The Simplify Team

Have you heard our big news!?

Simplify has rebranded to reach more clients and broaden our spectrum of services!

We still offer the same level of detail, customer support, and organizational services but now have a TEAM of organizers to help with any and all projects. 

Simplify with Steph is now The Simplify Team.

Please continue to follow us on our social platforms to keep in touch of all that The Simplify Team is up to, and all future blog posts will be found at

Have a wonderful day and keep us in mind on your next organizing project!

Decision-Making While Organizing

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I was in a client’s home today, and it made me think about the decision-making aspect of my job. The client was having difficulty making decisions. It was challenging for her to identify what to keep and what to donate. It truly is the unspoken “hard part” of organizing. It can be so hard to decide what to do with an item, and if you keep it then where does it go? This indecision can be debilitating for so many people and is often a roadblock to getting your space organized. Today I am going to give a few quick tips to help with decision-making while organizing. 

Tip #1: Take away the pressure.
You do not need to fear your decision! A decision is not the end of the world. It can be undone and/or re-decided. For example, for a client we assigned a drawer to be the “tools” drawer. The client questioned why I selected that specific drawer, and we discussed my thought process. Ultimately, even if that drawer doesn’t end up being the “right” drawer for the client, it can be changed quickly and easily. Drawers can be swapped. The decision to cull three separate tool drawers into only one tool drawer for this client was more important than overthinking the location of the drawer.

Tip #2: One decision at a time.
Have you ever heard the saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”  It is the same for organizing; you have to focus on one decision at a time. One thing. One goal. Put blinders on and focus on one shelf, one drawer, one “do I keep this…” and then move on to the next. By tackling multiple items or spaces at once, you will become overwhelmed. Please know that I do not discredit the weight or heaviness that comes with making these decisions. It’s not always easy, but I want you to focus on the fact that you can do it! You can make a decision about one item. One decision at a time will add up as you progress, and it does get easier.

Tip #3: Call in support.
Know when you need a helping hand and reach out for assistance. This might be a professional organizer, but it doesn’t have to be. If you struggle making organizing or purging decisions about your things, call in a friend or family member to help with the process. You know in your mind who would be the one to call…lol. We all have that friend/family member who is a keeper of all the things – don’t call them! Call your honest, realistic, minimalist friend who only keeps the important things, and set some boundaries before you begin. If I can tell that a client is struggling with decision-making, here are some sayings that I use to help with the process:

“We can stop when you are feeling overwhelmed.”
“Let me know if you need a break or to refocus on another area.”
“If you want to keep something, it stays…no questions asked.”

Good luck and happy decision-making!


Managing the Mundane with Ease

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

The topic of tackling everyday chores came to me today as I was doing the dishes. I HATE washing dishes. It is my least favorite task. I wish that we could use paper products for everything and never dirty any dishes, because I truly hate them that much. To overcome these feelings, I am going to share some of my tips for making mundane tasks feel less annoying. 

Tip #1:
The first tip is to NOT let the chore get out of hand. It always is 100% worse to procrastinate dreaded activities until the last second. If you despise laundry and wait until everyone is out of clean underwear LOL, it is going to take much longer to get all loads of laundry finished. If you complete a little at a time, you won’t be forced into your least favorite jobs.

Tip #2:
Figure out a way to multitask while performing the routine task. For example, while I am doing laundry, I go into the guest room and put on my favorite Bravo show to watch while sorting and folding clothes. The show itself makes the activity more entertaining. Folding is a somewhat mindless activity, so I don’t need to be mentally zeroed in while I do it. The show also makes the time go by faster because I am getting something done while catching up on shows I enjoy. Need to move around the house to complete a chore? Download a podcast or audiobook; it is a great way to kill two birds with one stone. 

Tip #3: 
Set a timer! I use this trick with my children as well, and it is a miraculously simple tool. If you struggle with a task, set a timer for ten minutes and instead of finishing the job completely, you work within your time limit. Tell yourself, “I am going to pick up this room for the next ten minutes…whatever I get done, I get done.” It works y’all! It’s incredible. All of my clients report that the timer tip helps them feel more productive and successful. Ten minutes out of your day is not a lot of time, but ten minutes spent devoted to one task is manageable and life-changing. You can get so much done within this time frame. The key is to be hyper-focused on doing exactly one task. If you get distracted easily, lower the amount of time you set on your timer. 

Tip #4:
Get others household members involved. For example, my littles have been practicing helping with laundry and are doing a great job. The key to allowing help is to let go of some of your expectations and adjust your standards. When my kids put their laundry away, it is in the right drawer. Period. That is a success. 🙂 Will it look like I organized their drawers? Not always, but the chore is done. Let go of some control, ask for help, and be open to help. Your household is a family unit, and everyone helps to add to the health and happiness of the home. 

Tip #5:
Have trouble getting distracted while doing household tasks or just need some extra hands? We can help you be productive. We offer a program called maintenance organizing. Maintenance organizing means that we come routinely (weekly, biweekly, monthly, or seasonally). Organizing is not a “one and done” activity. We can help unpack pantry foods, tidy rooms, and re-sort closets. We also help with seasonal decorating and take-down after the holiday! If you need a little extra help from our team of experts, let us know: Click here to book.

These are my tips for getting through those everyday tasks with a little more ease.  

Good luck and happy organizing!

Back to School Tips from a Professional Organizer!

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

It’s that time again! I cannot believe my little girl is going into 1st grade! It’s cliche to say, but time does pass so quickly. Even though this is only my second year sending my child to school, I have ten years of experience as a teacher and know how important it is to start the year on the right foot. Here are a few tips that I have learned as a mom, professional organizer, and former teacher.

1. Labels!

These are life. Especially in the lower grades and Pre-K, labels can help save you time and money. I personally use the company Name Bubbles, and I am obsessed with the durability, customization, and cost of these labels. I use them on everything that I buy for my kids. Pro-Tip: Keep some extra labels around for field trips, shoes, or any other items that are purchased throughout the year. 

2. Create a set “drop zone”.

You do not have to have a custom mudroom, but you do need to think ahead about where you would like to create your routine. I promise it helps to think through these steps: When you come home, where do kids typically put their bags? Is the current system working? If not, how can you adjust this system to alleviate some of the morning and after-school hassles? For us, this meant adding hooks and a bulletin board by the garage door. Even if we do not come in through the garage, I make sure to remind my children that bags are put up by that door. Even at age five, Emma was able to follow the process and it was a huge help! We never lost a backpack or spent precious morning moments searching for school items. Sometimes all you need is a few hooks to create a system. The other key to “drop zones” is consistency, especially in the beginning. Remind kids each day where their shoes, bags, or clothes go, and it will start to become a habit…eventually. 

3. Go through your kids’ clothes before the school year begins. 

Eliminate early morning issues by weeding out clothes that are too small, stained, or otherwise ruined in some way. This has been the biggest help for my children and my clients’ children as well. If you take out clothes that cannot be worn, it makes getting dressed so much easier! 

4. Rethink your routine.

Many of my clients have children in private school, and often we create a separate closet for their uniforms. It might seem silly, but it saves so much time keeping uniform pieces together! No one needs an actual coat closet in Texas, lol, why not turn it into the school uniform closet? Or use that closet for school bags and supplies? When you start to think outside of the box, you can rework your routine and reduce some of the daily stressors in your life. 

5. Stock up on extras but don’t go crazy.

Your child will most likely need extra pens/pencils throughout the year, but you don’t need to overbuy much else. I frequently find long forgotten school supplies in clients’ homes. This can be a waste of space and money. If you do want to stock up on supplies, make sure to put them in a place where you will remember what you have. I’m all for a good sale, but try to only buy what you will actually use. 

I hope these tips help you and your families to have a successful school year!



Fighting the urge of excess – updated for 2021!

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

2020 is over and 2021 has had it’s share of ups and downs. What we’ve gone through is nothing short of traumatic. Hoarding and overbuying are classic responses to stress, and we’ve all been under high levels of stress. Collecting items without reason is not healthy for us or for our homes. One key problem with overbuying is storage; most of us cannot store the excess things that we have purchased. 20+ rolls of paper towels sounded like a great idea until the purchase was brought home and there is no room for it. Excess goods then further increase the anxiety that originally lead to the overbuying. Whether you keep your home in near perfect condition or don’t mind the “we live here” look, when things start piling up it creates significant mental clutter.

Three tips to stop overbuying:

1. Make a list for the grocery store:

Be specific and only buy what you need. Cancel auto-shipment of grocery items until you actually need them again.

2. Be creative to use the excess:

If you don’t make use of what you’ve purchased, it’s going to expire and further the waste. Overbought rice or pasta can be worked into your weekly menu. Don’t just ignore a crowded pantry. Be creative with recipes and think about the items you’ve already purchased; it can save your family space and money.

3. Resist the urge to continue:

It’s easy to get pulled into buying excess. It becomes a way to feel ‘safe’ and gain emotional control over an uncontrollable situation. Did we buy extra toilet paper when all this started, yes, absolutely. Are we still buying it? Nooo! We all have enough toilet paper. I’ve started adding a “Do not buy” category to our shopping list each week. I add items that we habitually buy, but aren’t needed that week. “Don’t buy toilet paper, rice, or great beans.” This may help you and your partner stay on track.

Are you overbuying? If this is a concern for you, take time to consider why. Do you need to talk to someone about your concerns? Managing emotional responses is hard, but it is so worth it. Spend some time today taking care of you, and let’s all put an end to overbuying.

Love y’all!


10 Organizing Items You Need from Walmart

Secrets from a seasoned Professional Organizer

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Guys, want to know my secret? I am obsessed with Walmart hacks! I know that some people have stigmas about shopping there, but I’m all for a good deal. I love saving money and saving my clients’ money is a win for everyone! 

Here are my top 10 items to buy exclusively from Walmart! 

  1. Shelf liner! (affiliate link) This adhesive liner is about $5 per roll. If you haven’t used it before, there can be a small learning curve. I LOVE the patterns, and the adhesive means it won’t move around. It is also super easy to clean. Don’t fret, it can also be easy to remove when the time comes, promise! 
  2. Moving Boxes! (affiliate link) Want to know the cheapest place to get moving boxes? Walmart! Prices can fluctuate, but boxes are typically $1. Yes, you read that right, $1!
  3. Canisters. (affiliate link) Who doesn’t love to decant pastas, cereal, and baking goods? This new(ish) trend is on the rise thanks to some great tv shows. My tip: don’t rush out to container stores to get high priced canisters. My favorite come from Walmart, and they’re under $20! 
  4. Clear bins. (affiliate link) There is so much you can accomplish with a large clear bin. My team uses them everywhere, and you don’t have to pay too much for plastic. Storage bins are almost all alike, but Walmart typically runs the best price. 
  5. Garage Organization. (affiliate link) If you have tools propped up against the wall, you need this stat! It’s only $16, AND it comes with the hooks. At other stores you will find this for around triple the cost, but this product is practically the same. 
  6. Bamboo Kitchen Organizers. (affiliate link) Bamboo organizers have the same quality from each store. Why overpay when you don’t have to? Walmart carries utensil sorters, drawer dividers, silverware sorters, and turntables for less than I have been able to find them anywhere else. Win-win!
  7. Vinyl and Silhouette supplies: (affiliate link) Did you know that Walmart sells Cricut products at a better price than your local craft store? It’s my go-to place for transfer tape and rolls of black and white vinyl. 
  8. File Boxes. (affiliate link) These Walmart file boxes are great for storage, but I also use them to create personalized Keepsake boxes. Click here to order your own! 
  9. Command Hooks and strips. (affiliate link) These are great for projects inside and out. Love them! 
  10. Velcro rolls. (affiliate link) These large rolls are perfect for handling pesky cords. Cut off as much as you need and save the rest for your next project. 

I hope these products help you and save you some money! Happy organizing. 


Organizing Children’s Keepsakes

Keeping the best and tossing the rest.

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Many of my clients are parents and, more specifically, parents of young children. Parenting comes with a lot of joy, but it also comes with a lot of stuff. It can be hard to say goodbye to belongings a child has outgrown or artwork they bring home from school daily. I want to share some ideas for organizing those special keepsake items in a way that honors the memory but will not clutter your home. 

Clients frequently ask me these questions regarding keepsakes:
What do I keep? 
Where do I store them? 
How do I throw away my kid’s work!?!

Getting artwork or school work under control from an early age, will benefit you in the long run. If you do not start out with a system from the beginning, it can feel overwhelming to take on the task at a later date. It seems like each year, my own children come home with more and more stuff! I’m willing to guess that many of you are in the same boat. 

To begin, I suggest creating a specific rule or guideline of what you will keep and what you won’t. This will help you calm the madness throughout the years. My own rule of thumb is to keep only uniquely personalized items. For me, this includes handprints, personal details such as ‘My favorite______’, and work that looks like it was time consuming for the child to complete. 

Why it is important to NOT keep everything?
Clients with adult children seek advice from us on what they should do with the items they have kept. They have held onto boxes upon boxes of items for their children, and now their children have no interest in collecting those items to store in their own homes and attics. It’s heartbreaking to the parent, to be honest, because they have taken the time to save this stuff for years. Parents often think a child will be excited to retrieve their long-lost artwork, but after twenty years of storing the keepsakes, parents more often learn it has been a waste of both time and space.

I strongly suggest that you focus on your child’s personality, even when they are young. Think about whether or not they are sentimental. I can tell within minutes of meeting a young client what their personality is like regarding their items. If you know that at 10 your child is not sentimental, chances are that will not significantly change as they age. 

Try picturing your child as an adult. Will they want thirty pictures of a star when they grow up? Or just one with a note attached that they went through a “star drawing phase” for a year. 

Saying it out loud will also help determine what to keep: 
Will my child want this in the future?
Will it last in storage?

I believe it means more to a child to hold the memory and not the ‘stuff’. Writing a note about what they went through and what it was like will be more meaningful than page after page of busywork. 

I also strongly suggest getting your children involved from an early age. I ask my children to look through their school papers individually. They tell me which ones are most important and what they would like to keep. Even my more sentimental child will typically only keep a few pages of work. I ask them which ones they spent more time on and what is most important to them. At age three, my kids could tell me what they wanted to keep and what could be tossed. Getting your child involved will help eliminate items you might feel compelled to keep. 

My daughter doesn’t necessarily understand what I am keeping and why, but she loves helping with the ownership of valuing her hard work. It also shows that we see her and love looking at what she has done. 

Finally, have a place for the things you decide to keep. I personally make and sell personalized keepsake boxes. Using a file box, I create tabs for each year. The box goes through senior high, and it is a manageable size. One benefit of its smaller size is that you will not have room to keep everything. It will help limit the amount of school work that is kept. I have also seen clients keep artwork in a large file folder, however this is difficult to sort and not contained. File folders do not have lids, so the artwork can fall out or become damaged over the years. 

Interested in your own keepsake box? We’d be happy to make one for you!

 I hope these tips help to cull your keepsake supply and allow you to focus on the items that are actually important to your child now and in the future. 


What’s Inside a Professional Organizer’s Tool Bag?

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

At each organizing job, you will see me carrying a large bag. It’s often called my Mary Poppins bag, and I embrace that description! I carry so many tools with me to every appointment, and you never know just what might come in handy on the job. My bag of tricks is my secret weapon on every project, and today I am going to give you a sneak peek into my organizing tool bag. 

Favorite Tools I Bring Everywhere: 

  1. The Hang-o-Matic (affiliate link). This thing is incredible. It makes hanging items a breeze and comes with a built-in level! It’s genius, small, and convenient. 
  2. P-Touch Label Maker (affiliate link). I actually bring two with me! The two models offer various sized labels and are equally vital for small and large labeling jobs. 
  3. Museum Gel (affiliate link). Not exactly sure why it’s called “gel” because it feels more like a silicone fabric, but this stuff is essential when adding in drawer organizers. Just a tiny dab on the bottom of a bin will keep it from sliding around in the drawer. 
  4. Thumb Scraper (affiliate link). This little tool makes peeling labels and picking at things a breeze! Plus it is so cheap. Worth every penny, even if you only use it once. 
  5. Painter’s Tape (affiliate link). I use this for everything. Add expiration labels to the bottom of a canister, test the dimensions for a piece of artwork, use it to equally space a gallery wall – the options are endless!
  6. A super sharp razor and scraping tool (affiliate link). We install wallpaper and shelf liner weekly. A sharp cutting tool is so valuable to our work, and having one on hand at home is also important. 
  7. Velcro tape for wires (affiliate link). Don’t spend extra money on fancy velcro rolls. You can do the exact same thing with the cheap stuff. Amazon also sells large rolls of velcro for under $10, and the roll will last you a long time! 
  8. A great bag (affiliate link). This bag is similar to the one that I use. Any bag with pockets in a style you enjoy will be perfect for housing your collection of organizing tools!

Even if your goal has nothing to do with organizing, these tools can be invaluable for a homeowner. 

Good luck and enjoy building your tool bag!


Efficiency Above All Else

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I was reflecting on my goals and priorities as an organizer, and I have to be 100% honest with you. My top priority, every day with every client, is ALWAYS efficiency. People will often laugh when they peek inside my car and see how I store things, but the chaos comes from the fact that I do not like to waste time. If stacking product perfectly in my vehicle will take an extra forty minutes (only to be unloaded multiple times throughout the day), I am not going to do it. That might sound funny and can look a little disorderly for an organizer, but I am not unorganized. I know where things are at all times. My clients sometimes tell me the same thing. They know where things are within their piles; it just may not look perfect to an outsider. I get it.

Efficiency should be the most crucial aspect of any organizing project. It is essential to remember to keep productivity at the forefront of your mind as you tackle your own projects. Let’s talk about how to achieve efficiency.

1. Always think about whether or not a certain organizing action will make a difference. 

If it is not going to help you, why waste your time? Are you spending time sorting toys that will quickly end up unsorted? Try to think big picture when organizing and focus on activities that are actually going to impact your everyday life. If that transformation is visual appeal, it still counts! 🙂 If a rainbow bookshelf will make you smile, go right ahead! If you are rainbow sorting your 3-year-old’s LEGOs and know for a fact that he is unable to maintain the system, stop what you are doing! Organizing efforts should not be made in vain. Organizing should always be about efficiency. 

2. Is there a system in place that is not working?

Think about what happens in your space and why it doesn’t work before attempting to change anything. Are you frustrated that your kids leave their homework on the kitchen counter? Instead of trying to fight the system by creating a new space for homework, consider clearing a drawer to store homework supplies. Think about adding a mail sorter to hold homework tools and papers that are in progress. Sometimes fighting routines that are already in place is less efficient than finding a solution by working with those routines.

3. Find ways to make your day more efficient.

In a new space, I always begin with analyzing the problem. For example, if a client struggles with finding their keys or kids’ backpacks each morning, we start there. I think about which door they use to enter the home and what we can do to create a routine. Do they have space for hooks on the wall? Is there space for a furniture piece to hold purses or bags as you walk in? Analyzing is often a skipped step when home organizing, but it is a crucial part of the process. 

4. Is the effort going to be worth it? 

If you set up a new, efficient system, will your family members support or ignore the new process? If a system is too complicated or you know it will not be followed, go back to the drawing board. Consider ways you can tweak your activity to be more successful.

I hope these guidelines help you think about your organizing journey and how to increase the efficiency of not only your projects, but also your home. Message us if you need help simplifying!


Tips on Categorizing

Affiliate links to products I love may be included. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

One of my clients is currently investing in organizing her life. She is working on the ownership piece and has been curious about the Simplify process as she tackles jobs on her own. Recently she shared with me that one of her significant struggles is categorizing items. I briefly mentioned my categorizing method in a previous blog, and wanted to expand on this topic because categorizing truly deserves its own post. I have also create a free gift for you to accompany your organizing projects: printable panty labels!

Whether you’re new to organizing or a seasoned pro, categorizing can be difficult! If you struggle with categories, my first suggestion is to identify why it is a challenge. Here are some common pitfalls when attempting to categorize.

  • Focus: Don’t bite off more than you can chew. When choosing to tackle the pantry, don’t also attempt to do the kitchen at the same time. Even as a professional, I separate these into two project estimates. Zeroing in on exactly which area you are organizing will help you finish the task successfully.
  • Distractions: Do not attempt to organize if you are also trying to entertain your children’s needs, clean the house, cook dinner, or complete other household tasks. Make sure that you block out uninterrupted time to start and finish the job. Be realistic and give yourself ample time to complete the task.
  • Big Picture/Little Picture: Keep tabs on what you are doing. Did you try to tackle the craft room, and now you are sorting your kid’s artwork or homework? Does that fit into your goals for the original project? Set timers and do self-checks on your productivity. Timers will also serve as reminders if you find yourself frequently getting side-tracked.
  •  Perfectionism: I, too, am guilty of this in my own home. I struggle with only wanting to begin a project if, and only if, it can be done perfectly. HOWEVER, this can prevent progress. Moving towards a goal is progress that should be celebrated! Progress over perfection. If you struggle with this, give yourself a pep talk. Remind yourself that starting can be the hardest part. You’re awesome, and you’ve got this!

There is one area that typically has similar categories across clients: the pantry. No matter the family, I see many of the same items in pantries. So to help you begin your pantry organization, I have a gift for you – FREE printable pantry labels!

Below is the link to download your Simplify pantry label PDF. These labels are flexible to make and can be printed at home or at your local print shop. Print them on paper, sticker paper, or to attach without cutting use Avery 22822 sticker labels (affiliate link)! These labels will fit almost all bin label tags or can be attached directly to bins and canisters! Be sure to adjust print settings to ‘Actual size’ and use the best print quality your printer will allow. Pantry Labels are restricted to personal use only. 

I hope that this helps you organize your pantry and I cannot wait to see these labels in action. Be sure to tag me in your pantry projects on Facebook and Instagram! Please also reach out if you need help. We would love to be there for you.