Time for Slow. Time for Simple.

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We could all use a little big dose of slow and simple.

Recently, I was sitting outside my son’s basketball practice reading and enjoying a new book. I overheard two parents reconnecting after being away for the summer. “How was your summer?” The woman asked politely. “It was great, but went by so fast! How was yours?” The man inquired. “Oh my gosh, so fast. I think it was the fastest summer ever and I was not ready for school to start.” She replied.

I sighed deeply in empathy for I have also experienced just how fast life goes by. On the other hand I also felt grateful for Our Simple Summer that rolled by at a sweet pace; something I know was very intentional on my part.

As I lamented over the “too fast” culture we live in, I continued to notice scenarios before me as parents zipped in and out of the parking lot, some dropping kids off and some picking kids up.

  • One mom talked aggressively on her phone as her son climbed in the car and they drove away. Been there.
  • A father was urging his son to hurry up and tie his shoes to get into practice. Been there.
  • Another woman pulled into a spot, tapped her fingers impatiently while watching the school door. After about 15 seconds she jumped out and ran into the school to retrieve her son. Been there too.

After many layers of simplifying our stuff, our time and our lives, my family’s approach looks very different than what I witnessed. We leave the house with more than enough time to get there. Our phones are put away so that we can be present with each other to talk, sing and laugh all the way. We arrive early giving us a bit more time to connect. As my son hops joyfully out of the car and saunters into the gym, I push the driver’s seat back, kick my feet out the window and dive into a book.

This particular day I was reading a fantastic book called In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed and was on chapter 8, Work: The Benefits of Working Less Hard. Over the last 6 months my soul has been begging me to bring my work life into alignment with our minimalist energy. The combination of this book, a couple of months of summer sweetness and experiencing the fast-paced madness of my fellow humans, has created a great urgency in me to make this happen right away.

Barely making it through the day over-stressed, overly disconnected, under-nourished and under-inspired is certainly NOT the kind of life I want to live. How about you?

With lots of love,
Kate

Our simple summer.

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This summer was one of the greatest testimonies of how living with less gives us the opportunity to LIVE more.  Kate Fehr

Nothing calls me back to the most joyous times of being a child like summertime. Vivid memories of waking up without alarm clocks, spending days in the pool with friends, and traveling through the mountain states are always front and center come May. Since I first became a mom, my desire has been to have lots of summer adventures with my son and let work simmer on the back burner. This, of course, is easier said than done.

When our minimalist journey began over 4 years ago, I had no idea just how powerfully it would support my deep desire of keeping our summers about play and connection. During those 2 years, and 25 layers, of releasing of stuff (we moved through lots of emotion too), I had no idea how this would set us free to really experience life!

This summer was one of the greatest testimonies of how owning less and doing less gives us the opportunity to LIVE more.

  1. We spent four of the last five weekends in a row out of town, with the fifth weekend fully engaged in a 40th birthday celebration and a wedding. We were essentially not home for FIVE weekends in a row.
  2. We spent 5 days in Idaho to experience the totality of the solar eclipse. My son even missed the first 2 days of school, which he was not excited about at first, but it was one of the more moving experiences of our lives and we are most grateful to have been there.
  3. While we were away from home, whether traveling or just doing regular old things, we were able to be fully present with the people and activities we were experiencing.

 

Clear & SIMPLE

My son and me goofing around in anticipation of the eclipse.

 

Because we live simply with less stuff and all of our stuff has easily-accessible homes:

  • Packing and unpacking is quick and easy. This makes preparing for trips stress-free and getting back into the swing of things a breeze.
  • We usually don’t have vacation hangovers from the stress of vacations.
  • Upon returning home one weekend much earlier than expected, I wanted more playtime. We got home, unpacked, started laundry, put everything away, and then had plenty of time to go to Snowbird for Oktoberfest and a hike.

 

There was a time when I spent SO much time, energy and money organizing, and re-organizing closets, drawers and our garage. Once I no longer had as much stuff, I was able to spend time on what matters most to me. None of it is worth all of the beautiful memories I have as a result of letting go.

Minimalism simply is about living with the things you truly use and that truly add value to your life. It’s a very personal experience and journey, one that I invite you to try out for yourself.

All my best,
Kate

3 Tools for School Success

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School Tools to relieve the stress and add success!

It’s here! – Time for the kids to go back to school, or for the grown kids to leave for college. No matter what age you are, school can be overwhelming as well as exciting. We want to make organizing fun so we are sharing our tools to relieve the stress and add success.

1 – Even with today’s technology most of us still need paper. A Day Planner that suits the child is still vital for tracking all the information and actions. And check out the brilliance of discbound notebooks. This notebook is called the TUL Notebook at Office Depot, the ARC at Staples or CIRCA at Levenger (an online resource). You can also find cool accessories for them at Etsy.com.

2 – Set up yourself up for success by getting the perfect backpack for you along with all the necessary tools. Watch the video below to see some of my favorite tools to go inside the backpack. Hint – those packs get heavy, so get one with wheels.

3 – We all have activities where we get lost in the zone. Our favorite tool for helping you stay on track in the TimeTimer. It answers the big question of how much time is left without having to calculate. And the section in red gets your attention so you stay focused.

Invitation to you – Choose one of the TIPS above and share your experience with me at info@clearsimple.com or www.facebook.com/clearsimple.com and we will give you a prize. we want you to get organized and have fun doing it.

Clear & SIMPLE, Marla Dee, School Tools

Our TIP, TOOL & TRUTH for Photo Organizing.

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Did you know that 10 billion pictures are taken every single month? Why?
We. Take. Pictures. Of. Everything.

The result is photo chaos. Photos accumulate on our phones, in the cloud, on hard drives, or on old computers. And we are still storing precious film photos in shoeboxes, hiding the memories that shaped who we are today. We no longer have an accessible, tangible reminder to share with others. Our stories, our traditions, our history are being lost because we have no time-managed photo organizing System. – From the APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers)

We have tackled our photo clutter and LOVE the feeling of joy and freedom that comes from getting this vital project done.  We want to help you experience this as well.

TIP – Get all your photos saved in more than one place.

If you have precious photos that are printed, hold onto them, but get them scanned for save keeping. For all others, get them backed up in 3 places. This could include your computer, a hard drive and one cloud storage. You want one backup in a place outside your home or office.

TOOL – Get the tools to showcase, store and enjoy your photos.

Choose your favorite resource to get the precious photos scanned and printed into books. There are lower cost options such as Costco and Wal-Mart or others like Mixbook, Snapfish, and Shutterfly. This industry is growing so take time to look for what works best for you. You can also put all the pictures on a drive and play on your Apple TV!

TRUTH – You deserve to have help!

All organizing jobs are easier and more fun when you get help from a friend or professional organizer. The reason we love photos is because of the stories. This project is most meaningful when shared with others. You will also be amazed how much faster it goes.

We would LOVE to have you join us at our August 19th LIVE workshop to meet the experts and see all our tips in action. You even get to bring 25 treasure photos and have them scanned onsite. clearsimple.com/photoworkshop

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Re: APPO – Did you know there is an Association of Personal Photo Organizers? This group is trained to make all the levels of your photo project easier for you. Check out their website at www.appo.org or their blogs on www.thephotoorganizers.com You will love all their information. You can also get help on other resources. Get more about APPO on our blog www.clearsimple.com/photoabcs.

Photo Organizing is fun with the ABC’S System

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Are your precious photos stashed in boxes & bins in the basement?

Do you have thousands of pictures on your phone and computer?

Photos can be our most precious possession yet trying to keep them organized can be a nightmare.

We are excited to share our best tips and systems for photo organizing all month long. This blog is all about the Sort Step in S.T.A.C.K.S.© (Sort, Toss, Assign, Keep it Up & Simplify). We are also sharing the fabulous ABC’S system created by Cathi Nelson, President of APPO (Association of Personal Photo Organizers).

Clear & SIMPLE, Marla Dee, Photo Organizing, ABC's

Watch Marla talk through the ABC’s on KUTV Fresh Living!

 

The first step is to SORT into general categories such as family, friends, major events, or time lines such as increments of 1, 2 or 10 years. This is your general sort and it goes easier if you stick to the categories.

Next take each category and SORT again using the ABC’S© system. SORT the photo’s into the following four categories:

A stands for ALBUM. This is for the photos that you know you want printed for albums or photo books. These are the treasures that you want to look at often and share with your loved ones.

B stands for BOX or BACKUP. These are the pictures you want to keep but don’t need to see regularly. Printed photos can be stored in a photo box. Digital ones can be stored on your computer and in the cloud.

C stands for CAN (Trash Can). These are all the duplicates, the bad shots, and the meaningless shots! You will be amazed how many of these surface when you are going through the piles.

S stands for STORIES. We remember most of our life by events and stories so keeping your photos this way works wonderfully.

Remember – you can get help from a professional organizer.  Go to www.APPO.org to find a trained one in your area. For those of you in Utah, we have two excellent organizers.

1 – Natalie Avery, of 2sparehands, is a member of APPO and can help with all levels of the process.

2 – Donna & Scott Harper, of SharperTransfer, can help you with your photos and your old movies.

Or – Come to our August 19th LIVE workshop to meet the experts and see all our tips in action. you even get to bring 25 treasure photos and have them scanned onsite. clearsimple.com/photoworkshop

We have experienced such fun and freedom having our photos organized and ready for viewing and hope you will too! Marla, Kate & Team

 


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