Time for Slow. Time for Simple.

This blog was written by Kate Fehr of the Clear & Simple family. It’s well worth a read as the summer flies by too quickly.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It also bring me to reflect on what has become my focus and to step back a little and slow down. We all get caught in the hustle and bustle of life and demands of work. A little reminder to slow down is always a good thing. So sit back, slow down a few minutes and read this lovely blog.

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

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

Top Ten Tips for Travel

Travel can be stressful so enjoy our tips that help you simplify and organize all your trips!

I love to travel but used to get so stressed by all the preparation and unknowns. What if I need something different to wear? What if I can’t find my hotel information? How do I decide what to take on with me and what to pack? Over the last 5 years, I have used all the tips & tools below to radically reduce the stress and struggle.  These tips are the SEE IT. MAP IT. & DO IT. steps for travel.  Try them out and let me know what you think!

My invitation, sharing of my “bag lady” story and more…

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Get your copy here Top Ten Tips for Travel

  1. The perfect suitcase is the key.
    • Size, weight, color, material, design
    • Each person needs and deserves their own suitcase
    • Have an ID tag that is current (no address)
  1. Simplify the clothing
    • Choose a capsule wardrobe so you can mix and match easily
    • Choose to roll your clothes or use the pack-it systems
  1. Apps and online resources that help: clearsimple.com/travelapps/
    • Use Wunderlist – have a standard list for your different types of trips and then easily adjust for current trip. Yes a list makes a difference. You can even print the list so you can check the items off.
    • Use Last Pass for all your key & private information
    • Tripit stores all the trip details
    • Get AAA or similar service for travel troubles
    • Uber and Airbnb are some of our favorites
    • Get your TSA Precheck to save time every plan trip
    • Check out Costco Travel – especially for car rentals
  1. Get an extra set of all electrical cords and chargers. Keep these packed and ready to go.
  2. Have your body care items already on hand – refill after each trip. Use smart containers for your body care items.
  3. Find the perfect tote or carry-on bag that can hold all you need and feel easy to carry.
  4. Carry-on Essentials Kit ready to go in the perfect carry-on.
  • Medicines (get the small plastic medicine pouches)
  • Soft light sweater or jacket and socks
  • Toothbrush, wipes, body care & eye mask
  • Book to read or game to play
  • Easy water bottle like the collapsible water bottle
  • Gum and food snacks, including protein
  • Ear buds or head phones that you love
  1. Safe holder for passport, id and credit cards (make a copy that stays home with an assigned person who can help). Use Last Pass to hold all the vital information.
  2. Check out The Container Store for some of our favorite bags and tools.
  3. The Power of One. Try taking one book, one notebook, one technology device, etc. Then decide one purpose (most important) for your trip. clearsimple.com/travelstuff/
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!

Simple Travel Planning

Simple Travel Planning

Clear & Simple, Simple Trips & Travel

Yes, you can have less stress with all your travels!

Some of you have heard about our very humbling and eye-opening experience of traveling to London in 2014 with too much stuff and the sad comments we received regarding all of that stuff. We were so embarrassed to be representing organizers and Americans as a whole. Needless to say, our packing and travels were NOT Clear & SIMPLE…

Through conscious practice each time we travel, we now travel much more simply and LOVE to share about all that we have learned. We still experience the initial freak out when it is time to start getting ready., but then we remind ourselves to do the See It and Map It steps first. This helps us stay present with one thing at a time.

See it – Take a look at what the trip is about. Then you can gather all the details in one place (see the apps below for help).

  • What will you be doing?
  • Where are you going?
  • What is the purpose of the trip?
  • Who are you traveling with?

Map it – Make a plan for what you want. This relieves the stress in your body and brain.

  • Why not make a Mind Map for your trip?  This makes it fun.
  • Create your spending plan ahead of time.
  • Make the lists for packing as soon as you can.

We have shared about our favorite travel planning apps, including Wunderlist and TripIt for making the planning stages so much easier. We pull our general trip list in Wunderlist and then customize it for each new trip. TripIt keeps all the important details together and on the phone.

If you have been to our Live Travel Workshop then you have experienced firsthand the goodness we have learned and we are excited to say that we will be sharing our best travel tips for the next 4 weeks so stay tuned for more.

We are also holding another live travel workshop on June 19th in Salt Lake City Utah – limited to 9 students so sign up now with your traveling buddy.Clear & Simple, Simple Trips & Travel

The ART of Letting Go ~ Inspiration

Inspiration – the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions!

As defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, getting inspired means to get the intellect or emotion moving! We often hear people say, “I”m lazy so I don’t… clean out my purse, clean out the garage, clean off the kitchen counter, organize the linen closet…” We want to reframe this. We believe it’s because these things just aren’t inspiring in and of themselves. However, once they are done, the space and fresh flowing energy gets our brains, hearts and bodies fired up! This opens us up to spend time and energy where we really want to. Now that’s inspiring!

Encouragement comes in many forms:

  • creating a vision of what you most want
  • reframing negative thoughts to positive ones
  • the support of a trusted loved one
  • a picture in a magazine
  • hearing stories of others accomplishments
  • sitting with how it will feel when you reach a desired outcome

Find what really lights up your entire being! Here are 3 ideas to get you going:

1 – Look for affirmation of the feeling you want on the other side of clearing the clutter. One great resource is Clutterers Anonymous and here are a couple from their site. As I declutter my life, I open up space to receive the support and comfort that I need – or – As I let go of what is insignificant to me, I am better able to enjoy those things that are important to me.

2 – Find stories of people that have released clutter that you resonate with. One of our favorite story tellers is family man Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist. Not only does he share about his family’s journey on his website, but he regularly shares guest posts in his newsletter.

3 – Print a picture or create a Pinterest board that inspires you let go of the stuff that is not adding value to your life or your space. We are always inspired by visual.

The ART of Letting Go is Marla’s ebook about taking that inspiration and then following the steps within The Clear & SIMPLE Systems to clear the clutter. Download this sweet and simple, yet powerful little book today as our free gift for yourself and others. Please feel free to share with your loved ones.

Clear & SIMPLE, Marla Dee, The ART of Letting Go

The ART of Letting Go ~ Trust

Trust is the most important part of letting go.

After Acceptance and Release comes the last step on your journey of freedom from clutter…Trust! We know clearing clutter can be overwhelming.  We hope these three steps have made it simpler.  We want to help free you to be present in your life now.

Let me bring these together for you.

  • Clutter is transformed by clearing.
  • You can choose to hold on or let go.
  • Do you want to stay stuck or start moving?
  • Is your body in a state or panic or peace?
  • Are you coming from a place of fear or trust?

In reality, all your choices come down to choosing FEAR or TRUST. I encourage you to take this journey from a place of Trust, and when Fear comes up, acknowledge it and let it go. Just for now, be willing to explore your own story and step into change.

Wishing you sweet peace in your life. Marla Dee

**This is an excerpt from Marla’s book, The ART of Letting Go. Download it now as a free gift to read all of the wisdom, knowledge and support of releasing many kinds of stuff in life.