Simplicity and Complexity: Opposite Extremes

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci 15th Century, Italy 

Leonardo DaVinci

“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.”  

Edwin Way Teale 1920’s, Illinois

“Everything should be made as simply as possible, but not simpler.” Einstein 1940’s, New Jersey

“Simplicity is it’s own artistry.” 2015 Starbucks Ad Campaign, Seattle

Starbucks Simplicity AdStarbucks Simplicity Ad

Great minds from many different ages and fields have touted the wonders of simplicity.  From 15th century Italy to 21st century Madison Avenue, the notion that less can be more, simpler can be more elegant, and that perfection can be achieved by subtraction rather than addition, has been touted.

In some cultures and eras, these ideas have been embraced and in others, dismissed.  In times of scarcity, thrift was not just a virtue, but a necessity.  It’s pretty easy to keep things simply when you have no choice. But what happens when times are easy?  Simplicity can seem like an unnecessary restriction.  There are lots of goods and services at your fingertips and you’re flush with resources, so why not indulge?

For starters, do you want to have a life of sophistication and artistry or a life of clutter and chaos?  Everything we own also owns us.  Edwin Way Teale said it well. Reduce your wants and your labors will be reduced. When you own less, you tend to own better. When you own less, you are able to curate your life in a more thoughtful and harmonious way.  When you simplify your home, your schedule and your life, paradoxically, they all become richer and more meaningful.

So where are you on the simplicity-complexity continuum? If you want to shift, how do you make that happen?  The first step is awareness.  Remember that needs and wants are not the same.  The next step is to embrace the philosophy that perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing more to take away.   Can you make things as simple as possible, but not a bit simpler?  And finally, you can begin to nibble away at the physical clutter and detritus that have accumulated over the years.   Stick with it and before long, you’ll be singing the praises of artistry through simplicity!

Earth Day

At Simplicity, we believe organizing and Earth Day belong together.  We want to help others adapt a simpler lifestyle that is environmentally conscious and sustainable.  It’s not just the fragile earth that will benefit.  Environmental sustainability makes for a more sustainable personal and family life too.   It’s a great example of “doing well by doing good”.


Earth Day


We have all heard the 3 R’s – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE.  We would like to honor Earth Day with ideas and thoughts for both organizing our homes and lives while protecting our environment.

Reduce Reuse RecycleREDUCE

the amount of stuff you bring into your house.  Remember less is more. Cut back on paper clutter by reducing the amount of junk mail or credit card offers you receive.  Go to for 6 steps for stopping junk mail.  Sign up to go paperless on bank and investment statements.  Don’t be a slave to email.   Unsubscribe from those you no longer enjoy. Use your delete button so you’re not letting others set your agenda by what fills your inbox. Purge your files annually to make room for what is truly important.   Remember that duplicating with both paper and electronic files is akin to “belts and suspenders”- overkill!


containers for kids’ art supplies such as pens, markers, and paintbrushes.  Padded mailing envelops or packing boxes can often be reused. You’ll find lots of ways to repurpose things around your house if you simply think about it.  Remember the old sayings, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”  It’s old advice but still good advice.


unused or unloved belongings.  There are countless ways to do this but for a start, we’ve compiled this list.


Let’s all celebrate Earth Day by challenging our families to adopt at least one new habit from one of the 3 R’s.  For your new behavior to become a habit, you’ll need to practice it.  Put it on your calendar.  Tell others what you’re doing so you’re more accountable.  And don’t let a little slip up cause a total relapse.  What starts out as a hope, will become a habit.


“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.” – Edwin Way Teale



It’s Time to Call in the Captain!


You’re ready to get your home and life organized, but you feel there is so much stuff weighing you down. You are having a hard time even knowing where to start.  Think hand-me-downs from college, your children’s old toys, broken furniture, torn couches, old paint cans, and huge box TVs.  Whether you are moving, downsizing, settling an estate or simply in need of some free space in your home… the Captain has you covered.

Captain Clutter cheerfully picks up items for charity and hauls off cardboard for recycling and all metals and trash. They take donated items to Habitat for Humanity, Crisis Ministries, Salvation Army and Goodwill. They work with companies to help recycle paint, metals, chemicals, cardboard, televisions, computers and large amounts of plastics. They also use a non-government owned landfill for trash disposal. For items of high value, they will sell these treasures on behalf of the client. They will even remove paints, tires and household chemicals for a small additional fee.

Captain Clutter’s charges are based how much space your items occupy in their large truck.  Hourly rates may be applied in certain situations, like emptying an attic or boxing and bagging several items.

CaptainClutterphoto CaptainClutterphoto

When Captain Clutter’s Director of Operations, Alan Romack, was asked what it was like working with Simplicity he answered, “When we work with Simplicity we know that we are partnering with the best in the business. Simplicity is a well-run company with the best organizers, who truly care about their clients and their needs.” 

Simplicity works with their clients, helping them sort, purge, and organize their belongings.  Then in a flash, Captain Clutter arrives to haul off all the items that are no longer needed.

Simplicity and Captain Clutter began their partnership in 2010 with a mission to help Charlotte residents de-clutter their homes and lives. Together they create customized and maintainable organizational systems. This perfect pair can transform a space in no time!