Go Make a Memory

We’ll take care of the rest.

Holidays are here, and chances are that you add something to your “Must-Do-Soon” list every day. Are you wondering how to actually ENJOY time with your family in the midst of the busy season? Company parties, neighborhood potlucks, school performances, holiday decorating and weeks of shopping can easily take over the schedule and rob you of time to create meaningful memories with those you love.

Visit our Pinterest page for awesome ideas on how to spend quality time with your family. You’ll find craft ideas, games and memory-making fun. http://www.pinterest.com/gigharborhome/

Our Holiday Checklist helped many families in November, and it can still guide you as the holiday countdown continues through December. http://gigharborhomemanagement.com/holiday-checklist/

Join our Facebook page so that you can get updates on local holiday events, and see suggestions from others on December activities you won’t want to miss.


Perhaps you’re like many local residents who have realized their schedules are too full and they need assistance. We’re always excited to share the many ways we can help:

  • Clean your house for special events and arrivals.
  • Organize closets, pantries and mudrooms.
  • Purchase or set up holiday decorations.
  • Provide vacation home watch services.
  • Provide referrals for winter home maintenance services such as holiday light installations and gutter and window cleaning.

Did you know we are a member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers? And, we are continually receiving training on how to provide support and oversight for individuals downsizing into a retirement home. If you are taking time over the holidays to discuss with your extended family the need to move a loved one into a new living space, we offer free consultations and can assist you with these big decisions. Visit http://gigharborhomemanagement.com/relocation-services/ for more information.



Family Fun

Laugh yourself silly this holiday season and create hilarious memories with your loved ones. “Minute to Win It” games are only limited by your imagination. The idea is to perform several tasks with items found around the house, in 60 seconds or less. And because these games are so simple, they can be played easily by all ages. Form two teams, and for each round select one teammate (or couple) to tackle the task. Set a timer, and whoever gets done first, or accomplishes the most, WINS!

Some ideas:

Tweeze These: Move as many Tic Tacs as possible from one bowl to another, using only a pair of tweezers.IMG_7977-680x10241

String of Ornaments: Attach a string from one wall to the next. With a partner, hang ornaments on the string without using your hands.

The Jiggle Effect: Tie an old tissue box filled with ping pong balls to your waist; get as many balls out as possible by jumping.

Jelly Nose: With petroleum jelly on your nose, transfer cotton balls from one bowl to another, one at a time, with no hands.

Eye of the Needle: Pull a thread through a needle 10 times in one minute.

Marshmallow Toss: See how many marshmallows you can toss through a holiday wreath into a bowl.

Ornamental Yard: Balance as many ornaments as you can on a yardstick (that’s resting on two paper towel tubes) without it falling down.

Nut Job: Arrange 8 iron nuts in a row at the end of a table. Using a chopstick, string the nuts onto the chopstick – but don’t use your hands! You can also change the game for kids: stack up the nuts using only a candy cane (and one hand).

Hanky Panky:  See how many tissues you can remove from a box of Kleenex…using only ONE hand.

More Minute to Win it games can be found online. Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/minute-to-win-it-games-to-play-at-home.html

Holiday Checklists 101

Our new client Reece is a busy, working mom. When we met, her days were maxed out, time was limited, and keeping her house clean and organized felt nearly impossible sometimes.

“I know I have ADD,” she said during our first meeting. “I begin projects but then lose focus, get distracted, and start something else. But this is important to me and it’s time to get it under control. I need help.”

We began talking right away about regular house cleaning services and monthly organizing sessions, but then she had another request.

“I know it’s only August. But I want you to put up my Fall decorations before September 13th. And when we take them down, I want you to organize the storage bins, help me de-clutter and give away what I haven’t used in a few years. And then we’ll start on Christmas decorations.”

We were impressed with Reece’s desire to start early, and proud of her for acknowledging that she couldn’t do it all alone and planning in advance to get help. Even more exciting: all of her requests were services we love to provide while making personal customizations suited to her own needs.

The great news is that even if you didn’t start your holiday planning in September, GHHM can get you on track! Avoid the rush and stress of the season by using our Holiday Checklist as a guide. Pick and choose the tasks important to you, and you’ll be sailing through the holidays and truly enjoying time with loved ones.

When you access our popular Holiday Checklist, you’ll be entered in a drawing for ONE FREE HOUR of house cleaning. Visit www.GigHarborHomeManagement.com/holiday-checklist/ to enter and download the checklist!


Our team of experts can manage the holidays for you! Outsourcing your holiday organization, preparation and shopping allows you to focus on your career, family, and free time. Do what YOU do best…and we’ll take care of the rest. Call us at 253.225.4864 today!


Balancing Work & Family

Balancing Work & Family
I live in a sea of Post-it notes… color coordinated by topic. This works until one color runs out and my system falls apart. My only regret in 1980 is being too young to understand Post-it power, and therefore failing to buy stock in the company.

Surely I’m not the only one drowning in a sea of to-do lists and reminders. I’m up before dawn (even on the weekends) as a local business owner juggling my clients, my staff and my kids. Add housework and the dog, and I’m MAXED out. With the weight of a business on my tired shoulders, I’m constantly juggling my passion for my business, family time, and a requirement to make a living. And I’m not alone.

So many working women are stressed, balancing work and family life. With the catchy title “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All,” Anne Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic (July 2012 edition) created much controversy as women across the nation debated on whether “having it all” waspebble-balance-1117007-m just a myth.

As an organizer and home management professional, I can quickly provide tips to help women get more done in their days. Wake up earlier; create morning rituals to maximize time; avoid morning emails; prioritize ruthlessly; and delegate well. But one catch-phrase from the experts gets under my skin: “create work-life balance” (as if it appears with the wave of a magic wand).

With the internal drive to “have it all,” and the external pressure to appear that we are living the gold standard of got-it-together-ness, it’s no wonder we question if we’ll ever achieve balance and success in our business and home life.

Wouldn’t it be healthier to define success in a private way, determining what success really looks (and feels) like personally?

This excerpt from an article on www.womenpoweringbusiness.com is well-stated:

“I think balance is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s based on what your expectations are,” shares Marilyn Midyette, CEO of Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, Inc. “I’m really concerned about people feeling like they have to define balance based on anyone else’s definition. It’s got to be what works for you.”

Midyette tackles “having it all” in seasons. “In one quarter,” she said, “I may hunker down because I have major initiatives I need to get accomplished. In another quarter, it may be my kids are getting ready to go off to college and I want to be present for that.”

Having it all is possible, as long as women dispel the myth that work and life have to be equal parts all of the time, according to Patricia Falotico, an IBM executive. She shared a personal story of when she was caring for her sick father. “There were days when I had to be daughter first and executive second,” she said. “You can do it all — all that you choose to do — but you have to be able to navigate around the pot holes.”

Perhaps finding success in business means we are 100% devoted at work, focused and striving for excellence. And finding success at home means we are 100% dedicated to being a daughter, spouse or parent when with our loved ones.

The key to making this work is to choose which “piece” of life to fully embrace at any moment, and allow ourselves the freedom to live in those moments peacefully. We need to give ourselves permission for our needs, desires and dreams to change with the ebb and flow of life’s seasons.

“True success cannot be simply defined by recognition, financial gain, company growth, or our kid’s accomplishments,” shares local business coach Lisa Markman, of Jigsaw Solutions. “True success comes from finding a place of satisfaction and peacefulness within yourself, where courage and wisdom guide you to exactly where you need to be in this moment. And then finally embracing that moment with all the energy you can give to those around you.”

Success is an evolution; allowing yourself to adapt, change course, and “go with the flow” as part of the journey. Accolades along the way can motivate and encourage us; but the deep satisfaction of success can only come from within, when you are where you need to be.

Sarah Friesen is the owner of Gig Harbor Home Management, a local company offering house cleaning, home organization, home watch and relocation services…and hopefully a little bit of peace of mind in the process. She can be contacted at 253.225.4864 or www.GigHarborHomeManagement.com

(Printed in Peninsula Gateway, special “Women in Business” section, September 29, 2014)



Feeling Overwhelmed?

Outsource your way to peace and productivity
Like many of Gig Harbor’s local residents, Annie and Sam work busy full-time jobs, leaving the house early in the morning to drop off young kids at daycare before heading to work. Struggling to solidify their career paths while also trying to fully enjoy parenthood, they often feel guilty, overwhelmed and simply tired. “I feel like time is literally slipping through my fingers; like I’m trying to hold a cup of sand in my hands,” confesses Annie.

This year, they vowed to take a few simple steps in order to gain some sanity around the house. They took our advice on some easy steps:

  • Wake up earlier than the kids in order to have a peaceful, smooth start to your day.
  • Make your bed every morning so that your room feels manageable and presentable.
  • Plan ahead for meals using simple, quick ingredients and plan for only one shopping trip.
  • Do a 10-Minute Tidy every night so you can keep ahead of the clutter.

But Annie and Sam knew they had to take it even further. Sam’s career was at a critical turning point, and working extra hours could result in a rewarding promotion down the road. Annie wasn’t sure she could handle her own job responsibilities and still care for the kids in the evenings, on top of keeping up with household tasks. Something had to give.

Susan Athey, an economist at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, says “You have to start from a point where you say: What is necessary for me to be happy with my decision to be a working mother?” Athey believes, “A lot of working mothers end up throwing up their hands in exasperation saying, ‘I can’t live this way!’ and quit their jobs.”

Enter the home management outsourcing solution that is sweeping the nation.

“If parents who want to work abandon their careers before trying outsourcing, quitting may be shortsighted,” writes NY Times author Catherine Kampell.

Even if you’re faster and more effective than everyone else at a given task you still might be better off paying someone else to do it for you. Why?

“Ask the experts and they’ll point out there is a huge opportunity cost for every hour spent on tedious household tasks,” says Sarah Friesen, owner of Gig Harbor Home Management. “In most cases, there is a higher-value activity waiting for you instead.”

family-moments-983338-mFor some, outsourcing their house cleaning at a rate of $30/hour makes financial sense when they could use that time to earn $100/hour by going to work. In other situations, the cleaning service might be more of a financial sacrifice, however in the long term it allows them to get the job promotion that increases their income potential for a lifetime.

Friesen adds, “For household outsourcing to make sense, it must provide value that is higher than the cost of the service. For some families, the added value is simply time with their kids. Those items are the intangibles, and often what a family needs most in the middle of chaotic schedules.”

Home management solutions that offer full-scale services like house cleaning, professional organization and coordination are growing in popularity. And with increasing financial responsibilities, workloads and leisure activities, you might find it’s the perfection solution for your family too!

Call 253.225.4864 for more information on how GHHM can simplify your life.


Snowbird Prep

Snowbird Prep
While You Are Away“During a season that brought ants into our kitchen and rainwater into our basement, we’re so glad we hired Sarah as our Home Manager to check on our home and oversee calls from service providers in our absence.”   -Sandy, happy GHHM client

Every fall, snowbirds prepare to pack up and head south for the winter. Sometimes they discover just how much can go wrong inside their home where no one can see what’s happening.

“I’ll just turn off the water heater…”

Did you know that turning off your water heater has the potential to void its warranty?

“I’ll just turn the temp down…”

Did you know that a cold water heater can interfere with water softener systems, and lead to speedy corrosion and spring a leak overnight?

“It’s clean enough for while we’re gone…”

Did you know that sugar ants can literally explode in a feeding frenzy when unchecked, and are one of the hardest infestations to eliminate?

“The Security Guards will walk around the exterior every day…”

Did you know that a running toilet can waste up to 4,000 gallons per day and cost thousands if no one is inside to hear it?

Inside your home there’s potential for a variety of issues with pests, water systems and furnaces that stop working during freezing spells. Just as snowbirds in the south hire Home Watch Services for the summer, a growing number of local residents are seeing the value in Home Watch Visits for ensuring the safekeeping of their home in Gig Harbor during the winter.

Did you know?
GHHM can provide peace of mind for the safekeeping of your home with our experienced and professional home manager who will regularly inspect the inside of your home with pre-scheduled Home Watch Visits. Sarah Friesen, the Owner of Gig Harbor Home Management, will meet with you personally for a free consultation and will create a customized checklist and inspection plan in order to protect your home investment while you are away.

Call 253.225.4864 and visit our Home Watch page for more information on how to prepare for extended absences.

What Can Senior Move Managers Do?

What Can Senior Move Managers Do?
Thank you to The New York Times for featuring NASMM (National Association of Senior Move Managers) itself & several NASMM members in an absolutely amazing article! The NASMM blog featured the full text (due to the NYT subscription-only payw23retiring-pic1-master1050all) so anyone can read it and learn more about what Senior Move Managers do. Please read the article to find out more about this growing industry: https://nasmm.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/ok-new-york-times-we-officially-love-you/

Sarah Friesen, Gig Harbor Home Management Owner & Home Management Professional, is a NASMM member and trained Senior Move Manager. We can help with any part of your moving process!

Call us today at 253.225.4864 for a free consultation, or visit our Relocation Services webpage for more information.

Outdoor Games

Outdoor Games

August: the summer month we savor while spending as much time as possible outdoors. (And to think we’re already halfway through it!) If we aren’t having dinner on the deck, then we’re most likely visiting a friend’s patio. Whether the kids are running around at our feet, or we’re enjoying grown-up conversations and great food, everyone’s smiling in the sun.

Provide extra entertainment and laughter at your next backyard party with a few of these unique outdoor games. You might just find your friends won’t want to leave!

Mölkky (yardgames.us)
A unique game involving strategy and skill and can be enjoyed by both young and old. Toss the throwing dowel underhand and knock over the skittles. Topple one skittle and get the amount of points branded on that skittle, topple multiple skittles and get the amount of points equaling the amount of skittles toppled. First one to 50 wins! Mölkky is a great way for children to learn math skills and have fun at the same time.

Lawn Twister (Pinterest.com)
twister Make Twister on your grass! Simply use spray paint for the colored circles. (Seymour Paint makes a quick drying marking paint that washes away after a few heavy rains or with a garden hose.) The soft grass cushions any falls, and doesn’t everyone like laying around in the yard in the summer?

KUBB (fruitsuperdesign.com)
Be the first team to knock down all your kubbs and then the king, or be on the opposite team of the player that knocks down the king before knocking down all of their kubbs. Watch out: Knocking down the king without knocking down the kubbs is like sinking the eight ball out of turn.

Cornhole (Cornhole.com)
Think beanbag toss… but with rules, scoring, teams and way more fun. This can be played with 2 or 4 players. Each team has a platform with a hole in it, and 4 corn bags. You take the beanbag, toss it at a rectangular plywood board about 30 feet away, and hope to either stick it somewhere on the platform or sink it through the single hole cut into the surface.

Egg & Spoon Relays (USgames.com)
A classic for all ages. You can go the old fashioned route and use real eggs and spoons; use plastic Easter eggs; or purchase a wooden version online. Divide players into teams, line them up, and run a classic relay race. If a player drops the egg along the way, he or she must return to the line and begin again. Make the game more challenging by setting up an obstacle course. Or, add another twist: The kids must hop like a bunny, waddle like a duck, crawl like a turtle…. The possibilities are endless!

This list is just a start. Browse more online and you’ll be in lawn game heaven with all the other options out there for backyard fun.


While the summer brings out the best in most of us, it can also be overwhelming if you’re the one hosting the party. If you need help with cleaning or organizing before or after, call us – we’ll do it for you so you can have fun – stress free. 253.225.4864

And if you have ideas of your own to share, come join us at our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you!

10 Tips for Raising Responsible Adults

10 Tips for Raising Responsible Adults

Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Happy Kids is taught in many school districts across the country, and if your kids were lucky enough to learn the habits last year… then hopefully they haven’t forgotten about it this summer!

Of course, wehabits hand tagxedo want summer to be fun and memorable. We want our kids to relax in the off-season from school. But this doesn’t mean they can’t help out their parents at home.

Helping around the house covers several concepts from the 7 Habits, and try to keep in mind we aren’t raising kids, we’re raising adults. This can be tough to practice, but worth the extra time and energy if it means our children will become adults who can take care of their belongings, manage their time, and maintain some basic cleanliness.



Here are 10 tips to help teach kids to care for their home and belongings:

  1. Make your bed every morning.
  2. Wipe out the bathroom sink, counter, and faucet when you’re done brushing your teeth.
  3. Put on a fresh toilet paper roll when it runs out.
  4. Hang up your wet towel after a shower.
  5. Take dishes to the sink when you’re finished eating.
  6. Hang up your coat and put away shoes when you walk in the door.
  7. Bring in your things from the car (and throw away your garbage).
  8. Unload your backpack every day after camp or school (mom and dad should provide simple steps for lunch boxes, wet swim suits, etc.).
  9. Be ready for tomorrow and think about what clothes or special items you need to get ready tonight (like washing your swimsuit today so it is ready for tomorrow’s camp).
  10. Have a 10-Minute-Tidy every night for family common areas: put away dirty dishes, books and toys, crafts, dirty socks, homework.

With several weeks of summer left, there’s still plenty of time to implement these tips. (And continue them well into the school year!) Keep reminding yourself “future adult, future adult, future adult” and let them know how much you love and appreciate their help.

Don’t forget: If you need help with home organization before or after school starts this fall, call us 253.225.4864 – we’ll provide a personalized, free consultation & estimate. No job is too big or too small for GHHM!

Your Summer Bucket List

Your Summer Bucket List

If you haven’t created a summer bucket list yet, there’s still time!

photo 5Here are a few helpful tips:

– Keep it simple and have fun with it.

– Keep expectations reasonable and costs low.

– Your ultimate goal should be focused on time spent with loved ones, being good to yourself, and finding joy in moments, rather than unattainable goals.

– Write down your ideas and hang it up in a place you’ll see it every day.

So, what’s on your list for this week?

Have fun!