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/
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

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