A Sweet Summer

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!

 

 

SEE IT:

 

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

 

MAP IT:

 

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.

 

DO IT:

 

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.

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!


  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. Our favorite app for simple breathing and meditation is headspace.com

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

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


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

Organizing helps couples in chaos

Organizing helps couples in chaos

Try working together rather than battling each other! 

I am often called a marriage therapist by the couples I work with.  I am in their home, I see the clutter and chaos, I hear the overwhelm and frustration. It can feel hopeless to create a home that is peaceful and inviting. Use these practical tips to help make organizing easier and get closer as a couple. Your partnership is the most important relationship in your life.

http://kutv.com/features/fresh-living/get-your-home-and-marriage-organized

TIP 1: Let the bedroom be all about rest, intimacy and connection. 

  • Remove all clutter, laundry, paper piles or projects.
  • After clearing the bedside tables, place items like candles, books or music that help you relax and enjoy each other.
  • Choose the furniture and items that you both love.
  • Keep the TV out of the bedroom.

TIP 2: Just like a weekly date night, schedule a weekly planning session together. Make this time meaningful and fun!

  • Choose a comfortable place, in or out of your home, where you enjoy being with each other.
  • Share your wins and disappointments from the week before. Genuine attention is the most precious gift you can give each other.
  • Have a shared calendar to track all the needed activities on.Look at the week ahead and share with each other what is happening and what kind of support you need. You can also handle meal planning and budgets during this time. Then it won’t be hanging over you.

TIP 3: Honor each other’s organizing styles. Each of you gets your “own space” to keep the way you want. 

We tend to be attracted to and partner with our opposites. Each person needs their own space, their own hobbies and their own time to do their stuff. This will relieve stress and make time together more meaningful.

TIP 4: Share the load and/or delegate the keep it up tasks.

Our days are full of the keep it up tasks – cleaning, fixing, errands, calls, etc. Yet, we have really full lives and there just isn’t time to do everything. So, choose what maintenance things each person enjoys doing (you might love doing laundry or yard work). Then hire out the tasks that neither of you has the time, energy or skill set to do. Examples of this would be to pay a housecleaner, professional organizer, yard keeper or meal manager.

I invite you to sit down this week with your partner and choose your time of the week for Tip 2. Make this fun and get to know each other in a whole new way. Please share your success with me at [email protected] or