The Plan to Eat Podcast

#58: Home Organization for Peace of Mind with Amy Berryhill

June 07, 2023 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 58
#58: Home Organization for Peace of Mind with Amy Berryhill
The Plan to Eat Podcast
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The Plan to Eat Podcast
#58: Home Organization for Peace of Mind with Amy Berryhill
Jun 07, 2023 Season 1 Episode 58
Plan to Eat

Amy Berryhill started Spiffy Chicks in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007 when the organizing profession was still in its infancy. Amy’s mission is to help people relieve stress and experience the joy that results from living in a beautiful and functional space that supports their lifestyle.  
In this conversation, we talk about Amy's process for getting her clients organized, how she helps them maintain the systems she uses, and the peace of mind organizing brings to the people she helps. We hope you enjoy!

Connect with Amy online:
www.spiffychicks.com
IG: @spiffychicks

Find the recipe Amy mentioned in this episode:
Kale and Wild Rice Salad

Sign up for a free trial + get 20% off your first annual subscription: plantoeat.com/PTEPOD
Contact us: podcast@plantoeat.com

Connect with us:
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Show Notes Transcript

Amy Berryhill started Spiffy Chicks in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007 when the organizing profession was still in its infancy. Amy’s mission is to help people relieve stress and experience the joy that results from living in a beautiful and functional space that supports their lifestyle.  
In this conversation, we talk about Amy's process for getting her clients organized, how she helps them maintain the systems she uses, and the peace of mind organizing brings to the people she helps. We hope you enjoy!

Connect with Amy online:
www.spiffychicks.com
IG: @spiffychicks

Find the recipe Amy mentioned in this episode:
Kale and Wild Rice Salad

Sign up for a free trial + get 20% off your first annual subscription: plantoeat.com/PTEPOD
Contact us: podcast@plantoeat.com

Connect with us:
Instagram
Facebook
Pinterest

[00:00:00] 

I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner. 

Roni: Welcome to the Plan to Eat podcast. Today we got to interview Amy Berry Hill. She is the founder of Spiffy Chicks, um, which is a personal organization service. She started Spiffy Chicks in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2007. Amy's mission with Spiffy Chicks is to help people relieve stress and experience the joy that results from living in a beautiful and functional space that supports their lifestyle.

Riley: Today we talked to Amy about how she got started as an organizer, how she helps people through the process. We talked about kitchen organization and kind of the ripple effect that that can, uh, lead to in your life. And just feeling, uh, peace of mind and like you can do other things in your life besides be stressed about dinner.[00:01:00] 

We really enjoyed our conversation and we hope that you guys really love it too. 

Roni: Well, Amy, thanks so much for joining us today. We're so excited to talk to you.

Amy: I'm excited to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Riley: So to get started, why don't you tell everybody who you are and what you do.

Amy: I'm Amy Berryhill and I own a company called Spiffy Chicks. We are professional organizers. We're actually a team of professional organizers. There's nine of us on the team right now. We've been doing this for 16 years and we absolutely love what we do. We love helping people transform their space from a feeling of overwhelm to a feeling of calm, and knowing that they're in a place that's both beautiful and functional.

Riley: How did you get started? Being a professional organizer.

Amy: Well, it's something that has always appealed to me. I was doing full-time work in pharmaceuticals for a long time, which I absolutely love that as well. But I started to travel a ton for work, and when I had [00:02:00] kids, I felt like it wasn't a sustainable schedule. For me personally, um, you know, like I said, I enjoyed it, but I was kind of looking at other options and as I was thinking about what do I love to do, there were two things.

Uh, I thought being a personal trainer might be really fun and, helping people get organized. And at the time there weren't a bunch of role models for the professional organizing industry. You know, Peter Walsh. Um, Julie Morgan Stern. Those were some of the earlier players, if you will, in the world of organizing, and I remember being inspired by them thinking, wow, I could make a business out of this and really help people.

And it's funny, I'm not one of those organizers that has been organized my entire life since I was a kid. I mean, my mom will be the first one to tell you. My room is always a mess. And I have a picture of that that I've used in presentations to give people hope that if your kid's a mess, things can turn around.

Maybe there'll be an organizer someday. So it, [00:03:00] it's not something I've always. Done. But it's always a skill I think I've had in me. So when I wanted to do it, um, it came very easily and naturally to me.

Riley: It's funny that you say that, um, because that's, well, I am not a professional organizer. Um, but my room was always a mess as a kid, and when my mom would tell me to clean my room. I wouldn't just clean it. I, I had to like re rearrange the whole room, which meant it got way messier before it got any cleaner.

I don't know. That's probably like a type of like org of like person who cleans. It's like I'm gonna rearrange everything and make it totally new. I don't know if you run into that, but.

Amy: Well, that's a great way of doing it actually, because then you're really taking a look at everything and resetting your systems. And when you say it gets, you know, messier before it gets clean. I mean, that's really the same process that we have with our clients as well. So you really could be, I mean, I know you're great at your job at Plan to eat, but clearly you love to organize, as you mentioned, you just did your [00:04:00] pantry.

Riley: Oh, okay. Hold on. No, for everyone who knows me who's listening, they need to, they need me to say this. I am not good at this. I am, I'm really not. I'm taking ownership. I'm really not good at this. I'm so excited we're talking to you today. Um, I can find it in me to do it, uh, but it is not a natural thing.

Amy: Okay. Fair enough.

Riley: Yeah. Yeah.

Roni: So I'm curious, what are, what are the reasons that your clients come to you? What's the reason that somebody needs a professional organizer and they don't just, um, you know, put on their boots and do it themselves?

Amy: Well, two reasons. Um, one of the reasons why they don't do it themselves is that they just don't have the time. You know, they're really strapped for time. They might be busy working professionals. They have a lot going on in their life, or maybe they're living in two different places. You know, there's so many different factors that can play into that.

But not having time is one. And the other reason that people come to me is they've hit [00:05:00] a state of, I guess you could call disorganization, that really feel overwhelmed and stuck. And the climbing out of that and doing it themselves would take so much time. That if they have the resources, it's just easier to outsource that to us or to do it with us alongside of us.

Riley: Yeah, that makes me think of like time is money kind of thing. Thing, and I mean, they're going to, by paying you to do it, they're really alleviating that burden that they have, um, mentally, but also like they can then go do the other things they need to do without. Taking the time off, I guess, cuz some, I'm, I'm guessing you see a lot of people who it's, it's, it's a lot of time.

I mean, when I, I, I just told you before we, before we started recording, I told you that we, I'd just done my fridge and freezer and pantry and it took me a whole day and at the end of the day I was exhausted.

Amy: Right. Yes, exactly. Which is why we come in with a team so we can come in and out of [00:06:00] people's spaces more quickly, because if I was just to do it myself, it could take a long time. And we also encourage our clients, if you have family members or even friends or relatives that wanna come in and part of the process, we're happy to teach everybody and to roll up their sleeves and get involved.

And we've, we've had that happen before, which has been really fun. I love it when people get enthusiastic about the process and are willing to become, I guess you could say, strategics alongside with us. Um, so yeah, we can not only help them get it done faster, but. really an investment in self-care, um, and an investment for you and your family to have a professional come in who has a number of years of experience and knows what would work and would not work for your particular setting and your family's lifestyle and the way you live, and then help you basically overcome that hurdle of the time factor, and then it set you up for a system that you can maintain from there.

Roni: Mm-hmm.

Amy: Um, the other thing that a [00:07:00] professional organizer can do is, you know, we're so familiar with different products and what works and what doesn't and how to measure and how to install If you need products. I'm not a huge product heavy organizer. I can get them for folks and we can make your pantry look pinchers perfect.

But I don't think that's absolutely necessary for everybody. I think you can easily get organized on a budget as well, so, Anyway, the professional advice really cuts down the time and the cost and gets you to your end goal faster.

Roni: Hmm. I'm curious what your philosophy is around organizing. Are you a, does it spark joy, let's get rid of lots of things, or is it just more about let's create a system for organizing the things that you have?

Amy: Well, I think the first step, I mean, whether we call it sparking joy or just, you know, going through that mindful process of decluttering. Is super important. It is the most important step. When I see somebody, you know, showing me their [00:08:00] space and they say, I just can't get organized, and I can tell there is literally too much stuff for this space that. I know that they will feel more organized and their space will be more beautiful and functional if we can par it down to the items they use. I think the hard thing for some people is that it's hard to let go, and that's another reason why they might call somebody like me to come in and help them. Is we'll give them permission to let go of things that they're maybe holding onto for reasons of guilt or what have you.

And then we can also talk really frankly, about why are you holding onto this even if it wasn't a gift. You know, what is it about it that you can't let it go? Because I'm hearing you say you want x as an end result, but yet we have this hurdle in overcoming this objective. Um, And that is to get rid of those items that are preventing that end result.

So I do both. Have been times though, where [00:09:00] I am organizing somebody, for example, after they've remodeled a home or they're entering their home for the first time. And we don't always do the purging process because they've usually done that on the front end, you know, before they packed everything up.

So I just unpack and put it all away, and that's a case where I don't do that sort of purging and asking if it sparks story process.

Roni: Right.

So I'm somebody just, you know, a little personal tidbit here. I'm somebody who likes a lot of books. I have a lot of lot of books at my house. What do you do with people who are, I don't know why I can't get rid of the books. There's lots of books I haven't read, which is probably why I don't wanna get rid of them.

Right. It's cuz they're on my unread bookshelf. So what do you do like in a situation like that where I'm like, I don't, I live in a very small house. I live in 750 square feet and I have a whole giant bookshelf.

Amy: But there's nothing wrong with holding onto books If you love them and you wanna read them. I say hold on to them. And the cool thing about books is you can use them in a multitude of ways. You know, if they're, if you get to the point where they're not fitting all on your [00:10:00] bookshelf, you can put a stack of them and put a little object on top in one room, on a coffee table.

You can spread them out throughout the house and they can serve that decorative function as well as also, you know, The function. I'm just waiting for you to read them, but after you've read them, if you were telling me that you've already read all these books and you just have a hard time letting go, then there would be some more questions I'd wanna ask you as to why you're holding on.

And I might suggest things like, could you donate them to the library? And then you can always go check them out. Like let the library store those items for you. You can always get them back when you need them.

Roni: I love that. I'm probably gonna have to take a couple of those tips.

Riley: Let's, I wanna talk a bit more about the emotional aspect of organization. what, this is a lot of questions I'm thinking at the same time. Cuz I feel like what you were just telling us about asking people like, why are you holding on to this? Uh, that feels a bit like a counseling process. You know, you're.

Performing this like therapy, [00:11:00] emotional support for people as they're trying to get rid of things, because things can hold a lot of emotional value, whether or not they should or shouldn't. But then I guess, what does it do for people when they let go and when their space is organized?

Amy: Yeah, I, you know, I've never. Had a client tell me that they've deeply regretted letting something go, which is interesting, you know, of all these years. Um, most of the time, and, and this is just anecdotally too, not just my clients, but like I read, I, I can't talk enough about organizing, so I read all the books I can get my hands on, you know, and every book I've read, I hear that same message over and over again.

And what it brings for people is just a feeling of freedom. And a release like they've been clinging for so long that they almost don't even see another way. And having someone come in and release that and show them how their space and their life can be more functional and more [00:12:00] efficient without clinging onto all those things can make a big impact.

And I, you know, I don't do a process right now anyway with my company or haven't in the process of. Asking for reviews, but I have received just unsolicited reviews and those come in the forms of emails, text, phone calls of people just pouring out emotion of how happy they are. And I mean, one of the emails I had more recently, it was, um, actually titled 20 Minutes of Joy.

And it was from a client talking about how. Pleasurable. It was for her to unpack her groceries and put them away in her pantry and her fridge, and prepare a meal for her family, which was previously a very stressful thing for her. And she just felt completely overwhelmed and she's a great cook and has a million great spices and wonderful, um, products to whip up a fantastic meal with, but it was just very hard to access and hearing that after [00:13:00] we left her that there was this feeling of joy.

Just, it's so rewarding, you know? That's what I live for, that's what I do this for. Um, not only do I enjoy the actual process, but the result and helping people in that way is so important to me.

Riley: It seems like there's this really beautiful ripple effect that happens like you've, uh, for your, this customer in particular, you've organized their pantry. Bridge whatever else you did for her. And then she gets to have this pleasurable experience of putting them away and then cooking. And then I could just imagine hers like sitting after dinner and have that, she felt so relaxed, like, oh, that was so easy.

Like it's just like this. And then that proceeds, we eat every day, multiple times a day. So I'm guessing that for, you know, and. Until she may need it again or needs to spruce up what, what, what had happened, you know, or spruce up what you did for her. Uh, she gets to just kinda like sit in that like joyful space forever.

Amy: Exactly, and it's set up in a way, you know, where everything's labeled so the family can help out too. [00:14:00] It, it, the burden doesn't have to be on one person in the household, even if one person in the household is the primary cook, you know, or grocery shopper. Um, when you're organized and there's a system that everybody can understand and see, then it enables others to get involved and help, which really makes everybody's life easier.

Riley: Yeah.

Roni: So other than giving people labels to help them maintain their system, how, what other resources do you give people to help them, um, continue your work after you're gone?

Amy: We, well, we do a lot of work on the front end actually talking about the way the family lives and you know, like for example, do they bake a lot? Do they, so we tease a lot of that out initially so that by the time we're installing the system, if you will, We already know, like they bake a ton. So those items need to be front and center, or they don't bake very much.

So those are gonna be put away. So we've talked about this system and how it will be. And then once we actually do it, then [00:15:00] we kind of run through it with them. Like, okay, so as you mentioned, you don't bake a lot. So we put those things up here. You use a ton of spices. So we got those all front and center, easily labeled, easily accessed.

How does that feel? You know? So we talk it all through basically. In addition to that, There are some cases where there might be an entire household staff supporting our client, and we wanna make sure that not just the client understands how to maintain the system, but everybody in that household, whether they have housekeeper, chefs, et cetera, coming in that everybody understands.

So we've either done quick videos explaining how everything works. We've been, been put together some household manuals and left a printed copy behind for folks. We've done that for numerous clients now. So, That's one way, like almost like a reference manual, but for the majority of our clients, just kind of talking it through and showing them the process and confirming with them, will this work for you going forward?

And they say yes, and it's great. Sometimes, you know, I. Clients are [00:16:00] really open and they haven't had things really organized before. And they'll say, just do whatever. And so I'll do it, but then I'll ask them for feedback like, let me know as your you and your family is living with this, what works, what doesn't.

If you need anything tweaked, I can give you some pointers on how we can move things around. But for the most part, usually people are up and running. Sometimes they get really busy and life just, you know, we have these moments. Sometimes maybe you have a death of a loved one or a really, um, traumatic event happening of some sort and some things start to just unravel and then they need help sort of resetting their system.

We can come back in and help in those instances if they are not able to do it themselves because of time or emotional constraints.

Roni: Mm.

Amy: Does that answer your question, Ron?

Roni: Yeah, it does. Yeah. Um, yeah, I just think it's really interesting. I. All of this is really interesting, particularly because like you're saying, so much of the work is really upfront. It's not actually in the organizing itself, it's [00:17:00] really in some of this like preparation and emotional work and things like that.

And then the organization is just kind of like, this is the icing on the cake is that things are organized here, but really it's, you helped people go through the process and you taught them things along the way. so yeah, it's all really cool.

Amy: Exactly. And then sometimes if they're working along side of us, they do see that sometimes, like for example, let's say we're doing a pantry, you know, we pull everything out because we wanna see. Are things expired? Do we need to get rid of them, et cetera. And that process, when you're checking expiration dates and grouping like items together, you know, all the pastas together, all the rices together, all the baked goods together, et cetera, and then putting things into compost so that you can make sure you're being good to the environment.

That process can take a while. So when you put in that investment, You want to get a good return on your investment. So I think people feel the need to, okay, let's, let's keep this up. We, we invested time and money into this. Let's make sure we're, we're keeping it the way it is. We [00:18:00] also try to set up systems that are easy to maintain.

You know, sometimes you'll see. Again, the pantry example. But on Pinterest, everything's decanted, everything's beautiful, and for some clients they can really maintain that and that works for them. But we do express to people, you know, there are a few different ways we can do a pantry, and I wanna make sure I'm setting up in a way that your family can maintain it.

For some of our clients, just grouping like items together so everybody can find it. And maybe putting a label on a shelf is plenty. Some clients we might put things in a basket and group items together like that. The whole decanting of things is really like next level. You know, every, everybody needs to know how to cook the item that's decanted, unless you're really gonna cut out the instructions and paste it on the bot.

You know, so there's, there's so many steps involved when you're dealing with putting in a ton of products, which can be absolutely beautiful and I fully support and I have some of that in my own house, but you just wanna make sure that the entire family is on board with it.

Riley: Otherwise, [00:19:00] I'm sure it goes, uh, downhill really fast.

Amy: Yeah, it just, it becomes too much to maintain, and our goal is to make your life easier, not more complicated.

Riley: Uh, so we, Roni and I did, we both did these big pantry cleanouts. We recorded a podcast about what we learned and how we organized it and like the whole process we went through. But we are not experts and so we've had a few people. Talk to us since then and say things like, well, so I use flags so I know like little tags are half of a sticky note, uh, to help me know what I need to use up next.

Do you have any advice for people that you would be willing to share for pantry specifically? So people can pull out like, the thing that needs to be eaten next or, before something goes bad? Like is it just all in front or in, um, maybe this question's confusing. Hopefully it

Amy: No, I, I, I know exactly what you're saying. Mean, there's a few different ways you could do that. You can do, like you said, like really the answer is whatever works for them, right? If the flag system works for them, great. Keep it up. [00:20:00] Flag is awesome. If that's not working and they're looking for other alternatives.

I've seen people do like, um, a bin of like, use this up now. For me, that just feels like a little bit extra work. If you've just done an entire pantry cleanup and there's just a handful of things that you know you need to use up, great. But to keep that up long term feels to me like a little bit extra work cuz then you're constantly checking things to see what you need to use up.

Right. I kind of set up things in the pantry like. The FIFO method, like first in, first out, so let's say I just bought some pastas, right? And I've got like three bags of fusilli pasta and I realize I'm running low and now I'm, I need to buy more. I wouldn't put the new package right in front. I would put the new package behind.

So I'm grabbing the one in front to use first.

Roni: Mm-hmm.

Amy: Likewise, if I am decanting things, so let's say flour, sugar, oats, whatever things I might [00:21:00] bake with. Let's say my container of oats is getting low, but I still have some left. Instead of buying the new container and just jumping in on top, I'll take what's left of that container.

Just dump it in a bowl for a second. Pour the new container on the bottom and then take what was in the bolt and put it on top. So I'm naturally using the older stuff first. Does that make sense?

Riley: Yeah, absolutely. And I think it's, uh, what I'm hearing and thinking as you're talking about this is it's a bit of. Changing your habits because what you just described is very easy. Um, but I can imagine people walk in and they're just like, oh, put the fili where it needs to go or throw the oatmeal in on top.

And, but those just little extra steps of putting it behind. Um, if you can kind of re get your brain to work in that way and just change the habit, it makes it really easy to do, I'm guessing.

Amy: Yeah. And the other thing that's honestly, I mean, my kids and their friends will probably tell you we don't have a lot of food in our house, which is sometimes embarrassing. Like, you know, people come over [00:22:00] and I'm like, yikes, I need to quickly run out and get some snacks or what have, um, but. That also helps with making sure that items don't go to waste.

We buy what we need for the week, we eat it up, and then we replenish on Sundays. I love to go to the farmer's market on Sundays. Uh, we'll go to the, you know, the grocery store once or twice a week to get what we need and. That that also really helps when you have an a pantry or a refrigerator chock full of items.

It can be really difficult to use it all up and sometimes you don't necessarily need that. Just people have been in a habit of having a lot, or especially during covid, I think everybody just sort of hoarded food because we felt had this sort of scarcity mindset and you know, the stores are gonna run out and, and so we stock up on stuff and.

You know, I've seen pantries where they still have like a 15 pound bag of rice or like tons of flour leftover, like from pandemic days, right? So that was sort of a unique [00:23:00] situation. That doesn't always happen, but, but just kind of keeping your pantry in your fridge a little bit on the leaner side really makes a difference.

It makes life easy.

Riley: Yeah. That's great. Great tip.

Roni: Yeah, I like that tip too. I, I was gonna, the next question I was gonna ask you is how you think the organization plays into meal planning? It sounds like you kind of have like a flexible style of meal planning, but, do you, um, notice that it has an influence on your clients in that regard?

Amy: Yeah. Well, you know, it's funny, some of my clients, you know, they just getting organized is. enough for them. Meal planning is really next level for a lot of people. You know, not everybody can wrap their head around meal planning, but what I love about Plan to Eat, for example, like I live by your app, because not only do I meal plan with it, but it holds on my recipes.

So it just makes life easy. Again, I'm looking for the most easy, simple method to do all things in life. With. Life is hard enough. We don't need to make it harder on ourselves. So when I have those [00:24:00] recipes digitally, If I'm at the grocery store, even if I haven't meal planned something, and I was like, oh wait, I was making that chicken.

What isn't that again? I can just pull it up really quickly. It's at my fingertips. Or if I'm traveling, let's say I'm staying at a friend's gorgeous home somewhere and I wanna contribute by making a meal, boom. All my recipes are in the palm of my hand. So I love it for that. Um, when it comes to my own meal planning. I will kind of look and see, is there anything we need to use up in the house, and I'll try to start with that. Or sometimes I'll just go shopping on Sundays at the farmer's market, grab what I think looks good, take it home. I wash and prep all that. I try, because I work during the week, it makes my life so much easier if I can do all that prep on the weekends.

So I wash and prep my lettuce, my vegetables, like chop and peel the carrots, you know, all that stuff. So when it comes to making the actual meal, I'm already sort of halfway there when I open the fridge. Uh, and then I'll look at what I bought [00:25:00] and plan a, a week's meal out of it. Like, okay, there's a bunch of great root vegetables, so maybe I'll just do like a roast chicken, root vegetables and rice done, and I'll put that on a day.

So some of it's notes in, for those listeners of yours that are familiar with the Plan to Eat podcast, some of, I'll just put that in note. Or if it's, um, a recipe, I'll drag and drop the recipe and boom, there's the rest of my shopping list and I'll go to the grocery store with that. I'll also sometimes help myself out with, like, if I wanna, you know, make soup, I'll make extras of it and throw some in the freezer so that I have some cheat meals waiting for me on busy days or if I'm going to grocery store.

Uh, there's a great gourmet. Grocery store near us called Market Hall and they have incredible soups and sometimes I'll check out that freezer and see what they have and stock up on some of those. So I have those on hand as well. Um, that also reduces the amount of products I need to bring in my house cuz the soup's already done and it's just sitting in the freezer.[00:26:00] 

Riley: Yeah, I have really enjoyed the pantry planning process recently. Looking at what I have, what can I make from. This, and trying not to buy more of it. You know, like I, I'm gonna use it up. I'm gonna make what I have, um, to try to help, kinda like bring down the storage. I live a really long way from town and we live in an area where we could.

Yet a lot of weather at any point. It's like we have some stable meal things on hand at all times. And so I have probably a bit more food storage than you have. Uh, but I've been really enjoying leaning into the cook from the pantry thing, uh, lately. And it, it's changing the way I meal plan a bit. And I, but I like it a lot. 

Amy: yes.

Roni: I'm curious, uh, what recommendations you have for organizing just like a, a freezer, a pullout, or, you know, door freezer that's connected to a refrigerator. Right? Like, just like a. Small refrigerator freezer, because I feel like mine always just gets like stuff piled on top of each other, right? 

Riley: Kind of an abyss. 

Roni: yeah.

Right. Like we, [00:27:00] uh, my husband's a hunter and so often we'll get, you know, like large quantities of animal meat. And that it's like, it just kind of gets like plopped in there and then I have to rifle through things to find the thing that I'm looking for. What's your best way for organizing a freezer like that?

Amy: Yes. Well, one of the things I've been doing recently in my freezer, for example, like we make a lot of smoothies and so decamping. Items. So like let's say I buy some frozen fruit, or let's say I had some extra fruit at home that was gonna go bad. Sorry, I froze it. I just take it and put it into a stacher bag.

I'm not sure if you're familiar with those, but they're like, they still, I love those things. So anyway, all decant things. So like even the meat maybe, like it can be prepped to a certain level. You know, so instead of throwing it all in, you know the way it is, unless you're planning to cook it all in that state, if you are going to, let's say, make steaks out of it, maybe you chop the steaks and wrap them really well and tightly, um, Even if you did it in like a vacuum seal, um, and then [00:28:00] put those in a ST bag and just kind of line them up that way, then it's easy to see what you have.

You know, those are clear bags. You can see what you have. We also make cookie dough in advance. In fact, I have a whole reel on my Instagram on this cookie dough process, which is funny. I, it was kind of like an aside thing that I did. It's not so much about organizing, but it is about planning ahead and all that sort of thing, and how we organize things in our freezer And I got more views on that than any other reel that I have.

But, um, that's just a process we've done since, oh my gosh, since before I even had a family. Like I've always just made a batch freeze 'em and, and, you know, and put 'em in like halfway done already, so I don't have to make something from scratch each time. So decanting and organizing by type in the freezer is really helpful.

If you have frozen meals, put all those together. If you have frozen fruit, put all those together, putting like items together, and then. Use up what you have. So if you notice that things are getting so full, you can't fit anything in there, then that is [00:29:00] where, again, meal planning would come into play for me.

I would say, okay, I can't even fit this thing in here. I gotta take these things. I gotta take these soups out, and we're gonna have that this week so I can make room for this big roast that I'm putting in.

Roni: Mm. Mm-hmm.

Riley: That's great advice. We're huge fans of stacher bags over here.

Roni: Yeah,

Amy: good. I love it.

Riley: 'em. Yeah.

Amy: They're a local co Well, they were, they started a local company, uh, in our areas. So yeah, I love supporting them.

Riley: that's great. Yeah.

Roni: So one thing that I, uh, think is maybe a misconception about the idea of like organizing and decluttering is that it results in a lot of waste. So how do you help people potentially, you know, repurpose some of their items and not necessarily repurpose in their home, but, you know, figure out like what things can be donated, what things can be recycled?

You mentioned composting. Um, how do you go through that process with people?

Amy: We try to keep as much as we possibly can out of landfill. So when it comes to food, yes, composting or recycling, any packaging that can be [00:30:00] recycled. Again, like meal planning really helps you not be wasteful when it comes to food. You can also be creative in the way that you use food as it's expiring or has expired.

You know, um, the, the local food banks will take, for example, canned goods and package, like shelf stable items if you don't wanna eat them because they've expired, the, uh, local organizations will take things. They said between six months to a year after the expiration date. So that's a great way to keep things out of landfill or even out of compost if you wanted to.

When it comes to other items like clothing, furniture, et cetera, we have companies that we use to help us with picking up those items and making sure that they either get donated, repurposed, um, or recycled if they're not able to be donated and repurposed. Um, and that the very last step, You know, put into landfill.

We try to keep as much as we can out of landfill though.

Riley: That's fantastic. Yeah, we have a, I'm sure you [00:31:00] guys have something like this in your area, but we have a store around here at the, like the Restore recycle

Amy: Mm. Mm-hmm.

Riley: and you can take a lot of furniture and things like that there so that it gets reused and recycled.

Roni: Yeah.

Amy: I love that. And then there's a lot nowadays, you know, there's all these Facebook Buy nothing groups that sometimes are in local areas. So there's the buy nothing group where I've seen people post, I've had clients use that. And then we also have like a local. It's called Lamar to treasures out here.

But anyway, it, there's different local Facebook groups, I'm sure throughout the country where people will post items to sell. It's almost like a Craigslist, but for a local. You know, private groups, everybody gets screened and you have to live in the area and so on. And that's another great way as well. Um, that's something that our clients will do personally, like we'll recommend it to them and they will go ahead and post those items if they want to sell them, if they just wanna get it outta the house as quickly as possible, we'll use those third party resources to come in and help us make sure [00:32:00] that those items are getting put to good use somewhere else. And then they get a tax donation as well, so a, a tax write off. So we'll give them those receipts, of course, as well.

Riley: That's awesome.

Roni: So you're in the San Francisco Bay area, but we obviously, we have listeners from all over the place. So if somebody was wanting to work with you or talk to you about organizing, how did, are there any options for that?

Amy: Yes. You know, the pandemic gave us this really unique opportunity to try virtual organizing. So during. The entire, you know, time when we were shut down and really not seeing each other, we, before vaccinations were available, I offered free virtual organizing services to anybody who wanted them. And it gave me a chance to practice to see if that was effective for people.

And it was a way that I felt I could give back to society during this difficult time for all of us. And what it taught me is there is really an advantage, especially for the right client in using that type of service. [00:33:00] So, There's a lot of people who are do-it-yourselfers, but you know, they don't wanna waste time and money on buying the wrong thing, approaching it the wrong way.

So I can really be a great coach for them. And as we are talking on either FaceTime or Zoom, I'm also taking notes for them. About what we've discussed about what their next steps will be, and also creating a shopping list for them. If they feel like they want product, I will, because it's so easy for me.

I know what products work well and I, I'll tell them, okay, grab your tape measure before we meet, you know? And so as we're looking, let's say at their pantry, I'll say, can you measure the depth of that shelf? Okay, 11 inches this product will work and I'll put it on a shopping cart for them. To look at and decide if they wanna buy it, they can go ahead and do that after we get off the phone.

And so they're only investing an hour of my time as opposed to a whole team coming in, which to be honest, can be real luxury for people, um, if they have the means. But it's a great way for me to help people [00:34:00] without a huge expense, and it's a great way for me to help people that are outside my area.

Roni: Yeah. So how does, how does that look? Do you, do you have the person taking their phone around and showing you different areas of their house and you're helping them figure out the best solution for that place?

Amy: Yep, exactly. So, well actually we do it in a couple different ways. So I offer a 30 minute free consult for every client when they're local, not local, whatever. So, um, if we're gonna come in and do the work, I. That's when we'll do the free concept and they'll have them use their phone and walk around and show me every space and explain to me what's working.

What are your trouble spots? Tell me everything and don't clean up before we meet because I wanna see it in its natural state, so I know how to help you best. Then if I'm doing a virtual, let's say, you know, you live in Colorado and you wanna do this with me. If we're doing one particular space, what I'll have them do is set up their phone or their computer.

So it's just sitting there and [00:35:00] either they're doing the work with me and I'm literally saying, wait, move that to the right. Move the, you know, I'm, I'm telling 'em exactly what to do as they're doing it. Or we're just talking it through together and I'll say, okay, measure this. And then I'm, I'm creating this plan that they'll execute after we're on the phone together.

If they feel like they want more than an hour, we can definitely schedule, you know, a longer, like we can do a tour or three hour session at three hours. Most people just get cross-eyed and it's just too much for them. We, we can go all day. I never tire of this. But when it's your own stuff, it just can, it can, like you said, Riley, it can be a little exhausting.

Um, and so sometimes we'll just do like a, an hour or two and then take a break, and then they will circle back with me in the next month or two and say, okay, I'm ready to tackle this closet now. And then we'll do the next thing.

Riley: That's great. I, uh, I love that you just said that you never get tired of organizing. Uh, that means, That you're made for this.[00:36:00] 

Amy: I do love it. I know it sounds weird for a lot of people, but I really do love it and I love just helping people. It's so rewarding to help people get to that place of calm when they feel like their home is both beautiful and functional. It's like this huge cloud has been lifted, and it's so rewarding to see that.

Roni: Hmm.

Riley: I know we, uh, we really need to wrap up with you cuz you have other things to do, but I have one other question. I have little kids and it seems like just can't seem to get on top of it. Do you have any advice for that?

Amy: Yes. Well, and it's a little bit different for, you know, every aged child. So tell the audience how old your kids are and then we'll talk through some of these examples.

Riley: so I have an almost three year old and a newborn,

Amy: Okay. So the newborn. Sadly to say won't be able to be much help,

Riley: Yeah.

Amy: but your three year old, believe it or not, can do a few things. Um, you can talk through, you know, if you know what their favorite foods are, and [00:37:00] you can say like, What do you wanna eat?

This way, you know, you can, they can tell you what they like and so you can kind of plan based on that. They can also help. And just caveat here, obviously, you know, having a three-year-old that it can take longer when you get help. So having like, we have to summon our own patience through this process, but I think it pays dividends in the long run to get them involved.

So even at three, they can help wash things out. They can maybe even open packages. So let's say you got like a. I don't know, like a 12 pack of little chip bags or something. You know, they can rip up those, you know, even if you had to open up the package itself, they can take out the little bags and maybe line them up in a box in the pantry.

You know, there's little things that they can do to help that will teach them the system, and then as they get older, And I can, I can, you know, tell you just from my own experience, my kids are now 19 and 21 that they could do the grocery shopping, unload the groceries, put them away, and even [00:38:00] make the meals for the house.

So there is a progression there and I think the sooner you start, especially when they're young, like at three, they're actually excited to help

Roni: Hmm.

Amy: you do that, like giving them tasks, you know, you're the mom, so you know best what they can handle, and giving them small, manageable tasks will really help in the long run.

Riley: That's great. Yeah. I just need to do it and not be uh, the summoning the patience thing. Yep.

Amy: Yes, yes.

Riley: Yep. Awesome. Thank you so much for your time. This has been a great, great chat and I know it'll be beneficial for people.

Amy: Uh, thank you for the opportunity. I'd love it.

Roni: So before we go, will you tell everybody how they can find you online if they wanna, you know, work with you virtually, how they can do all that stuff?

Amy: Sure on Instagram, it's at spiffy chicks, S P I F F Y C H I C K S, and I don't know if you'll have a link to that on the podcast. Then Our website is spiffychicks.com. And you'll see all our links there [00:39:00] to, you know, Instagram, Facebook, et cetera. And then there's a contact form on there. You can schedule a virtual consult on there.

You can schedule a one-on-one, uh, virtual appointment if you don't live in the Bay Area. So you can do everything right from our website.

Riley: Fantastic. We like to end every episode by asking our guests, um, what they've eaten recently or a recipe they've made that they've really loved. You have. Anything that comes to mind.

Amy: Ooh. Something that I have made over and over and over again, uh, and it's usually a big hit when I bring it to other places or serve it at home, is this kale salad that, it, it's a wild rice, kale salad. Do my plan to eat. If anybody wants to connect with me, I think my, I forget what my handle is, like Amy Berry Hill, uh, , um, it's kale salad where you massage the kale and then you put on wild rice and cranberries, nuts, goat cheese, apples, but it's very forgiving.

You could really put in whatever you want, avocado. You can throw in some protein if you want. And there's a great dressing there. I [00:40:00] also use this dressing called the French Poodle, which if you guys have not tried French Poodle, it is outstanding. It's, it's from a restaurant Carmel. Um, that was called their French poodle, and now they, they've closed, but they still sell the salad dressing in various markets and you can order it online.

Anyway, that's my go-to. So sometimes I'll just replace this, the, um, recipes, uh, vinegarette with the French poodle vinegarette. Anyway, so that's, that's been my go-to lately in the last couple of years. It ticks all the boxes. It's healthy, it's filling, it's easy. Everybody loves it.

Riley: yeah. That's great.

Roni: Yeah, that sounds awesome. We'll get that recipe from you and link it in the show notes. We'll also link to your website and Instagram and stuff. So thanks so much for joining us today, Amy. We really appreciate it.

Amy: Thank you. All right. Have a great day. Bye-bye.

Roni: We hope you enjoyed this episode. And if you did, please share it with someone and subscribe to our podcast. Wherever you listen to your podcasts.