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Our Favorite Containers in Action

Kate shares a container story in her own home.

Kate’s Closet Journey

Before we even closed on our home, I knew we would be putting elfa from The Container Store in at least 3 closets including the entry one. Since I have designed my fair share of elfa closet systems, with the support and guidance of their amazing designers, I felt comfortable beginning the journey on my own. With one of their sales on the horizon I got right on it.

After taking solid measurements and confirming them 5 times (lol), I hopped onto The Container Store’s Custom Closet design center to start designing our entry closet system. This is a very handy tool to get an idea of how the layout will look, feel, and function, and I highly recommend going into a store, if possible, or calling their design center to have one of their experts look things over before making any purchases.

Once I felt good about the design I headed into the store to finalize with an elfa designer. As you can see from the middle picture below, the elfa system made a tremendous difference in the functionality of the space. You will also notice that all of the open shelves became a bit of a dumping ground, mostly because of the remodeling we had been doing.

As you see in the third picture, fun and right-fit containers not only make the space pop, but also function better. Making time to measure the shelves for the containers also gave me the time to move all the items that don’t belong in there. Whew, what a difference!

Containers are one of those subjects where we can experience a wild array of emotion about… from excitement to overwhelm, from adoration to contention. If you aren’t sure where to start, please hop over to The Clear & Simple Steps page for guidance. Purchasing containers comes after most of the other steps of the organizing process.

When you get to that step, or want to inspire yourself to get there, purchase Our Favorite Containers eBook!

Entry Closet Before

Entry Closet w/ elfa

Entry Closet After

** The containers I used in our entry closet are all from The Container Store. They are the Feathergrain Wooden Storage Bins and the Grey Tree Print Fabric Storage Bins with Handles plus the White Bin Clip Labels.

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Simplify Your Kitchen

Would you love to have your kitchen feel fresh and beautiful to gather in?
It’s in the kitchen where the warmth of shared memories,
laughter and life create a recipe that spans generations.
– Yuvraj Kakodiya

The kitchen is the heart of the home. Yet, sadly it can become the dumping ground for paper piles and homeless stuff. And so often there isn’t room on the counter to cook or room on the table to eat. We want your kitchen to be a happy place for family and friends to gather for the holidays.

 

Use these 3 simple steps to simplify your kitchen:

Step One: Clear your kitchen counter of the paper piles, homeless items or things that don’t even belong in the kitchen.

Step Two: Put fresh flowers or a living plant on your kitchen counter to bring in beauty and prevent clutter from building back up.

Step Three: It can be a blast to clutter clear and organize your junk drawer. One person opens their junk drawer an average of 3 times a day so organizing it can be a great gift to yourself and your family.

You and your family deserve to have a simpler, peaceful and sweet holiday season!

The Holidays are a wonderful time to slow down and focus on simplifying. Check out our Simplify Your Home and Holidays for all of our suggested actions.

If you want support in clutter clearing you can get help at our 30 Day Clutter Clear Out Movement. We’ve created powerful tools you can utilize any time of year to support your journey. If you have some extra time, hop on over there to access these offerings.

 

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Your Guides to a Simpler Life, Marla Dee & Kate Fehr

We are passionate about teaching The Clear & Simple Way© to transform your life.

Simplify Yourself…

Get realistic and honest about how you wholeheartedly desire to live your life.


How we spend our days is, of course,

how we spend our lives.

Anne Dillard

Get your Simplify Yourself guide here

Despite our modern world belief systems, we simply do not have enough time and energy to do all the things. Simplifying yourself and your life opens up space so you can a deep look at yourself and what you most want to do with your precious life. A great place to start is looking at your fantasy selves. A popular phrase coined by minimalist, author, and blogger Francine Jay, fantasy selves represent all the versions of ourselves that we think we want to to be. For most of my life and into my mid-thirties I thought I wanted to do it all, and I kept convincing myself I could do it all. I could work full time; be a mama, partner, friend, sister, daughter, student of life; organize myself, my son, my life, and my home; travel; spend time with loved ones; practice self-care; practice yoga; camp; hike; bike; read; take workshops; learn to cook; do laundry and clean my home, just to name a few.

Sometime in 2017-ish, while reading Francine’s post, Declutter Your Fantasy Self, I felt immediate resonance and relief. Oh, hell’s bells… I thought. Of course! How incredible would it feel to let go of all those fantasy versions of myself? {deep breath} As I wrote a list of my unrealized selves, and all the clutter in tow, I was able to feel how much of my life force had been blocked by things that did not provide value or joy in my life. I became willing to release them and make room for what was really true for me. As I said goodbye to these fantasy selves and the clutter connected to them, I opened up to a new way of living and being.

All too often, we hold on to stuff because it represents who we think we should be, rather than who we are. Sometimes our fantasy selves are meant to impress others; sometimes they’re relics of our past; sometimes they’re fantasies about our future. Whatever the case, it’s important to remember: acquiring stuff for your fantasy self doesn’t make it a reality. Most of the time, it only leads to a lot of nice clutter you never actually use. – Francine Jay

What fantasy selves are you holding onto that don’t match your current life? What material stuff is crowding your space, external and internal? I invite you to write a list of your own fantasy selves and all of the stuff connected to them.

Examples of fantasy selves and their potential clutter…

  • Outdoors fanatic – bicycling, hiking, camping, and ski gear; beach gear and toys, yard toys, and hammocks.
  • Crafty Betty – sewing machine, notions, lots of material; paper, paints, scissors; knitting needles and yarn.
  • Book Worm – a library full of books you have read, books you hope to read, and books from schooling.
  • Music Lover – shelves of CD’s or records, technology old and new, and instruments you might play someday.
  • Photographer – cameras, tripods, cords of every shape and size, boxes of photos, and digital photos galore.
  • World Traveler – Suitcases and travel accessories in all different types and sizes, maps, and books on travel.
  • Chef extraordinaire – pots, pans, mixing bowls, cooking utensils, and ingredients a plenty.

Wouldn’t it feel great to get clarity about how you most desire to live your life, to make conscious choices about how you spend your days, and cultivate a life that brings you joy and deep satisfaction? – Kate Fehr

 Get your Simplify Yourself guide here

Your Guides to a Simpler Life, Marla Dee & Kate Fehr

We love teaching the Clear & Simple Way© to transform your life.

iRAFT Your Paper

Are you drowning in a sea of paper pain?

Did you know you can handle all of your incoming paper in less than an hour a week?! We know paper comes at you from all directions and you think it’s impossible to ever manage it all. Behold… iRAFT©! We have created a system that simplifies all your interactions with the paper & information.

Marla Dee & Kate Fehr

EVERY piece of paper and information that comes into your life can be handled using the iRAFT© steps beginning with Incoming, where it lands into your life and space.

  • Incoming – every paper item that comes into your life
  • Read – magazines, articles, letters, cards
  • Act – requires you do something (make a call, pay a bill…)
  • File – file it quickly and be able to retrieve it easily
  • Toss – shred or recycle

*Please note that we recommend implementing this system and starting in present time. Once you are familiar with it and have every step in place, then go to the piles, filing drawers, etc. to clear out and clean up. Paper is its own beast and is very overwhelming. If you desire the help of an organizer, please connect with us.

iRAFT© For Your Paper Guide

INCOMING: In the same way that incoming emails land in the inbox, it is vital to create a container and spot for mail, thoughts, and information. The key elements when establishing a place for incoming communications are:

  • The location of the container needs to be close to the place of entry.
  • The container size needs to take into account the volume of information coming in.
  • The container should ideally be vertical with a large, open entry. If you use a horizontal container, select one that is open and comes with a lid.
  • The design of the container is important. Match the environment & personality of the user.
  • Process weekly into R.A.F.T.© – READ | ACTION | FILE | TOSS

READ: Choose a container for fast reading on the go, like a mesh folder in your briefcase, and a larger container/location for reading while you are sitting, both for personal and work. Keep the following in mind:

  • The right size of container is critical.
  • Location of the container is key. Put it where you will do the reading.
  • There is a difference between “quiet” and “active” reading.
  • There needs to be a system for when the reading happens.

ACTION: Everyone needs an action system for the communications that require action. Please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • It is imperative to have a container for papers that need immediate attention, action, and decision.
  • The container for your action file should be visual, vertical, and easy to sort into and work out of.
  • Coupled with the container needs to be a system to address how often you will take action weekly.
  • Refer to the action system section below for details on these areas.

FILE: In this container place items that are ready to be filed as reference, storage or archive.

TOSS: It is so helpful to have recycle, shred and trash bins close to your processing area.

iRAFT© For Your Paper Guide

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Check out the entire iRAFT© System here.

Your Guides, Marla Dee and Kate Fehr

We love teaching The Clear & Simple Way© to live free of clutter and get organized at last.

Time for Slow. Time for Simple.

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