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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.

Get All Our Favorite Containers in One Book

A place for everything in your home.

Clear & Simple, SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT., Marla Dee, Kate Fehr, Our Favorite Containers

Your Guides, Marla Dee & Kate Fehr.

We are passionate about teaching people The Clear & Simple Way to clear clutter and get organized at last.

Clear & Simple, LLC

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© 1999-2021 Clear & Simple, LLC.

All rights reserved.

Spring Organizing Tips

Our Top Ten Tips, Tools, & Truths for a Happy Spring.

Bring the sweet energy of spring into your space!

Ritual is a great way to anchor your intentions. It helps you to massage and soften and release tough holding patterns and bring to conscious reality the longs of your heartStephanie Bennett Vogt

Check out The One Minute Clear Exercise from Stephanie Bennet Vogt. This unbelievably simple, yet profound practice of only one minute a day for seven days will shift your space and your being. Click here for the video and feel spring energy move into your own body.

Clear & Simple’s Tips on ritual…

1. Invite fresh, clean energy into your space.

On a warm, sunny day, open up your windows and doors, turn on some music and let the freshness of spring flow through your space. This helps move the stagnant winter energy to rejuvenate all the moving molecules. Then let yourself enjoy the new energy and what you are inspired to do throughout the day.

2. Dig in the dirt – or simply plant one pot.

Ahh, the yummy feeling of dirt in your hands – dry, rough, wet, packed, smooth – so many sensations just waiting for you. Spring is the time to let your inner child go outside, get your hands dirty and connect with the earth. For those of you that love gardening, you know how healing this time is. Give yourself permission to put earth time first and love every minute.

If gardening isn’t really your thing or you don’t have the time, just pick out one fabulous pot, choose a flower arrangement and plop it in. Place it on your porch, where you can enjoy the beauty every day when you arrive home.

Spring is invigorating!

New life and fresh ideas abound. The urge to create has been building all winter long. Sadly, it can also be overwhelming because of all the fun choices. Just imagine taking a trip down to the local gardens and gazing at the abundance of flowers. Where do you start?

3. Keep it simple by choosing one project for the season.

It can be overwhelming to think about all the clutter clearing and organizing projects in your home, which can block you from ever starting. So begin with choosing just one project for each season and over time your space will be transformed. Also, each season has it’s own feel.

Spring is the perfect time to transform your closet, garage or craft area. Remember to write a vision of what you want to create before you dive in (the MAP IT Step).

 

4. Get inspired and bring in new life with bright colors.

How often have you caught your breath at the sight of a flowerbed in full bloom? Just like the blossoming flowers, bright containers make us happy. Our brain and bodies react to color first. So make your space or project one you will love to spend time in with bright, fun colors!

To find containers for all areas of your home in gorgeous colors, we love & recommend The Container Store!!

Harness the creative spring energy!

You know how contagious spring energy can be. It hits your body and you feel compelled to start clearing your space, go buy cool containers and somehow bring your space to life. You want to mirror what is happening outside and bring it inside. We believe that each season has it’s own energy and tapping into that makes organizing easier.

 

5. You get to choose what stays and what goes!

This is your space, this is your life, this is your choice, and your responsibility. There is a gift if you claim your personal power and make your space what you really want. Start with one room and ask – how do you want it to look, feel and function? Take out everything that doesn’t align with YOU! Then have fun making changes like adding color, or a new plant, a sweet bookshelf, or soft rug. Create a room that you love being in!

6. Refresh Your Clothes Closet

Spring is the best season for clearing out the clothes closet. Here are two personal tips for this personal area that gets a lot of use. First, we suggest getting real by trying everything on your body and asking, “Is this me?” Be prepared to laugh and cry. Make it a party and do this with a friend. You will actually be able to release the clothes much easier than if you just look at them on the hanger.

Second, choose hanger heaven rather than hanger hell by simply getting the same color and material of hanger. This is the easiest and cheapest closet transformation. Choose one color and get the different types you need in that color. The body and brain go to color first. You will be amazed at the difference.

Get The Steps to make spring organizing easier!

Spring is often a time when the urge to organize hits us! It’s vital to your success to know where to start, what to do and how to keep it up! What is you were given a simple step-by-step method that makes the organizing easy. Then you could choose a small project, like your junk drawer, or tackle a large project such as your garage.

7. Learn the SKILL!

Here’s the hard truth–only 10% of the human population is born with the “organizing gene”. This leaves 90% who don’t know where to start, what to do, or how to keep it up. We teach 3 simple steps – SEE IT, MAP IT, DO IT© – Look at where you’ve been, make a plan for where you want to go, then the take action. The action system is STACKS© Sort, Toss, Assign, Contain, Keep it up & Simplify. Get your FREE Steps Guide at www.clearsimple.com/steps/

8. Capture the incoming paper in one place and container.

The paper comes at us so fast it is impossible to keep up with it. It can take over your kitchen counter, dining room table, desk or any horizontal surface. You can start by freeing your kitchen counter of the paper piles. Get one large container to hold the incoming. It can be a covered basket or vertical wall pocket. Place all the incoming paper here and then sort once a week into piles for read, action, file and toss.

We created a 5 step system to simplify all of your interactions with paper, technology & information. Remember a SYSTEM – Saves You Stress, Time, Energy & Money! Let us walk you through iRAFT,  go to www.clearsimple.com/iraft.

 

Ways to make letting go easier.

“Clutter is delayed decisions and holding onto the past.” Marla Dee

We know it can be fun to clear the clutter from your clothes closet or garage. It can also be overwhelming when faced with all the decisions. It can be helpful to do this step with a trusted friend. Here are a couple of tips that will support you in letting go. 

9. Choose a donation agency that aligns with your joy and beliefs.

Giving to charities that support work you care about makes the toss step easier & more meaningful. Working with our clients for years has shown us this is true. Get online and look for a charity that speaks to you. If you can find one that will pick up the stuff, even better.

10. Let go of one habit that is keeping you stuck.

Spring is a time of renewal, of light, of growth. Releasing even one old habit and replacing it with something new can bring energy and new growth. Maybe this spring is the time to start going to bed at the same time every night. Or how about a simple 10 minute meditation each morning.

 

Cool Tools for Spring Organizing!

 

Get the Cool Tools to make the job easier. – Everyone knows that having the right tools is essential for getting the job done.  As professional organizers, we want to share our favorites that every home (and most offices need)

 

    • 30 banker’s boxes are the minimum for a home.  We use them to sort, contain and move the piles, stage the stuff during large projects, and free our clients from the visual distraction of all the stuff in messy piles.
    • A labeler is essential.  Having your containers and shelves labeled not only makes it easy to find what you need but mostly makes it easier to put things back where they belong. We recommend the Brother PTouch.
    • The time timer is a brilliant tool that allows us to stay focused and “touch” time. This amazing tool comes in many sizes, can be used by all ages and has hundreds of uses. Go here to check it out
Clear & Simple, Time Timer Mods
Clear & Simple, Time Timer Mods
Clear & Simple, Time Timer Mods

Your Guides, Marla Dee & Kate Fehr.

We are passionate about teaching people The Clear & Simple Way to clear clutter and get organized at last.

Clear & Simple, LLC

FOLLOW US

© 1999-2021 Clear & Simple, LLC.

All rights reserved.

Organize Your Paper

Are you drowning in a sea of paper? Are the piles taking over your space and your life?

Do  you remember when getting a letter in the mail was a treat? The purpose of paper and information is connection, education, growth, creativity and productivity. Sadly, we have lost touch with this pupose due to the overwhelm. We need help. We need systems to handle all the information coming at us every day.

Time to go from Paper Pile Pain to Paper Power!

Marla Dee

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.© is the 3-step organizing system that works for all the areas of your space and life. Let’s use it to change the paper pain to paper power!

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.© For Your Paper Guide

SEE IT – Take a look at where you’ve been and where you are now. Do your best to be neutral and take the observer viewpoint while exploring below:

  • Go around your space and take pictures of all the paper piles. Then look at the pictures – what do you see?
  • Tap into your emotions and write the story your paper clutter tells.
  • Take time to write what’s working. You can be specific or general.
  • Is your active paper separate from your older papers? Or mixed up.
  • What isn’t working? Where are you stuck and why?
  • What is stressing you the most about your paper pain?
  • Are you holding onto outdated ways of handling paper?

MAP IT – Make a written plan for what you want. Think about the big picture and overall goals with the paper. You can work out the details later.

  • Write how your space will look and feel when you have the right homes and habits in place for handling all of the paper that comes in.
  • Create an online board of images that reflect what you want most.
  • Create a mind map showing the elements of your ideal area and systems.
  • Now take some time to write a new story. How do you want to feel when handling your paper? How might you be open to a different way (i.e. having less paper, using simplified systems, getting help)?

DO IT – Take the steps to make it happen. The DO IT step is loaded because you are now touching all the paper. We will introduce you to the subsystems of iRAFT© for the active paper and S.T.A.C.K.S.© for all the rest. Get help from a professional organizer if needed!

  • Gather and start with your active paper before the older stuff. This would be your most recent piles of incoming paper and mail, bills to be paid, and such. You will use the system of iRAFT© for these papers. iRAFT© stands for incoming, Read, Action, File and Toss. You will want detailed guidance on each step of this system. Get everything at www.clearsimple.com/iRAFT.
  • After you get your active paper organized, you can tackle your older paper and files. Time for the S.T.A.C.K.S.© System that guides you through each step. www.clearsimple.com/systems. You will also want to consider the FreedomFiler System for all your filing needs! www.clearsimple.com/freedomfiler
  • Once you complete your active paper, take time to celebrate.

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.© For Your Paper Guide

Your Guide, Marla Dee.

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

STACKS: The 5 Step Organizing System

STACKS: The 5 Step Organizing System

The 5 Steps to get organized at last

It is time to learn the simpler way to organize. Earlier we talked about the foundation system of SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.  You start with the SEE IT – take a look at where you’ve been. Then MAP IT – make a plan for where you want to go. Now it is time for the DO IT step. Now we are touching the STUFF and trouble starts. Because this step is so loaded it gets its own system called STACKS.

S – SORT

T – TOSS

A – ASSIGN

C – CONTAIN

K – KEEP IT UP

S – SIMPLIFY

Organizing can be overwhelming because we are trying to make many decisions at once. Should I keep it or let it go, where will it go, how did it get here, who will take care of it? It is exhausting and we typically give up after a couple of hours. STACKS breaks down the process into 5 distinguishable steps that you take one at a time. You ask one question at a time, make one decision at a time, and take one action at a time

These steps make it possible to break down the process into bite sized pieces. And the steps build on each other. When sorting just sort! The toss is easier once you can see exactly what you have, then what’s left needs a place to go followed by what it will go in. Once everything is contained, it is time to ask how to maintain it and lastly, how to simplify? If you really give STACKS a try for a couple of small projects, you might get hooked.


I promise using STACKS will save you time, energy and money! And, by taking one step at a time, you will have more energy, think better, and get through the project faster.

Get your copy of the C&S Systems card here. 

Stay tuned for our next blog where I will take you through the C&S System visually and teach you even more. I have used this system on thousands of organizing jobs over the last 20 years and there is nothing like it. 

Marla Dee – Your Guide to getting organized at last!

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.

SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT.

The 3 step foundation system to get organized!

When we are confronted with all the stuff in our space, organizing can feel overwhelming! We don’t even know where to start. Marla Dee defines clutter as “delayed decision or holding onto the past.” The stuff seems to pile up because there are just too many decisions to make. So we need a simple place to start. Try this three step system for any project of any size. For more details get the C&S Systems card here.

Take the 3 steps in order

SEE IT – What’s working, what’s not working and why?

The first step is SEE IT.©, which stands for take a look at where you’ve been. Before you dive into touching the stuff, take 5 minutes to answer the questions what’s working, what’s not working and why? 

MAP IT – How do I want my space to look, feel and function?

The second step is MAP IT.©, which stands for make a plan for what you want. This can seem overwhelming also. To make this step simple write how you want your space/project to look, feel and function when you’re done.

DO IT – STACKS. Sort, Toss, Assign, Contain, Keep it up, Simplify

The third step is DO IT.©, which stands for take the steps to get it done. For this step, try out the Action System of STACKS. Now that you are touching the stuff, the project gets crazy. The power of STACKS is taking one step at a time.You do this by asking one question and making only one decisionat a time. Tune into our blog next week to get more details. 

Get the Clear & SIMPLE SYSTEMS CARD and more here

Clear & Simple SYSTEMS Card

Get your own card to use anytime

Were you born with the organizing gene?

Were you born with the organizing gene?

Did anyone ever tell you that organizing is a SKILL that only 10-12% of the human population on the planet earth is born with (see note below)? Most people assume that everyone should just know how. Parents expect their kids to know how to clean up their rooms. Bosses expect their employees to know how to organizing their office. Yet, 90% of the human population on the planet earth really struggle.

So believe me when I say…
 – If clutter clearing was easy, the piles wouldn’t be there.
 – And if organizing was easy, the chaos wouldn’t be here.

If you are part of the 10% then:

  • Walking into a room filled with clutter and chaos gets you excited  
  • Your hands get itchy and you want to start touching and moving the stuff
  • You go into a trance or creative zone when you are doing the work
  • You are often helping other people with their disorganization and maybe you have even started an organizing business.

If you are NOT born with the innate skill then:

  • You struggle with where to start, what to do and how to keep it up
  • Even thinking about clutter clearing or organizing is draining 
  • Your attempts to get organized have left you feeling helpless and hopeless
  • You have probably ready many books and tried many approaches only to give up

My story of how it all began…
It was April of 1999 when I met my first organizing client. I was there to work on her home office. I was excited and also terrified. We had only spoken on the phone so I didn’t know what to expect and I felt clueless about how I would help her.  I had many tools and lots of experience to draw from but I didn’t have a system to take us through the process.

Throughout my first year I witnessed over and over again that my clients were wired differently from me. They got confused and didn’t understand the steps. This is when the Clear & Simple Systems were born. I realized I needed a way to teach them the SKILL. And I wanted it to be fun and easy. 

Coming up, I will be sharing SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. and STACKS. These systems teach the SKILL. These simple steps are what make organizing easier.  If you want more information now, go to www.clearsimple.com/systems


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WsdRs6WoT0

NOTE: In the last 20 years, I have consulted with hundreds of clients and audiences. According to my research only 10-12% of the human population is born with the organizing gene, with the innate skill. The other 90% really struggle.

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