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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

fame becomes us

apartment therapy is a fabulous website started by interior designer maxwell gillingham-ryan (yes, he's been on oprah!). their goal (if they do say so themselves) is to connect people to the resources they need to improve their homes, while reducing their reliance on stuff.

today they're connecting people to spruce! i give them one big thumbs up for meeting their goal. see for yourself at

Thursday, December 13, 2007

tip time! verticalize (is that a word?)

what is the number-one thing you can do to make a difference in your home office?

contain, contain, contain . . . home offices often get bogged down with all manner of mail and bills and school work and kids art. it becomes impossible to find anything. a great way to get it under control (and still have a work surface) is to create vertical piles by using standing magazine holders. label one for each member of the household and toss in paper that applies to that person: the current little league schedule (toss last season in the recycle bin), the book club choices, the address list you've been meaning to enter into your computer. this gives everything an easy to find home (and you'll probably be able to get rid of lots of stuff along the way). later, when you're on the hunt for sydney's birthday list just pull down her magazine file and search one pile in one place.

don't forget . . . while it may be tempting to choose a different color box for each person, your best bet is to keep all of your containers in the same color family. this will reduce visual clutter in your tidy new office. (see post from september 8, 2007 for more on this idea)

Friday, December 07, 2007

where in the world are the sprucegirls?

small businesses start out small. sometimes they don't stay that way. that's the good news. the bad news is that sometimes systems which are perfectly reasonable for keeping track of things when they're small don't translate so well as the business scales up.

such was the case this week at a one-gal-show in san francisco. this small company has been doing great with one large client and several smaller accounts. all of that changed recently when the owner landed two large, ongoing clients to add to her list. others followed and it looks like 2008 will bring more of the same.

we spent lots of time talking with the client to learn about what her work is like, what her process is for each client and how things have worked thus far with her organizational systems. she loved that we pushed her to really think about her work, right down to the nitty gritty and consider if what she was doing really helped her bottom line. "that's a great question," she kept saying.

in the end, we were able to put together a system that works well for her now and will accommodate all the growth that lies ahead. she's poised now for business to quadruple before she'll need to have us back . . . and, thanks to the spruce simplicity, she'll be able to manage it all without hiring an assistant!