, and give you information about estate planning.

It dovetails nicely with the coaching work I already do with people for organizing, such as getting their paperwork in order, setting up a filing system, managing bill payment, working with *Quickbooks and so on.

Wouldn't it be something if we all lived within our means, had robust savings accounts and were able to give freely to the causes we are passionate about? 

I'm here to help; one person at a time.

*I am a referral partner with Quickbooks and do receive a small commission if you sign up for Quickbooks Self Employed through the link.

Live locally?  Check out Financial Peace University at Journey Church starting on September 24.

What is your biggest hurdle to becoming debt free?

Have you ever used a coach for anything before?

Latest Organizing Projects + A Special

Hello Friends,

My goodness, it's been 3 months since I last blogged.  Living where I do where the winters are long and the temperature is freezing, I make the most of summer!  Spending every spare moment I'm not working with clients or catching up on office work, I am outside enjoying the sunshine and having fun.  How about you?

I've had the opportunity to be part of some really interesting projects this summer including preparing for and working an estate sale and then packing up the leftovers for donation.  An estate sale is where you decide what you'll keep and sell everything else.  

Working with whole house organization because when life gets messy, your house gets messy.  

Assisting with tax prep with self-employed entrepreneurs. The goal is to file on time with no extension needed.  

Organizing a few home offices, including paperwork and reorganizing a kitchen.  When you live and work in a space, it has to work for you, not against you.  

I also helped set up and stage items for a virtual auction and assisted an elderly couple to pack up their entire home to move in with their children.  

Ah, the life of a professional organizer, always something interesting.  Variety is the spice of life so they say and that's why I love organizing so much.

Now, while the weather is still warmish, end of summer is a great time to tackle the basement where it is still cool.  Plus it is so much easier to stage items for a sale or donations without the snow flying.  So to that end, I'm offering a special!

This latest special includes 8 hours of organizing, including decluttering, sorting and appropriate storage.   8 plastic 18 gallon totes are also included.  These will be filled and labeled with the things that are important to you.  Everyone has precious somethings or items that they may need in the immediate future as well as things that need long-term storage.  Having an organized basement allows you to quickly locate exactly what you need.  Let's get your day on the calendar today!

Join in the fun on my Facebook page!  Hear where I'll be presenting this fall, classes to sign up for, inspiring before and after photos of real homes, informative articles, and every Monday a little tutorial on getting something in your home organized.  Fridays are reserved for my best recommendations be it, professionals, to help you on this journey called life or my favorite organizing-related products.  It's the best way to stay in touch with all things organized.

What fun have you been up to this summer?

What organizing project are you planning this fall?

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?