simplify 101
Creative Organizing Blog

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May 30, 2006

challenge: create real change in 12 weeks

This week’s challenge isn’t a creative one per se, although it could be. This week, I’d like you to “go-public” with a goal. You could post a goal on your blog. Post it as a comment on mine. Or tell a really supportive friend about your plans – a friend that will hold your feet to the fire and keep you motivated in the 11th hour IF you feel like caving.


Your goal can be an organizing goal. For example, your goal could be to organize your garage and basement by August 22nd (or earlier if you’d like.) Or you could organize “the room” — that place where things pile up until “later” only later still hasn’t reared its pretty little head. Or your goal could be a creative one … to complete a scrapbook that you’re oh-so close to completing but just haven’t quite finished. Or to scrapbook for 6 hours a week. Your goal could be to complete one of the prior “weekly challenges” from this blog by August 22nd (or earlier.) Your goal could be to cook healthy, home-cooked meals five times a week, or to exercise three times a week. It’s up to you. All you have to do is decide on a goal, make sure it’s measurable (three times a week, four hours a day, eight pages a month, etc.) and dated (by August 22nd, every week now until August 22nd, etc.)


I hope you’ll take this challenge because, you see, this really works. And I’ll tell you how I know.


In January I read this on Stacy Julian's blog.


So I decided to take Stacy’s challenge since I’ve always wanted to run a race. But wanting something and committing to do it in front of others (many others in this case) are two different things. After posting on Stacy's blog, I then told my husband, my kids, my sister, and my friends about my plans. The more people I told, the more committed I became. When I didn’t feel like running to train … I did ... because I had gone public. When I didn’t feel like finding a race to run … I did ... because I had gone public. And when I got tired midstream in the race, I didn’t stop, because I had gone public that I would run in a 5K race. To me that meant running it start to finish without stopping.


And so I did it. Last Saturday morning I ran in my first ever 5K race. It is possibly one of two times I’ve run that distance without stopping … which is all too exciting. And I have to tell you, accomplishing a goal that is hard for you is a truly rewarding thing to do. As I was doing it I thought “wow, I’m achieving a goal at this very minute. How cool is this?” As I started to get tired, I just kept running … knowing I was so close I couldn’t stop now and knowing that at the end, my kids were there cheering me on, my hubby was there cheering me on, my friend Laura was there cheering me on, and Stacy, in spirit, was there cheering me on.


So now I’d love to be your cheerleader. I want to see you accomplish your big goal. Start by going public with your goal. Go public in whatever way you’re comfortable. If you’d like to post here … that’d be great. I’m here to help and cheer you on at the finish line. If you’re more comfortable telling a close friend, tell your close friend. Just pick a way that feels right to you and know this: if I can run a 5K race, you can accomplish your big goal, too. Good luck!!


One more thing … I turned the track-back feature on. Let’s see if we can figure this out together, OK? See comments in the post below for a link to a great explanation on track-backs.


Two more things … I’ll be posting one of my goals in the comments section soon. So check back if you’re curious about what I’ll be up to next.

May 23, 2006

go taylor go!

it's just hours away ... the moment we've all been waiting for ... the idol grand finale! According to the very un-scientific poll on this blog ... taylor is the hand's down favorite (since chris is gone.) It always makes me nervous when it looks like a sure thing ... so i'll definitely be voting tonight!

go taylor go .... go taylor go .... go taylor go ....

May 20, 2006

weekly challenge: tile top table

oh no ... not another weekly challenge that has nothing to do with organizing ...

You're right. :) Once again, on the surface, this week's challenge seems to have nothing to do with organizing ... and yet ... upon closer inspection ... this little gem can be a nice addition to your workspace ... making you more productive and more organized.

So ... here she is ...


OK ... so it's a picture of my tile top table sitting in my back yard. Not where I use it ... but the lighting was better. A table of this sort is handy in a workspace or creative space for many things ... it gives you an extra surface for things like files or project tools or beverages you don't want spilling on your important work or scrapbook pages, to name a few examples. My perfect workspace is L-shaped. My current (imperfect) workspace is ... well, I guess it's a lower case "l" ... it's missing the handy surfaces on either side of me. To compensate for these missing work-surfaces ... I use a portable little table. (BTW ... the table I use in my office is wooden (and not really all that fun.) The tile table above is used as an end table in my family room ... maybe I need to make a new tile top table that's more fun for my office ... hmmm ...)

Making a tile top table is a whole lot of fun in and of itself ... and a lot of work ... which is good because I'm going out of town for a few days so this will keep you busy while I'm gone. ;) 

All I did for this table was 1) buy an existing table from Old Time Pottery and remove the top that came with it. I have two of these tables ... on one of them, I was able to remove the original tile and use the existing board to adhere my tiles to. On the other table, the whole table top had to be removed, so my dear hubby cut a board to fit ... and I tiled over that.

2) Find tile ... my best friend and I did this project together almost three years ago ... I'm not sure where we found the tile but it was via the Internet. Do your research. You can find really good deals on tile on-line versus some of the chain craft stores. (And great selection too ... it becomes quite addictive to look at tile ... I'll warn you.)

3) Adhere the tile to the table, let dry and grout! A word of advice on the grout ... wipe it off the tiles before it dries ... I kind-of didn't do such a good job on this and now my tiles are a bit white in the grooves ... oh well.

I hope you have fun with this one ... even if you don't want it in your office or studio ... these little tables make great end tables, too.

May 19, 2006

May 19th ...

To many the date May 19th sounds like just any other date. For me, a different story. May 19th has a sort of ring to it ... the ring of a date that means something. When I hear the date said ... on the radio ... in conversation ... my ears perk up. The date means something.

When I was little the date meant something fun. Something exciting. Now ... well, when May 19th approaches so does a sense of dread. A sense of bewilderment. I think, "How on earth can I possibly be that old?" I hope maybe somehow the calendar isn't telling the truth. It can't really be May 19, 2006. I can't really be that old. Can I?

My father-in-law and mother-in-law called me at the crack of dawn to wish me a happy birthday. My father-in-law asked me "how does it feel to be 30?"

I answered honestly ... "I can't remember."

None-the-less, it was a great way to start the day. A birthday wish from my father-in-law. He told me he thinks a lot of me. That made my day. (Not even three new pair of birthday shoes can beat that -- ooops, I mean four, but still, it doesn't beat that.)

I hope your May 19th was happy ...

May 17, 2006

idol chat

One of the few (very few) things I miss about my past life working in corporate America is coworkers ... having someone to chit chat with about life's pressing topics ... things like who's going to win American Idol and why on earth did Chris get voted off? I'm still perplexed and sad ... although, I still think Taylor would have won in the end. How about you? Any predictions? Favorites?

(Wanna humor me and pretend to be my coworker today and join in for some idol chat?) OK ... better stop blogging and go do some work ... see how distracting coworkers are? ;)

blogging 101

Alright ... so I have to admit it ... i just kind of jumped into this blogging thing without really understanding all of it completely. So last night I figured out that if I clicked a little button, I could be notified when people post... this is a good thing since I check email religiously and don't necessarily do a good job back tracking to old posts to see if I have new comments. So if you've commented in the past ... and were hoping to hear from me and didn't ... I should be better about all of this now that I've clued into the blogging technology a bit more ;)

So here's a question for all you blogging guru's ... what's this about trackbacks? How do they work and should I be doing this? Would it some how make life easier for any of us involved in this blogging thing? I attempted to read the explanatin on Type Pad last night ... maybe it was late ... maybe it had a few too many technical words ... maybe I just thought it'd be more fun to hear what you think ...

Thanks for sharing! Have a great day.

Quick Tip from the Happy Scrapper

But first, here's a quick quiz:

When working on an organizing project, the first step is to:

a) head to the store and buy containers
b) make a plan!
c) clarify your goals for the project.

Answer: c
For many, the first step is to run head out to the store and buy the latest and greatest storage bins, baskets, totes, buckets, or what ever your container of choice may be ... but if you don't know what you need to store, you can get home and feel as if you're trying to cram a square peg into a round hole. It's far better to start with your goals ... and buy storage containers a bit later in the process.

Here's a related tip from page 100 of the happy scrapper ...

Know what you need. Before shopping for storage solutions, know which items you need to store. Know how much of an item you have, how you use it, where you use it and how much space it takes up. Then look for the perfect storage solution or container.

May 12, 2006

weekly challenge: make a bracelet

I know what you're thinking ... "What does making a bracelet have to do with getting organized?" I can hear you now ... trying to pitch this one to your significant other ... "Uh, honey ... this organizer on the internet said if I make a bracelet I'll be more organized."

OK ... it's not really like that. The idea behind this bracelet is to create a token or symbol that represents your goals, dreams and vision for your life. Yes, it's true .... this:


reminds me about the future I am creating for myself, my husband and my family. How so? Well let me back up two years and show you the bracelet that started it all.


This bracelet, makes the concept a little bit more obvious. I made this bracelet one weekend when my Mom was in town. I had preselected the charms  — inspiring words that would give me confidence and keep me centered as I embarked on one of the most exciting scariest times of my life:  starting simplify 101. Truly it was exciting ... but most of the first year involved a whole lot of me stretching outside of my comfort zone. When I needed that extra little bolt of confidence, I put on my bracelet.

I got the idea from a charm bracelet I've had since I was a little girl. I have charms from literally every era of my life on that bracelet ... when I was born (my Sunday child charm) through childhood vacations, hobbies like ice skating and softball, to college, vacations with my best friend, my wedding, honeymoon, kids ... and of course scrapbooking! I call this bracelet my "perspective" bracelet. Whenever I have a day that is guaranteed to be uncomfortable because I'm stretching  w a y  outside my comfort zone, I wear my "perspective" bracelet. It makes me realize the stressful day or event is just a blip on the radar screen known as my life. No matter how uncomfortable or scary the moment is ... I will live through it and usually ... I even end up having some fun!

So ... the blue bracelet took that theme and made it forward thinking. Instead of looking back to gain perspective, the blue bracelet represents the values and beliefs I create in my life. The colorful bracelet ... well, let's just say it's time to get even braver!

For me, orange is my "brave" color. I have no orange in my wardrobe or home. Orange became an "off-limits" color when I was a teenager and I had my "colors done." (Please tell me at least some of you know what I'm talking about ... is this something people still do?) Anyway, orange is a no-no color for me. (And truly, I do look ghastly in orange.) But not if it's on my wrist! So my colorful bracelet is my symbol to be brave ...

So for this week's challenge ... go have some fun and make a bracelet. What dreams would you dream if you could muster up just a bit more confidence?What goals would you go after if you could just get over the fear and dive in anyway? Make a bracelet and carry around a little extra dose of confidence on your wrist. You can do it! All it takes is believing in yourself and stretching just a bit outside your comfort zone. Before you know it ... you'll have a new comfort zone ... and the courage to stretch a bit more ... and then a bit more ... and then a bit more ...

If you do make a bracelet ... please share pictures! I love seeing all your projects because you're all so darn creative! And if you don't make a bracelet -- for whatever reason -- at least write down a few goals that you really want in your life but are just a bit too scared to commit to. You can do it!!

OH ... and if you don't have the time or inclination to make a bracelet ... think color ... what color could you add to your wardrobe, home or life to remind yourself to be brave, go for your goals, stretch just a bit more ...?

May 07, 2006

this month's column

Here's this month's column ... hope you enjoy.  I guess I'm a wordy girl ... keeping any topic to just 150 words is killer for me! :)

Q:  What’s the best way to organize my photos?

A:  The traditional way to organize photos is chronologically. It’s a simple system to implement since this is how pictures come back from the developer. If you’re faced with decades of photo backlog, however, getting photos back into date order could be a daunting task. In this case, a simpler approach is to group your photos by theme or meaningful relationships. For example, you could create a scrapbook about your family vacations over the years. You may have forgotten details like exact dates and destinations but with this approach you can focus on what you do recall and highlight common themes. You may notice that no family vacation is ever complete without a round of putt-putt golf or s’mores over the campfire. Have fun going through your treasure trove of memories!

For more ideas on organizing photos and scrapbooks visit

May 03, 2006

A Tip from The Happy Scrapper

I thought it'd be fun to start blogging a few tips from my e-book the the happy scrapper: simple solutions to get organized and get scrapping! This one is from page 71 under the section "shopping tips for scrappers." It's just a little tidbit to help you stretch your scrapbooking dollar.

"Always shop with a list. Knowing what you need will save you time and money. It also helps ensure you don’t get home without the one thing you really need to complete a page. (Or come home with a duplicate of something you already have!)"

I'm a huge fan of lists! Lists and labels ... but you know all about the labels already. :)

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