Service Recommendation

I Don't Go It Alone... And Neither Should You

For the entire history of LMW Edits, I’ve been a one woman show.

I’m a smart person. I have the talent and skills for the service I provide, I have real world work experience, and I even have a couple of fancy degrees including an MBA. It would stand to reason that you’d assume I could start and run a business all by myself.

You would be wrong.

Of course, there are the intangibles that help, like having a supportive husband, family, and friends who will listen to me expound at length about my business and offer helpful suggestions. And I consume an awful lot of content on a regular basis about entrepreneurship and business strategy. But that, my friends, is not enough.

When you operate solo, you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off in order to problem solve or grow. You don’t have anyone to prevent you from having to reinvent the wheel every. single. time. And you definitely don’t have anyone to tell it to you straight if you’re heading down the wrong path.

Planning exercise with Leo from January - pretty crazy to see how far I’ve come in less than a year!

Planning exercise with Leo from January - pretty crazy to see how far I’ve come in less than a year!

Well, guys, I believe in practicing what I preach, and I’m always telling people that if they need help, they should have no shame in hiring it. So a few years ago, I hired a business coach.

First, I did a six month individual program with Debbie Hoffman. Debbie gave me the basic structure I needed to level up from an idea that was kinda working to a real business taking in actual revenue. One example: this MBA didn’t realize that she needed to implement a CRM (customer relationship management) system instead of trying to keep all her clients and their needs stored between her head and a simple to do list!

Then, I signed on for a more long term coaching relationship that could grow with my business. Leo Manzione was recommended to me by another entrepreneur, and he’s been making a concrete difference from our first meeting. Leo has helped me refine my business practices so that I can deliver my best work to each and every client. And most important for me, he continually helps me focus on what needs to get done now so that I can keep moving forward without getting overwhelmed by my larger vision for my business. I’m doing better work, for more clients, and earning more money in the process - so I’d say coaching works!

There are a lot of coaches out there, just like there are a lot of organizers, and you find them in pretty much the same way: asking friends and contacts, doing a little research online, and ultimately going with the person who fits best with your needs and personality. It can feel like a giant leap of faith to pay another person to help you with things you technically could do yourself - but it’s also a shortcut to the places you really want to go.

LMW

Choosing The Right Type of Professional Organizer For You

Many people don’t even know that professional organizing is “a thing” - and yet, there are tens of thousands of us, working in more ways than you could imagine! Some organizers work as a side hustle, and others do it full time. Some organizers ride solo, and others build large companies. Some organizers work with families, others specialize in estate sales. There truly is an organizational fit for every person who needs help reclaiming their space!

Something else you may not know about the professional organizing industry: just because you meet and hire the business owner does not mean that said business owner will be in your home working on the project - or even that the organizers on your project will be employees who have been trained and supervised by that person! It is extremely common in the industry for professional organizers to hire other organizers on a contract basis for jobs they can’t handle on their own.

When you hire LMW Edits, you always get me and my bag of tricks - no alterations or substitutions!

When you hire LMW Edits, you always get me and my bag of tricks - no alterations or substitutions!

There are upsides to this, for sure. This strategy ensures there are enough people on your job to get your project done in a reasonable amount of time. It brings the overall price down because the going hourly rate for independent contractors is well south of the value of the business owner’s time. It’s also a professional development mechanism - it’s very common for organizers just starting out to do different contract gigs to learn the trade. I did it myself - and still do for organizers I really like working with when they come up short and need a hand!

There are also downsides. As a contractor, I have shown up to a gig for an organizer I have never met in person and been directed into a room and told to start sorting. The only filter applied was a phone conversation and a contract I signed with the organizer’s company. What’s more, on a multi-day job, the team might have been different every day! So just when the client starts getting comfortable with me, I’m done for the day and an entirely different person might show up the next morning.

The downsides are why I will never hire independent contractors. I would sooner refer you, a potential client, to a larger organizing company I know and trust, than I would take on the burden of sending unknown, untrained people into your home and hoping that it all turns out well. My service is built on a strong personal relationship between me and my client, which allows me to create organizational systems and setups that are specifically tailored for them.

That said, my style of service is certainly not for everyone! Many people prefer handing off the job to an efficient team and marveling at the end results. So, if you’re contemplating hiring a professional organizer, consider the following.

An larger organizing company or service might be right for you if:

  1. Your first priority is a gorgeous “after” photo that looks like it’s out of a magazine.

  2. Your space is a large and/or tightly cluttered home.

  3. Your desired aesthetic is the exact aesthetic featured in the organizing company’s photos.

  4. Your main concern is pricing.

My kind of individual organizing consulting might be right for you if:

  1. Your first priority is a system that works and lasts.

  2. Your space is a smaller home/apartment, or a discrete project area within a larger home.

  3. Your desired aesthetic is custom tailored to you, your needs, and your existing home style.

  4. Your main concern is security and trust.

If you think my style of organizing might be a good fit for you, let’s talk! You can schedule your free in-home organizing consultation here.

LMW

How to Revive Your Old Jeans

I’ve talked before about the joy of wearing things out. It almost feels like an accomplishment: you selected the perfect thing and used it up completely.

But there’s another joy to be found in keeping high quality things for a long time: repairing them before you even get to that point! I’m a regular at the shoe repair place near my first San Francisco apartment to this day, and I have my favorite tailor out of a teeny little dry cleaner in that same neighborhood.

Sometimes, though, things go beyond the ability of a tailor to bring your pieces back to life. For example: when that pair of premium denim develops a hole it wasn’t supposed to have, you don’t just want to slap a patch on it, you want it to continue to look good. Enter Denim Therapy.

My much loved jeans, pretty much good as new!

My much loved jeans, pretty much good as new!

I believe I first heard of them through a 00’s newsletter like Daily Candy way back when, before places like Poshmark and The RealReal had normalized sending clothing, shoes, and accessories back and forth across the country. I tried the service then and was very pleased, and based on my recent experience I can confidently say that Denim Therapy continues to offer high quality denim repair.

Here’s how it works. You go to the Denim Therapy website and fill out a simple form for each pair of jeans you want the to fix. Box up your jeans (clean, please!), send them in, and within a week or so you’ll get an estimate for the repair via email. Once you accept, they will perform the repair and mail your jeans back to you. Or, if you happen to be in the vicinity of Brooklyn, you can do all of the above in person!

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Sending your wounded jeans to Denim Therapy for repair is not particularly cheap and it’s not particularly fast, but the process is really easy and the quality of the work speaks for itself. I just got back my favorite pair of 5 year old Alexa Chung x AG skinnies with distressed knees last week, and unless you get super up close and personal with my butt, you’ll never know they’d been repaired. Denim Therapy matches the color and texture of the fabric really well, and the work holds up over time.

There's a repair in each picture.

There's a repair in each picture.

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Honestly, I’m just super glad Denim Therapy is still in business and providing high quality service after all these years! I got to keep wearing a pair of jeans I truly love, prevented them from going into a landfill, and saved the money I would have paid to replace them. 

What other ways do you repair and/or repurpose your things so that you can keep using and loving them?

LMW

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

The Well Organized Wedding

As of July 10, I will have been married for eight years. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! Quite a bit has changed in wedding trends since then, but the basics remain the same. In the spirit of wedding season, I wanted to share a few tips that I think will make your entire wedding experience run more smoothly.

1) Cut out unnecessary extras.

The wedding industrial complex is so real. Weddings are high stakes events: you only get one and you want it to be perfect. This makes you extra vulnerable to the marketing of products you don’t need. Companies know this, and they prey on your emotions.

I am here to tell you that there are three things you should not skimp on for your wedding. Get these three on point and yours will be a party everyone remembers for decades to come:

Food. Booze. Music.

And there’s no need to complicate it, all of those things just have to be high quality and plentiful. If you feed people delicious food, provide tasty options for drinkers, and have music that makes people jump out of their chairs to dance, no one will care about anything else.

Look, no favors! All photos by the incomparable  Timothy Teague .

Look, no favors! All photos by the incomparable Timothy Teague.

We cut unnecessary extras, and we had a gorgeous wedding with zero regrets. For example: favors. Think about the last wedding you went to. Do you remember the favors? Did you keep yours (or if it was edible, did you eat it)? If you skip favors, you’ll save hundreds of dollars and a couple giant trash bags going into a landfill somewhere - not to mention the time and effort of putting them together.

No monogram, no problem! (Cake by  Robyn Loves Cake , it appears she has moved to Orlando so check her out, Florida brides! The cake was SO good.)

No monogram, no problem! (Cake by Robyn Loves Cake, it appears she has moved to Orlando so check her out, Florida brides! The cake was SO good.)

We never even considered having specialty champagne flutes and cake cutting utensils. Cake cutting takes about five minutes, and the pictures are just as beautiful without an engraved monogram. Plus, if you do drink champagne at home, it’s far more practical to have a full set of glasses on hand that go in the dishwasher so that you can pour bubbly for all your guests and clean up easily after they leave!

This one's framed in my living room. Dress and veil by  Peter Langner  via  Marina Morrison , suit by  Ralph Lauren , tie by  Thomas Pink .

This one's framed in my living room. Dress and veil by Peter Langner via Marina Morrison, suit by Ralph Lauren, tie by Thomas Pink.

We also didn’t take engagement pictures. My sister snapped a few pics of us so that we had something to put on our website, but that was it. Our rationale was this: we knew we would get beautiful photos from our wedding, and exactly how many photos of yourself displayed in your own home do you really need? I think it’s lovelyto have one or two framed wedding photos, but I much prefer being surrounded by pictures of my family and friends than glamour shots of myself!

2) Hire a day-of coordinator, or, if you can swing it, a full-on wedding planner.

When I got engaged, I strongly suggested (well, more like insisted) that we hire a wedding planner. To say that my parents, who had very generously offered to foot the bill, were not wild about this idea was an understatement. They have thrown many parties before - what could possibly be so hard? Plus, why waste the money?

It did, in fact, rain on our wedding day! My planner had the staff (enthusiastically assisted by my dad) out there cleaning off the dance floor plus a backup plan in place, and it became a funny story to tell instead of a disaster.

It did, in fact, rain on our wedding day! My planner had the staff (enthusiastically assisted by my dad) out there cleaning off the dance floor plus a backup plan in place, and it became a funny story to tell instead of a disaster.

Fast forward to the day after my wedding, and my parents are the biggest evangelists of wedding planners that you will find. Weddings, even if they are small and simple, have a lot of moving parts, and if you want to truly be present and enjoy your day, you don’t want to be the one dealing with them. 

I talk a lot about organizing being a way to buy yourself quality time with the people you love. On no day is that more true than your wedding day! And this is also a place, much like organizing, where you want to look to your friends and family for referrals, and be aware that you get what you pay for!

3) Someone is gonna get weird. Be prepared.

Again, a wedding is high stakes. Everything from the amount of money spent to the numbers of people involved to the fact that this is (ideally, anyway) a one-time only event conspires to spike everyone’s stress. So it makes sense that someone you’ve always been able to count on to behave a certain way suddenly veers off in a totally unexpected direction.

Classic suspects for this kind of behavior are brides themselves, moms, and wedding party members, but sometimes it’s a special guest star like a groom, dad, or random aunt. You won’t be able to predict who your weirdo is, but once they surface, you’ll realize this is happening to you!

It doesn’t matter who it is, or what they’re doing that’s so inexplicably off kilter - what matters is that you understand that this person’s unusual behavior is probably coming from a good place and will pass once the wedding is over. If you can, be patient, listen, and try to figure out compromises.

Engagement is a joyful time, but there’s also a lot of pressure involved. If you’re getting married soon, I wish you low stress, helpful friends and family, and the wedding of your dreams!

LMW

How To Create More Space In Your Garage

Readers of this blog know I take a very conservative approach to organizing products. I only tell you about something when I have used it with clients and know it works. Here is one of those things: Monkey Bars Garage Storage. If your garage is driving you crazy, please read on... today's post was written by Meghan Harris over at Monkey Bars. And, if you're in San Francisco or Marin, please contact my friend Joe O'Neal of Golden Gate Garage Storage, our local Monkey Bars dealer, and tell him I sent you!

It is a natural human tendency to fill the space you have so that your house looks and feels like a home. Should the same idea go for your garage? Usually you don’t try to fill your garage with a bunch of stuff you rarely use ... it just happens.  

Generally speaking, this happens because the more space we have, the more “junk” we hold on to, and the more often we shop for more stuff because we can’t find the “junk” we could actually use. It is hard to get rid of our “stuff” because who knows, we might need it someday! So, if you don’t want to throw it away, what happens to it?  It gets stored in the garage.

The first step to having an organized garage is: Getting rid of all the clutter and unnecessary items.

After doing this, your garage most likely will still feel unorganized and small. So, let’s talk about how to make your garage feel bigger.

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A major factor that contributes to the available room in your garage is the walking space. If you are parking your car in the garage, you need to have enough room on either side to open the door and get in. If you have an extra fridge/freezer, you need to have enough room to walk around it and grab something out. It would even be ideal if you could walk your bike out to ride without carrying it over the multitude of boxes that permanently live on the floor.

The best way to create more walking space in the garage (and make it feel bigger and more organized) is by implementing a vertical storage system.

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Vertical storage means that you are optimizing your wall and ceiling space through garage shelves, cabinets, or racks. This triples the size of your available space and, as long as items are contained within these systems, frees up your walking space and makes your garage feel bigger. When things are up and off of the floor, you make a huge step towards garage efficiency and creating more space.

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The most critical part of an organized garage, though, is the upkeep. Take 15 minutes once a week to tidy up the garage to make sure you are putting things back where they should be. It’s easy to overlook this with your busy life but will make everything work more effectively if you do so. It will also prevent the junk from piling up again.

Thank you, Meghan!  -LMW

My Favorite Mountain

I love Jackson Hole, you guys. For the second year in a row, my husband and I made the trek for a ski weekend, and this time we convinced my entire family to come along, as well as a few friends.  And I do believe we've made converts of them, too!

Most of my ski days happen at Alpine Meadows for one simple reason: that's where I work as a volunteer patroller, so I have a pass.  Pretty hard to pass up unlimited days, especially on a mountain that offers a wide variety of steep, interesting terrain - especially if you're willing to hike for it!

However, Jackson Hole has won my heart and I know we'll be returning again and again. Why?

Taking a little peruse through a powder stash...

Taking a little peruse through a powder stash...

...and agreeing, once again, not to ski  Corbet's Coulouir .

...and agreeing, once again, not to ski Corbet's Coulouir.

The terrain: it's unbeatable. Vertical for miles, plenty of steeps, lots of varied aspects, tree skiing, that great dry snow... it's really got everything you could want. Plus, there's a pretty impressive amount of beginner and intermediate terrain so a group with varied skill levels like ours can be happy.

Long steep blue runs for days.

Long steep blue runs for days.

The views: I mean, just look.

I ended up with jalapeño infused tequila (yum), a pickle juice back (even grosser than I thought), and a sour beer.

I ended up with jalapeño infused tequila (yum), a pickle juice back (even grosser than I thought), and a sour beer.

The village: lots of hotel options (we absolutely adored the Four Seasons - even the smallest rooms are big and comfy with plenty of places to unpack your ski gear, the service in the boot/ski room is next level, and there's a fully staffed bar at the hot tub/pool after 3pm with tasty warm beverages), good restaurants, and an excellent apres scene (don't miss beers at the Alpenhof or roll the dice for a potentially disastrous shot/back/beer combo at the Handle Bar).

The simplicity: United has direct flights from San Francisco, making Jackson Hole more accessible than pretty much all the great Colorado mountains. And this year, no cancellations!

My sister taking a few glorious turns.

My sister taking a few glorious turns.

The bonus: you can do a day heli-skiing trip! My husband gave me heli-skiing for my birthday last year and made good by sending my sister and me for an epic powder day unlike anything to be had inside resort boundaries. It was total hero snow: 6 inches of light high mountain fluff on hard pack, and fresh tracks all day. And we completely geeked out climbing out of a helicopter on the actual top of a mountain!

Usually at this point in the year I'm pretty excited about the end of winter, but if I could I'd go back to Jackson this weekend. It's that good. That said, I'm always willing to try something new! Where else should we look at for next year's ski trip?

LMW

Welcome, Gilt City!

If you, like me, are a subscriber to Gilt City San Francisco, you received a deal from me in your inbox this morning!  Exclusively through Gilt City, I'm offering 40% off your first three hours of organizing, plus as always the initial complimentary consultation. This is truly an amazing deal, one I haven't offered before, and I encourage both my existing and prospective clients to jump on it!

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How can you make these three hours with me work the best for you?  The way I see it, there are two approaches.  First, we can treat this special 3-hour session as the start of your total organizing project.  We'll begin work on the area that's bothering you the most, and at the end of the appointment schedule future sessions in order to get that perfectly organized and functional space you've always wanted.  The second option is to treat the 3-hour session as a tutorial for you on how to continue your organizing project alone.  I'll walk you through the basic steps, and try them out on a small area of your space.  And of course, I'll continue to be available via text/email, and we can always schedule another session if you're feeling stuck!

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I know many people resolved to finally get organized this year, and I also know that a goal without a plan is just a wish.  If your goal is to organize your home so that you can stop feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and start spending your precious time on the activities and relationships that matter most to you, a good plan is to work with a professional organizer.  Don't miss this great opportunity to work towards your goal and save a little money in the process!

Limited quantities of this exclusive Gilt City deal are available (I am, after all, but one woman), so don't wait!  I'm looking forward to working with you.

LMW

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Hire A Professional Organizer

“Getting organized” is one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions to make.  If this is something you’re thinking about at the dawn of 2018, I applaud you!  An organized home streamlines routines, cuts down on stress, and makes everyday life more pleasant.  I want you to experience the small miracles of a well organized space for yourself!

There are so many tips, tricks, and resources out there that it can be tough to distill what will work for you and your family.  Unless you already have a game plan in place, I’d strongly recommend hiring a professional organizer. These are the concrete reasons why:

1)   Speed

 Yes, you can absolutely organize your own home. But like most of us, you’re probably busy and feeling stretched thin already. A professional organizer can help you accomplish more than you ever thought possible in a much shorter amount of time.

I never go anywhere without my measuring tape and label maker!

I never go anywhere without my measuring tape and label maker!

2)   Tools

Professional organizers arrive ready to work, meaning that you don’t have to add yet another errand to your schedule before you start organizing. Each organizer carries a different toolkit based on his or her working style, previous experience, and organizing philosophy, but rest assured that you won’t be asked to hunt all over your house for a pair of scissors or a Sharpie!

3)   Recommendations

Getting organized often brings up other tasks to accomplish, from buying new furniture to disposing of hazardous waste. Professional organizers are part of a network of service providers and have great recommendations for how to get these often mysterious tasks taken care of quickly and efficiently.

4)   Empowerment

Decluttering means making tough decisions, which can induce self doubt.  A professional organizer will empower you to make the decisions you want to make, and help you feel confident every step of the way.

5)   Follow through

Organizing inevitably generates to-do items, from paper that needs to be filed to donations that need to be transported to your charity of choice.  Professional organizers can take care of many of these tasks for you, meaning that once they leave, you’re really done with your entire organizing project.

Now that you’re convinced to hire a pro, start with the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals and their Find an Organizer database.  And if you’re in or near San Francisco, you can book a complimentary half hour phone consultation with me right now and get started on your organizing project today!

LMW

 

 

 

Declutter Your Digital Life

In my work and here on the blog, I focus primarily on organizing tangible stuff.  However, even though it’s less obvious, it’s just as important to organize your digital life as your physical space.  For insight into the reasons you might want to overhaul your digital storage strategies, I particularly loved Daniel Cooper’s take on the topic: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Your Computer).  The dirty little secret his experience reveals is that while the stuff is different, the issues involved in both digital and physical organizing are pretty much the same!

Photo courtesy of engadget.com

Photo courtesy of engadget.com

As Cooper discovers when he sets out to tidy his own computer, it’s never really about the stuff.  If organizing really boiled down to a simple game of Stuff Tetris, it wouldn’t be so difficult or overwhelming!  Instead, it’s about what the stuff means, why it means that, and how to extract that meaning in a way that’s productive instead of letting it hold you back.

To organize your digital life, just like in the physical world, setting up systems in advance is just as important as doing the work of organizing after the fact.  What do I mean by that?

For one thing, I don’t organize my email in the traditional sense of filing messages once they come in.  There’s a good reason for this: I’ve been using Gmail since 2005 and the search function is so good I’ve literally never found myself unable to find something I needed.  And anything I want to do with my email is so easily automated on the front end that there would be literally no time saved or functionality gained by trying to file my email in folders after reading it.  So, I’ve set up the rules that make my inbox work effectively (for example: send all email addressed to an old address I never use to one folder and mark it as unread), and carry on!

A peek at my actual hard drive/iCloud backup

A peek at my actual hard drive/iCloud backup

Still, when it comes to organizing digital storage, I do have a system. To keep it easy, I utilize a common naming convention when I create files and drop them in the appropriate folder the first time I save them.  It’s a virtually automatic process for me, because my folder architecture has been pretty much the same since I started using my 1996 Powerbook my freshman year in high school!

Lately, there’s one more step I’ve added: cloud backup.  I used to back everything up periodically to an external hard drive, but recently transitioned to a dual backup to both Google Drive and iCloud.  Frankly, iCloud is a bit easier to use because I can just save things to it directly from my MacBook, but Google Drive’s ability to upload whole folders at once and auto-replace any duplicates is pretty sweet too!

If your desktop is covered with icons or your browser is stuffed with bookmarks and it’s stressing you out, consider taking the time to organize your digital life.  And if you need support through the process, contact me - I can help!

LMW