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.
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 heart. Stephanie 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.
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
Your Guides, Marla Dee & Kate Fehr.
We are passionate about teaching people The Clear & Simple Way to clear clutter and get organized at last.
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 calledIn 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?
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…
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
Get an extra set of all electrical cords and chargers. Keep these packed and ready to go.
Have your body care items already on hand – refill after each trip. Use smart containers for your body care items.
Find the perfect tote or carry-on bag that can hold all you need and feel easy to carry.
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
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.
Do you have clutter in your space and chaos in your day? On the fun YouTube show That’s so true Lynn and her guest star Marla Dee give you straight forward advice on how to start organizing your home and life. Marla will help you know where to start and how to get it done. Learn about her simple system of STACKS. Marla has been an organizer for 20 years and she knows the pain. Watch the segment and get inspired to cut the clutter and live in a well organized space.
If clutter clearing was easy, the clutter wouldn’t be there. If organizing was easy, the chaos wouldn’t be there. Since only 10% of the human population is born with the organizing gene, most of us need help learning HOW! After watching the video above, check out the page below for more depth on the STACKS system.
Please share your stories of using STACKS with me – Marla Dee