Pretty & Practical Spring Organizing Tips

The Energy of Spring is contagious!

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?

To help you really enjoy this Spring, we are sharing our top ten organizing tips throughout the month. Get a printable version of all of our TOP TEN TIPS for Spring.

This week is about the Practical & Pretty:

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).

6. 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!!
Share your stories and photos on social media, #TheCSWay. We LOVE hearing from you!
Marla, Kate & Team

Clear & SIMPLE, Top 10 Spring Tips



Client Story – Taming the Paper Piles

Those piles of paper and overflowing files can be tamed!

“I’m coming clean here. Literally. I had piles of paper taking over my spare room that was supposed to be my sweet home office. It desperately needed attention. There were files from the last decade, including my husband’s old papers (he passed away years ago). Boxes overflowed, piles fell over, and the result was stress, stress, stress every time I walked into the room. What I lacked was a system to handle it all. I was inspired to tackle it after Marla Dee came to help me create a vision and plan.

I made this my project for spring and started working my way through the piles using the Clear & SIMPLE Systems© (see below). I sorted first. Then Marla took me through the toss. Honestly, having her at my side talking me through it made all the difference in the world. Next we chose a container for my incoming paper to land until I was ready to deal with it. Lastly, she introduced me to the amazing FreedomFiler System for my action system and all my files, from reference to taxes. I have peace of mind knowing that every type of paper in my space has a home and a system to keep it running smoothly.” W.R.

Why not try The Clear & SIMPLE Way © to transform your paper piles…

SEE IT© – Take a look at where you’ve been

Take 10 minutes to write out what’s working, what’s not working and why. Just let the words come out of you and enjoy the clarity and release.

MAP IT© – Make a plan for what you want

Write a simple vision by asking how you want your paper space to look, feel and function? Get ideas here on our ULTIMATE OFFICE MAP.

DO IT© – Take the steps to get it done

Take it one step at a time using the Clear & SIMPLE System of S.T.A.C.K.S. ©.

Sort firstWhat is it? Gather the most active papers and sort them first. Keep the labels general in the beginning. Remember like with like. You can sort right into hanging files or bankers boxes with post it note labels. For example: mortgage/rental papers, life insurance, health insurance, auto, monthly utilities, loans, etc.

TossDo I keep it or let it go? Give your self permission to recycle or shred the papers that need to go. Get a printable version of our Record Retention Guidelines.

AssignWhere will it go? Sanity starts with capturing the paper as it comes in. Choose a location and container for the incoming paper and drop everything in.  It is just like the inbox for your emails.  Then get a container for the action papers and 1-2 file drawers for the files you need to keep handy. Check out a printable version of our Paper flow Map for additional support.

Contain – What does it go in? Choose a color of hanging folder that you love along with the powerful FreedomFiler System or another of your choice. Archive papers can just be put in boxes, labeled and stored.

Keep It Up – How do I maintain this? Place all incoming paper and mail into a container then sort once a week into 4 piles – Read, Action, File and Toss, RAFT ©. Take the piles to their appropriate place and then spend 30 minutes just on the ACTION items. FreedomFiler System is the answer again to keep ALL the paper files organized!

Simplify – How can I simplify? Schedule your paper power time each week just like you would the laundry. Also, getting help from a Professional Organizer is always a gift.

We invite you to just start using the tips and tools above. Tackle the active paper piles and let us know what happens.

Marla, Kate & Team


©RAFT, SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. & STACKS Copyright Clear & SIMPLE, LLC All rights reserved.

SORT First. TOSS Later.

Breathe. You don’t have to decide *yet* what to do with the stuff.

You have gone through the SEE IT. © and MAP IT. © steps and are ready to begin the DO IT. ©. This means touching the stuff. This is loaded. When you are looking at the piles of paper everywhere or that spare room stuffed with boxes and bags, the mere thought of really starting brings up the urge to run away. You can get hung up before you even start because of the heaviness (mentally, emotionally and energetically) of all the decisions to be made; the heaviness of what to do with it all.

Most of thClear & SIMPLE, S.T.A.C.K.S. One Step at a Timee advice out there says pick up each thing and make a decision. If it were that easy the piles wouldn’t be there. So at C&S we break it down into bite size pieces. The DO IT. © Step now gets it’s own system called S.T.A.C.K.S. ©. It’s the ACTION system.

Part of the brilliance of  The Clear & SIMPLE Systems © is the step-by-step approach, with each step building upon the previous. This helps us stay present in each moment and releases the weight of the project, by asking us to only answer one question at a time. When we finally dive into touching the stuff with S.T.A.C.K.S. ©, we start with SORT, and only sort!! You are asking one question and making only one decision – what is it?

  • Question: What is it? Trust what comes into your brain.
  • Action: Sort into piles of like with like. Keep it simple, general categories are good enough.
  • Tip: Place items into bankers boxes. Label each box with a post-it note for steps ahead.
  • Reward: You will know exactly what you have. You will be amazed at how freeing this is.

By asking one question and making only one decision at a time, you WILL be able to get through all of the stuff. When you can see how many months worth of electric bills you have, how many of the same black shirt, how many pens & pencils, the TOSS step is much easier.


One of your Sort piles can be Toss for the stuff that you know easily is give or throw away, shred or recycle.

Stay tuned in upcoming weeks as we continue through the S.T.A.C.K.S. © process.

With you each step of the way,
Marla, Kate & Team

Mind Mapping for SIMPLE Planning!

Your Right & Left Brain can now work together!

“When sitting down to create a mind map all you need are two things; an idea and a brain. You put your idea in the centre and let your brain do the rest.” Andrea Leyden

Mind Mapping is our favorite tool for the MAP IT. © Step. Remember MAP IT. © stands for Make-a-plan. But often this is confusing and overwhelming. Mind mapping to the rescue!! “Whenever I get STUCK in my day or any project, I whip out paper and do a mind map. It has become an essential tool. I also go to this tool first when planning any new project or for my week and day.” Marla Dee

WHY – No matter what the project or the size, mind mapping makes it simple. And whether you are a left brain list maker or a right brain artist, mind mapping will work for you. You can use mind mapping for planning out:

  • Your year, month, week or dayClear & SIMPLE, Mind Mapping
  • Any size project, large or small
  • A paper, report or any writing project
  • A creative project such as a website
  • Creating to do or task lists
  • An upcoming trip or event


HOW – Here are some simple tips and resources for learning how so you can use this tool all the time.

  1. The ideal size paper is 11×17 but 8×11 works just fine – grab printer paper.
  2. You can use pictures, words or a combination of both.
  3. Draw or write your main image or project at the center of the page.
  4. Then ask what parts come to mind that are part of this project and draw them around your central theme.
  5. One by one as the thoughts come to you, expand on each element.
  6. Keep going until you have dumped out everything in your brain related to your theme.
  7. If there is one part that turned into a loaded area, you can do a separate mind map just on that.
  8. You can also do this joyfully and easily on the COMPUTER. There are all kinds of digital mind mapping software; both FREE and PAID. These are just examples. A quick internet search will bring up a lengthy list of options.

Make-a-Mind-Map click here for detailed step-by-step instructions that make it simple! You will also see some great TIPS.

Clear & SIMPLE, Mind Mapping Tips

Have fun with this. Make it a ritual that is supportive and rewarding to you. Please share your stories with us!

Marla, Kate & Team





The Magic MAP IT Question!

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

The second step in The Clear & SIMPLE Way is MAP IT.©, which stands for Make a Plan for what you want. When we are confronted with all the stuff in our space, it can feel impossible to know what we really want. Marla Dee defines clutter as “delayed decision and/or holding onto the past.” The stuff seems to pile up because there are just too many decisions to be made. So we need a simple place to start.

Here you go!  Choose one room, area or project (like the living room, hall closet or kitchen counter).

The SEE IT. © Step question

How does my space currently look, feel and function? Let your answers be super simple. The point is to get it out of your body and your brain.

Then ask the Magic MAP IT. © question…

How do I want it to look, feel and function?

Here is an example for the living room.

SEE IT. © – Right now it looks ok but also cluttered. It feels like nobody takes care of it because there is stuff everywhere – on the couch, tables and now piles on the floor. It isn’t working because I can’t have anyone over – there is no place for people to sit and I would feel ashamed of the mess. And it is too dark (no wonder I don’t read in here).

MAP IT. © – I want it to look like I live here and everything has a place. I want it to feel warm and inviting. I want some new soft comfy blankets (scary how old mine are). I want there to be a clear area for sitting, reading & relaxing. And I want more light. Ok, now I am ready for the DO IT step.

Isn’t this easier to answer than “what am I going to do with the stuff?” So pick your project and let us know how it goes!

Marla, Kate & Team