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



First comes SORT. Next comes TOSS.

The key is ONE question at a time and one decision at a time!

The TOSS (the letting go) is the most loaded step of clutter clearing and organizing. If we could do it easily then the piles of stuff wouldn’t be filling up our space. It is often the emotional attachment with the stuff, the story it tells, and the overwhelm of just too much everywhere that keeps us procrastinating going through it.

Here are some of the struggles we hear all the time. I can go through other people’s stuff but not my own. Why is it so hard? I get stuck as soon as I start going through it, especially if I’m touching it. It is overwhelming – I don’t know where to start. My basement is full of my mother’s things. HELP!!

This is why we love the system of S.T.A.C.K.S. © for getting through the stuff.  Remember, in the blog Sort First. Toss Later. you were asked to sort first so you can see what you have. The steps of S.T.A.C.K.S. © build upon each other. In the SORT step you are only asking what is it? When you are done you have a clear picture of how much you have – how many months worth of electric bills, how many of the same black shirt, how many pens & pencils, or the same garden tool. Now the TOSS step is easier.

S.T.A.C.K.S.© – Sort, Toss, Assign, Contain, Keep it up, Simplify

TOSS – here is more guidance:

    • Clear & SIMPLE, TossQuestion: Do I need it or want it? It is amazing how often we keep things we don’t even want or need.
    • Power Question: Does this item support my vision for this space and this time in my life? Honor the chapter you are in!
    • Action: Put it in the keep or discard pile. If using bankers boxes then leave the item in the box and have bags/boxes ready for the give-away, shred, garbage, elsewhere toss categories so it goes quickly.
    • Tip: Remember you used bankers boxes in the sort so just take ONE box at a time when going through the toss. This will save you from distractions and confusion.
    • Reward: You will get through the toss quicker and with less energy. What you have left is what needs to be organized.

By asking just one question and making only one decision at a time, you WILL be able to get through all of the stuff. And you are still not asking where it will go or what it will go in. Those steps are ahead.

We want to be clear that we know with every fiber of our beings just how loaded the Toss step can be. It is SO loaded that Marla wrote a simple, yet powerhouse little guide called The ART of Letting Go. Please download this free gift and share it with anyone you feel may benefit.

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

Download our Systems Card as a companion guide to SEE IT. MAP IT. DO IT. © and S.T.A.C.K.S. ©.

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


Bankers Boxes – Sanity When Sorting the Stuff!

Yes, Bankers Boxes can save your sanity, and even your marriage!

The Clear & SIMPLE Way is all about keeping organizing simple and joyful. That might seem laughable when it comes to actually handling the stuff, but that’s exactly why we LOVE banker’s boxes together with post-it-notes. When you pair them with the first step of S.T.AC.K.S. ©, which is SORT, you get this supportive blend of the right tool for the right step.

We have heard from our clients that Bankers Boxes completely transform the sorting process and even save marriages! Often the person who likes order and everything put away partners with the person who is attached to stuff and having everything out where they can see it. This can be a disaster when it comes to doing an organizing project together. Bankers Boxes satisfy both needs – the stuff is neatly contained but you can find what you need.

Here’s a little list of what we love about bankers boxes combined with the post-it-note labels:
  • They make it easier to do the sort because the piles are now easy to identify
  • They are the container for the piles and make it easy to move the piles as you go along
  • They remove all the visual distraction of the piles and replace it with a calm energy
  • They keep all of the stuff contained until you are ready to make decisions about it
  • At the end of the working session you can put the lids on and stack them all nice and neat out of your way
  • The lids are great for all the little “stuff”Sort Supplies

So before you start into sorting the stuff we suggest – go get a minimum of 30 bankers boxes. They come in packs of 10. You will use them over and over again for multiple projects. See below for some places you can order them online and then pick them up. Also get a large pack of super sticky post-it-notes in a color you love along with a black sharpie.

Now you are ready to SORT! Remember you are just asking one question – What is it? Sort like with like into the BB and create a label with each new box. When you run out of time, just stack the boxes on top of each other and put against a wall. You can still find things if you need to until you can return to the job.

Bankers Boxes are sold at a variety of places like Office Depot and Walmart (best price is Walmart).

We hope you find true sanity in the SORT with this awesome new TOOL! Please share your stories with us.

Marla, Kate & Team


Mr. Organized Meets Ms. Chaos

How to get along when we attract our opposite! Organization can help or hinder.

Why is it that “Mr. Organized” partners with “Ms. Chaos”? The universe is funny that way, always trying to balance things out. Think about how often you are at odds with someone in your life because of organization issues:

  • Not being able to find what your boss is looking for.
  • Arguing with your child about the way their room looks.
  • Being accused of throwing important things away.
  • Always being asked where something is.

As professional organizers we constantly witness the stress in our clients relationships over organization styles and decisions. Sometimes our work feels more like therapy, especially when it comes to couples. Too often those with the ability to organize do not understand when others cannot maintain their environment. Those that are organized need to keep in mind that our research shows only 10 – 15% of the population is naturally organized. Hence, the need to be able to communicate and get help when lack of organization gets in the way.

This barrier between those who naturally know how to organize and the other 90% who don’t is why our main focus is teaching people how. The foundation for any organizing project or communication is three simple steps outlined below.

SEE IT – take a look at where you’ve been

Begin by taking a realistic look at where a lack of organization is impacting your life and relationships. Choose just one area or issue. What’s working, what’s not and why? Keep it simple. Then look at it from both sides and try to see what is at the heart of the conflict. Often our relationships serve as mirrors to look at ourselves. Once you have clarity, why not share your truth with this person and ask them to share.

MAP IT – make a plan for where you want to go

Now that you have each shared your truth, each person can create a simple vision for what needs to change. Try asking – what is the single most important change that needs to happen? What is one action you can take? Let this be enough. It is imperative to the relationship that each person has a chance to share their vision and what is important to them.

DO IT – take the actions to make it happen

How you choose to implement your changes or DO IT will be very specific to the relationship. Some may come up with a way to do it together, while others might call in outside help, and still others will compromise on different levels.

Some examples of this are:

  • A family sets up a system for incoming mail and an active paper system together.
  • A mother and child call it fun time, put on music, and make a game of putting everything away.
  • A couple decides to hire a professional organizer because they would rather enjoy their time together hiking or taking dance lessons.
  • A boss and assistant set up a weekly 1 hour focused time to go through all the lists and questions.
  • Two friends or buddies get excited about helping each other one weekend a month with the clutter areas – We all have them you know.

We hope we have given you inspiration and guidance to bring more peace and joy into your relationships.

We would love to hear back from you – what happened? Please share your stories!!

Marla, Kate & Team


Your space tells your STORY!

Your space, your home, your office, your car, your desktop… are simply reflecting who you are and what is going on inside you. So what story would they tell if you were looking in from the outside? 

Pause right now and go to your favorite room, or the room you spend the most time in. Take a look around and notice what thoughts arise. What about the sensations that are coming up in your body. Let your senses find a voice and speak to you. Take it in and trust whatever is shared. Who knows, you might even be surprised.

Here are some one-line story headings.  What would yours be?

  1. I like comfy & color
  2. I’m tired and overwhelmed
  3. I enjoy beauty and peace
  4. I have too much stuff
  5. I am a soft person
  6. I’m simple – or – I’m complicated
  7. I like being messy – it’s who I am
  8. I need lots of color – or – I need neutrals
  9. My space is full of other people’s stuff
  10. I am a minimalist
  11. I absolutely love being organized
  12. Everything has a home – or – I don’t where to put things
  13. Everything needs to be out so I can see it.

My environment is an external reflection of my internal reality! Sharon Benedict www.newinkcopy.com

Now go further and ask, does your space support or drain you? There is no right or wrong here; this is about noticing. This is the SEE IT© Step in action (take a look at where you’ve been). Does your space reflect who you are in present time? Or do you now want to make a change? We invite you to share your insight with anyone close to you and ask about them. We would love to hear your stories!

Marla, Kate & Team

Clear & SIMPLE, Marion MandalaNOTE – Visit www.TheHomeEnhancer.com if you want help changing your story. Marion Mandala will transform your space into a place you love to be! She lives in the Portland, OR area but also offers virtual sessions.  You can connect with her at 503-953-5976.

SEE IT.© Take a look at where you’ve been – click here for more info