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

 


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!

 


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.

 


Simplicity + The Junkluggers = A Win Win for Customers in Charlotte

Ready to reclaim your home? Whether your garage is overflowing with clutter, your basement is packed with boxes, or your attic is in disarray, The Junkluggers of Charlotte has partnered with Simplicity bringing world-class junk removal and professional organizing to homes and businesses in the Charlotte area.

The Junkluggers of Charlotte provides an environmentally-friendly alternative, saving tons of junk from landfills each year by donating on average 50% of the items they remove to local charities and recycling centers. When an item is donated on a customer’s behalf, Junkluggers will provide a tax-deductible receipt within 14 business days.

Serving Simplicity Clients

Our services match perfectly with what Simplicity does best; organize. After Simplicity has gone through your home or business we act as the “clean-up crew.” Our trucks arrive onsite removing items ready to be donated, recycled, or disposed of. The Junkluggers are dedicated to making sure your items are taken care of and bless the community.

Besides our 5-Star rating, Simplicity customers can trust The Junkluggers for their junk removal needs for many reasons, including:

  1. Free, no-obligation estimates. Simply call our office at (980) 288-5848 or book online for a free, in-person junk removal estimate.
  2. We’re on time. We’ll arrive within the two-hour appointment window you choose, and if we don’t, you’ll get a discount of up to 10% based on our arrival time.
  3. We price by volume and guarantee our estimates. When our fully insured Luggers arrive, just point out what needs to be removed, and they’ll provide you with an estimate that guarantees you won’t pay more than the quoted price. Even better, if your items take up less than expected, you’ll pay the lower price!
  4. We remove & load your items. If you accept the estimate, we’ll get started right away. Our luggers will lift and haul away your items safely, taking great care to protect your property from damage.
  5. We recycle & donate. At The Junkluggers, we’re dedicated to eco-friendly junk removal, and will donate or recycle whenever possible. We know how to safely recycle, donate, and dispose of e-waste from old printers, appliances and TV’s. We provide tax-deductible receipts within 14 days for anything we can donate on your behalf.

Our crews can also provide muscle (hourly labor) for jobs that require heavy lifting, staging furniture, or emptying of attics and basements.

About The Junkluggers

Founded in 2016, The Junkluggers of Charlotte is family owned and operated by Bryan Rainey and his two sons, Caleb and Josh. Currently serving Myers Park, Dilworth, Ballantyne, Concord, Statesville, Davidson, Huntersville, Lake Norman, Fort Mill and the surrounding Charlotte areas.

The Junkluggers® of Charlotte

1-800-LUG-JUNK (584-5865)

www.junkluggers.com

 

 


Five Simple Tips for Organizing your Playroom

Keep in Mind that “Less Is More”

When setting up a playroom or kid-centric area, it’s important to consider the concept that “less is more.” I always think of the 80-20 Rule. According to Anne Steppe, professional organizer and member of the Simplicity team, 80 percent of the time, your children are playing with only 20 percent of their toys. This should give you insight into just how many things kids have that they don’t even play with. Keep this in mind when choosing the amount of toys to keep in a playroom at any given time.

Label Bins with Pictures as well as Words

Labeling toy bins is an obvious organizational plus, but including a picture of each bin’s contents (on both ends) offers an added bonus. This allows even young children to know where items belong and makes it easier for them to put things away during cleanup. It helps them develop a sense of maintaining order — a great habit they will use for years to come in other areas of their lives.

Label the Back of Puzzle Pieces

My kids love puzzles, but whenever they played with different puzzles at the same time, the pieces always got mixed up. This made it hard for them to finish the puzzles, which was always frustrating. On top of that, when it came time to clean up, it was usually quite difficult to figure out which pieces went with each puzzle. The solution for this is simple. For each puzzle, place an identifying mark — a colored dot, a number, a simple shape — on the back of each piece. This makes it easy to know which pieces belong with each particular puzzle.

Store Bins Containing Small Toys or Figurines Out of Reach

Instead of allowing your child easy access to bins containing little toys or pieces, which inevitably end up being dumped out and often mixed up with other toys, keep these bins out of reach. You should be the one to manage them. I always tell my kids that I will take down a new bin once the current toys they are playing with have been cleaned up. This helps prevent kids from dumping a ton of toys on the floor, which creates a messy, confusing atmosphere that makes it difficult to play effectively.

Rotate/Purge Toys Every Few Months

Kids’ interests and abilities change frequently and they may quickly outgrow their toys. What was appropriate a few months ago soon becomes too easy or boring for them. Typically, this results in a bunch of toys gathering dust and taking up valuable space in your playroom. For this reason, every few months, flip the toys, keeping those that are most appropriate in rotation. Kids will then enjoy their toys more, playing with them more eagerly and effectively. And when it comes time to purge toys from the playroom, let your kids help. Along with having them play a role in the cleanup, this allows them to realize how many things they haven’t been playing with that could be shared with other children.

By Jess O’Rorke, Simplicity Organizer

ENOUGH

Stress, anxiety, regret – these words too often describe our lives in today’s modern culture. We are overwhelmed by clutter in our calendars, our homes, and even in our wants and needs.

At the end of 2017 I read “Enough – Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity” by Adam Hamilton. Realizing when we have enough and living in a place of simplicity and generosity are in stark contrast to how our society works today. We live in a continuous state of consumerism and we are constantly told we need more, bigger, and better.

When is enough ENOUGH?

In his book, Hamilton discusses how chasing the “American Dream” has resulted in many of us living beyond our means and drowning in credit card debt. “A key part of experiencing financial and spiritual freedom is found in simplicity and in exercising restraint.” What if we started 2018 by being wise with our finances?

Much of our desire for more, or the newest, or the best comes from a deep struggle with discontentment.  Adam outlines four keys to how you can cultivate contentment:

  1. Make it a habit to look on the bright side or find the silver lining in your circumstances. There is always something positive to focus on.
  2. Ask yourself, “How long will this make me happy?” Too often you may buy something, thinking it will make you happy, only to find that the happiness lasted about as long as it took to open the box. Try asking that question before you make a purchase. It’s amazing how often you will change your mind.
  3. Develop a grateful heart – gratitude is essential if you are to be content. In every situation you can either complain or be grateful, focus on the disappointments or give thanks for the blessings.
  4. Ask yourself, “Where does my soul find true satisfaction?” Contrary to what the world would have you believe, the longing of your soul cannot be satisfied by shopping in a mall or online.

Rather than focusing all of our energy on the now and seeking only pleasure from our material things, we need to find that magical place where we spend wisely and we are living within our means. Please don’t misunderstand because I’m not saying don’t buy things, don’t go out to eat, don’t have fun. I am saying make a budget, stick to it, be smart with your finances in 2018, and be thankful for everything you have. Choose to live more simply, to be more generous, and to enjoy life and the people you love.  

Adam also suggests ways to simplify and make financial goals easier to accomplish:

  1. Set a goal of reducing your consumption and choose to live below your means. Imagine small changes that will reduce your trash and require fewer trips to the gas station!  
  2. Before making a purchase, ask yourself “Do I really need this?” and “Why do I want this?” This will help you discover the true motive behind your desire to buy something. Also, practice the 24-hour rule: wait 24 hours before making a purchase that is not a necessity.
  3. Use something up before buying something new. Take good care of the things you buy and use them until they are empty, broken or worn-out.
  4. Plan low-cost entertainment – simple and cheap – that enriches your life. You don’t always have to spend money to have fun.
  5. Ask yourself, “Are there major changes that would allow me to simplify my life?” What things in your life are causing you stress? Is it time to downsize? Are there things you pay for every month but never use? These questions can apply to your home, possessions, job and activities.

When striving to simplify our lives and our finances, we need to remember that less is often more. Having less definitely reduces the stress and the financial burdens in our lives. Let’s start 2018 with thankful hearts, focused on living simply and being generous because the most important things in life aren’t things.  We have been blessed so that we can bless others.  

By Melissa Stultz, Simplicity Organizers


Create a Timeline for Your Decluttering Plan

Have a list of every room that needs to be decluttered. Looking at this list, create a realistic timeline for completing each project. Give yourself at least one day to complete each room. If you’re decluttering multiple days in a row, give yourself a day off once a week to complete other tasks, relax and avoid getting burnt out. Allow yourself at least 30 minutes to complete the subsections of each room on that list.

“Stacks and piles didn’t appear overnight. It took time to accumulate. Getting organized takes time too! Estimate how long you think an area will take and then time yourself. Remember success breeds success. Start small and experience the joy of being organized!” – Laurie Martin

For the full article with more decluttering tips click here.


Simplicity Interviews Former Simplicity Organizer and Author, Robin McCoy

How did you decide to become a professional organizer with Simplicity Organizers?

I’ve always been organized.  Bed made, notebook in order, permission slip signed… so helping others get organized seemed a natural extension.  A propensity for organization is something inborn- like eye or hair color.  But unlike physical characteristics which are fixed, we can get better at keeping our ducks in a row.  And I wanted to help others get better.  Changing homes can change lives.

Tell us a bit about how your experience as a professional organizer with Simplicity prompted you to write down Robin’s Rules of Order – Principles and practices for your best nest.

Working for Simplicity was a fantastic opportunity to hone my organizing skills.  It also gave me a great platform for teaching clients some of the tricks that work for me.  I decided that Rules was a better name than tricks.  Ironically, Rules liberate.  They give you guardrails for keeping your material world under control.  And once you know some Rules, on occasion, you can break them!

Who would you recommend hiring a professional organizer to?

A professional organizer can help in myriad circumstances.  A move, especially to smaller quarters is an obvious time.  A blended family (how many toasters or tvs do you really need) might benefit from professional help.  And for those who are staying put but are ready to clear out the clutter of things they no longer (or worse- never) used or loved, Simplicity can keep the project on time and on track.

How are your Rules and Simplicity Organizers connected?

Robin’s Rules and Simplicity Organizers are connected at the hip.  Rules provide the “why” and Simplicity provides the “how”. When you first consider why you have come to have so many things you do not use or love, it makes it much easier to deal with how to get them under control. The boxes, bins, trash bags and labeler are tools to employ after you’ve gotten a grip on the psychological and emotional components of stuff. Why before how for the best results!

My relationship with Simplicity is warm and collaborative.  They have been unfailingly supportive of my new venture and I am certain of the transformation Simplicity provides- changing homes and changing lives.  

You seem to practice what you preach so naturally. Has it always been easy to do?

There have been times in my life where I tended more toward excess than I do now. But never would you find my living space a mess.  My childhood bedroom, my school desk or book bag, my college dorm, rented apartments, hotel rooms, houses… I am uncomfortable if my space isn’t in order.  And I’ve found it easier to keep that order if I don’t have too much stuff. But I am not a minimalist.  I’m an “enoughist”.  That’s my word for the place where things are balanced between too little and too much.  My grandmother used to tell me, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”  I love that mantra.  It is particularly satisfying when you are following it, not out of desperation or sheer necessity, but out of sheer desire to live more simply and thoughtfully.

We LOVE Robin’s Rules of Order. Tell us more about your latest book, Writings on Robin’s Rules – For your Nest, Refreshed.

I love that you love my books.  Writings on Robin’s Rules grew from a few random essays into a full fledged book.  Some early readers of Robin’s Rules of Order said their only complaint was that it was too short.  So I kept writing, under the guise of a blog. But those who know me know that a book suits me better than a blog and thus, the second book. It expands on the principles, philosophies and practices that were introduced in the first book.  In some essays the Rule is explicitly identified and sometimes more obliquely. But the Rules are the foundation for it all. And don’t be put off by the term essay. They are really just short, hopefully thought-provoking musings.

What one principle best defines and links Robin’s Rules and Simplicity?

Antoine de St. Exupéry’s belief:  “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add but when there is nothing more to take away.” For both the why and the how of dealing with our things, it is the reductive process, not an additive one that makes things work.  When we identify the things we neither use nor love, and let them go, what’s left is perfection. And like beauty, perfection is in the eye of the beholder.  It’s your decision and your delight!


More can be More

Maybe not what you’d expect coming from professional organizers who preach the gospel of less.  But sometimes, more is exactly right.  Like this adorable gingerbread house decorated by a little friend of Simplicity.  Colorful, plentiful and slightly askew adornments are what make this house perfect.

So what’s the lesson?  On occasion, more works, but usually, less is more.  And always, enough is enough.

As the holidays bear down, lighten up.  Embrace the stirring creatures, even the mouse!

Happy Holidays from Simplicity!