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!


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.

Processed with VSCO with q7 preset

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!


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.

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.

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,

Tips to handle the mail more efficiently!

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

Handling the mail can be a huge issue. It can be even more significant if you don’t have a routine for how to process it. Here are a few simple tips to help you get a hold on how you handle this daily task. 

First of all, we are all different, and all process our mail in different ways, and that is 100% okay! I strongly suggest spending a moment thinking about the routine you already have in place. Is it working? Does it pile up in areas it shouldn’t? I can’t tell you how many bedrooms/bathrooms I’ve been in that have stacks of mail piled up. Your bills should never go into your bedroom. Think about how that could negatively impact your nighttime routine! Nobody needs to be thinking about bills while they are trying to wind down and rest. 

Here are some tips to help calm the mail burden. 

  • Have a routine. You don’t have to get the mail daily, but when you do, immediately process through it. 
  • Throw away the junk mail.
  • Keep only coupons that you KNOW you will use. 
  • If you pay bills once a month, create a space for the invoice. Label it: to do, bills, invoices, etc. 
  • Assess whether or not you need the actual paper invoice. If not, go online and sign up for paperless options. It helps to calm the paper storm and may make it easier for you to remember to handle the bills when they are due. 

My mail routine: 

I get the mail daily. On my short walk back to the house, I sort through and immediately throw out the junk. I then open the important items and update the balance due on my phone. I have a notes tab with each due date and amount and update it when I pay the bills. This system works for me because when the water bill comes; for example, I update the amount due and THROW AWAY the paper bill. I don’t need it anymore. 

Paper bills add clutter in your home and your mind. They represent todo list items that need your attention. Handling them and having a system, help clear your mind of the stress from the task. 

What are you keeping, and why? 

I have many clients who keep records of their bills, and I always ask why. Why do you need a copy of your bills? Spend a few moments looking up your records. Most credit card companies keep years worth of records. YEARS! The water bill is likely to be the same, and so is your mortgage company. Look up your bills and determine what you need to keep. You’ll probably be surprised at what you really don’t need to keep at all. 

Good luck tackling this task, and don’t be afraid to ask for help! I am here to answer questions!


The Healing Power of Cleaning

A clean home is a happy home

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

Everything is crazy right now. Daily tasks that used to seem so mundane are now restricted or illegal. We can’t spend time with friends and family. Even going to the grocery store is becoming taboo.

It’s eye-opening how much I took for granted. Do you feel the same way? If you spend too much time thinking about it, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and depressed. I’m guilty of this big time. I feel like I’m on an emotional roller coaster. Anyone else feel this way too? I have to apologize to my husband almost every other day because my moods are unpredictable and all-encompassing. I can be super positive and upbeat and literally an hour later, I am crying in the shower. What the heck? When will this be over?

One activity that has been my saving grace is cleaning. Hear me out, I can feel the eye-rolling happening even as I type this. There’s power in turning up some of your favorite music, silencing your mind and all your fears, and wiping things clean. You don’t have to clean everything. You can pick just one room or one activity each day. It’s become part of our daily to-do list. I’ll be honest, sometimes I dread it. That is…until I’m done. Looking around at a task completed…smelling the strong smell of cleaner…seeing the room sparkle because of something I DID, it’s powerful. I can’t help but smile and that is exactly what we all need to do right now–smile.

I decided to make a cleaning rotation because if I don’t, I will spend my time cleaning the same things over and over and nobody has time for that.

Here’s my schedule. Feel free to use it, edit it, or roll your eyes at the fact that I am enjoying cleaning. Whatever you decide to do, remember that your emotional well-being is just as important as your health. Find ways to bring a smile to your face even if it seems silly to others.

Monday: Vaccum and Windex
Tuesday: Counters
Wednesday: Bathrooms
Thursday: Tile (Sweep and Mop)
Friday: Sheets
Saturday: Laundry (Completly done)
Sunday: Rest

I should add that daily I pick up the house and wipe down counters in addition to doing the dishes. I’ve also been posting my five-minute organizing activity each day. Follow me (on socials) to get some easy tips on how to work from one small space to another. My personality is to always be moving. Even writing this blog is difficult because I have to sit and focus for more than one minute. lol. I am NOT good at sitting.

I hope this helps you. I hope you are staying healthy and sane through the mess of the world. If cleaning doesn’t do it for you, find something that does. Search for reasons to smile and stay positive. We will get through this, and I believe we will be stronger when it’s all said and done.

One day at a time, establishing a new normal.

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

Mommas, life just got hard. Really hard. Whether you are working from home now, suddenly diving into the role of a full-time teacher, or becoming a stay-at-home-mom for the first time EVER, I am here for you.

There’s so much information out there on how to do this the “right” way. Look, there is no right way. We are all in survival mode, so please stop trying to focus on how you can be the best at everything. It’s not possible, and I am an ultimate perfectionist (it pangs me to even write that). We need to change the things we have control over and accept the things we cannot change. I cannot change the fact that you became a 2nd-grade teacher overnight while also maintaining your full time job. I wish I could!!! I CAN help you create a space for this new normal. That’s what we’re talking about today.

Tip #1:
First up, create a space. Your home used to have one function: home. It doesn’t anymore. Now it is “work,” “school,” and “home.” It will make life easier to draw lines on these spaces and create some boundaries. Every homeschooling mom I’ve ever seen or talked to always has a space for where they “do school.” It’s so smart. It tells your brain to connect to that role. Create a space for each function of your day. When the kids are working on schoolwork, have them at the dinner table. Set up a place for your “work.” When you are at that desk or table, it will help the kids to also know what is happening.

Tip #2:
I think there is also something powerful to actually sitting at a desk. Maybe it’s all those years of my own education, but if I am seated behind a desk, work gets done. Trying to accomplish the same work on a couch or outside, it takes some intense effort. It can still get done, but it takes much longer. Think about where your kids are trying to get their work done. Are they in an area that is conducive to learning?

Tip #3:
Explain and set boundaries, “we are at the table doing our work for the next 30 minutes.” “Then we can do __.” Teachers do this all.the.time! Children are used to hearing the idea of performing an activity for a short time and then knowing what is coming next. Try it and see if your student responds well. I know this is a tad more complicated if you are also on a three-hour conference call. Do your best, sweet friend. That is all that you can do.

Please know that these are all suggestions, and revert to my original statement of survival. If something is not working, try something else. We will make it through this one way or another. Trying new tactics could possibly make your current world a little more manageable.

Tax Prep from the daughter of a CPA

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

My dad owned his own tax business and LOVED getting the most money possible for his clients. Growing up I remember him working tirelessly for each of them and never raising his rates because he loved them so much and considered each one a member of the family. This has taught me so much as a business owner. Yes, everyone wants to make money, but clients should be the focus—treating each person as if you would like to be treated. The other lesson I learned was about organization! Many of my dad’s clients would send him BOXES of receipts and find themselves in a mess year after year.

This is what today’s post is about…starting the year on the right foot by developing a system that works for you and is sustainable throughout the entire year. You may have other systems or ideas that work for you, but I am going to share what works specifically for me and my business.

At the beginning of the year, I separated my receipts into categories and came up with these:

These bins are from Target and are only $5 for 5!

I know it seems excessive and a tad OCD, but if you’ve met me you know that basically describes me. Lol

Throughout the year, I add receipts into the bin category and don’t have to worry about it anymore. No boxes of receipts mixed together…all of them separated by category in an easy to use system. Yes, you can use file folders for the same purpose, but I had so many receipts for clients that this worked for me.

By the end of the year, here is what I ended up with.

It looks a tad messy even for me, but I loved that they are accessible and easy to find.

At the end of the year, I transfer all of them do this:

After prepping for my taxes, I can store this easily in the attic. The items in the box and this box are both from The Container Store and were not too pricey.

Good luck organizing your receipts and reach out to me if you have any ideas of your own!

*disclaimer-all of the ideas in this post are personal suggestions and should not be solely used to make tax decisions. Please see your tax professional for further advice.

Tips to tackle the ‘kid’s stuff’ before the holidays

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

Every year before the holidays I do a purge of my children’s stuff. For such tiny humans, their possessions seem to accumulate quickly! The holidays bring family gatherings, extra outfits, and extra toys! Lots and lots of toys.

The key to controlled chaos is to periodically assess the elements that become part of it. I suggest doing this seasonally, but your Winter Purge should be the biggest of the year.

Areas to work through:


  1. Go through each drawer and closet (it’s okay if you need to separate this task throughout the week).
  2. Ask yourself three questions:

  Does it fit?

  Is it free of stains/damages?

  Will my child wear it?

3. If the answer to any of these questions is no, donate or sell it. Be realistic and know that you are not wasting money by selling or donating items, you have already spent the money. You are adding value to your life and your children’s lives by making their environment more simplistic and limiting some of the excess.

Next, move on to toys.

Ask yourself similar questions for this space:

Do they play with it?

Is it complete (nothing missing or broken)?

Do they own multiple? (Multiples of toys can be pared down to the most complete set).

  1. If the answer to any of these questions is no, donate or sell it. Be realistic and know that you are not wasting money by selling or donating items, you have already spent the money. You are adding value to your life and your children’s lives by making their environment more simplistic and limiting some of the excess.  You are also making room for the toys they are about to receive. 

I perform most of this act with my children to help teach a lesson in giving and need vs. want. Yes, they are little. But if you teach them the ‘why’ behind the action, they get on board quickly. I say phrases repeatedly to help them understand the process and know that when they are done, that’s 100% fine. Some of their toys can disappear without them being aware, but I do want them to know that giving is very important.

These simple questions help.

“Let’s pick some toys to give to kids that may not have as many toys as you.”

“What toy do you not like anymore?”

“Do you have any broken toys?”

“Do you have any toys you’d like to give to someone?”

Do what you can. Do as much as you can. Whatever you end up selling/donating is at least better than not doing it at all. You also may have taught a valuable lesson in giving. 

Happy Holidays, Friends! 


3 Methods to Tackling Laundry

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

It’s time to talk about every mom’s nemesis: laundry. Why, oh why is there so much? It even starts before the kid makes their grand entrance…you must wash everything. Maybe this is prep for the mountain of laundry those tiny, little people produce. Am I right? I can honestly say that I never had a problem keeping up until the littles came along. 

As a professional organizer, I feel it is my duty to attempt to master the clothes. Almost all of my clients share the same problem. How do we keep up? I have attempted to look at this problem as a science experiment and am here to share my findings. 

In my opinion, there are three separate methods for tackling the laundry. 

1. The Once-a-Week laundry hustle. 

 This is great for busy moms who do not have time to tackle loads and loads of laundry once or twice a week. The problem is unless you are fortunate enough to have access to multiple washers/dryers, this method takes a freaking day! Literally all day. The other issue is that your living room turns into a makeshift closet while you attempt to sort and fold in the midst of the chaos that some people refer to as the weekend. Also, let’s be honest, you most often DO NOT finish said laundry on your one-day marathon, and it drags on and on until you eventually wash it again because, well, you’re just not sure if it’s clean or not. Friends, I used to be a victim of this method, it’s not the best. 

2. The Twice a Week Laundry Dread.  

 I call it a “dread” because you fool yourself into thinking that there isn’t any laundry by not looking at it. “If I just don’t lift up the laundry hamper, it isn’t there.” 🙂 Unfortunately, it is there and multiplying like rabbits. The other issue with this method is that it never gets completely done. I tried a Wednesday/Sunday routine and found that my Wednesday laundry was still in a pile when I went back on Sunday. Plus I ended up hating these days. Yes, I had less laundry than once a week, but it was still A LOT of laundry! Too much! Although this method will work for some, I say only do it if you absolutely know you are going to stick to it stringently. 

3. Embrace your stage and just do it daily.

 This has become my new favorite method. Do I love doing laundry, no, I don’t, but do I prefer for it to be done as quickly as possible, yes! So does, um…every other woman! The best part about doing laundry daily is that you already know you’re going to do it. There’s no dread or stress about how big or disgusting that pile might be. You just know, “Well, I did it yesterday, so there can’t be that much.” I promise you it is actually amazing. Well, maybe not amazing…I mean it is laundry. lol 

Simplify Tips: 

1. Throw a load in while you are doing other things. 

2. Set a timer on your phone/watch/Alexa to correspond to the W/D. This way you don’t forget when it is “supposed” to be done with its cycle. 

3. Push it through and know that you only have to do one load of laundry today, but make it your mission to complete it that day. 

The third method ONLY works if you get yourself completely caught up. So you may have a marathon or two, but then NEVER again! Friends…this really has been great for us. 

Yes, I feel like my life consists of doing laundry, but I also know that when it is all completely done I can breathe a sigh of relief. Until tomorrow… 

Good luck!