Top Giving Experiences

 

At Simplicity, we value experiences over materials. There is great joy in the act of giving, but gift giving does not need to create more clutter and stress in our homes and lives.  

Studies have proven that experiences provide greater happiness and more memories. Life is short and it is the memories with your loved ones that have the greatest impact Most people do not need more stuff, they need more uninterrupted time.  This holiday season we challenge you to turn off your technology and spend more face to face time with those you love. When you look back on your life, it is the relationships and experiences that you will remember.

Here is our TOP 10 GIFT GIVING EXPERIENCE RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. A trip to a bucket list location
  2. A makeup session by Danielle Maddox
  3. A personal chef to cook a special dinner (We LOVE The Freckled Fork) or gift card to favorite restaurant
  4. A class such as cooking, dancing or painting
  5. A year membership
  6. A ticket to play or concert
  7. A family or friend photo shoot
  8. A day of pampering (massage, pedicure or facial)
  9. A monthly service such as babysitting, lawn maintenance, cleaning
  10. The Gift of Time with Simplicity Organizers <3

Unearthing Treasures from Trash

I love to thrift. There’s something uniquely entertaining about sifting through piles and shelves of assorted brick a brack, and something undeniably satisfying about diving into it without a guarantee of success and emerging with something great. It’s like when an old friend texts you out of the blue to say “hello”, or when a butterfly perches right next to you to sun itself. It’s a gift, of sorts.  The thrill of the bargain, and a more intimate experience than copy/pasting a coupon code or picking through three dozen identical tops on a clearance rack. Way before Mackelmore brought the joy of the thrift shop into vogue in 2012, I was a wee, wide-eyed treasure hunter combing through Goodwill and Salvation Army stores with my mom and grandma, learning how to spot a deal and bumming a dollar to buy that stuffed animal I liked.  As you can probably tell, the love of thrift has stuck with me, so it’s also not surprising that my adulthood finds me managing a secondhand store myself.

Second Chance of Charlotte is a secondhand furniture and home decor store that solicits business on behalf of our charity partner Project 658, a nonprofit that serves at-risk and underprivileged families in the Charlotte area. We’re also a sister company with the Junkluggers, which is where we get the majority of our inventory. In a nutshell, the Junkluggers remove items from their clients’ homes, garages, yards, storage units, or businesses with the pledge to keep as much of the removed material out of the landfill as humanly possible. That means recycling broken TVs and ancient refrigerators, and making a lot of phone calls to make sure every IV pole and dog kennel is given to a nonprofit that needs it. Second Chance was actually started by the Junkluggers to benefit our community with the furniture they remove – because let’s face it, a charity can do a lot more with $100 than they can with a denim upholstered loveseat and five-foot-tall wooden cutlery (no, I’m not making these up). The Junkluggers remove the furniture and bring it to Second Chance, where we clean it, repair it, and send it back out into the world. The proceeds are sent to Project 658, and the original owner of the furniture is sent a tax-deductible receipt for their donation.

On paper, it’s not very exciting. Sure, it’s wonderful to support charity and save the planet, but this kind of business model has existed since forever, and there are thrift stores in every neighborhood of every city in the country. I know I’m lucky. I get to see the exciting parts from the inside. I’m in the nitty-gritty, unearthing twentieth century barrel-top trunks from piles of rubbish and peeling away dry-rotted wicker seats to see the wrought iron bench underneath get a shot at beautifying a garden again. I’ve seen antique tiger oak buffet rescued from someone’s backyard and upcycled into a beautiful bar, and dressers that just needed a few screws tightened and new hardware scooped up by families who couldn’t (or like me, didn’t want to) buy brand new furniture for their homes.

And I love it. I love the silly old adage “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”, tired and overused as it is. Because it’s true, and it’s timely. We’ve all heard the statistics about waste – 230 million tons of solid waste are produced by the US every year, approximately. Almost five pounds of waste per person per day, with less than a quarter of it ever being recycled, even though 70% of it could be. We all have different opinions on how big an impact this is having on the globe, but most everyone who uses money to provide for their day-to-day needs can agree that that’s a lot of resources to just toss into a hole in the ground or into an incinerator. And to sentimental types like me, it’s also a lot of wasted opportunity.

So much of what we throw away still has life left in it, and I’m not talking about composting coffee grounds and recycling cereal boxes, as important as those are.  I’m talking about what we do when we’re moving and our mom’s armoire doesn’t fit the modern style of our new apartment, or what we do when we need someplace to put toilet paper in our bathroom because the cabinet under the sink is full of cleaners.  Sometimes push comes to shove and you need to just haul the armoire out to the curb or go order the cheapest over-the-toilet shelf from Amazon.  Life is busy and chaotic — there’s no shame in that.  But if you have a moment to pause and think about it, you’ll find much more interesting solutions – on Pinterest, on Google, from your friends and neighbors.  You don’t need tons of artistic skill to turn an old armoire into a cool liquor cabinet, just some paint and the guts to use it.  And hanging shelving for your TP is only a rescued wood plank and two lengths of rope away, and is almost guaranteed to be more attractive than the plastic thing you found online.

Our goal at Second Chance is to help people see the potential in their unwanted stuff, in the “junk” they ask the Luggers to haul away.  Because maybe you don’t have the time/energy/paint/desire to make over your mom’s armoire, but chances are, someone else does.  Or someone else didn’t need their weirdly skinny corner shelves anymore, but man wouldn’t they be perfect in your bathroom?

It’s an exciting thing, to find that perfect piece to complete your bathroom or living room or stair landing, and so rewarding when you know you rescued it from an untimely demise, or made it beautiful with your own hands.  And the truly exciting thing is that it doesn’t require any more effort of you than a trip to the furniture store or comparing prices online.  It’s as simple as making a phone call, or opening Facebook, or picking out paint.

Now, go find that treasure!

Kassidi Gniadek, Store Manager

Second Chance

521-C Pitts School Rd NW

Concord, NC 28027

704-292-6226


Cleaning out your Inner Junk Drawer

We are all familiar with the physical clutter that seems to grow before our eyes, but how tuned in are you to your mental clutter? You know, that chatter that goes on in your head, the things you believe to be true about yourself and others, the unique lens through which we see and experience the world?

Yep, that stuff matters.

You may not be consciously aware of how your beliefs shape your worldview. Our automatic responses are so ingrained they happen before we realize we have a choice – a choice to feel how we feel about something. Think for a minute about a person or situation in your life that recently upset you.

What if instead of building your case for being hurt and angry, you try this instead:

Release judgment: So many times judgment and automatic responses jump in to respond or defend our position and we react to what we believe happened: our interpretation of the facts.

Try this: Look at the facts. Stop short of assigning meaning to what happened. How does it change if you take a more neutral view?

Invite a different perspective: Have you ever been describing a stressful situation to a trusted friend who replies, “I don’t see if that way at all”?

How do you respond? Shut her down, tell her “thanks but no thanks” or do you try to see things differently?

Sometimes just a small shift in perspective can open up new possibilities while holding on tightly to our perspective can breakdown relationships and potential for growth.

Stop “shoulding” yourself: “Should” can be a motivator but more often seems to indicate there is a standard which is not being met. When coupled with “I”, we create resentment toward ourselves. What are the things you tell yourself you “should” do and how does that set you up for falling short? “I’m so bad, I should have exercised today but went out to lunch instead.” You feel guilty about how you chose to spend your day rather than enjoying it.  

Bottom Line: Clean out that junk! Be aware of your automatic responses and ask yourself: Is there a different way to look at this?

Thoughts are not facts.

Want to learn more? Lorree is hosting a workshop on Nov. 10, 9-11:30am at her Cotswold office. The workshop is designed for busy women needing a time out before the holidays. We will sort through your mental junk drawer, throw out old ways of thinking and bring peace and purpose to your life. Please RSVP to reserve your spot: lorree@envisionengageembrace.com. Cost is $15 per person.

Lorree Riley is a Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Envision Creative Counseling, PLLC. Working with emerging adults and those experiencing difficult life transitions, Lorree blends talk therapy and creative art therapy to facilitate insight, learning and growth.

www.EnvisionEngageEmbrace.com

https://www.facebook.com/Envision-Creative-Counseling

 


Simplicity Serves

 

Love organizing and looking for a way to give back to those in need?
There are lots of families in Charlotte facing difficult circumstances and are overwhelmed by life’s challenges.  Simplicity offers complimentary organizational services to those who are unable to afford our services.

 

We are in search of volunteers to offer their time and organizational skills.
If you are interested in this opportunity we  would love to invite you to our next Simplicity Serves Information Meeting!


Our next meetings are Wednesday, November 7th from 10am-11am and Tuesday, November 13th from 10am-11am.  

Please contact info@simplicity-organizers.com for more information.


Simplify Your Life: Meal Planning

It all started almost 12 years ago. I was a newlywed and the only thing I knew how to cook was scrambled eggs (and “fancy” ramen, where you add in vegetables to those $0.29 packs of noodles, but I don’t think that really counts). I wanted to learn how to cook, but more importantly, I was also trying to manage our newlywed finances as well, so I wanted to learn how to cook efficiently. Thus began my love affair with meal planning.

Fast forward to the present where I find myself trying to balance work, married life and the manic whims of a precious 3-year-old. Once again, I’m in a place where meal planning is ESSENTIAL for our finances, for our health and also for our sanity.

So, how can we simplify our meals and routines? How can we reclaim peace and joy in cooking?

Do a quick Google search and you will find hundreds of websites giving you “7 Tips” here and “10 Steps” there to simplify your meal planning. Hours and hours go by, hundreds of clicks to and from sites on Pinterest, and you might still end up totally confused and unsure of how to actually get started. I’ve been meal planning now for 12+ years, and I feel like I’ve tried it all. Through it all, I’ve discovered a few successful ways to simplify our lives (& our food budget) by meal planning:

Plan One Week at a Time: Gather your family calendar and decide how many nights you can cook at home vs. take-out/going out to eat. Everyone’s schedules are “so busy” these days, so plan which nights you WILL cook…aiming for at least 3-4 per week.

If you’re really ambitious, try meal-planning for two weeks. Calendars, practices, appointments, etc., are typically set in stone for at least two weeks at a time. I am usually at my MOST efficient financially and with groceries (avoiding food waste) when I plan a couple weeks at a time. Flexibility is key, groceries can carry over, and impromptu nights out don’t matter as much because you can move that night’s meal to the next open night.

Take Stock: What items do you already have? A huge part of simplifying your meals, is simplifying your ingredient list. Try to cook 5-6 ingredient meals. Use healthy, whole ingredients when possible; simple, unprocessed and whatever produce is on sale that week.


NOTE: Taking stock of your pantry and fridge are a LOT easier to do if they are organized ahead of time. Before you get started with meal planning, take an hour to go through and organize; dispose of expired food and group by “like-items” (cans, grains, breakfast stuff, etc., in the pantry and fruit, veggies, dairy in the refrigerator). Store items in clear bins or baskets for easy visibility.

Make What You Know: Look for recipes in your comfort zone. Search by the ingredients you already have and that will help keep your plans (and your searches) simple and efficient. Pinterest can be your friend if you use specific keywords like “healthy sweet potato recipes,” “quick and easy chicken recipes,” “make ahead eggplant recipes.”

I typically start my meal plan by choosing 2-3 proteins (usually what I have stored in the freezer) and then vegetables or grains for the sides. When choosing side dishes, I try to look for recipes that call for similar ingredients. Sheet Pan Roasted Chicken with Sweet Potatoes & Onions might be on the menu one night, and then a couple days later, I might serve Roasted Sweet Potatoes with a variety of toppings, including caramelized onions and shredded chicken (leftover from the previous night).

Take your simplifying one step further by creating a framework for your week: Meatless Mondays, Tacos Tuesdays, Breakfast for Dinner, Pasta Thursdays, Pizza Fridays, etc.

Write It Out: Designate a notebook to keep your weekly menus, ingredients and shopping lists all in one place. I am a HUGE fan of paper, but also acknowledge the power of digital, so I use both. I keep a written notebook of weekly meal plans, etc., and I keep a Google Drive folder of our fan-favorite recipes. For instance, if I’m searching for a good slow-cooker recipe, I’ll start by searching my Drive folder first before I head to the black hole that is Pinterest or Google.

I also prefer to write our weekly menu on a large dry erase calendar or chalkboard calendar, so that my family knows what to look forward to throughout the week. It also alleviates the barrage of “what’s for dinner?” questioning from said family members.

Now once you choose your recipes, go through each and list out the ingredients (and quantities) needed for each. Mark the items you already have in stock, and list out the items you need to purchase.

 

A good way to organize your shopping list is to group your items by “Produce,” “Meat,” “Dairy,” “Pantry Items,” “Sauces,” etc. This will help transform your current grocery store mania into the the short & sweet trip we all dream of….oh, you don’t dream about the grocery store? Just me? Okay 🙂

Plan to do all your grocery shopping on ONE day of the week. This can easily be done if your shopping list is organized and thorough. Gone are the days of stopping by the grocery store every day to “just grab a couple things” and walking out with $100+ of who-knows-what.

Simplify the Prep: Try adopting the Sunday Meal Prep or Make-Ahead Meal mentality. If your busy schedule doesn’t allow much time for slicing and dicing, try to prep your meals on Saturdays or Sundays. Buy meat in bulk (also SUPER kind to your wallet) and keep your freezer stocked with favorites.

Store meal items in clear bags or containers and label them with directions for ease of use. Again, so said family members can actually start the meal preparation with or without you there. Amen and amen.

____________________________________________________________________________

 

Ultimately, I could give you ALL the tips and tricks, but it’s up to YOU to figure out what will work for YOU and your family. Hopefully these steps above are simple enough to encourage and inspire you to simplify (or even start) your meal planning routine.

If you are still unsure of how to start or need help organizing your kitchen, we are here for you.

Our goal at Simplicity is to help you clear out the unnecessary in order to focus on what matters most. We are here to help you create space and balance so that you can discover a new sense of harmony in your home (especially your kitchen) and life.

Click here to make an appointment today!

Jessica Masanotti joined the Simplicity team almost 3 years ago. Her favorite space to organize is the kitchen (of course!), and she loves working with Simplicity Kids & Teens. In her spare time, she LOVES meal planning, cooking and eating all the delicious food, which she chronicles in her blog, The Freckled Fork.

 

 

 

 

 


Comic Relief

 Simplicity + Robin’s Rules of Order = Synergy!

Simplifying and organizing our homes and our lives are oft-cited resolves that are often unrealized. We give ourselves a pass saying we’re ‘trying’ to do it. But a thoughtful, less-is-more lifestyle can be yours. We suggest a comic approach to a serious topic.  

In a joint presentation on September 14th at Myers Park Country Club, Laurie Martin from Simplicity and Robin McCoy, author of Robin’s Rules of Order and Writings on Robin’s Rules, you’ll learn a lot about the ‘why’ and the  ‘how’. Why we have so much stuff we don’t love, use or need, and how to tame the chaos to regain control of the things we do need, use and love.

Comics hold up a mirror and reflect a lot of truths in a succinct, approachable way.  Witty or corny, pointed or gentle, they pack a punch. Comics are truth tellers in an effortless, economical way.  They do so with fewer, better words. And they unintentionally champions Robin’s Rules of Order.  And the rules are just the starting point for a thoughtful discussion of how Simplicity can help you live better with less.

So don’t despair.  We will have a lighthearted but serious discussion about showing your things who’s boss!

 


Charlotte Parenting Solutions

Simplicity Organizers Interviews Wendy Petricoff of Charlotte Parenting Solutions.

What is Charlotte Parenting Solutions?

Charlotte Parenting Solutions is a business created to help support parents through the journey of parenthood. My passion is making parents’ lives easier by teaching them how to use the best tools available for their family. I help parents get on the same page, figure out how and when to set limits and which consequences will work best. This is the work we do together, putting together plans that you can easily implement. My goal is to help parents to feel CALM, CONFIDENT and CREDIBLE when they are raising their children!

How long have you been a parenting coach?

I have been working with parents for 11 years! It is an incredibly rewarding job.

What types of services do you offer?

I work with parents in private sessions, in my online course Happy Parents & Thriving Kids, or if you’re local…I teach in-person workshops! I provide parents the tools and skills they need to tackle their parenting challenges. In my online workshop and private sessions we work closely together to create customized parenting plans for your family. (Yes, that means we put together consequences and I even give you scripts to use!)

How does organization play a role in having healthy and happy family members and family dynamics?

If parents aren’t organized, family stress is often magnified. Things that appear simple, like getting out the door on time end up becoming a HUGE source of frustration. When parents become emotionally escalated we often “lose it” (yelling, using sarcasm, etc.) which results in us eventually feeling guilty about our own actions. This is a cycle that becomes a repetitive pattern. In order to break this pattern parents need to learn both organizational skills as well as parenting tools. These skills are a gift to the entire family!

How are Charlotte Parenting Solutions and Simplicity Organizers connected in enhancing families’ lives?

Together we work hand in hand to help families live more peaceful, purposeful lives. Simplicity can provide a family with organizational tools and I step in to help with the implementation and follow through. As parents we are the leaders of our families. It’s our job to set limits and I teach parents how to follow through in a loving way that builds strong parent/child relationships. I believe that both Simplicity and Charlotte Parenting Solutions work in tandem to get you the skills and the CONFIDENCE you need to become a great role model for your children.

 


Garage Organization Day With the Bremers

 

Part of Simplicity’s mission is to serve the Charlotte community with our gift of organization.  A few months ago at the ChariTea fundraiser event for the Charlotte Rescue Mission, Sharon Bremer mentioned that she really needed our services.  When asked what area of her home needed our services the most, she quickly said her garage. Sharon had just wrapped up her final treatment of  chemotherapy, so we decided there was no better gift to her family than the gift of organization. Soon after, we informed Sharon that our company would be coming to work alongside of her and help her organize her garage.  To understand more about our process, we asked Sharon to share about her experience working with Simplicity…

What was your reaction when Simplicity told you they were volunteering to organize your garage?  

I was overwhelmed with joy and SO surprised.  It is something I have been wanting to do for years.

 

Describe your garage prior to Simplicity arriving.  

Disheveled.  We have been stockpiling items for about 9 years including kids toys, camping gear, paint, old files, photos, etc…  

 

 

What feelings did you have when you came home to a driveway full of your stuff?  I could not believe that all of that “stuff” had been in our garage for so long.  I am not sure where we hid it all.

 

What was the process like having Simplicity work alongside of you?   

Simplicity made it easy.  When I came home everything was laid out in our driveway.  All I had to do was go through each pile and say keep, throw out, or donate.  Then they organized by section (sports, entertainment, camping, holiday, etc…) A few hours later the sweetest man, Vincent McCullough, with Trinity Painters, took our old paint to recycle and Junkluggers took the rest to donate and trash.  Simplicity lined up all the vendors and it was so such a relief to have it all completed in one day.

How long do you think it would have taken you to organize your garage on your own?

Well, with the help of Simplicity, it took 16 hours to organize the garage.  I don’t think I would ever organized like that. I think I would have given up after 2 days of going through old stuff.  It is mentally, physically, and emotionally draining, so to have a motivated and experienced team-made the entire process easy.

 

How has this experience impacted you and your family?  

My kids are actually keeping their toys and sports equipment organized.  Before they would throw it anywhere. Now everything has its place which saves SO much time when heading to the ball field.  Now when I go into the garage I feel at peace whereas before I felt anxious from all of the chaos. Having Simplicity organize our garage has made us realize the importance of organizing other rooms in the house to free up all the clutter.

 


Zest Marketplace

Have a necklace, earrings or a handbag (or two, or three, or…) that you love, can’t bear to part with, but don’t wear often? Rent it! Buy a Kentucky Derby hat for a party that you’re never going to wear again? Rent it! Hanging on to your bridal jewelry but can’t find the right occasion to wear it again? Rent it!

Zest Marketplace is a new fashion format that blends the concepts behind a consignment store and Rent the Runway. We accept fine and fashion accessories in like-new condition for game day to wedding day and every occasion in between. Our rentals are short, 4 and 8 days, to maximize the number of times your pieces can rent. Each time your piece rents, you get 25% of the fee. We keep tally and payout at then end of each quarter (which is even better than finding $20 and a peppermint in that clutch you haven’t carried in two years if you ask me!).

The next time you organize your closet, consider making a pile for Zest Marketplace in between the keep and donate piles. We come to you to pick-up, and hold on to your inventory for the duration of its stay in the market, whether that’s a finite or indefinite amount of time.    

We are always in building inventory mode so reach out when you’re ready to invest your Zest! We are online, on Instagram and on Facebook.  

Zest Marketplace is locally owned and operated by me!, Amanda Tomlinson, Charlotte-native, Carolina grad, mom to Claire and Harry and a recovering uptown employee.

 


2018 READ a Book, GIVE a Book Celebration!

Reading is a life skill and it is unfortunate that during the summer months, many students lose valuable literacy skills when they stop reading during their break from school. Summer reading loss negatively impacts our struggling readers, and ultimately our entire community. Children who do not have access to books or adults who can read to them are especially susceptible to falling behind over the summer.

As a result, by the end of fifth grade, these students are approximately 2 1/2 years behind their peers in terms of reading ability.

Simplicity Organizers is hosting our annual book drive in the month of May. We are encouraging the Charlotte community to donate gently used children’s books (PreK-5th Gr.) to our READ A BOOK, GIVE A BOOK celebration. 

This year we will be donating the books again to Windsor Park Elementary in hopes that every single student will be able to take home several books to read over the summer!

We would love for you to partner with us and help us reach our goal of collecting 4,000 books this May!

Click here to download our Read a Book, Give a Book Flyer

Books can be dropped off at Windsor Park Elementary, My Gym or One Hott Mama Maternity

or email Simplicity to find a book drop off location near you:

Ballantyne, Barclay Downs, Cotswold, Dilworth, Matthews, Myers Park & Southpark

Simplicity Organizers

info@simplicity-organizers.com

704.464.3713

Windsor Park Elementary

3910 Sudbury Road 28205

980.343.6405