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Don't Believe Everything You Read...

…but I’m totally cool if you believe this!

A couple of weeks ago, I submitted my blog to Feedspot for consideration to be listed as one of the Top 100 Organizing Blogs. Lo and behold, I made the list at #63! From what I understand, the list is always growing and changing based on discovery of new blogs, how often the blogs publish, and what their blog and social media audiences look like. So, it’s not as if this is The Definitive List. But it’s something!

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One thing that I think makes me stand out from the rest of the pack is my approach to blogging about organizing. I believe that every useful organizing tip that exists is already out there on the internet. There’s no use in my reinventing the wheel by continuing to post the same old content as everyone else. Plus, that stuff just doesn’t interest me much - I don’t organize because it’s pretty, I do it because it makes people’s lives easier and better in a simple but meaningful way.

So, I’ve taken the approach of going a bit deeper. I want to ask the questions and bring up the topics that often get glossed over when people talk about creating #organizingporn. What lies beneath our desire to acquire, our tendency to get overwhelmed, our sense of peace when a space is clutter free? What’s going on that we’re trying to fix with stuff? What does organizing really make room for in our lives?

I also want to get more personal, because that’s the way I truly connect with my clients. You have to trust me before you’ll let me into your home, after all! So, I want to show you how I actually organize for the real life I live every day.

Ultimately, I stand for common sense organizing for modern urban living. If that’s your jam, you’re going to love this blog!

LMW

And Now For Something A Little Different...

It’s happening, guys. We’re going to video!

I absolutely love talking to everyone I meet about my job, my business, and my industry. There’s just so much going on there - almost everything in our lives relates back to our homes how we live in them, how we were raised in them, how we think about them. In fact, I often try to hold myself back so that I don’t completely take over conversations or bore people out of their skulls!

One of the major joys I get in talking to people about my work is that they ask me all kinds of amazing questions. My clients do, too. And since we’re all curious about what goes on with people and places we aren’t familiar with, I figured it might be interesting for you if I shared some of those questions I get… and answered them in case you were wondering them too!

So with no further ado, I present my first shot at a FAQ video. The lighting is terrible, my iMovie skills are remedial at best, but I’m proud of my message and the fact that I’m sharing it with you today. Please enjoy, comment, subscribe, tell a friend, and all that jazz these YouTubers do these days! And of course, if you have any questions you’d like to see me answer, leave a comment or contact me directly: lucy@lmwedits.com.

Thank you for your indulgence as I embark on this new adventure of my face on the internet!

LMW

Join me, Lucy Milligan Wahl, a professional organizer living and working in San Francisco, as I answer the number one most commonly asked question I get!

One Small Taste of Success

My sister and I are close. Not physically - although we live in the same city, we often go days or weeks without seeing each other or talking on the phone. But emotionally, very much so - we’re really open with each other about everything from gossip to family conflict. We HATED each other as children (something something sibling rivalry something), but a switch flipped some time in high school, and I’ve been proud to call her one of my very best friends ever since

All this to say: we were chatting the other day, while my not quite two year old niece tried on all my costume jewelry and harassed the dog, and got to talking about work. She’s a bigwig at a financial services startup, a relatively recent promotion for her, and has been on fire about it since the day she got the gig. She has always been incredibly smart (much more so than I) and the kind of dedicated, hardworking employee anyone would want to have, but this is a whole new level of passion that I’ve never seen before.

Except… I kind of have. In myself.

When I started LMW Edits, I knew that it would be fun and a challenge, but I didn’t know if it would really work as a going concern and I had pretty minimal goals.  I wanted to have a full roster of clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, and serve them well.  That was it!

Where the work gets done.

Where the work gets done.

For the first three years, I worked towards this relatively modest goal. I loved the work and I loved my clients, but I didn’t feel an inner drive to make my business my life. I still treated it as a job, relishing my time off and feeling a little big of a drag on Sunday nights as I faced the work week.

And then, last year, I started to see a shift. It started with the local conference put on by the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) SF Bay Area Chapter, where I saw Debbie Hoffman speak. Debbie is a former Wall Street rock star who shifted her focus to coaching small business owners on the finer points of follow up. I really connected with what she was saying, scheduled a consultation with her the next week, and signed right up for her one on one coaching program.

Getting out there on behalf of my business!

Getting out there on behalf of my business!

As I started to work with Debbie, two things happened. First, I began to see more success: more clients coming in, more interest in my blog, and yes, more revenue in my bank account. Second, I began to dream bigger. The experience of working with so many varied and wonderful clients had started to give me the confidence to express my views on all things organizing related (as many of you have seen here on the blog), and I began to think about how to connect to a larger audience.

LMW Edits is still very much a work in progress, but I’m more passionate about my business and its potential than ever before. I have lots of projects in the pipeline, think about my business constantly, and work more hours than I ever thought I had the capacity to work. And this is all organic and intrinsically motivated - no one is standing over me telling me what to do, I’m just so fired and up and inspired that I absolutely have to get it all done. And all it took was reaching out to someone who inspired me and getting that first small taste of success!

LMW

What I'm Organizing

When I started my Instagram account, I committed to authenticity.  The social media world is saturated with picture perfect influencers, and I don't need to compete with them.  Why? Organizing for real lives isn't about a Pinterest-perfect set of chalk labeled baskets, it's about streamlining daily tasks and storage so that you can spend your time and energy on the things that really matter to you.  

So I prefer to show my real life on social media - while of course maintaining some semblance of personal privacy! To that end, I have not and will not retouch my photos, create events only for Insta, or force other people to take my pictures for me.  No #instagramhusband here!

So, as you'll have seen if you follow me on Instagram, my first few months of activity are filled with pretty terrible selfies.  There's only one full length mirror in my house right now, on the inside door of my husband's closet, so that was the only place I could grab pics.  I quickly got fed up with that and decided to get a cell phone tripod with remote so that I could at least move my selfie game to a more well lighted location!

I decided on the iKlip Grip smart phone stand.  While you can get tripods for half the price, I always go for something of higher quality that will last longer without falling apart.  This one was the only tripod listed on the Apple Store, which I took as a good sign!  It was incredibly easy to set up and works perfectly.  The parts screwed together easily and tightly and the remote was a breeze to pair with my phone via Bluetooth.  I probably went from closed box to taking pictures in about five minutes.

I'm still getting used to posing in front of a camera rather than being able to see myself on screen as I take the picture, and I'm still figuring out where to take pictures for better lighting.  However, it's much easier to just grab the tripod and start clicking than it is to open up my husband's closet and move various things out of the way before attempting selfies!  

Check out my Instagram account and let me know what you think.  I'd love to share the kind of content you want to see, and of course follow you back!

LMW

 

What I'm Organizing

There comes a time (one hopes) in the life of every small business when the number of clients outpaces the capacity of the business owner's brain.  For LMW Edits, that time has come!

I'm really into using integrated cloud-based apps to run my business.  I'm pretty well versed in accounting, marketing, and other foundational business practices thanks to my MBA, but I'm still just one person and anything that streamlines processes is a win in my book.  Plus, part of the way I differentiate my business is by keeping on top of tech trends in the organizing space, so it would be rather incongruous for me to use dated tools myself.

So, when I realized I needed a CRM tool (that would be Customer Relationship Management, a fancy way of saying "how to keep track of clients"), my top priority was to find something that would integrate with Xero, the cloud-based accounting app I've been using since I received my very first payment.  Although I have nothing to compare it to, I've been very happy with Xero: the design is clean, it's super user friendly, and there are tons of resources available including the App Marketplace, which is where I started my CRM search.

At this point, based on reviews and recommendations from other tech-savvy organizers, Insightly is bubbling to the top of the list.  I'm going to do a bit more research, so if you have a CRM solution you love, tell me about it!  I'd be very interested to hear your experience.

LMW

Weekly Peek

Friends Are Family

As I mentioned on the day itself, neither my family nor my husband's has a particular Thanksgiving tradition.  So it was that we found ourselves flying to North Carolina this year, to spend the holiday with my husband's best friend from college (they served as each others' best men), his wife and one year old daughter, and their families.  It was a warm and festive holiday just the way you always want Thanksgiving to be, including absolutely amazing food.  

Personal Best

I may have mentioned before (mostly because it seemed so daunting) that I planned to run an 8K race on Thanksgiving Day.  Well, I did in fact run the thing.  And at a personal best, averaging less than 10 min/mile!  I still don't think of myself as a runner, or even as a particularly fit person, but it was really rewarding to prove to myself that I can set a physical goal and achieve it.  I'm actually continuing to run a couple of times a week, but I am in no way addicted to long distance: five miles is plenty for a long run, thank you very much!

This is actually the room we stayed in!  Photo courtesy of fearrington.com

Cozy Country Inn

Our friends had a seriously full house while we were visiting, so we decided to stay in a hotel.  My husband found this adorable inn with amazing restaurant attached: The Fearrington House Inn outside of Chapel Hill, a Relais Chateaux property.  It was a little bit dicey getting to and from our friends' house since we didn't rent a car and Ubers were rare, but the commute was well worth the ambiance, service, and amazing food - from the included afternoon tea to the handmade chocolates placed by the bed each night.  If you need to be in the Research Triangle area, I'd highly recommend passing on the usual chain hotels and checking out this much more charming (and not much more expensive) option!

Weekly Peek

The historic Stonewall Inn

The historic Stonewall Inn

#Lovewins

There really aren't words for how happy I am about the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court Decision.  My sister's marriage is now legal across the country, and her future children will never know a world in which their parents' relationship is in any way different or less-than.   Thank you to the activists who have worked long and hard on behalf of marriage equality, to the allies and communities who supported them, and to the ordinary LGBTQ citizens who have taken their relationships public at potentially great cost to themselves to show us all that love is love. I know we have a long way to go in terms of equality for all people, but for now we celebrate a major victory!  I happened to be strolling by the historic Stonewall Inn on Friday afternoon and just had to snap this picture for posterity.

Photo by the amazing Timothy Teague at my wedding in 2010

An Unforgettable Wedding Detail

I am a firm believer that the things that make a wedding great are delicious food, free-flowing drinks, and great music.  However, there is one DIY detail that will always make me a happy guest: a basket of flip flops by the dance floor so that I can shed my heels while retaining a modicum of dignity and keep the party going!  I first saw this done at my dear friend Cara's wedding nearly six years ago (!!!) and knew I had to copy the idea for my own.  This past weekend, a family friend got married at her parents' beautiful home and the party had food, drinks, and an amazing band in abundance - plus the flip flops!  A truly great event for so many reasons.  Congratulations, Annie and Harris!

Shoe department at Bergdorf Goodman

Shoe department at Bergdorf Goodman

NYC Haul

For those of you who have managed to ignore the emails likely flooding your inbox, June is summer sale time for the major retailers.  I love a good online sale, but this time, I was in New York with time to kill and was able to hit the sales in person.  I poked into a lot of stand-alone stores from my go-to designers in Chelsea and Soho, but found the sale selection at the big department stores to be superior.  I was able to check a couple of things off my wishlist described in this post, as well as make a splurge or two like the Valentino heels pictured above at 30% off!

Blue Bottle New Orleans-style cold brew = lots of milk and sugar!

Summer in the City

As you may have gathered, my husband and I spent a few days this past week in NYC.  The ostensible reason for the trip was to catch the Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett concert (which was incredible), but we also managed to squeeze in a couple of work days for him, shopping for me, delicious meals, and a stroll on the High Line. I'm always a tourist in NYC, and I have no shame!

LMW