Help Warm Charlotte This Winter

Warm CharlotteDo you have winter clothes, sweaters, coats, hats, scarves, socks, blankets, towels, and other cold weather items piling up in your home? Put these items to good use and help us warm Charlotte this year! 

Environmental exposure-related deaths, hypothermia and frostbite pose an especially high threat to homeless individuals around the world during the winter months. Without shelter and often without proper protection against the elements, those in need face constant decisions between food, medicine and sufficient attire for cold weather. It comes as no surprise that cold weather attire often takes the lowest priority in that scenario.

Simplicity has partnered with other local business owners to do some real, tangible good in the community this winter by founding Warm Charlotte. These organizations are heavily involved with Charlotte’s homeowners, and in various ways, we come across many people who own more “stuff” than they really want… or need. Many of these items are often thrown away or transferred to storage facilities, never to be seen or used again. We want to change that paradigm.

donationboxThere are many ways in which you can help, the first of which is to bring winter clothes and other cold-weather items to our mobile donation centers on ANY Sunday in November. We will be in the parking lots at various shopping centers around the Charlotte area. We will then deliver the donations to the shelters and families that need them most. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter to receive updates on this important cause. You can also make a monetary donation to the cause – every donation, in any amount helps!!


Sunday, November 4th: Southpark Mall, benefiting the Florence Crittenton Home

Sunday, November 11th: Park Road Shopping Center, benefiting Charlotte Rescue Mission

Sunday, November 18th: Stonecrest at Piper Glen, benefiting Crisis Assistance Ministries

Sunday, November 25th: Cotswold Village Shops, benefiting United Family Services

We will be using Captain Clutter’s truck to accept donations at each location from 1 pm to 5 pm each Sunday in November – just  “Look for the Big Green Truck!

Who We Are:

Providence Property Management – Residential property managers specializing in working with individual homeowners who want to rent their Charlotte home or condo without the hassle of finding tenants and handling ongoing maintenance issues.

Simplicity Organizers – With their team of professional organizers, Simplicity works with individuals and families to de-clutter, simplify, and create systems, bringing order to their lives and homes. In a world dictated by deadlines, cell-phones, and endless emails, it is often difficult to maintain a balanced life. Simplicity is your solution.

Captain Clutter – Providing Charlotte’s premier de-cluttering and re-sale services across the city, “the Captain” offers the greenest, most efficient and most cost-effective solution to getting rid of all that junk you’ve been holding on to for years!

The Queen City Style – Local fashion blogger and stylist Whitley Hamlin assists Charlotte residents with creating aesthetically beautiful, stylish spaces in which to live, work and play. She also styles clothing and outdoor spaces for special events in the Queen City.

Phoenix Rising


Like the mythical Egyptian bird that was reborn from its pyre, so our family’s pinball machine has risen from the ashes. When my husband, Gerry, was 9 years old he received a tabletop version of a pinball machine for Christmas. His rowdy cousins arrived for the family celebration and promptly broke it. Apparently there was always a path of destruction in their wake. Gerry’s dad decided he’d had enough so he set out to find an indestructible replacement- a REAL arcade style pinball machine! And this one lasted. Gerry and his family spent years challenging one another to beat the best score. It also survived countless family holidays. 

What the beloved pinball machine didn’t survive was the neglect that followed when Gerry lost his father as a teen. His subsequent departure for college and his mother’s career move to Japan made matters worse. The pinball machine spent more than 15 years in his sister’s basement and later her garage.

For years I’ve know about the pinball machine but had chosen to ignore it- easy to do since it was a pile of parts covered in dust and grime. I was not eager to incorporate it into our décor and was grateful that my sister-in-law had not thrown a hissy fit and demanded we get it off her garage floor. She probably should have.

Earlier this year we decided we either needed to sell it or have it restored for our own family to enjoy. We were fortunate enough to find someone locally who restores pinball machines so we delivered it to him and waited for his evaluation. We were thrilled he was able to “wake up” the machine and that he was confident he could fix it. It took some time but it was definitely worth the wait! When we brought it home, Gerry’s sister was here to see it come to life. Hearing the familiar sounds took them both back to a their childhood. Our kids had never experienced a real pinball machine so we’ve had fun watching them play and invite their friends over to see a relic that is quite possibly rarer than a pay phone.


I coach Simplicity clients and empower them to make decisions regarding whether or not they should keep  an item or part with it. It can be tough to let go of   things from the past, especially those that have sentimental value. Much of the time they are like that busted pinball machine; old, dirty, neglected. If they insist on keeping it I always encourage them to find a way to honor it. If it is truly important to you then you should. If not, then it’s probably just clutter and perhaps it’s time to let it go.

In his book The Things That Matter, designer Nate Berkus says, “Our homes should tell our stories…who we are, whom we’ve loved and what matters most”. What phoenix do you have that needs to be rescued from the ashes?

by Andrea Gill, Simplicity Organizer

Master Bedroom Closet Organization

As seen on Laura Ashley blog

If you are like most, your to-do list includes addressing a burdened closet that’s home to old yearbooks, dusty sports gear and, of course, dated wears that may never come back in fashion. Thankfully, there is professional help for the overwhelming mess you have created.

We were fortunate to take a front row seat to the makeover of a busy mum’s master bedroom closet as she– under the guidance of professional organizer Andrea Gill of Simplicity Certified Professional Organizers— restores order to a cluttered closet.

Simplicity’s method is just that, S-I-M-P-L-E, and guides you through the painstaking task in 6 easy steps.

The first call to action is to SORT— grouping like items together by season, colour, function, etc. Take a peek at these freshly hung shirts by color and sleeve length on uniform non-slip hangers.

The second step, IDENTIFY, this is where you determine the fate of your belongings. Create four piles of what should be kept, donated, sold or tossed, keeping only what is cherished or frequently used. While the Laura Ashley dress you so brilliantly wore for graduation is indeed a treasure, it is perfectly acceptable to donate to our archive or your favorite vintage shop. It may be difficult to stay on task, but try not to leave the room until finished.

Next it’s time to MAP OUT a designated spot for each category. Frequently used items should be the most accessible. Your rainy day wellingtons go on a high shelf, and your well-intentioned but less worn yoga pants in a storage box.

Then PUT IT AWAY, everything in its own spot.

The man of the house should have a convenient spot for his shoes (rather than under the bed).

Keep a collapsible step stool like this one in your closet so items up high are always within reach.
Andrea prefers t-shirts, pajamas and such folded and put on their end in a storage box. “Filing versus stacking keeps things neat when adding to or taking away and it takes up less space,” she says.

Now you have the makings of beautiful order. To wrap things up, you will LABEL your lovely Laura Ashley storage boxes (shown) and containers with their contents (nickers, scarves, socks, etc.).

Now that you have your path to organization, take note of these expert tips to guide you on your way to organizational bliss.

  • While sorting, place any items to be relocated to another spot in the house in a basket outside the room.
  • Storage solutions are great tools, but be sure to MAP IT OUT FIRST, so you are not left with containers that don’t fit your space. Laura Ashley has a variety of shapes and sizes to suit.
  • Accessories like scarves can be visually distracting in a small space. Fold and place them in a box.
  • Add an inexpensive bar of soap or sachet to your storage boxes to keep things fresh.
  • Wire shelving can leave a mark– use a placemat under folded clothes to protect them.
  • Holding on to designer clothing that you never wear? Consignment shops love boutique and designer wears, but keep in mind they will only take the current and/or upcoming season.
  • If you have the luxury of shelving, place shoes one forward and one back. This takes up less space and makes spotting the perfect pair simple with both the toe and heel in view. Also, put your daily shoes on a shelf and seasonal and party shoes in clear boxes on a high self.
  • Invest in a valet pole to make putting away laundry easier. You can order one online or as part of a custom closet.
  • Update your system as needed and just like any well-oiled machine,  maintenance is always needed!

At last, it’s time to ENJOY organization at its best! This busy mum of two can spend more time getting lost in the lives of her children and less time lost in the shuffle.

Halloween Memories – Simplified

By Lori Martin, Chief Operating Mom, Purple Martin & Co.

Do you have a shoebox of old Halloween photos waiting to be put into a photo album? My parents actually have “slides” of my childhood Halloween pictures – not even in an album for me to see.

HalloweenPages All I remember is that one year I was a ghost with a purple bandana tied around my head to prevent the sheet I was wearing from sliding down over my eyes. Hilarious memory, but I would L-O-V-E to see that photo today and share it with my children.

Instead of slides (from the 1970’s), perhaps you have Halloween photos saved digitally (Shutterfly or Snapfish perhaps?) that have never been published or shared. Have you ever wondered what those photos saved chronologically would look like side by side?

How the Tinkerbell costume worn by your oldest child one year was proudly worn 4 years later by her younger sister? Or how your cowboy looked all decked out for the rodeo at age 3 compared to the vampire he chose to be at age 10?


Memories are fun to keep & even more fun to look back on as the years go by all too quickly. My mantra for keeping memories is this…. “If they are important enough to keep, they should be honored.”

The Purple Martin & Co. has created a simple, meaningful way to keep track of those adorable costumes your children chose throughout the years.

Use our inspiration below to capture your favorite Halloween costume photo of your children this year! Then work backwards through your older photos and add those to the album to see how they have grown. Display your album each year for Halloween and simply add the new Halloween photograph as soon as it is developed.

Do you have more than one child? Try making one album per child so that one day when they are older they can each take their own album with them to share with their children.

I would really love to find that picture of me wearing a sheet with a purple bandana. My 11 year old would think that was hysterical. Instead, she enjoys looking at our album every fall when we pull it off the shelf. It sits on our coffee table and all who visit enjoy a peek at our costumes of Halloween past.

No time to make one of your own? Simplicity & The Purple Martin & Co. partner together to creatively organize and simplify your memories.