Besides this post last year where I finally opened up about my divorce, and the minimal personal threads I’ve woven into my writing since, I haven’t opened up to share how I’m feeling. What I am struggling with personally and professionally. What keeps me up at night – sometimes all night. What makes me cry. What makes me happy. What scares me to death. What gives me hope. What totally breaks my heart….yet fills my heart to the point of overflowing. What motivates me to be a better mom, daughter, sister, aunt, friend and, eventually, a better partner.
This is life. It’s real. And I’m willing to share it. The beautiful and the not so pretty.
Am I able to cover all the emotions / topics in one post? No. But my hope is to write regularly about how I’m carrying on personally.
The obvious emotional elephants in the room seem to be:
- the sale of my house
- growing pains in my organizing business
- my heart
There’s a lot more going on than above, but think all I can handle writing about today is those 3.
When there’s time, I’ve been sharing updates made to the house – getting it ready to go on the market (or really, off market…keep reading). Like the recent front yard update…
I’ve been doing small things inside like decluttering, getting rid of worn furniture and packing a few boxes from time to time. It’s been slow moving, but about to ramp up so you can expect to see and hear a lot more about the improvements / my feelings. As painful and difficult a process this is, I know I’ll regret not chronicling the experience / improvements…the end of my journey in this house.
By the way, I do wonder if the new owners will have an issue with how much this house and its interior / exterior has been shared online. Come to think, I wondered the same about the family who purchased my Little Rock home. They are so cute and have stayed in touch with me all these years – thankfully! I loved that house. And they haven’t expressed any issues – hopefully we’re all good there. At least I know the new owners of this house can look back to see what happened when…hey, they even know the vendors and paint colors thanks to my product linking. Ha!
Anyway, it’s been privately that you have messaged me about the state of my heart when it comes to leaving the house or even my love life (see below). And I want to thank you for your notes. They mean everything to me and am grateful for this blog community. When I opened up about my divorce, the truly thoughtful comments and emails were touching. I mean that. Thank you! I know you aren’t just here to read – you DO CARE. And I care very much about you and this community as well!
Soooo, the latest with the home sale.
I found a real estate agent and shared with her my list of dream improvements. I’m choosing only the areas I know will have a great ROI – the kitchen counters, the old master bathroom (my 14 year old’s room), the downstairs flooring, landscaping and exterior paint. Some interior paint touch-ups too, but the big project will be the exterior. I’ll share before photos of these spaces soon. There are little things here and there to fix along the way like a few dings in a couple interior doors. And of course, I’ll be thinning out the contents in prep for the house being shown…I’m packing anyway, why not start thinning everything now. We won’t be here this Christmas, for example – moving out all the holiday decor to a storage unit seems like a good idea anyway.
Every space in the house is organized or has a system, which will make clean up easy and it will show well. I’ve made the most efficient use of every single space…
( my master closet )
( my garage )
My plan and HOPE is that the house sells off-market and that wish is not a long-shot. I’ve had a number of people reach out since announcing last Fall I’d be selling.
Please don’t take this the wrong way because it’s not how I see myself – but I am in some sense a “public figure”, if you will. My greatest fear is that an open house will attract people who are curious or want to see the house or how we live or how I’ve organized or walk through my closet or garage, open drawers…etc. You may think I’m paranoid, but I’m not. People walk by the front of my house all the time and send notes. Not because they are interested in buying the house but because they saw me outside working and wanted to approach me but didn’t. People have stopped me when I’m out at dinner or walking through The Container Store or at a Giants game. I don’t know. It’s all totally strange. And this is my private home. It’s where the kids and I live…and it’s special and sentimental and my private life. The idea of having an open house where anyone can walk through – I kinda have an issue with it.
And the fact that legitimate people shopping for a home are asking to see it off-market…I think it will in fact sell off-market. And that would be awesome!
As of now the plan is to open the house to a list of pre-screened, pre-qualified buyers who absolutely have interest in buying. We’re going to call it something like an “off-market showing”. ?? Will see how it all comes together and will keep you updated.
In the meantime, I’ve been meeting contractors, plumbers, painters and flooring guys for quotes. Contractors are busy in our area – am getting a little tight on the timeline…and feeling the anxiety build, while trying to keep a PMA as much as possible.
( my DIY mantle )
I don’t know. How I feel about the sale? Yesterday?…I was hyper-focused on details in between meetings with contractors / writing emails and numb to everything. Today?…I’m depressed and wish I could afford to buy out my ex-husband so the kids and I can stay. Tomorrow? Who knows.
It’s a roller coaster.
It’s hard making improvement choices when they aren’t for me. For us. They are to get the most money I can out of the sale, but I still want it to look nice and have strong feelings about doing it the right way. Because it’s our house and I care about and love it and it’s been mine to love for almost 6 years.
Another tough reality has been figuring out where exactly our next chapter will be – where we will live. An apartment or townhome / condo is out of the question because I need a garage for work materials AND my goal is that the kids each has a room of their own. They need their own space and have been through enough already. My oldest will be entering high school in August so he definitely needs space. I’ve looked at a number of rental homes – some depressing, others too small, some too much money, some have landscaping totally sad and overgrown I couldn’t bring myself to walk inside the house. It doesn’t really help that we live in one of the most expensive cities on the face of the earth. Seriously. But think I have a pretty good lead on something promising – but only for 1 year.
A friend of mine is renting her home for the next year. Her husband’s job transferred to Europe last Fall and their home has been sitting empty. They are having renovations done but it will be ready to move into around the time the kids are out of school. It’s more than I want to spend per month, but can afford it AND there’s a garage, the kids have their own rooms, there’s an office with beautiful windows, the kitchen is amazing, it’s on a court with awesome families surrounding it, and it will be a good landing spot for us until we figure out our next move. Maybe buying something – or renting again…I don’t know. I’m just grateful to have friends that are willing to help.
Oh well…it is what it is for now. And that’s kinda where I am.
BUSINESS GROWING PAINS
If you can’t tell from following on social or reading the posts here, I am literally living, breathing, eating, sleeping and dreaming ALL THINGS ORGANIZING. I have created a full blown monster with this business, you guys. This is both incredible and exhausting. And I’ve finally tossed up the white flag in hopes to find help. Real help that can move the needle forward big time.
I’ve been hiring and built a sweet little team of people. I’ll share a dedicated post about this and introduce you to these guys soon. But I have several crew members who come on projects with me – when needed, which in general seems to be a steady 2-3 days a week. 2 of them have been with me for over a year and have completed projects alone. On days like that, I can’t believe how truly lucky I am. Little steps toward a bigger dream of having a much larger group of organizers who can be out in the field working on the same day…on multiple projects. As of now we are backlogged with about 18 clients on board…there is a lot of juggling with product sourcing, purchasing, designing, and then being on site doing the decluttering and installs.
Let’s not forget I also have a web-based side of the business with company partnerships.
It’s a lot. A. Lot.
I hired an assistant who does all of my material pick-ups, returns, little jobs for clients, some researching … like who is the best shredding company, who can remove content from an old laptop before we recycle it, and how do I get the logo added to my favorite jacket / shirts…
( holding keys to a couple very special projects )
Yes, that jacket happened in the last couple weeks and couldn’t be more proud! Excited that I finally had one tiny dream knocked off my list. And only because I buckled down and let someone else in to help. She’s been a life saver.
As far as hiring, I am currently searching for a few types of peeps:
- Lead Organizers – I am hiring lead organizers to train under me for a period of time and then set them free in their own niche of the Bay Area. They will manage a small team of crew members as well, but everyone will be working under my design direction and the SO | Home brand aesthetic. I’m looking for organizers who want to be a member of this team / business. Not to be trained, then leave to start their own business. I’m having a tough time letting people in because I am worried about getting burned, but as someone very wise told me … Sam, you’re going to get burned a few times and that’s life when you own a business. I’m such a loyal person it would be hard to bring someone into the fold only to have them run off. You know? I don’t know. Just excited to build an awesome team / business!
- Crew Members – We are in need of additional organizers who love to organize, but aren’t interested in being a Lead or in charge of other crew members. Maybe you’re not the boss type – I get it, I’m not either!
- Blog / Tech / SEO guru – I am in desperate need of a tech person to t-up blog posts for me by key-wording images, someone who is familiar and experienced with SEO, can update the blog home page or other parts of the WordPress site from time to time, someone who is well aware of analytics and knows how to pull them, someone who can create and manage my press kit. This could be a part-time position and there’s freedom because it can be done from home or virtually. Ideally, I’d like this person to be local because they can pop in from time to time to see how we work or help with marketing, press and video stuff too. Who knows, maybe this bullet point is more of a 2 job deal and not for 1 person. ??
Point is – I am hiring and it’s long overdue. And needs to be NOW!
If you or someone you know might be interested AND they are based in the Bay Area, please have them email their resume and CL to us.
Probably one of the more difficult topics to open up about – but something that struck me hard the other day and had to share.
During and after a divorce you go through numerous emotional ups and downs. There’s something strange and awkward, yet healthy and important about being alone. Letting your heart heal and give yourself time to find yourself again. I was married for 15 years and in that relationship for nearly 20. I’m not sharing any of this (now or in the future) to talk badly about my ex or the relationship in general – totally not the case here. I am sharing MY FEELINGS and what I am going through emotionally during this process / post-divorce, which has nothing to do with him.
Personally I felt very alone for at least the last 5 years of my marriage – probably much longer. During those years I did a lot of digging into my feelings, read books, focused on the kids, threw myself into the gym, completed home projects and utterly buried myself in this business. The fact this business is booming today is only proof of how hard I worked these last several years. I didn’t work this hard as an escape – it came from a real passion to help families get organized. But it was also something that filled my heart in ways I can’t explain. I love to help people and love the families who hire me.
While everyone may think being alone is the best decision right now and everyone is so willing to share their advice – whether I ask for it or not – I realized I am not a woman who enjoys being alone. I have a huge heart and want to love someone deeply…and be loved even deeper. I really want to find that special person I can pour myself into…and take care of…and someone who will feel the very same way about me. I want that love story.
To the point of what struck me the other day….for a long time I found myself so sad after leaving clients homes. Really down and couldn’t figure out why I was feeling that way. If I’m being honest, it’s been going on for a few years. I mean, I had nailed a beautiful organization project, the team and I had a ton of laughs on the job, the homeowners were thrilled and gushing about the after… so what the hell was wrong with me?
Well, suddenly it hit me – a couple things….
*Every single couple who hires me is madly in love with each other. I know, some of you may be saying “it may appear that way, Sam but not everyone is like that behind closed doors”. Guess what??….I AM behind their closed doors. Intimately. I see and feel it all. And I see real love in these homes during every project. Couples that are dedicated to one another, loving, gentle, kind, supportive – couples who ENJOY each others company and being around one another….they love their kids, their family and each other and they are smiling, having fun, cracking jokes, talking about memories. Sometimes we organize with just the wife at home, sometimes both husband and wife are there. In all circumstances, it is the way they talk to one another, describe each other, call each other when we have a question about whether or not we should keep x y or z. You can see and feel the love in every home.
It is so far removed from what I experienced in my marriage and realize just how much I want / need that.
*And the nature of my work is kind of a luxury service. So the homes I work in are stunningly beautiful, warm and amazing. NO, that’s not everything – and that’s not my point, The point here is these beautiful homes with these sweet couples. Maybe it’s the combo of both…and realizing where I am in my life right now? Not totally sure but it was certainly something that struck a cord the other day.
Anyway, my heart is healing … although still hurting and going through the motions with this home sale, one day at a time…right?
Thanks for reading guys! Back soon!