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! 

Gift Ideas from a Professional Organizer

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

You might think that as a Professional Organizer, I hate gifting and the accumulation of things. This could not be further from the truth. I LOVE gifting. In fact, it is one of my love languages. I show affection to family and friends through giving, and it is important to me to find useful and relevant gifts for those I care about. 

Almost everyone has seen The Home Edit‘s new show on Netflix, and the organizing bug is spreading like wildfire. If you and your family members have fallen under this spell, it would be fun to give the gift of organization this year! 

Here are my ideas for an organization centered gift:

1. Gift a few hours with a Pro!

I used to think it was a little taboo to gift time with a Professional Organizer. You may be thinking the same thing. Is this similar to giving someone a weight-loss tool?! Actually, it’s not remotely taboo; it’s a blessing. My services are often gifted to others, and their response is always ecstatic. Imagine giving the gift of finishing a to-do list! We all have areas in our homes or businesses that need a little more attention, and what better way to show you care than having someone complete the work for them. I promise, we are able help everyone! The best part is that the gift recipient can select which areas they would like assistance with. This gives them the power to prioritize, making professional organizing a personal and meaningful gift. To share the joy of professional organization with someone, online gift cards can be purchased here: 


2. Give my favorite label maker! 

My favorite organization tool is the P-Touch CUBE Plus label maker (affiliate link). It’s wireless, customizable, and connects to your phone. Plus you can order it online without going into a single store! #score. If you have someone on your list even remotely into organizing, this is the gift for them. *Disclaimer: next time you visit their home, be prepared to see E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G labeled. LOL! 


3. Organize a cabinet with The Spicy Shelf

I promise, this thing is incredible. The best part about The Spicy Shelf (affiliate link) is that you can use it everywhere. I have used them in bathrooms, kitchens, pantries, and medicine cabinets. The options are truly endless. I’ve even seen one used for a toy display! The Spicy Shelf is easy to put together, incredibly sturdy to use, and the price point is perfect! 


4. Cherish Memories with a Personalized Keepsake Box

This is great for the busy parent of school-age children. We make them custom to your preferences. You can select the font, color, and names to add to the box. It’s the perfect way to contain the special pieces made by their children. It also allows a guide to how much to keep. #organized


5. Give back while gifting a 4 Things Tote

I’m obsessed with these for a few reasons! If you know me, you know I LOVE the Bobby Bones Show. These bags are from a show member, Amy, who also happens to be an Aggie (whoop!). The bags are customizable (my favorite thing), and also benefit an orphanage in Haiti. They make the perfect gift, but are also multipurpose (an organizer’s favorite thing). 


This year has been quite a wild ride and I hope that you are doing well. From myself and the whole team at Simplify with Steph, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Happy Holidays!

~Steph

The Best Way To Organize

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

I am often asked what are my top products or what is the best way to organize a specific location. Yes, I do have products that I love. You can learn more about those here: LikeItToKnowIt (affiliate link). Yes, I have a specific process that has been successful in most kitchens, playrooms, closets, offices, and more. You can see examples on my Instagram @simplify_with_steph.

But ultimately, I will let you in on a little secret to organizing homes and businesses…there is no secret! Every family, every space, every drawer has different needs. Do what works for you and your family. Do what makes you happy. Do what makes it easiest to live your best life.

When I meet with a new client, we not only talk about the physical features of a space, we discuss how it will be used. Organization is only effective when it meets the needs of the person using the space. 

You might need a small toy organizer in a home office to accommodate a child as you work from home. You might have unique sporting gear that needs to be stored indoors as opposed to the garage. You might have a preference for wire baskets over acrylic containers. These needs and preferences are the small details that have a place in your project. 

Choose products that you love and the best way to organize a space is, to put it simply, the way that works for you!

Fighting the Urge of Excess

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

This season of quarantine has brought out different sides in each of us. Sometimes I feel as if I have even gone through some sort of emotional episode. I’ve been on a roller coaster. We.all.have. The ups and downs, the unknown, life has been entirely too much. But let’s celebrate the success of life. We’ve made it (almost). Here in Texas, people are jumping at the bit to get back to our normal life. Well, everyone is, we are ready.

Before we do, I think we all need a reset.

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What we’ve gone through is nothing short of traumatic. Hoarding and overbuying are classic responses to stress. Gathering as much as you can without reason, is equivalent to becoming a packrat. It’s not healthy. One of the problems with overbuying is mainly that most of us cannot store the excess that we have purchased. 20+ rolls of paper towels sounded like a great idea until you brought it home and have no place to put it. Excess causes stress. 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 stress.

Three tips to stop overbuying:

1-Make a list for the grocery store:
Be specific, and only buy what you need. Cancel the auto-ship of your grocery items until you actually need them again.

2-Be creative:
If you don’t try to use up what you’ve purchased, it’s going to expire and be such a waste. If you overbought rice or pasta, work those items into your weekly menu. Don’t just push it to the side. Be smart and think about the items you’ve already purchased; it will save your family some money and will help to get things back to normal at home.

3-Resist the urge to continue:
It’s easy to get sucked into buying excess. It becomes a way to feel ‘safe’ and feel like you have 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. Lol. I’ve started adding a “Do not buy” list on our shopping list for the week. I add items that we buy on impulse but don’t need it at the moment. “Don’t buy toilet paper, rice, great beans, etc” This may help you and your partner stay on track.

As you venture back to some semblance of everyday life or try to, take stock of your stuff. Are you overbuying? If so, why? Do you need to talk to someone about it? Handling your emotions 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!

~Steph

Clearing the Mental Clutter

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

I’ve been reading this book, and it caused a significant epiphany this week. It’s called, “When Less Becomes More,(affiliate link) and the author talks about how simplifying your life is so much more than throwing your stuff away. We know this, obviously, but some of her points helped me pinpoint some areas of opportunity within my own life. I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic lately and wanted to share some insight.

What is mental clutter?
I believe mental clutter looks almost precisely like physical clutter. Your house gets “messy” when you are too busy to perform routine tasks, like picking up toys or staying on top of the laundry. When you are rushing from task to task or have too much piled on your already full plate, clutter starts to control your life. I believe it’s the same with your brain. When you have a thought or a mental task to complete, it stays at the forefront of your mind until you complete it. Thus it’s similar to the pile of laundry that needs to get done. Your brain reminds you to do it throughout the day, but you may be too tired or too busy to complete it.

Why does this matter?
It matters because when your mind is cluttered, it’s almost impossible to relax and unwind. I may be alone in this, but I am betting I’m not, and when you have an endless list of things that you need to get done, shutting that part off takes a toll on you whether you realize it or not.

So how do we deal with this mental clutter?

I believe the answer lies in analyzing what is causing the mental clutter and tackling it one by one.

Keyboard keys on gray surface.

Email:
There are two types of people in this world: people who like to have an empty inbox and people who are okay with having thousands of emails. lol 🙂 I see my email as a to-do list and clear it regularly throughout the day as I handle each incoming request. I have many friends who are completely fine with NOT doing this and would rather scroll through their inbox, looking for vital tasks only and leaving the rest unopened. I am not here to say one is right or wrong, but I do think both sides could benefit from clearing some of the excesses. I’ve been working on this all week and have made a considerable dent in my inbox. You know when you accidentally sign up for emails and don’t realize it? Like the time I bought something small off of Wayfair, and now they email me three times a day?!? Put an end to it! Unsubscribe from all of the promotional emails you delete daily or don’t need. It takes a little time, but it is so worth it! These emails, whether you read them or not, add to your mental clutter. Spend some time clearing it this week.

Subscriptions:
Many of us have been home, taking advantage of the free subscriptions available. I know we are as well…free Beachbody workout for 60 days? Sign me up! The problem is the “free” subscription will end. Lol And it will end probably right when you get to go back to work or resume your somewhat regular schedule. Put in an alarm or a calendar reminder to cancel the subscriptions before you get charged. Having a pending task like this adds clutter. When you handle the job, even if it’s by knowing it is something you will do later, it clears it from your current to-do list.

To-Do Lists:
Speaking of to-do lists. Let’s be real about them right now. There’s another excellent book called “Eat That Frog,(affiliate link) and the premise of the book instructs us to tackle the hardest task first. There’s a similar proverb: “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” If you are a to-do list person, there’s likely a task or multiple that you don’t want to handle. In my case, sometimes, these items end up carried on from one day to the next (maybe even for multiple weeks)! Both the proverb and the book suggest tackling the hardest task first. Get it done and out of the way. The mental clutter caused by the big or unpleasant task outweighs the actual job. Are you and your kids struggling to get schoolwork accomplished? Try to do it first thing in the morning and see if that impacts your mood. It may not work for everything, but getting things done, clears your mind for rest and allows you to think more clearly about other tasks.

Screen time:
Lastly, I wanted to point out a major time suck. Screens. I went to a networking brunch earlier this year, and they suggested time blocking your screen time. I know it seems silly, and you may even think that you don’t spend much time scrolling, but ohhh, the time wasted on these little things. I can lose hours of my day on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter. HOURS! I know that I am not alone in this. It’s so easy to get distracted. Here’s the problem: scrolling time is not rest. It’s adding more mental clutter. You are distracted by each post, and it fills your mind with information. In the book, “When Less Becomes More,” Emily Ley points out the power of our phones and how the distraction adds stress and comparison to our lives that is utterly unnecessary. Be true to yourself and spend some time thinking about your phone habits. If you put it down for a while, would it help you focus more on what is happening within your walls? Would it free up some time? These are questions I ask myself too.

I hope this helped you think about what mental clutter may exist in your space today. What can you do about it?

Message me if you need more suggestions!


With love always,
~Steph