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June 27, 2007

label it!

Remember my first labeling love, the storganizer? Well, sad but true, the manufacturer stopped making this little organizing dynamo. But all is not lost. A replacement product is here! (I's so exciting!) Be sure to check out the tips for use to see all sorts of fun ways to use these oh-so-fun-self-adhesive-storage-bin-labels. ;)

Here's a sneak peek:



Happy labeling!

June 22, 2007

summer. fun. update.

Oh my goodness! Busy, busy week. Hope you had a great week! Thank you all so much for your help in my prior post. Here's the update on the summer fun.

The circus. Check. Fabulous again this year.

Catching fire flies. Check. Check. And check.

Cardinal's game. Check. They lost but it was still great fun.

Race for the cure. Check. So much more I'd love to say about this. In a word: (completely) inspiring.

Vacation plans. In process. Hope to post my travel planner very soon. (It's a scrapbook / travel planner combo... at least it is in my mind. We'll see how it turns out.) I'll share pics soon.

Thanks for all the recommendations on Seattle hot spots ... super excited about that leg of the trip in particular. Look where I'm staying. My friend lives there. (Don't tell her ... but I might just decide to move in.)

Flip flops and cotton skirts. Check.

Organizing my closet. It's confirmed. I purged too deep. Jay has even commented on how empty my side of the closet is. Which could be a good thing when it comes time to fill it back up.

Speaking of filling it back up, have you heard the definition of insanity? Here it is, courtesy of Benjamin Franklin:

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Why I thought the tank tops from Old Navy would look any better on me this week than they did last week is still a mystery...and proof that I'm insane.

But there is hope, thanks to all of you. This book and this one are on the maybe the insanity and emptiness (closet emptiness in case I'm not the only one getting lost in this post) will come to an end soon. (Although the books seem to be on the slow boat to Edwardsville ... so perhaps I should make a trip to the library this weekend for the other book you recommended.)

Ice-cream cones. Check. Uh ... maybe that helps to explain the insanity. Ha ;)

OK ... off to organize my trip...which is only two weeks away...which clearly means my books better get here soon!!!!!! (Or I'm packing a big bottle of Tide so while I'm away I can repeatedly wash the very few garments that survived the great closet purge!)

June 15, 2007

summer. fun.

I'm so happy it's summer! How about you? I thought it'd be fun to share a (very) random list of what I'm enjoying and looking forward to this summer. And then ... see what you're up to this summer. Leave me a comment with your plans for summer fun.

Here's mine:

The circus. An annual tradition. The kids love this circus. This one is a small, old-style circus under the big top. And what 's up with people riding a bicycle on a tightrope? That's not right. And even more alarming: two trapeze riding cyclists with a lady lady sitting on a chair on a tight rope pole thingy that is between their two shoulders. (For obvious reasons ... no cameras allowed in the big top tent.) But hellooo. That's simply nuts. As Kailea said (in her most contemplative six year old voice) it was the most impressive act of all. It's a great show. Super fun. So ... if you happen to be in St. Louis or Nantucket this summer ... you should check it out.

Eating dinner on the deck...practically every single night. Love that!

Grilling...shrimp, chicken, burgers, veggies. Yum. (Except the gritty grilled Zucchini. Not sure what happened there.)

Crafting on the deck by candlelight ... super fun but a bit hard to see. ;)

Catching fire flies.

Going to the pool. (And I'm not even going to tell you about the 30% off pool stuff I got at Target earlier this week. Nope. Not even going to mention it.)

Going to the Cardinal's game this Monday! Go Cards!

Going to my little baseball player's games on Friday nights and Saturdays.

Running in this race on Saturday. Great cause. Love being in places where everyone is working together towards a common goal. LOVE it. First time to run in the race. I can't wait!

Scrapbooking. Finishing up a mini-album for Jay for our ten year anniversary inpsired by this great special issue.


Going on vacation ... a real vacation with my Mom to Washington. Super excited about this. Just me and my Mom and we're meeting up with my sister and her hubby for a part of the trip. So ... if you know of any Seattle shopping hot spots, let me know. I'm looking for some places with fun, vintage stuff. Home decor types of things. Vintage containers. Any ideas?

Flip flops and cotton skirts.

Organizing my closet. I think I purged a bit too deep last Friday night. Very rewarding to send nine bags of clothes to Good Will. But now, what to wear? Getting rid of stuff is never the problem. It's figuring out what to put in it! Hoping this blog will help me. Anyone know any good books or magazines on building a real-world wardrobe? (Like, stuff that normal people with normal lives and normal bodies wear?) Of the hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds) of magazines in my home...I don't think there's a single one on fashion. So...any advice? I'm placing an Amazon order today ... will await your fashion book advice!

Ice-cream cones. No need to say more.

Summer CHA...are you going?

And last but not least ... this new book will be out by the end of the summer! I'm about to pop with excitement!


I hope you're having a great summer, too! Remember to share with me ... what's on your summer to-enjoy list? (And don't forget the fashion book advice!)

p.s. I was tagged yesterday by Maricar. This counts, right?

June 12, 2007

from my (overflowing) email in-box...

comes this question:

"Hey, how are you?  I think my biggest organization issue is kids' stuff.  I need help deciding what you should keep as hand me downs (i.e. toys, books, clothes, etc.) I am drowning in kids stuff from all different stages.  My children are fairly close together in age, so I have a hard time justifying getting rid of something, only to realize we will need it again, very soon.  But, at the same time...I AM DROWNING IN JUNK!!! Help me please!"

Here are some ideas. Be sure to add your ideas in the comments. We don't want any fellow blog readers drowning in junk, do we? ;)

Let’s start with clothing. For clothing, first, figure out how much and the types of clothing your child needs at any given time. This article from my website that will walk you through this thought process. (It’s the first idea under closet q&a.)

Once you have figured out how much each child will need at any given size or point in time, go through your hand-me-downs with the goal of keeping less than the target you came up with. (In other words, if you think ten t-shirts are adequate, keep around seven.) Why less? Perhaps I’m an advocate of the younger child (since I was the youngest and didn't enjoy getting hand-me-downs from my sister who is five years older than me (read: out of style hand-me-downs!)) But even taking that out of the equation, if you’re drowning in things now, it’s because things keep coming into your life. That’s not likely to stop. You’ll want to buy each child some new things at the start of a season or for the new school year, and your child may get new clothes as gifts from relatives. So you don’t need to keep everything in hopes of handing it down. Keep the best things, your favorite things and those in the best condition.

As far as toys and books go, keep what you have the space and time to deal with. Keep the things your younger children will truly need and not just maybe want. Just like with clothes, your child will get new toys and books for birthdays and other holidays. So don’t feel like you need to keep everything. Keep expensive or one-of-a-kind items and let go of toys that are poorly made or worn out.

One more idea:  involve your children in the process. While this can make it more challenging for you in the short term, you’re giving your child a precious gift:  the skill of letting go and living comfortably in the available space. Let your older children decide which toys and books they’re ready to pass along to your younger kids, and then, let your younger children select their very favorite items from the pile. Box up the items that don’t make the cut and donate them to a local charity, daycare or library. Take your kids with you to the donation center, and then treat everyone to an ice cream cone to celebrate a job well done!

For further reading on organizing with kids, check out this article on conquering kid clutter. Enjoy! 

June 11, 2007

a great dollar spot find!

Hi again. It's me. Off my soap box to bring you one of my all time favorite Dollar Spot finds: galvanized buckets. (For just one dollar!)


Do I love it? Check! (I've got a weird thing for buckets.)

Do I need it? Uh ...let me get back to you on that one...

Will I use it? I can't think of a use for it right now...and I can't decide if I NEED it...and so I walk away. (The first time anyway.) And that darn little bucket kept stalking me. I got home and instantly thought of at least three different things I could use my bucket for...and geez, what was I thinking not stocking up on these for my clients? They're only a dollar, well made, useful and oh-my-gosh Target's probably selling out of them right now because they always sell out of galvanized goodies quickly...and so back to Target I go. 13 buckets land happily in my cart...3 for me and 10 go in the stash for my clients.

So far these little lovelies have been used to corral:

  • sunscreen and bug spray on my laundry room shelf.
  • little bitty stuffed animals in a client’s play room (so cute!)
  • an assortment of small children's books (in same play room)
  • bath essentials like bubble bath, mesh sponges, and rolled wash cloths.


You could also use these little cuties to store stamps, paint brushes, punches, chipboard, and so on in your scrap space. And at a buck a bucket, it's a true bargain!

Happy shopping...just remember the three magic questions ;)

June 10, 2007

beware of the dollar spot...

I love Target.




And I'm going to go out on a limb here and bet that you love Target, too. Are you with me? And how about the Dollar Spot? Fun stuff abounds. And for just one dollar. A single smackaroo. Uno dinero. It's almost all a girl in her right mind can do to resist the temptation.

Shopping the dollar spot is a good thing, if:

1) You're buying things you need, love and will use.

2) You're buying things you need, love and will use.

3) You're buying things you need, love and will use.

At least that's what I tell myself (over and over and over) when the magnetic force pulls me unwittingly in the direction of the Dollar Spot.

Case in point:


I picked up these little gems on a recent trip. It went something like this...

Do I love it? Check.

Will I use it? Check

Do I need it? Uhhh...well...(and the justification begins)...I'm sure I don't have any other ribbon in this least not ENOUGH and if so I can always use more...and besides it's just a dollar and look at how cute it is and there are SIX different spools of ribbon.

Plop! Into the cart three packages go.

I get home, delighted with my thriftiness (and my ability to resist all the other delicious-and-only-a-dollar-goodies.) I tear open the packaging so I can touch my ribbon. I unwind the roll...and just as I begin unwinding...I'm done. Huh? My unrolling stops just as quickly as it begins, halted by the tape holding my precious ribbon to the cardboard spool...already? Yes. Already.

Now don't get me wrong, as I was going through my need it, love it, use it questioning in my mind...I did stop and check to see that I was only getting 12" of ribbon per color. (And, I'm not a man, so I have a pretty good idea on how long 12" is.) But boy-oh-boy, compared to the packaging involved, 5 strands of 12" ribbon just doesn't stack up to much.


Img_7050_copy I think the ribbon was over priced? Let’s see. 72" of ribbon for $1 is about 1.4 cents per inch of ribbon ... doesn't seem too bad to me, really. So it’s not the price. It’s the packaging. The ribbon was simply over packaged. And that frustrates me. Especially considering I used to be a Packaging Engineer. (Uh, yep, there really is such a thing but that's a whole other story.) But as a former Packaging Engineer I know there is no need for all this packaging. (And I realize it doesn't take a degree in packaging to figure that out.)

Doing what I do now, I see lots (and lots and lots and lots) of dollar store junk goodies heading straight for the landfill. (And don't get me wrong ... most of this is from the dollar store not the Dollar Spot.) Things like treats from goodie bags...well intentioned purchases that break after a single use...and in this case, even though the ribbon will makes its way onto a scrapbook page or another fun project, I'm sending perfectly good trees to the landfill in the form of packaging designed to sell product. It worked on me. I bought the ribbon, in part, because it looked so delightful thanks to the pretty packaging.

The message: proceed with caution when entering the dollar store and the Dollar Spot. Think to yourself:  do I need it? Do I love it? Will I use it? If the answer to any of these questions is "no"...walk away from the Dollar Spot. You'll save a buck (or two or three) plus you'll help the environment and possibly even save time later de-cluttering your home spot.

This isn’t to say that when the answer to all three questions is yes, that you can’t find some good deals in the Dollar Spot. most certainly can. And tomorrow I'll be hopping off my soap box to share a very useful (and unpackaged!) Dollar Spot find. I'm sure you can hardly wait ... so be sure to check back tomorrow ;)

June 07, 2007

do you love these things, too?

Do you love magazines as much as I do?


Do you love organizing (and labeling and super fun containers) as much as I do?


Then you're going to love this!


I know. I know. It's almost to much to take! A magazine all about organizing.

But wait ... it gets better.

Do you love to make things as much as I do?


Yes? add it all together...organizing, magazines, making things, plus a dose of me and what do you get? One (giddy) organizer who's going to be writing a column for this fantastic, new magazine. So fun!

So, hop on over to the organize magazine site to learn about all the other fun things they have an interview with Peter Walsh in the June / July issue (love his new book by the way) and "Neat Things" brought to you by fellow blogger Amy Mowbray. Super fun. Super exciting! And I'm certain I can make space in my magazine pile for one more magazine. You, too?

Updated: by the way, my column starts in January, the fourth issue ... but, I wrote feature articles in the September / October and November / December issue. Just realized as I was vacuuming that I hadn't mentioned that! ;)

June 01, 2007

were you in my BPS goals class?

if so ... thought you might like to know the classroom has been reopened for a few days. If there was something you needed to download ... now's your chance! (It closes again for good on June 6th ... so hurry, hurry and get the info you need.)

Hope you enjoyed the class! Thanks so much for taking it! :)

attention newsletter subscribers!

Just wanted to post something really important here to all my newsletter subscribers.

If you want to continue to receive the simplify 101 newsletter, you have to reconfirm your subscription. Look for an email from "Aby Garvey" called "Please verify subscription to simplify101." Click on the link in the email, and you'll be all set.

Here are some questions I've been getting and the answers:

Q: I've been getting your newsletter for years. Do I need to do something to continue receiving it?

A: Yes! Just look for the email called "Please verify subscription to simplify101" and click on the link included in the email.

Q: I love your newsletter. Can you please make sure I stay on your list?

A: Thank you! Staying on the list is simple. We have already moved your name over to our new list. All you have to do is look for the email called "Please verify subscription to simplify101" and click on the link included in the email. You'll know you're good to go when you see a bonus tips email in your in-box.

Q: Why haven't I gotten your May newsletter yet?

A: It's on it's way. Once you confirm you'd like to receive the newsletter (in our new system) the May newsletter will be queued up to send to you. this "queuing up" can take 10 to 12 hours.

Q: How come when I tried to confirm I got an error message?

A: As luck would have it, our newsletter subscriber had server problems the day we decided to make the big move. Any link that didn't work before should be working now. If it's not, please email and he'll get you taken care of!

Q: Is your new newsletter really worth all this trouble?

A: OK ... so no one has really asked that question. You're all too nice. BUT ... here's some big news about the new newsletter. Not only does it contain all the organizing ideas and tips that you're used to getting, it's been redesigned to be more visually pleasing and easier to read. Plus, we're now giving away special offers on items in our store in each and every newsletter! Get organized. Save money. Could it get any better?

Jay and I totally get that this is a bit of a pain and it doesn't make much sense on the surface. (Since you've already opted in once and all.) But this is a really important measure against spam ... making sure that we're only sending newsletters to the people that want it. So if you do ... just click on the link and you're all set.

Let me know if you have a burning question that I haven't answered ... I'll get you taken care of ASAP.

Thanks for hanging in there during this transition ... and thanks for reading my newsletter!

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