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Home Organizing With Sanz (plus tips for de-cluttering your life!)

September 1, 2016

Sanz is a stay-at-home mom with a background in political science, a fierce knack for decluttering and a heart of gold. 

Once an intern in the office of the Prime Minister of The Cook Islands, now she spends her time raising four kids, skiing, hiking, playing volleyball, devouring podcasts, reading books (53 in 47 weeks!) and helping people organize their homes. Sanz has a rich family tradition of bread-making, which she recently combined with her home organizing skills, to help stop the trafficking of children in the global sex trade. We caught up with Sanz and asked her to share how she did it. Just ahead, her top tips for decluttering your life!

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Hi Sanz! Tell us about your fundraiser.

I set up my Go Jane Give fundraising page and asked family and friends to support Prajwala, a nonprofit that fights sex trafficking in the hardest-hit areas of India. I offered to bake homemade bread for friends who donated at least $15. I offered my home organizing skills to friends who donated at least $50.

Tell us about your talent for home organizing and baking. How did you learn and develop these skills?

I grew up watching my mom bake fresh bread regularly. I remember watching her select the best loaves to enter in the county fair. She’d often win Best of Show. My mom also grew up watching her mom bake bread daily! My grandfather’s dinner was often fresh whole wheat bread with honey and Postum. When I began baking bread I was gifted the flour mill my grandmother used. It would take 45 minutes for enough wheat to be ground for one batch of bread. Later I was able to get a newer model that grinds my wheat in minutes. I use hard white wheat to make my flour. My mom and I have also taken classes on bread making that included whole wheat, 12 grain bread, pizza, and cinnamon rolls. I’ve demonstrated bread baking to groups of women and teenage girls in my area. My eldest son (9) is now pursuing bread baking and has started his own “business” where he sells bread door-to-door.

As for home organizing, I believe the first step is to get rid of a lot (most!) :) of your stuff. We’re pretty minimalist over here. I love having flat surfaces clear of clutter, and I love the feeling of knowing everything has a place. I believe less is greater than more. With four little ones, though, things are never quite as tidy as I dream of! I never thought of organizing as a talent until others began pointing it out to me or asking me questions about it. I’ve read dozens of books on controlling our stuff. I find tidying up to be energizing. A couple of years ago I began offering organizational and decluttering services to others. I’ve been able to help with bedrooms, kitchens, pantries, bathrooms, whole apartments, and basements. I typically work in four-hour chunks and we are able to get a lot done in that time.

How did you become aware of the issues surrounding sex trafficking? 

I was really impacted by a podcast from The Simple Show. Tsh Oxenreider interviewed a woman whose family moved to Cambodia to assist in sex trafficking prevention. I was sickened by this problem and amazed at what this family had done. Embarrassingly, it was a huge wake up call to me. Many people don’t realize it’s out there (I sure didn’t for a long time). As a woman and a mother I can’t help but think that if sex trafficking were part of my story, I would hope that someone would speak and act for me. I have no worries about my safety or fear that I will be grossly mistreated or unheard. My heart yearns for all women to have that same comfort. I struggle knowing how privileged my life is and that my day-to-day worries are insignificant compared to living with a lack of safety, love, food, clean water, & education. All children deserve a chance!

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Tell us about your fundraising experience. Were you nervous? How did you feel?

The moment (literally) that I read about Go Jane Give, I set up my fundraiser. I didn’t even think about it. I probably should have given it a little bit more thought or read through some of the other fundraisers first! Ha! I had this cause in my heart and a desire to help before Go Jane Give came to my attention, so I was ecstatic to be able to do SOMETHING from my own corner of the world. I was a little nervous to put it out there because I worried that people wouldn’t see the value in it like I did. I also didn’t want to be seen as that annoying person begging for money, so I was careful how I approached it. Knowing that I was working for these donations helped me feel confident to share.

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What was the most rewarding part of your giving experience? What was the most challenging?

This experience was incredibly rewarding and fulfilling! I felt like I was making a difference without uprooting my family or doing something drastic. I felt so helpless, and Go Jane Give empowered me! I loved sharing the experience with my children. I explained to them what I was doing and that this money was for women and children who needed our help. They were excited to check the fundraising progress each day with me. I loved having them come along as we delivered bread to our donors. I really want my kids to have a greater understanding of the world and how other people live. I want them to see the needs of others.

Any thoughts or advice you can share with other people who are considering doing their own fundraiser?

Don’t be intimidated!  The Go Jane Give platform is incredibly easy to use! Realize that your talents and interests have value to others (even if it’s hard to see it yourself).

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Finally, can you share your expert tips for home organizing?

I love developing strategies that contribute to a tidy, calm space.  Here are a few:

Keep what you need and use.

Organizing does not begin with buying dozens of matching bins!  (It may end there, but doesn’t begin there!)

If it can be done quickly (say a minute or two), just do it!

Keep similar items together and in just one location.

Don’t keep papers you don’t need and have a place for the documents you do need.  Implement a “One Touch” rule so that papers are dealt with properly the first time.

Plan a “Power Session” where you set the timer and go go go!

Use a calendar.  Whether it’s paper or digital, keeping a calendar or to-do list keeps the details out of your head and relieves mental clutter and stress.

Organize clothing by color. This makes it super simple to find just what you’re looking for.

Thank you, Sanz! We’re so inspired by your talents and your passion for your cause. And we love how you got your kids involved. Like Sanz, you can turn your talents and interests into a simple fundraiser for a cause you care about. You have more to give than you think!

Support a Cause You Care About → MORE INSPIRATION
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