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!

~Steph

Efficiency Above All Else

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!

~Steph 

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.

~Steph

Organizing Secrets from a Pro

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

This week I am sharing some of my tricks of the trade. I have been a Professional Organizer for several years, and certain things that come naturally may not be common knowledge. I hope that these tips will help you on your journey to get organized.

#1 – Do not pre-buy organizing products

This is a tip that I frequently share, and it needs to be shouted from the rooftops! I go to so many houses with piles of organizing products just waiting to be used. These products end up in organizing purgatory because they weren’t the right shape, size, or color. The product might not have been large enough or it just didn’t work for the space. MOST people also struggle with returns, and unused products do not get returned to the store. Instead, those products end up stored in garages/attics/guest rooms. Don’t buy products before you organize –  keep reading these tips to learn how to buy the right products.

#2: Make specific categories

Take stock of what you actually have! Clients will often tell me that grouping their items is one of their biggest struggles. Here’s my trick: it is okay to over-categorize. For example, let’s say you are organizing your bathroom. You should separate soaps from cleansers and toners. Technically, they are all used to clean skin, but it makes it so much more difficult if you put all face cleaners together at the start. You might end up with a huge category, and then it would be difficult to find the right container for those products. Very specific categories can always be regrouped together later as needed. Be specific about categories at the beginning, and then edit the categories to contain like items.

#3: Measure your space 

Measure the area that you will be organizing and keep these measurements in your phone. There are so many organizing products out there that it can be overwhelming to shop for your space. If you have the measurements handy, it will help you to narrow down the potential options.

#4: Don’t buy bins that hang over the edge of a shelf

This is a visual/stylistic “rule.” You should avoid purchasing bins that are too long for the shelf. A little overhang is fine, but be cautious because too much overhang is distracting to the eye. You may not even realize it, but subconsciously, you will ‘feel’ that something is off. It’s better to get a bin that is a little too small than getting one that is an inch or more too big.

#5: Check multiple stores for organizing product

You can find great deals if you are open to shopping around and many places run regular specials. Think about what might work in advance and spend a little time “shopping” for your space. One of my favorite things to do is to buy different options from Amazon. I test out what works in a space and then return the rest to Amazon via Kohls dropoff. Have you done this yet? It’s incredibly easy, and they give you a coupon for 25% off of your purchase! Win-win!

#6: Overbuy the right products

I say this with some hesitation. Know yourself, and know your returning habits. If you struggle with returns, please ignore this tip (lol)! You could also make a promise to yourself that you will do all of the returns immediately. Put those suckers in your car the second you know they don’t work! Overbuying product makes organizing much easier. It gives you some options for what does or doesn’t work. What if you get home and the bins you thought would be perfect aren’t ideal? It is much easier if you can test out a few separate options and see which one truly works the best for your space.

I hope these help you tackle your next project. Good luck and reach out if you need anything!
~Steph

Organizing doesn’t have to be expensive!

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

Most people tell me that they want to get organized, but they can’t afford storage products. I am also frequently told that although they LOVE The Container Store, everything is too expensive or overpriced. 

This week, I want to take a moment to talk about how to get organized with some of my favorite products. Bonus: they all happen to be inexpensive! These are my go-to products, and I’ve included links to make it easy for you to find them too.

#1 – White Bin with Handles  
I use these white bins (affiliate link) in almost every single home. “White Bin with Handles,” a super creative name (Lol!), is found at The Container Store and ranges between $3-$5, depending on the size. The bins are lightweight, easy to clean, and easy to label. I love using professional vinyl labels, but you can also handwrite on them. The medium size is perfect for so many spaces: pantries, under the sink, bathrooms, and closets, and they come in fun colors if white isn’t your style! Ikea makes a dupe of these bins, but they are a little heavier and a similar price. I’ve used both versions, but this one is my favorite. The TCS bins are great!

#2 – Expand-A-Shelf
Expandable can riser (affiliate link) from The Container Store, again! I promise I have favorites from other places, but TCS is an organizer’s heaven. 🙂 If you get the medium size of this riser, they are under $10! Even Target charges more for their can risers, and these are literally the best product out there. I typically keep a stock of at least six at my house, because I use them in so many places. They are great for kitchens and pantries (obviously), but also perfect for medicine cabinets, lotions, etc. It is helpful to see what you are searching for in a cabinet, and using vertical space is a smart way to do just that! 

#3 – Turntables
I’ve written entire blogs about turntables, or lazy susans, because I’m obsessed with them. It is a genius way to access everything, including all of the products in the back of the cabinet or high up on a shelf. My favorite turntables are from Target (affiliate link) and are currently listed for under $10. I prefer the medium size (10″ turntable). The large ones are great too, particularly in pantry corners, but sometimes they are so big that items in the middle get lost. Personally, I would rather use two smaller turntables than one large one. 

#4 – Label Clips
I love these label clips from Target (affiliate link). They only cost $7 for three! They are perfect for easy access labeling. The best thing about them is that they look incredible both with a professional labeler and when you use a cheaper one. I’ve even seen people handwrite on the label, and it looked fantastic. Labels are the key to staying organized. Adding labels increases your chance of staying organized by 85% (just kidding, I made up that statistic, but I swear it works!) 

Nickel Bin Labels, Target
(affiliate link)

#5 – Hyacinth Bins
Hyacinth bins from, you guessed it, The Container Store (affiliate link)! I’ve recently found a dupe at Walmart, but it does not have the same dimensions. The TCS bins are beautiful! The small bin costs under $10.99, and the medium size is $14. I really love these bins and try to pepper them in when possible. These are great for two reasons: 

  1. They help hide visual clutter. 
    Many of my clients are in love with getting acrylic for everything. I, too, love the look of acrylic; however, if you can see everything that is inside of a bin, it can add to the visual clutter. If you can only see the tops of the categorized items, it helps to diminish this issue. 
  2. They are the perfect height. 
    I see several homes that have tried to add baskets of their own in an effort to order to their space. If the baskets are too tall, though, it negates the positive of having it. You need to be able to see into the basket without having to take it out completely. If that isn’t possible, it’s going to be incredibly difficult to keep up with your system. 

I encourage you to try mixing and matching with Hyacinth bins. They are gorgeous and will upgrade your pantry to the next level while maintaining optimal efficiency. 

#6 Super Sticky Notes 
This might seem silly, but I don’t leave home without Super Sticky notes (affiliate link). I love them! They help me categorize, and I use them for every single project. No matter what I am organizing, I use these sticky notes to help me separate items into categories from the moment I begin to take things out. The best part about them is that they are not set in stone. Suppose you are pulling things out of your pantry and notice that you have a category for RICE, but that category has only one item. In that case, you can combine it into another category and make a different sticky note for the new category. Then, when it is time to label, your sticky notes will be an excellent guide. They also make a separate sticky note for outdoor projects – mind blown! I feel like Romy and Michelle right now spending so much time on the sticky note, but I love them, and they are amazing.

Super Sticky Notes, Walmart
(affiliate link)

#7 – Shelf Liner 
This EasyLiner from Walmart is my favorite (affiliate link). I use it whenever a client will allow, and I am in love with the way it upgrades any space. This liner only costs around $5 a roll, and it is super easy to use. I prefer to buy adhesive liner over all other types, because it is so much easier to clean. I HATE the grippy liners. They are not easy to work with and can damage your belongings. I am also going to be frank with you for a moment – I also see more pantry/cabinet critters in homes with grippy liners. The cracks in the bubbles of the grips catch crumbs, and this attracts bugs. Grippy liner is also much harder to clean. If you want to clean a cabinet that has been lined with grippy liner, you have to take absolutely everything out, including the liner! What a hassle! The adhesive liner allows for easy cleaning, easy loading, and a cute pop of color. 

EasyLiner, Walmart
(affiliate link)

I hope this helped you discover products on the market to get organized for less! These products are used weekly in my clients’ spaces. If you need any help or advice, please reach out to us!

5 Tips for Consignment from a Professional Organizer

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

Consigning can be a great way to unload items you no longer need. I used to offer consignment through Simplify, but unfortunately, I no longer have time to take on the task. However, I have compiled a list of tips to help you be as successful as possible! Consignment can be a time-consuming task at first, but I promise, the more you do it, the more successful you will be at selling items online. 
*COVID has added a few extra hurdles to the process, but it CAN be done successfully!

Tip #1: Do your research
Once you identify an item to sell, search online for that item. I typically start with Facebook Marketplace to get a price range for any particular item. This can be tedious, but it will get better with practice! For example, to sell Tory Burch sandals, search as many details as you can to get the most accurate price range: “Tory Burch Sandals, Size 7, Leopard Print, Brand New.” Being specific will help tremendously in pricing items. The most significant factor in all online selling is the condition of the item. BE HONEST! If you have worn it once, admit it. You are not allowed to say “NEW” if you have worn the item even once. Buyers will most likely notice and try to return the item. Once you have a typical price range in mind, try to pick an amount towards the higher end of that range. You don’t want to be too high, but you also don’t want to be so low that buyers question authenticity. In the Tory Burch example, if they are selling for a range of $50-$100, I would price them around $80. This shows that I am motivated to sell, but they are also worth the price listed. 

Tip #2: Make sure that you take good pictures
Think about the background and think about the lighting. Those two factors may seem silly (I mean, we are not professional photographers!), but it matters to buyers whether they realize it or not. One time, I was selling used shoes for a client and put them in bright green grass; every single pair sold! They were really cute shoes, but if I had taken those same pictures on a dirty floor or on an unmade bed, they wouldn’t have sold so quickly. Backgrounds matter! Distractions matter! Just google mirrors for sale, and feel free to giggle at all of the people taking pictures of mirrors with themselves in the reflection. It’s hilarious!

Tip #3: Try to sell in ‘LOTS’ 
A ‘LOT’ for sale is simply a group or items. This works really well on Facebook Marketplace and within local mom groups. Let’s say you have a bunch of toddler 2T clothes to sell. Putting them together to sell multiple items at once will generate much more interest. Include this in the title/captions so that people know you are selling it altogether, too! Groups of 5-20 clothing items work best. For example, “5 sets of 2T boys outfits, gently used” will go much faster and possibly for more than if you wrote, “2T Nike shirt & pants” for 5 different listings. The perks of this are obvious: you can sell more items at a higher price point, and you can (hopefully) unload your items faster.  

Tip #4: Put your items on the ‘right’ sites
Finding the right site will result in better sales. Research and think intentionally about what you are trying to sell. Is it a collector’s item? I would suggest going to eBay. Many collectors have automated notifications on eBay to alert them when new items are listed within their qualifications. This can be a goldmine. I also try to join as many resale groups as I can on Facebook and other social sites, both in my hometown and in the surrounding areas. When you post something on Facebook Marketplace, you can select (up to 10, I think) separate groups to cross-post your items. Getting the item in front of as many people as possible usually equals a quick sale!

Tip #5: Be realistic about your prices
You already spent money to purchase the item you are now selling. That money is gone. You are NOT going to get back what you spent, (most likely). This can be a struggle for some clients. It hurts to feel like you lost money or that you are ‘giving the item away’ when it sells for less than what you asked/hoped. Sometimes, and especially on Facebook, buyers seem to want only what I call ‘garage sale’ prices. They do not want to spend much and always want to feel like they are getting a deal. That is exactly what brings them to shop there in the first place. eBay can be better, but it also has a feature for ‘offers.’ If you do not want any low-ball offers, this feature can be turned off. Try not to be disappointed!  The goal in this process is to sell unwanted items. The money is only a perk; your focus should be on ridding your home of items that are adding clutter. You are purging items that are making your space more stressful. That is something to be positive about, even if the price was not what you initially thought.

Try not to be disappointed!  The goal in this process is to sell unwanted items. The money is only a perk; your focus should be on ridding your home of items that are adding clutter. You are purging items that are making your space more stressful. That is something to be positive about, even if the price was not what you initially thought.


Hopefully, with these tips, you can become a pro at selling your unused stuff. It does take time and experience, so don’t give up. Try dedicating a few hours to posting as many items as you can, and let it playout for the next few days before adjusting prices. 

Remember that your number one goal is to remove the unwanted item. The monetary perk is like a small payment for your time, but the bigger bonus is freeing your house of the items that no longer give you joy.  

Good Luck and Happy Decluttering!
Steph

What to Do When You Have Sentimental Attachments to Clutter

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

Everyone has items in their home that are kept for sentimental reasons. When a client tells me that things once belonged to another person, I step into a different role and help that client process their space. My first step is asking what caused the influx of things and identifying why they feel the need to hold onto the items. Identifying ‘why’ we keep something is key to determining ‘how’ we integrate them into our home. The resulting sentiments can be divided into 3 categories: guilt, loss, and obligation. 

GUILT

A client who keeps things out of guilt may struggle with the loss of a loved one (more on this below), or battle with regret in which keeping an item becomes a form of atonement. However, more often, guilt comes from struggling with the potential of hurting someone if they let an item go. For example, gifted items are VERY high on this list. I often hear, “Well, my (mom/friend/neighbor/boss) gave me this. I hate it, but I have to keep it.” 

In guilt situations, I always allow the client to process their own why. I ask them questions about the relationship and give them a chance to think about an item. If you are keeping things out of guilt, here are a few probing questions to be more mindful of what you keep:

  • Why do I have this?
  • Do I like it?
  • Would the person honestly know if I donate/sell the item? If the answer is yes, know that many times this is not an accurate response. I remind clients that the joy in gifting comes from seeing the reaction on the recipient’s face. Once the gift is given, you are not obligated to keep it forever. The item was given and is now yours. You are free to use it, toss it, or share it.
  • Would it give me joy to pass this on to another person who may enjoy it? PLEASE do not use this step to continue the clutter cycle. Avoid giving items away unless you think someone would truly enjoy having them.

LOSS

Keeping items due to loss and guilt go hand in hand. I have a very dear client who lost several relatives all within the same year. She and her husband wound up with a garage full of their loved ones’ possessions, leaving them incredibly overwhelmed by it all. The belongings and the loved ones were so intertwined that moving through the items felt like moving on from the loss. It will never be easy, but here are concepts that we discussed as we worked through her very precious inheritance. 

  • Who did this item belong to? It can help to talk through the things you are sorting. Tell a story about the passed relative or friend. Reminisce about smiles you shared and happy times together. 
  • If your loved one were in this garage with us, would they tell you to keep or toss this item? Sometimes we hold onto items that have no merit. It may be hard to part with paperwork, bills, etc. Picturing the person telling you “I don’t want you to keep it” can help! 
  • If you know that the loved one wanted you to get enjoyment out of a specific object, be selective and put it on display. If you think, “Well, they would want me to keep it,” but the item is stored away in the attic, it might not be in the right place. I often tell clients to make the thought process more real by picturing themselves telling the lost loved one “Yes, I am keeping your things, but they are in a box in the attic.” Exploring the feelings they have after saying it out loud gives clarification to what to do with the items next. 

OBLIGATION

Some of my clients keep things out of obligation. This can coincide with the previous reasons, but is typically confessed more frankly. Obligation sounds like, ” I am keeping my mother’s stuff because nobody else wanted it.” This is never a good reason to keep something! The best way to handle this is to go through the items, piece by piece. Decide what YOU want to keep in order to honor the giver and LET GO of the rest. You will get more joy out of keeping a small portion of gifts/inheritance than from stumbling over a garage filled with clutter you never examine. Use these tips when sorting: 

  • Do I like this item?
  • Was it special to the giver? Why?
  • Can I keep a small portion of this to honor them without adding unnecessary clutter to my life? 
  • If the items hold monetary value, can I sell them online? Or can I donate items to a charity to help share the item with someone in need? 

Still feeling overwhelmed? The Sentimental Person’s Guide to Decluttering by Claire Middleton (affiliate link) is an excellent resource as you dive into the process. Click on the image to learn more about the author’s real-life organizing plan that you can work through, step by step.

As you likely guessed, my biggest suggestion when sorting sentimental items is to process each piece. Be mindful and think about the items you are keeping; think about your why. Things with sentimental attachments are never easy to sort. It will take time and energy, so be sure to grant yourself some grace as you undertake the task. If you need an extra hand or two, we are here to help with the process. Above all, begin with the most important step: get started!

Small Ways to Organize Your Home – New Year, New You!

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

If you have set a goal to get organized this year, congratulations! Wanting to get organized is the first and most important step! 

To help you achieve this goal, I have collected some of my favorite quick and easy organizing hacks. These tips will transform the spaces in your home with small wins and provide a sense of accomplishment to encourage you further. As you organize your space, keep in mind that our homes should not be regarded as storage units. Try to keep what you use and save what you love, but there is no need to hold on to those items that you “may need someday…”

Begin with a drawer
Pick one. It can be any drawer in any room. You can even start with the silverware drawer. 

  • Take everything out and clean the space. 
  • Toss or donate anything you no longer need or do not use. I promise this is easier to do in small batches. Analyzing just one item at a time. 
  • Assess your drawer containers, if you have any. Does it keep items tidy and contained? If not, it may be time to look into an upgrade. Here is the one I use (affiliate link), also pictured above!

The Container Store offers a station in each store to measure out different containers in a simulated space. #genius  I recently redid my personal silverware drawer. My kids are 4 and 5, and we can finally part with the plastic utensils. (This is also a true testament to being done having more children – no tears are shed when I toss the baby stuff!) Look at the before and after images. This drawer only took me 10 minutes to upgrade with no additional cost, but what a difference!

Spruce up your fridge
It seems daunting, but it is not nearly as difficult as it looks! Focus on cleaning, and the organization will naturally follow. 

  • Take everything out and clean the space. Most fridge drawers are completely removable. I have even sent mine through the dishwasher but beware – this could cause it to warp. 
  • Toss or donate anything that you no longer need or do not use. 
  • Look at EVERY expiration date. These are not merely suggestions from the manufacturer; it is also an excellent indication of how long you have owned the item and whether or not you are still using it. 
  • As you toss expired items, make a list of those that you would like to replace at the grocery store. 
  • Assess your items and think about whether it could become a category. For example, we are a ‘sauce’ family! Everything that we eat comes with a sauce. To accommodate this, I created a separate area for condiments in our fridge. 
  • Add a turntable. This is my ultimate suggestion for the fridge. Turntables can be life-changing, and they will make it so much easier to access the back areas of your fridge. Here is a great option: iDesign Turntable with Handles (affiliate link)
  • Bonus points for labels! You can even use a chalk marker, like this set (affiliate link), to write temporary labels and re-write them as contents change. 

Linen Closet Upgrade
The most crucial tip for linen closets: toss, toss, toss! 
I can’t tell you how many clients have sheets that are over 10 years old. Even more have sheets that they do not use or sheets to beds that they no longer own (such as twin sheets, but the twin bed is long gone). 

  • Donate unused linens ASAP. Did you know that animal shelters use bedding for incoming animals? This can be an excellent, tax-deductible solution for your old bedding. 
  • Toss anything that is torn, stained, or old. Goodbye! Simply following this step can eliminate half of the items in your linen closet. 
  • Find a way to contain various linen sizes. I love using simple bins like these from The Container Store (affiliate link), but you can use almost anything. The number one suggestion is to add labels. If you don’t, it’s only a matter of time before the sizes are mixed together again. 

Good luck, friends! Be sure to tag me on your organizing journey #simplifywithsteph.

Reflections & Goal Setting As We Head Into 2021

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

Can you believe it!? The longest year in history is finally coming to an end. Praise!! 2020, we are not sorry to see you go! 

I love to spend time in reflection. I strive to constantly improve and develop a better version of myself. I want to be the best mom, wife, organizer, and business owner, and reaching those goals takes work. It also is a direct result of my perfectionist personality. If you’re going to be something, why not strive to be the best!? Haha! 🤦‍♀️

Here are some of my thoughts on this past year, as well as some easy organizing goals to embrace in 2021. 

Reflections:

  1. We don’t know what we have until it’s gone. Isn’t that the truth? We are so blessed in so many ways, and I am forever grateful for that knowledge. We have our health, our family, a roof over our heads, and Amazon Prime. #blessed! I’m joking, but truly this year has been a huge lesson in gratitude. Never lose sight of what you’ve been given. Life is truly a gift. 
  2. You can do anything but you cannot do everything. I am able to do what I do because I have support. Lots of it. My husband, for one, is my entire world. I do not know how I would be able to do everything without his support and encouragement. This year, as I continue to grow my team, I am immensely in awe of them. It’s really crazy how much growth is possible when you allow yourself to think bigger and put your trust in people. 
  3. Self-care is vital for your health. This is something I continue to work on, but I have learned that I HAVE to build in time for breaks. I need to remember how I recharge and why it’s necessary to avoid burnout. 

Although these insights are specific to my year, I would bet that some or all of them resonate with you as well. 2020 has been a unique experience, and we have all grown together. I cannot stress this enough: Lean on each other. Love one another. Life is too short to be divided. 

After spending time in reflection, it’s time to look forward. Do you have goals for this year? 

If your goal for 2021 is to get organized, here are some tips from a pro:

  1. Set a timer and have a weekly goal. In my experience, most people are successful with setting a specific amount of time to organize weekly. Even if your goal is to organize for 30 minutes a week, it adds up. In fact, it adds up to 26 hours of organizing in a year. Set a timer and pick a space. Allow yourself to weed out what you don’t want or need anymore. The end result doesn’t need to be perfect, and the removal of unused items will be freeing!
  2. Purge 21 items. I recently read a wonderful book about organizing (never stop learning 🥰): “Real Life Organizing: Clean and Clutter-Free in 15 Minutes a Day(affiliate link). One of my favorite takeaways was her suggestion to purge with a goal of 21 items. The time limit is set by you, and whether you purge daily, weekly or monthly, you search your house to find 21 items to donate/sell/trash. I think this is genius! Giving yourself small goals can do wonders for your home. It breaks down the large job of reducing possessions into smaller, more manageable, tasks. This method can also be effective in homes with minimal clutter.
  3. Start small and pick one space at a time. When tackling organization, start with smaller spaces. Begin with a drawer first, and then move to bigger items and locations. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I offer personalized virtual consultations for only $50 a space! Based on a picture submitted by you, I will offer tips and provide links to products that would work for your space. Click here to book!

When selecting an organizing goal for your home, your process doesn’t need to be perfect. Remember, the most important goal is to start! 

Thank you all for being part of my organizing journey. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and a fantastic 2021. 

Toy Organization – It’s time to go through those toys!

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

Almost all of my clients are parents. Want to know why? Because children come with a ton of stuff! As they grow and learn, the items they need are in constant fluctuation. 

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed. . . especially when they enter the Lego phase. This is why it is necessary to get a handle on your child’s toy collection as soon as possible. 

Consignment and donation are two of the services I offer that get the biggest responses. In order to help achieve a more organized home, you have to be able to go through your children’s items and let some go. I promise you there are toys that they don’t want, toys that are broken and/or toys that are below their developmental stage. It’s okay to pass these toys to someone else! It’s okay to sell them! It’s also okay to box them up for your own future child. HOWEVER, no matter which method you choose to decrease the quantity of toys, it is incredibly important for you to do it. 

Why?!

Children play MORE with less! Too many toys can lead to overstimulation. A child might not be able to articulate this, but subconsciously they will feel it. Children also thrive in a minimal environment. Studies have shown that children’s play is more creative and will last for a longer time period when there are less toys available at a given time. Keep this in mind as a guide when you are sorting through toys.

If you have pre-k aged children or older, you can also encourage them to help sort toys. Here are some effective ways I get my own kids to cull through their possessions:

  • “It’s almost Christmas and we need to make room for all the new toys you will receive. What do you not like anymore?” Asking this question values the child’s opinions and allows them to like or dislike items as they choose what to remove.
  • My kids are both proud that they are “not a baby anymore.” I use this to my advantage by asking them to separate any “baby toys.” When labeled as such, children have a much easier time sorting through items to sell or donate. 
  • Select a donation recipient and specifically talk about that person. “We are going to give these toys to _________. They need them more than us and it is important to share with others. What can we give to them that you don’t play with anymore?”
  • Set a timer. Do not expect children to sort through their entire playroom. Give short and attainable goals, praising the child through their efforts.
  • Last but not least, get it outta there! I’m not joking. A trash bag of toys sitting in a toy room will surely be opened and re-examined by children in no time. After putting in the work to sort toys, move that bag into the trunk of your car and take it somewhere!
  • After clearing out toys, make sure that remaining items are organized intentionally. For inspiration, click here (affiliate link), or on any of the images in this article, to see products that I routinely use with toy organization.

I promise you will be both surprised and proud of your children in this process. Explaining things in a way that they can understand is vital to the process. 

If you need recommendations for great local consignment or donation locations, please message me. I do this for clients as an added service and I know the best resources to utilize. 

Good luck and do not be afraid to reach out if you need help!