simplify 101
Creative Organizing Blog

January 25, 2013

New Finish It Friday + 13 in 13 Post Over at the New Blog

Just in case you missed my post earlier this week about our big move...I thought I'd let you know that I just published a new Finish It Friday and 13 Goals in 2013 post over on the new blog. Click here to go there now... (See you soon....)

January 23, 2013

The Creative Organizing Blog has a new home!

I'm happy to announce that our new website is live at! (Hooray!!) This means the creative organizing blog has a new home! I won't be publishing any new posts here anymore, but there will be lots of fresh new content on the new site. (Plus, you'll find ALL of the old posts from this blog.) So come on over and check out our new site.

The Creative Organizing Blog's new home is 

See you over there! 


January 18, 2013

Freebie Friday: Organize Your Paper in Style from Office Depot + See Jane Work + simplify 101

Happy Friday friends! Today is my favorite kind of Friday because in addition to being the last day of a really nice work week, it also happens to be Freebie Friday, a day when I get to share fun, free stuff with one of my lucky readers!


Late last year I was contacted by Office Depot with the opportunity to provide simplify 101 readers with an amazing giveaway opportunity. They offered an organization pack comprised of some fashionable and functional organization products from the new See Jane Work collection exclusively for Office Depot. (The products are available at Office Depot retail stores and online as of earlier this month.)


As you can see the products are simply lovely.


I received some samples myself...and they’re even yummier in person. I can't wait to start using them!

As you know I’ve got a thing for pretty organizing products, especially of the office supply variety, and this new collection from See Jane Work for Office Depot does not disappoint, in fact it thrills. (My daughter and I were nearly arm wrestling over some of the items when the box arrived.)

So you’ll definitely want to put your name in the hat for this one!


In addition, the same lucky winner gets to join me in my current session of the Organize Your Paper Clutter online workshop. This expert-guided, online workshop session is just getting underway—the first lesson was released yesterday. If you’re not familiar with how our online workshops work, essentially the lessons are made available in a private area of our website. The lessons are provided as online web pages, printable pdf downloads, and as audio files that you can listen to. This means, you can do the workshop on your time schedule. Best of all, this workshop will show you how to gain control over your paper clutter, so you can enjoy using your new organizational products from the See Jane Work collection for Office Depot. Pretty fabulous right? 


Recap:  One randomly selected person will win an organization giveaway pack comprised of some fashionable and functional organization products from the new See Jane Work collection exclusively for Office Depot. In addition, this same lucky person will win a spot in my Organize Your Paper Clutter online workshop. 


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Good luck!


January 16, 2013

13 Goals in 2013: January mid-month check in

Hello my 13 in 13 friends! Can you believe the month is already halfway over? I thought it would be fun to do a little mid-month check in on our January goals. I’d love to hear how you’re doing, plus give you a little update on my goals so far. 

Goal #1: Run 500 miles in 2013. As you may know, I’m a big believer in the idea of bite-sizing big projects and goals into small bites. And that’s just what I've done with my 500 miles goal. I've created a weekly mileage target of 10 miles per week. At 10 miles per week, I will either run 520 miles, or have a some wiggle room in there in case I need to take a week or two off. Based on my October and November running goals, I imagine I will add distance throughout the year…but for now 10 miles a week is a terrific, somewhat challenging target.

So how am I doing so far? Well, for the first two weeks of 2013, I met my weekly mileage goal. So I’m off to a good start there. I’m tracking my progress on daily mile…which is really motivating. Can’t wait to print out my mileage report at the end of the year and see the big 500 on it. :)

Goal #2: Read The Happiness Project. I’m also on pace with this goal. I know this because I’m reading it on my iPad using the Kindle App. As you may know, the Kindle App has a handy little tool that tells you, in percentage, how far along you are in a book. This is very handy when you have a goal to finish a book within a certain amount of time. I have to admit that reading a book for fun and having a deadline seems like an oxymoron. Luckily, though, my deadline hasn’t taken the fun out of reading this book. In fact, it has been really nice since it has motivated me to carve out time in the evening to make reading a priority. In a nutshell:  Goal number 2 is in good shape, too. 

I have lots of ideas swirling around for my remaining 11 goals…but no final commitments just yet. I'm enjoying the process of thinking about the possibilities.

So that’s the update so far. The excitement of January and the fresh start it offers hasn’t started to fade a bit here. How about you? How are you doing with your 13 in 13? 

Thanks for checking in!


P.S. Just a quick public service announcement before I sign off. My Organize Your Paper Clutter online workshop begins tomorrow, January 17. As of right now, we are planning to run this workshop just one more time in 2013. So...if one of your goals is to tame your paper clutter in 2013, why not give the workshop a look to see if it's a good fit for you and your goals. 

January 14, 2013

Goal Setting Tip: Decide When

From time to time throughout 2013, I’ll be sharing goal setting tips to help all of us on our 13 in 2013 journey. Today I’ll share my first goal setting tip for the year.


It has been said that a goal is a dream with a deadline. Have you heard that one before? Well, I used to really love that statement...until I began to see that deadlines, for some people, can be really counterproductive. Instead of being a motivator to take action, deadlines can become paralyzing when you fear missing your deadline, or worse yet, when you see missing a deadline as failure. (Yikes! That’s a quick way to take the fun out of goal setting, isn’t it?)

I do think it is important that goals have a time component—such as setting 13 goals in 2013. But in some instances, there are other, more productive ways to add a time element to your goal than to use an arbitrary deadline. Here's way:  if you’re doing something you’ve never done before how could you possibly know how long it is going to take?

If setting a deadline for your goal feels arbitrary or you have a hard time bouncing back when you miss a deadline, try this approach. Instead of deciding when you will finish your goal (the deadline), decide when you will start your goal and how often you will make progress on it. For example, instead of setting a goal to finish organizing your home by the end of the end of March, set a goal to start organizing your home today and make progress for at least 15 minutes a day between now and the end of March. Big difference, right? And here's the best part. When you decide to start and decide when you will make progress on your goal, the finishing will fall into place.


Take action! Pull out your calendar and decide when you will take action on your first goal for 2013. Mark it down as a series of recurring appointments with yourself, and then, go take some action, just for fun. Let me know in the comments when you’ve decided to work on your goal. Thanks for sharing!

January 09, 2013

13 in 13 Challenge: Set and Achieve 13 Goals in 2013

On January 5th I posted my first official goal for 2013 on my Facebook page, along with my goal to set and achieve 13 goals in 2013. I’ve decided to share my 13 in 13 goal journey via my blog…and you’re invited to join me! Here’s how it’s going to work…  


First, this is opportunity to share what you want out of 2013 so my readers and I can give you encouragement and celebrate with you when you cross each finish line. I plan to blog about this at least once a month and share personal insights, trials and tribulations. This isn’t a class, but it is an opportunity to give your dreams wings. And I think it's going to be a lot of fun, too. 

Second, a goal can be anything you want it to be. I look at goals as vehicles to get you where you want to be faster and with greater certainty. As I’ve shared before, my October and November running goals got me through what might otherwise have been really difficult months. I’ve often said that goals give your life purpose and meaning during turbulent times, and that definitely proved to be true right after my dad passed away.

In my opinion, the very best goals are about something that you really, really want—not something that you think you should want. So if the thought of setting a single goal (let alone 13!) has you a bit nervous…I hope you’ll reconsider. Goals really can be fun. To support this thought, remember that my theme word for 2013 is happy. Here’s something you can bet on:  All of the goals that I set in 2013 will be in support of making 2013 a happy year.  

Third, I’m not going to figure out all of my goals in January. Instead, my plan for 13 in 13 is to introduce one new goal every month. The 13th goal (or perhaps the first goal) is a year-long goal:  to run 500 miles in 2013. Please know that all of my other goals will not be so big. In fact, my January goal is to read “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I thought this would be a terrific way to start off my year of happiness. I invite you to figure out your 13 in 2013 as the year unfolds, too. You can start with one…and then figure this out as you go along.

Fourth, I’m going to capture my 13 in 13 journey in a new (yellow!) SMASH book. Each year I choose a color for the year, one that goes along with my word. For example, the year my word was “grow” my color was green. Yellow felt like the perfect choice for 2013—the happy year.

I’m going to figure out exactly how I will use my SMASH book as I go along. But I know for sure that each goal will have a spot in the book where I will record the date the goal is set, progress reports, and victory photos.  So far, I’ve used the first couple of pages to record 101 dreams…for this year and future years. (Coming up with a really long list of dreams is a terrific way to pick your first goal, by the way.)

So that’s the plan! 13 in 13. I’m really excited to see where this takes me, and I’d love to see where it takes you, too. Want to join me? If so…just say “Yes, I’m in!” in the comments below. And then, come back and share your first goal or goals, as soon as you know where you want to start.

Feel free to join in anytime you feel inspired to do so. January 1 isn’t the only day of the year to set goals or resolutions—any day is a great day to begin creating the life you dream of.

Here's to 13 in 13!


January 04, 2013

Workshop Access Update

Good news! We believe the problem that was interrupting access to our online workshop system last night and this morning has been resolved. If you tried to access your workshop in the last 24 hours and received an error message, we are very sorry for the inconvenience.

We have decided to extend my participation in our two currently running online workshops (Goals and Quick + Simple Clutter Control) by one week to make up for the lost time. You’ll have a bit of breathing room at the tail end of your workshop in hopes that it makes up for this rocky start.

By the way, the issue we experienced last night was not due to our website upgrade. Instead, our email system went down and took down other parts of our site with it – like the workshop system. We will be delaying our website upgrade until we are sure that the site is stable in an effort to minimize website outages for our paying customers. The soonest we will try the upgrade again will be early next week. We’ll keep you posted.  

Jay and I appreciate your patience and understanding during this time of transition more than you know. We feel honored to be a part of such a supportive and kind community.

Thank you,


January 03, 2013

Website Update

Hello friends. Just wanted to give you an update on the website. We're currently experiencing a database error. So if you are experiencing any problems using our site - this is why. We are doing everything we can to restore functionality ASAP. If you are enrolled in a workshop, we will add time on at the end to make up for the downtime today. 

Please bear with us...we are working really hard to get this resolved. We apologize for the inconvenience. 



January Online Organizing Workshops

Hello friends! Did you resolve to simplify, declutter, get organized or change your life for the better in some other way in 2013? If so, we’ve got online organizing workshops starting this month that will help you turn those resolutions into reality. Here’s what’s on tap…

How to Achieve Your Goals and Create a Life You Love – starts today, January 3, 2013

Acheive-your-goals-workshopOh how I love this workshop! I truly believe that goals give your life purpose and focus, especially during turbulent times. My running goals literally kept me going in the months just after my dad passed away. So whether you love setting goals or you’ve never tried it before for one reason or another, this workshop will walk you step-by-step through the goal setting process.

We’ll start by dreaming about ways to make your life even better than it is today using fun tools and techniques. Then, we’ll bite size the rest of the goal setting process…from planning to taking action and everything in between. This workshop include four inspiring and action-oriented lessons, plus worksheets to help you put the ideas into action. You’ll also get five weeks of support and Q & A access to me, plus a full year of access to the simplify 101 online community. Last year’s community remained active for the full year – helping the participants make their dreams happen. This workshop is a terrific way to kick off the new year and give your resolutions a turbo-boost! Learn more and grab your spot here >>>

Quick & Simple Clutter Control – starts today, January 3, 2013

Clutter-Control-Online-WorkshopThis was my very first online workshop, and with the daily decluttering prompts in the forum, it is still a community favorite. We’ve decided to retire this workshop, so we can make space on our calendar for some other new and exciting workshops…so the session that begins today is the final Quick & Simple Clutter Control ever!

If it feels like the holidays exploded clutter on your home, or you find yourself fighting the same "clutter pockets" throughout your home over and over again, this workshop gives you simple, straightforward (and fun!) methods for curbing surface clutter. This sessions also includes 19 daily prompts to help you restore peace and order in your home after the holidays. Want in on the fun? Claim your spot now!

Organize Your Paper Clutter – starts Thursday, January 17

Paper-organization-online-courseIf you’re tired of fighting paper clutter in your home, you’re not alone. Organize Your Paper Clutter is hands-down our most popular online workshop. Whether you’re starting from scratch on your paper organizing systems, or you have a fairly good system in place that just needs some tweaks, this online workshop shows you how to create effective and attractive organizing systems for every kind of paper in your home. You’ll put together customized paper organizing systems that will work for you, your home, and how you naturally do things. Plus, you’ll love how they look. This means you will love your paper organizing systems, which means you’ll use them, which means you’ll be saying goodbye paper clutter once and for all! Now that would be a terrific way to start the New Year, right? Go here to learn more and join me for this fun and effective online workshop >>

Please let me know if you have any questions about our online workshops, how they work, which one might be a good choice for you, or anything else. I’m happy to answer your questions.

Here’s to a happy and organized 2013!


January 02, 2013

Looking back. Looking forward.

I’ve been so wrapped up in this website change that I haven’t even wished you a Happy New Year yet. So here it is officially—happy New Year! I hope your year is off to a great start.

I wish the week between Christmas and New Year was more like a month. I love that time of closing up old business, and making plans for the New Year ahead. As 2012 came to a close, for the most part, I was really happy to see it go. For me, 2012 will forever be the year I lost my Dad.

2012 got off to a great start. I felt really energized and had so much momentum going. And then, right around my birthday, the breaks slammed on. It was then that I realized things were taking a turn for the worse with my Dad…that this time the chemo wasn’t getting the job done. For the rest of 2012, my focus became my Dad.

I wouldn’t change any of it – the trips to Michigan, the time I spent with him in his final days, none of it. But it feels like the year got cut short, or at least, that it turned in a completely different direction than I had envisioned in January 2012. 

I wish that somehow missing my Dad was something I could have left in 2012…but it followed me into 2013. And I’m afraid it will be with me for a long time to come. But I’m ready to look—and move—forward. I'm ready for 2013. I'm ready to create momentum again. 

During the space between Christmas and New Year, I thought a lot about my word for 2013. I wanted a word that encourages me to keep moving forward and to do so in a way that honors my Dad and his memory. I considered the word "count" as in "make it count" which is what my Dad did with the later part of his life. He made the days count. He even found ways to make the seconds count. He found ways to live life and laugh...even in the face of death. 

I also liked the idea of counting...counting goals, counting progress, counting blessings. 

But then it started to feel too technical and it felt like there was a better word, a word that would better encapsulates what I want in 2013. Another word kept coming up for me—the word is happy. 

As I look back and think about my dad, what I remember most was what a happy guy he was. Always laughing, always finding ways to have fun and be happy. And he made me happy just by being around him or talking to him on the phone. Even though I miss him and feel sad that he is gone, what I know for sure is that he would want me to be happy. And so, for 2013, my theme, my goal, my focus is on creating and spreading happiness.

And so my word for 2013 is happy. I'm looking forward to creating and sharing happiness in 2013.

What's your word, goal or theme for 2013? Thanks for sharing! Here's to making 2013 a wonderful year. 

Happy New Year! 



And the waiting continues...

So the new site won't be going live today. (Big sigh.) We are hoping all the technical details will get resolved and tomorrow will be the big day. If you're enrolled in a workshop, you should be able to log in and post as usual. And I'll keep you posted via this blog as developments continue! :) Thanks for your paitence! And if you have extra to spare, send some my way. I'm going nuts! ;)

Update: Website Upgrade In Progress

Hello friends,

The big day we've been waiting for is here. We are in the process of changing over our website. Exciting, right? Well, in more ways than one. So far, we are early in the process and are encountering some unexpected technical difficulties. I won't bore you with the technical details (in fact, I couldn't bore you with the technical details because I don't understand them myself) but the bottom line is this:  

If you are having trouble logging into your workshop or with anything else on our site, the trouble is on our end. There is a team of people working on getting it fixed as quickly as possible. 

Our fingers are crossed that the rest of the process will go (much more) smoothly and you'll be seeing a fresh, fun and fully functional simplify 101 later today! 

I'll keep you posted here on the blog. Thanks so much for your patience. 


December 27, 2012

Something look different?

Okay friends...remember that *big* project I've been talking about? Well, we are *very* close to upgrading the look and some of the functionality of our entire website at  One of the steps in that process is breaking the Typepad blog off from the rest of the site, thus the new look.

Keep your fingers crossed that all of the technical details line up and you'll be seeing a fresh, new simplify 101 very soon! Hooray.


December 21, 2012

Happy Friday + Happy Holidays

Hello friends. Just a quick post today to wish you a Happy Friday and a very Merry Christmas. We've been busy this morning (and uh, afternoon!) recording some videos — something that always takes much longer than I think it is going to in my mind. So...I'm sorry for the late post.

Checklist-copyright-simplify101My Finish it Friday list is short and sweet this week:  

  • Finalize Christmas preparations.
  • Enjoy time with my family.
  • And, when I'm not doing either of those two things...continue working on the (BIG) simplify 101 project I keep mentioning. When this project is wrapped up...I'll be back to more regular blogging. I'm really looking forward to that and I can't wait to share what we've been working on!

I'm not going to do a Monday check in this week, because it's Christmas Eve, and I'll be continuing with the above list. :) But if you want to share your to-do list and check in, please share both in the comments of this post. Sound like a plan? Great!

One last little announcement: If you're thinking ahead to next year...maybe planning to set some new goals, organize your paperwork, or declutter your home, you'll want to get in on this. Now through December 24, 2012 you can save 15% on all online workshops and instant downloads. Use coupon code DEC12 during checkout. (This coupon is good through December 24, 2012 and may not be combined with other offers.) Here's to make 2013 a fantastic year!

Before I sign off for today, I'd like to say thank you for reading my blog. This year has been filled with ups and downs for me personally, as you know. After my Dad passed away, I felt so fortunate to have people to share my thoughts with, people like you who read my blog. I don't say it often enough, but thank you for being a part of the simplify 101 community. 

Happy holidays! See you back here sometime after the 25th. :)


December 17, 2012

Monday check-in.

Hello friends. This weekend took on a mood much different than what I had anticipated when I posted my to-do list on Friday morning. At that time, I hadn't yet heard about the horror that was taking place in Connecticut.

My heart was heavy all weekend, as it still is today. I spent a lot of time glued to the T.V., feeling compassion, sympathy, and heartbreak for the people directly impacted. There is no way to make sense of it, nor are there words that can adequately express the feelings we are all feeling at this time. And so, I will leave it at that, and move on to the check-in portion of this post.


  • Boot camp. I skipped boot camp this week, and opted to run instead. I ran 3.2 miles on Saturday…it was just what I needed.
  • Neighborhood Christmas party. Check!


  • Pack and ship Christmas gifts. Check!
  • Plan meals and shop. Check!
  • Laundry. Check! 
  • Work on simplify 101 project. Check!
  • Tie up loose ends for Christmas. My original intent was to do a final check of the to-do and a general sanity check to be sure I'll be ready in time. Essentially, I didn’t tie up the loose ends, but figured out what loose ends need to be tied up before the 25th. So—check!

How did your weekend turn out? Thanks for joining me for Finish It Friday.


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