Why Did Blue Pencil Home Start?
It was funny then and even funnier now, but I knew I was onto something when my husband said to me a few years back, “Can we take a break from reorganizing our house?”
Do you ever do something so often that you don’t realize it’s become a part of your routine?
This is exactly what happened to me. It’s also what motivated me to consider reorganizing spaces outside my own home.
The story is known now, but when Katie and I were talking a few years ago about connecting our passions and helping others, we didn’t fathom it would turn into something real. We had no idea how to start a business or even what running a business entailed. But we did know we had a lot in common. We are both driven, hard-working, and competitive.
These are the types of traits that come in handy for us on the tennis court. Katie and I enjoy playing but a few years ago, we were also ready to start using our knack for strategy in a different capacity. Our kids were in school all day and suddenly, we had time to think about what it looked like to turn our passions into something real.
How Did Blue Pencil Home Start?
We practiced our idea on our friends at first. They told us about their organizationally-challenged areas and they were thrilled when we came over and fixed them. We had no idea we would be so good at organization, nor did we know we’d like it as much as we did.
It’s one thing to be good at taking care of our homes; it’s something entirely different to organize someone else’s stuff.
We learned another important lesson early on: We love doing something that many people dislike.
Soon, friends of our friends found out about us. Before we knew it, people were contacting us to help with garages, laundry rooms, kids’ rooms. The demand was there and suddenly, we had a full time business on our hands.
Why Focus on Organization Now?
Throughout our time here in Memphis—Katie is a native Memphian and I moved here from Minnesota for college and never left—we’ve made great connections with wonderful people. Having these bonds helped us build relationships with many who might need our services.
We love for our clients to feel the freedom that comes with eliminating unnecessary items, creating usable, efficient systems that make more beautiful spaces. Many people don’t like to do this kind of thing on their own.
As a society, we are transitioning out of a consumer-driven era built on materialism. For so long people were constantly buying things—the more stuff a person had, the better. Homes were full with pieces that people weren’t using and didn’t need. No longer were homes places of comfort or relaxed living, they were crammed full of more and more things.
Part of this is generational. Many of our clients are in their 50s and 60s, taking care of ailing parents, who also have homes full of items collected over the years. Also, many of our clients have parents from older generations who lived in a time when one saved everything.
It can be incredibly overwhelming to pare down and eliminate not only our own items, but also our parents’. Many people have no idea where to begin or how to remove pieces potentially connected to memories and personal history.
The shift away from materialism, coupled with people caring for their parents (and cleaning out their homes), has allowed Blue Pencil Home to help in a big way.
No longer do our clients feel overwhelmed. We talk through their expectations and intentions and build systems they will actually use and eliminate the things they no longer use.
It’s not that we go into a home and get rid of everything and call it a day. Instead, we talk through what items need to stay and are treasured and what items people are saving just for saving’s sake.
We are never the organizers that come to a home, throw everything away and leave. Rather, Katie and I want to help make a house a home again, with the right organization and efficient systems that allow our clients to feel happy and at peace.
Why is Blue Pencil Home the Right Fit?
It takes a unique set of characteristics for an organization team to do their best work. Katie and I didn’t even know right away that we could run a business together.
We did know, however, that we employ many characteristics on the tennis court and in our personal relationships that come in handy in running a business. We prize hard work and strive in stressful situations.
Katie and I have found great balance in our relationship. For example, I do the heavy lifting. Anything having to do with building or construction—be it hanging shelves or creating a gallery wall—those are my kinds of tasks. I like to be behind the scenes, making and creating.
Whereas Katie is more the face of our projects. She does a majority of the communicating with our clients. She’s amazing at encouraging clients to eliminate clutter. For example, there are people who are holding onto six of the same $3 items. Katie helps the client see that they can purchase one item at the drugstore the next time they need it and save themselves a great deal of space and energy.
How does a Professional Organizer Make a Difference?
Sometimes people ask how hiring Blue Pencil Home is really that much different from choosing to reorganize alone.
It makes a huge difference.
When we are hired, we hold our clients accountable. For example, we aren’t afraid to tell someone that he doesn’t need eight black t-shirts when he wears just his favorite one.
Having organizers create systems gives a client more time to focus on their own passions and hobbies. This is huge. Hiring us frees up so much time for our clients to enjoy their family, travel, and interests.
For many, if they get the organization process even started, they will often not finish. The last 10% of organization is the hardest.
We are happy to ask the hard questions: Why do you want to keep this? What function does this serve in your life?
How is Blue Pencil Home Different?
Our team doesn’t want our clients to get rid of stuff for simply for removal’s sake. We want people to think intentionally about their items and how they are used.
We want to help clients make their homes beautiful and functional.
If someone needs assistance in creating efficient spaces which aid the daily chaos of schedules, kids, and carpooling, we don’t just put up a bulletin board and call it good.
That doesn’t work.
We are going to design, create, and assist our clients in implementing beautiful organizational systems that are maintainable.
It’s one thing if something looks good in a magazine, it’s another if that system is right for the client’s home and family.
What Keeps Katie and Brooke Going?
Blue Pencil Home’s value lies with two questions:
Have we created an organized, functional and beautiful space which satisfies our client?
Are we still having fun and loving our work?
And the truth is: We love what we do. We couldn’t keep working in all the homes that we do if we didn’t genuinely love this work and the changes made for our clients.
This is the driven, hard working part of our work. We must continue to love what we do in order to keep working our hardest and make our clients the happiest.
Does our story ring true for you? Have you considered how a beautiful and functional organization system might change your life?