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/
Declutter HOW?

Declutter HOW?

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI_-vRLlS8g
Marla & Lynn having FUN talking about clutter and organizing

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.

http://www.clearsimple.com/systems

Please share your stories of using STACKS with me – Marla Dee

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