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December 31, 2010

Happy New Year + Finish It Friday

Hello my friends. Here's wishing you a wonderful New Year filled with everything your heart desires. I've spent the day doing a bit more intentional decluttering with my 2011 goals in mind. I can't remember the last time I've felt this energized and motivated! What a fun way to say goodbye to 2010 and hello to 2011.


In case any of my Finish It Friday regulars are's a quick Finish It Friday list from me. I'd love to hear how you spent this final Friday of 2010 and your plans for the rest of the weekend. Thanks, as always, for playing along.


Play List

  • New Year's Eve dinner out with Jay and good friends.
  • Watch football (go Michigan State!) and eat some "I'll-start-my-diet-on-Monday" snacks. :)

To-do-list-copyright-simplify101 To Finish List

  • Finish putting away Christmas. :) It was a wonderful season...but I'm ready to pack it all up until next year. Ahhh....


Happy New Year my friends. Cheers!





December 29, 2010

Decluttering After the Holidays

Happy week between Christmas and New Year to you! I hope you had a terrific holiday. Ours was the perfect white Christmas. It started snowing on Christmas Eve morning and snowed the better part of the day. Thanks to all the wonderful street crews, the snow was just pretty and not bothersome. We were still able to get to our holiday celebrations. It really felt and looked like Christmas.



I made my snowman cheese ball on Christmas Eve. You can find the recipe here. The recipe on the website calls for cheddar cheese, but I use the Italian blend…which makes our snow friend even more snow-like.




Now it’s on to one of my favorite weeks of the year. If you get my monthly organizing newsletter then you know how much I love this week between Christmas and New Year. (If you don’t get my newsletter, you can sign up here and read the December article here.)


I made it a point this week to keep my client calendar clear, so I could do some office work to wrap up some projects for the year, and get things ready for the upcoming year ahead. And I’ve been taking my article to heart. I’ve been intentionally clearing out clutter and getting myself physically and mentally ready for the New Year. The lower level of my home, which includes my office and the storage area in our basement, has been getting the bulk of my attention. It feels really good to be thinking about my goals for the upcoming year, and intentionally letting go of unwanted and unneeded things to create space for these new outcomes I intend to create.


I’ve also been organizing and decluttering my gift wrap area and picking up just a few little things during the after Christmas sale. I love to use these ceramic ornaments from Target for gift toppers --- and they’re 50% off this week. (My Target had quite a few of the white ones left yesterday. The red and blue ones are from past years.) My Target also had the Caldrea products that I blogged about here on clearance. I’m sad to see them go…but stocked up on some of my favorite items at 30% off which will come in handy because I'm feeling a spring cleaning binge in my future. :)



So that’s what I’ve been up to. How about you? How are you spending your week between Christmas and New Year? Do you crave decluttering like I do…or do you let the holidays linger and take time to relax a bit longer? If you have decluttering on your to-do list, here's some good news. My instant download guide Clear Out the Holiday Clutter is on sale this week for 33% off! So, if you'd like some ideas for clearing out your holiday clutter, making plans for a more organized Christmas next year, plus storage and organizing ideas for your your holiday decor, this guide is here to help.


By the looks of Goodwill yesterday—I could see I’m not alone in my desire to clear out the clutter after Christmas. I go to Goodwill a lot—to donate things for myself and for my in-home organizing clients—and I have never seen it anywhere near as packed or busy as it was yesterday. It was nuts! Anyway...I'd love to hear what you're up to! What's on your to-do list this week?

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Around here it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Snow is falling. We're wrapping up the last of the gifts. And Jay is getting ready to make Baklava. Yum.

white chocolate-peppermint jumbles

I just wanted to wish Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate Christmas. I hope you have safe, wonderful, and happy celebration. I thank you for your readership and friendship throughout the year.


Enjoy your weekend!


December 20, 2010

Monday Morning Check-In

Hello my Finish It Friday friends! I hope you all had a great weekend. Here's the place to post how you did with your to-do list. Here's my report:


Play List

Wrap gifts. Check! I still have some to do but made great progress this weekend. And the kids it was lots of fun.

Do something to relax. Check. I slept in both mornings (love that!) and we watched a few Christmas specials together as a family. Very relaxing and enjoyable. Looking forward to more of the same coming up later this week.

To Finish List

Decide on two appetizers for Christmas Eve. Check! We’re going with Buffalo chicken wing dip and a snowman cheese ball. Yum!

Meal plan and make grocery list for the upcoming week. Check! 

Finish laundry. Check!

Clean the house. The house is clean, and the best part of all is that I had nothing to do with it! My husband and kids cleaned while I shopped for holiday presents! Hooray! :)


Finish Christmas shopping. Almost a check. Made great progress...just a few things to finish up this week. No stress. It will all get done in time. :)


How did your weekend go? I can't wait to hear!

December 17, 2010

Get Organized for the Weekend: It’s Finish It Friday

Happy Friday to you! Can you believe it’s the last weekend before Christmas? Do you still have a long to-do list, or are you in pretty good shape? My Finish It Friday list this weekend will definitely be about finishing up the Christmas preparations. It has been a busy week of shopping…but there’s still some to do. I’m hoping that by Monday I can say “I’m done!”  Okay, here’s my list…


Play List

  • Wrap gifts.
  • Do something to relax. I’m going to leave this open…maybe a bit of exercise, or a nap, or…who knows. But I plan to carve out sometime this weekend to relax just a bit.

To-do-list-copyright-simplify101 To Finish List 

  • Decide on two appetizers for Christmas Eve. We’re having an all appetizers meal with Jay’s family on Christmas Eve—which I love. So, this weekend I just need to decide what to bring.
  • Meal plan and make grocery list for the upcoming week. Crazy to think that this plan will include Christmas breakfast and dinner!
  • Finish laundry.
  • Clean the house.
  • Finish Christmas shopping.


I’d love to hear what you have planned for the weekend. To join Finish it Friday, simply post your to-do list and your play list in the comments. Then, check back here on Monday to let us know how you did. Thanks for playing along!


Before we say farewell for the weekend, here are a couple of things to check out…


Time-management-course-copyright simplify 101 We just opened enrollment for It’s About Time, the online workshop that’s all about how to have more fun and get more done. (And best yet, it’s on early bird sale!) If you like Finish It Friday, you’ll love the time management ideas and techniques in It’s About Time. Plus you’ll enjoy the support and accountability of the simplify 101 online community.


Have you seen Rebecca Cooper’s fabulous blog? She’s doing a series of posts this December called Simple Christmas. I did a guest post on her blog yesterday…which you can check out here.

Have a super weekend! Remember to share your Finish It Friday and Play lists in the comments. 

December 16, 2010

minimize holiday clutter: weekly quick tip

Do your holiday decorations make your home feel just a tad bit too full? If so, try this tip: When you put your holiday decor out on display, temporarily pack up and put away your year-round decor items. If you put out your stockings, stars and seasonal favorites without putting away anything else, it could make your home feel crowded or even cluttered. For a more simplified look and feel, store your year-round items in your emptied storage bins until it’s time for the holiday décor to go back into storage.


What do you do? Do you keep your year round items out and mix-in the holiday items, or do you put your year-round items away for the holiday season? Is there a particular type of clutter that drives you nuts this time of year? I'd love to hear from you!

December 13, 2010

Monday Check-in

Happy Monday to you! I hope you had a terrific weekend. If you played along with Finish It Friday this weekend, here’s the spot to check in on your Friday to-do lists. Here’s my update.


Play List

Kailea’s party. Check! It was fun and very high energy, just as expected.

Here’s a picture of the much talked about birthday banner. It added a festive touch to the party and the celebration in general. I made the banner using some left over fabric, so the project cost was virtually nothing. Gotta’ love that! I also used a bit more of the fabric to create bows for some of Kailea’s packages, so the red, green and yellow theme carried throughout her party.



To make the banner I cut out fabric triangles using pinking shears. The letters are felt, which I cut out by hand using a printed word doc as a template. I used fabric glue to attach the letters to the triangles, and the triangles to the ribbon. It really was a simple project...even though it lingered on my to-do list for a couple of weekends.


To keep the girls entertained, Kailea and I planned a few party activities such as truth or dare, a talent show, and a couple of craft projects. One of the craft projects was painting a wooden letter, with each girl getting her own initial. This made for a fun (and quiet!) party activity, and a nice little take home for the girls. Here are some before and after pictures of the painting festivities.




It looks like a fun time was had with the paint, doesn't it?


To Finish List

  • Laundry. One load is lingering which I’ll finish up this evening. 
  • Put finishing touches on party prep. Check!
  • Finish Christmas shopping for people who live out of town. Progress was made in between birthday festivities and celebrations. I hope to wrap this up with some online shopping this evening…and then, I can turn my attention to shopping for local people.


So that was my weekend. Lots of fun with a little bit of finishing. :) How did your weekend go? Leave me a comment and let me know. I look forward to hearing from you. :)

December 10, 2010

Finish It Friday + a Free Download for You!

Happy Friday to you! Well, the big day is here:  The long awaited, much anticipated birthday party is tonight. Woohoo! (And yes, the banner is finished. Hooray!) I have just a few finishing touches before the guests start arriving at 6 PM…so my post will be brief today. Before we get to our to-do lists, though, I have a couple of exciting announcements.


Exciting announcement #1: This week we put the finishing touches on a free download. The download How to Create a Command Central Binder gives you step by step instructions to put together a home reference binder. This handy paper organizing tool will help you get organized, save time, and minimize paper clutter and the stress that comes along with it!


Exciting announcement #2:  Our clearance items have been marked down to 75% off! This sale is good through next Friday December 17th at which time these products will be gone forever. That’s right; we’re completely clearing out our inventory to create space for something new at simplify 101. After December 17th the only physical product we will continue selling are our storage bin labels. So…if you see something left in our store that you just gotta’ have, you just gotta’ act fast. :) 

Okay…on to the not as exciting stuff…my Finish It Friday lists.

To-do-list-copyright-simplify101 Play List

  • Kailea’s party. My friend Elise is coming over to help with the festivities…so I think it’s going to be a fun evening. I am certain it will be a high energy evening.

To Finish List

  • Laundry.
  • Put finishing touches on party prep.
  • Finish Christmas shopping for people who live out of town.


Okay…better go. The clock is ticking!  Don’t forget to post your to-do list and tap into the motivating power of Finish It Friday! See you back here on Monday. 

December 09, 2010

Avoiding Checklist Mentality

As we enter into the final countdown of the holiday season, you may feel as though your life is one big to-do list. You might even feel that a primary focus in your life right now is checking things off this big to-do list! Well…here’s a slightly different point of view. In our family during the holidays, we make it a point to avoid checklist items as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love getting things done as much as the next organizer—and I love to check things off my to-do list. But…during the holiday season, we make it a priority to ensure that the activities that get our time and attention are the activities that mean something. We avoid doing things just for the sake of doing them, and just for the sake of getting them done.


Here’s an example: Last Sunday afternoon, we participated in our annual tradition of cutting down a fresh Christmas tree—a tradition we all love and enjoy. (This task is the opposite of a checklist item, by the way.) By the time we got home, after trekking through the cold, windy tree farm in search of the perfect tree, made and ate dinner, put the tree into the stand, and trimmed the lower branches—we were all tired. We realized that putting up the lights and decorating the tree that evening would turn the enjoyable holiday task of decorating the tree into a “checklist item.” We would simply be going through the motions to get the job done, instead of enjoying the process of spending time together and decorating the tree. So we decided to relax instead, and live with an undecorated, and then a partially decorated, tree for a few days. And guess what—we’re all really happy with our choice.


This holiday season notice if checklist mentality starts to creep in. When you start to see yourself simply getting things done for the sake of it, step back and reevaluate. Can you delay the task, or stop doing the task altogether? Or can you approach the task in a different manner so that it has more meaning to you and/or your family? I’m always amazed at how freeing it is to recognize something has become a checklist item—and then make a different plan. You may just find the same is true for you.

December 06, 2010

Freebie Friday winner…

I haven’t mentioned in a while how I select the winner of the Freebie Friday posts. So here’s what I do. First, I delete any duplicate comments—those places where Typepad chokes or freezes or something and causes a duplicate entry. Second, I head on over to and have this site work it’s magic and randomly select a comment number. Then, I go back to the comments on the blog to figure out which comment corresponds to the random number selected by


Why all the explanation? Well…because Jennifer who said “Facebooked it ...” at 12:40 AM on December 04, 2010 (right after saying “It suggested the Kids Backseat Organizer ... which actually would be quite helpful!” just minutes earlier) had her comment selected by Now here's the crazy thing:  This is the same Jennifer who won last week’s coaching giveaway! So, uh, Jennifer, maybe you should go out and buy a lottery ticket today…you’re on quite the lucky streak! Congrats to you!!


Thanks to everyone who entered and tried FranklinCoveys Gift Finder. It is pretty fun, isn't it?

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