A Sweet Summer

My entire adult life I have fantasized about having a summer off. I have dreamed of open time to play, to be in nature, to be a kid again. This year my dream is coming true. At the age of 58, I have lots of open space on my calendar. And I know how fast the summer will fly by. So I am taking today to go through the See It and Map It steps for my summer. I invite you to do the same.

Marla Dee

I recently read the blog The single most important thing you can do to simplify your summer  and I was deeply inspired to get clear on what I wanted most. Here is a short excerpt:

What did you long for most from your childhood summers?

For me, it was freedom. Delicious freedom from predictable schooldays. Freedom to lay in the sun, devour ice cream, and float for hours in a turquoise pool.

My summer longings have not changed much. A sun-drenched break from the routine sounds too good to be true, honestly. As a working mom, however, I know poolside paradise will elude me. Instead, the season will welcome busyness. 

From where I sit, summer’s two major opponents are sky-high expectations and the pressure to “do it all.” Corporate socials and family get-togethers. Planning a picture-perfect getaway or entertaining kids from dawn ‘til dusk (and then some). Then there’s laundry and groceries and shouts of “who left the screen door open again?!”

The tension is palpable. Often times, our knee-jerk reaction is to purely survive. Sanity, money, rest—these are common sacrifices on the altar called Summer.

But believe it or not, a simpler more satisfying summer is within reach, regardless of our individual situations. The pursuit is straightforward and anyone can start today.

It boils down to pausing before the chaos and tuning into your desires.

Time for the SEE IT. MAP IT. & DO IT. Steps!




If you could choose a word or theme for this summer, what would it be? My summer theme is Summer Sabbatical.




Sit down with your loved ones and ask what do you most want to do for –


  • fun & play
  • travel & exploration
  • project time
  • relaxation & healing


My choice for fun is 2 motorcycle trips with my man Bob, for travel I am taking a road trip to my home town of Bozeman Montana for my 40 year high school reunion, for projects I am creating a family picture wall in our new home, and for relaxation I am sitting on our deck in the evenings to wind down and breathe in the sweet country air.




Now take your map it list and put those things on the calendar. Make them happen by putting them first. 

Get more on the Clear & SIMPLE Systems here
Get our Top 10 Tips for Summer here


Your Guide Marla Dee. I love teaching the Clear & Simple Way to live free of clutter and get organized at last.

Favorite Summer Blogs

I want you to have a memorable summer! Enjoy some of my favorite blogs for a fabulous summer. Whether you are playing hard, slowing down or just wanting to simplify, please take in the wise words of the guides below… Marla Dee Find Your Joy this Summer, by Jinny...

Slow Down for Summer

Summer can be a time to slow down rather than speed up!

Summer is a sweet time. We often feel the tug to be a kid again on summer vacation, free from life’s responsibilities. And yet the summer can get crazy and even busier than the rest of the year. So how do we slow down and take in the sweetness of this summer?

Renee is a constant source of inspiration for us. Her blog below offers simple truth on how to slow down and love your summer, whatever stage of life you are.

One of my touchstones for gauging how fast–or slow–I’m living, is noticing if I have a vase of fresh herbs and flowers on my desk. When I’m living the life I desire, I create the time to meander in my garden and pick colorful, fragrant flowers and plants to enjoy in my office.

What’s your touchstone that lets you know you’re moving at a speed that feels just right for you? A signal that tells you you’re living joyfully and in alignment with what matters most?

For the last 16 years I’ve been self-employed. And it took me more than half of that time to figure out that I get to choose the speed at which I live, work and play.

When I finally “got this,” I realized … summer is an especially sacred time for me. It’s a time when I crave–and need–to slow way down. To embrace expanses of unscheduled time, to enjoy spontaneity, adventure, more time in nature and less time online. As delicious to me as homemade peach ice cream–I lap up spaciousness and big open creative windows where I get to sit with ideas, meditate on my life purpose and personal hopes and visions, integrate all I’ve learned from the past six months, explore new ways of being and reconnect with soulful friends for long hikes and late night swims in spring-fed waters. Summer is when I re-calibrate and am reminded of who I am and what I love.

Continue reading on her blog…

This is the 3rd year that we are really practicing slowing down during the summer. We hope you find the joy and peace in doing so yourself. – Marla, Kate & Team

Clear & SIMPLE, Renee Trudeau

Find your JOY this Summer.

What is it you most WANT this summer? Do that.

“I am flying through the tops of the trees, held snugly by the padded bench and metal bar of the lift as it takes me up the mountainside. I inhale sweet high mountain air and look in awe at the majesty all around me. Wow, this is summer at it’s best. I am at the Sundance Resort in Utah only 50 minutes from my front door. And yet I have never done this!! Why did it take a dear friend’s visit to get me up here? Why have I never explored it on my own? I am opening to more adventure in my life this summer. And I am amazed at what is right around the corner.” Marla Dee

Jinny Ditzler of Best Year Yet wrote this lovely article titled “Want to Make This Summer the One You Finally Enjoy?” and we just had to share it with you.

…So here we are again in the first days of this blessed season. This year I’m determined to make the most of it. Here are last summer’s unkept promises, but this year these and more will happen because I’m going to stick my neck out and promise to give you a full report after it’s over.

  • Sit in my favorite garden chair and read every day, even if only for a bit.
  • Take a whole day to go for a hike in the mountains.
  • Once a week make a big cup of coffee, go to the park, and gaze at the sky.
  • Invite more people to enjoy simple meals by our pool.

But it’s not easy. Last Tuesday after a long weekend in Aspen to celebrate our 35th anniversary, I awoke filled with energy and happy to tackle my pile of tasks. Later feeling proud after a productive day, I found Tim swimming laps in the pool. I said, Well, somebody has the right idea ~ good for you! ~ but thought to myself, What’s wrong with this picture?

Instead of integrating the relaxation, blessings and love of the weekend into my first day back (as he had done) I spent most of the day at my desk, yet again intent on getting as much done as possible. In spite of the fact that one of my three Best Year Yet Guidelines this year is Enjoy life.

Summer is the most enlivening time, isn’t it? It’s so natural to want to slow down, contemplate, meditate, read, walk ~ and enjoy ourselves.

Let’s make the most of this time of renewal as the benefits are many:

  • Greater sense of inner calm
  • Increased fitness as we go outside and move
  • More clarity as we expand our horizons in these warmer, longer days
  • Time to read, think, learn and inspire
  • Peace that comes from enjoying each moment

Next Steps

  1. Make a list of your summer promises.
  2. Choose someone you’ll be accountable to.
  3. Add one summer enjoyment action to your To Do List every day.


Above all I recommend that if you haven’t ever made a Best Year Yet® plan…

Marla Dee in the mountains of Utah

Marla Dee loving this summer in the mountains of Utah

Visit original blog post.

Love on summer. Love on your life.

Marla, Kate & Team

The Sweetness of Summer

 Choose now what you WANT your summer to be!

When summer comes around, don’t you just want to have fun? The kid in us comes out and the playful, nostalgic energy of summer seeps into our spaces and bodies every chance it gets. Then the thoughts “Let’s take a road trip – or head up in the mountains to camp- or spend a week lounging on the beach” creep in.

As wonderful as this feels on one hand, it can be frustrating on the other because we still have responsibilities and commitments. Darn it! You will find us saying again and again, this is YOUR life and you get to decide what it looks like. Trust us, we know this is easier said than done and takes practice.

That is why we encourage you and your loved ones to take 30 minutes to travel through SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. © and create your Best Summer Ever!

SEE IT:  Have everyone share one favorite memory from a past summer and what made it so great.  Was it nature, the activity, a special place or just being together?

MAP IT: Have everyone choose one thing they would most want for this summer.  Create a MAP (make a plan) of some kind to bring the intention into reality.  You can simply write it on the calendar, draw or print a picture of the place/event, collage or get creative in any number of ways.

DO IT:  Our TIP for making the DO IT step simpler is to pick one special play event, one project and one creation for each month of the summer.  Choose now and then let yourself enjoy the juicy fruits of your planning.

We may not be able to blow off life as we know it just to play every summer, but we can consciously call in energy, activities and interactions that fill us up and bring us joy.

Trust us, we’re over practicing this ourselves. We’d love to hear how you make summer time special…?

Pretending we’re 10 again,

Marla, Kate & Team

Our simple summer.

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,

Our Top Ten Tips for Summer

Our Top Ten Tips for Summer

Make this your best summer ever using the Clear & Simple Way!


SEE IT – get in touch with what is most important to you

MAP IT – make it happen by writing it down on your calendar

DO IT – then enjoy each event to its fullest!


  1. Put FUN First – Choose the most important FUN Activity and fill up on the juicy energy it offers.
  2. Before you leave on vacation – make two copies of each document in your wallet. Keep one in a safe place at home and take one with you to put in the hotel safe. Then you are prepared if anything should happen.
  3. Connect with the Earth – Choose one morning or evening each week to be your time to connect with the earth – a long walk, sitting outside under a tree, a bike ride, or soaking up the sun. Let this be a time that fills you!
  4. Garden – If you want to garden but just never have the time, plant a container with a favorite flower or vegetable. You will still enjoy gardening but on a more manageable scale.
  5. Family Passes – Buy a family pass to your favorite summer place, then as a family review the schedule of events and mark your calendar with those you don’t want to miss!
  6. Three Most Important Things – Every morning, when you are planning your day, write down the three things that truly matter most that day. The sense of accomplishment that you will feel when you complete these three things will free you to do other things.
  7. Organize Last Years School Papers – Make a date with your child to spend an afternoon to go through all of the papers you saved from the last school year.Lay them all out on the dining room table or the floor. Enjoy reliving the last year. Then choose the keepers and treasures. Next simply three hole punch them and put in a fun binder so your child can look at it whenever he/she wants too.
  8. Birthdays, Graduations, Weddings – Take one hour and make a master list of all the birthdays, graduations, and weddings, which are coming up this summer. Keep a copy with you so you can jot down gift ideas and have it handy when you are shopping
  9. Weekend Project – Take one weekend, pick one project, (i.e. a closet, pantry or storage) and using the Clear & Simple Systems (see download below) organize the space. Then mentally let go of the rest and enjoy your summer.
  10. Keep it simple, take a deep breath.

We would love to hear from you – what are your favorite Summer Tips?

Marla Dee & Team

Download a pdf copy of our TOP TEN TIPS for Summer.

Get more guidance with SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. © and S.T.A.C.K.S. © by downloading our Systems Card.

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. © and S.T.A.C.K.S. © are property of Clear & Simple, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Tip #7 for a Fabulous Summer!

Say hello to the new school year after fully saying goodbye the last one!

If you missed Our Top Tips for Summer, make sure you check it out! For this post, we’d like to focus on and expand on just one tip.

During the last weeks of summer many of us are trying to pack in as much play time as possible. Why not also schedule some meaningful time for you and your child(ren) to reminisce about last year and how much has changed all while getting organized?

7. Organizing Last Years School Papers can be FUN– Make a date with your child to spend an afternoon to go through all of the papers you saved from the last school year. Use STACKS (Sort, Toss, Assign, Contain, Keep it up, & Simplify) to make organizing the papers FUN! Lay them all out on the dining room table or the floor and sort into simple piles such as art, writing, homework, and friend stuff. Enjoy reliving the last year. Toss the easy stuff and then keep the treasures. Next simply three hole punch them, put in a fun binder and place them in your child’s bedroom for easy enjoyment anytime!

Clear & SIMPLE, School Papers

This is a project many moms always have on their on-going project list. Unfortunately it is one that often stays on that list and never gets done. When you schedule the time to do it, involve your child and make the process fun, everyone wins! You’ll be so relieved and grateful to have it checked off your list and actually be able to enjoy looking at all of those papers.

Extra TIP – Choose a container or drawer now for next year’s school papers to make it easy to keep the back pack cleared out.

Click here for a beautiful, downloadable and printable copy of our Systems Cards for an outline of S.T.A.C.K.S…© and feel free to share with everyone!

Squeezing out every last drop of summer energy,

Marla, Kate & Team



SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. © and S.T.A.C.K.S. © are property of Clear & Simple, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Top Ten Tips for Summer

Top Ten Tips for Summer

SEE IT – get in touch with what is most important to you MAP IT – make it happen by writing it down on your calendar DO IT – then enjoy each event to its fullest! Put FUN First – Choose the most important fun activity and fill up on the juicy energy it offers. Before...

Tip #6 for a Fabulous Summer

Make TODAY great with our Top 3 Tip!

If you missed Our Top Tips for Summer, make sure you check it out! For this post, we’d like to focus on and expand on just one tip. This tip shows up on many of our lists because it is spot on and always applies.

6. Three Most Important Things – Every morning, take 5 minutes to write down the three things that must be done that day – and that can only be done by you! The sense of accomplishment that you will feel when you complete these three things will free you to do other things.

After you make your list close your eyes, take a deep breath and let everything else go…for now. There are only so many things we can do in a day. Trust that you have picked the 3 very most important and let that be okay. If you get nothing else done at least these three things will be!

Now, here’s some added juiciness! Once you have let everything else go, you will have more energy and excitement around getting those 3 things checked off your list. That means that you’ll very likely complete them more quickly than you anticipated.

At this point you get to choose…

  1. Do I engage with the next most important 3 things?
  2. Do I let it go for today and do something I’ve really been WANTING to do?


It’s YOUR life, go live it YOUR way!

Creating a magical life right beside you,

Marla, Kate & Team