Monday, May 25, 2015

How to Live Simply: start now.

It’s Memorial day here in the States, meaning that everyone is off having barbecues or remembering loved ones lost in service, or both, I guess.

Meanwhile, my best friend got engaged last night and I got a new couch on Saturday, and for many of you reading today is just a normal Monday.

Life proceeds as always, then: varied, exciting, ebbing and flowing and life-ing as it does.

And so I offer you this somewhat abbreviated notion wrapped in an anecdote.

Last week I met with a woman very (understandably) overwhelmed at the task of having to move cross-country. At the end of the appointment she pulled out her checkbook and asked to whom she should make it out. I said the name of my company and she started to laugh. 

“My friends are going to get a kick out of this,” she told me. “They’re going to say, ‘You do many things, but you definitely do not live simply.'”

“No reason you can’t start,” I said. (It hardly being the first time I had gotten that response.)

“You think?”

“Sure,” I said. “Every decision is a chance to live a little more simply.”

I don’t know whether or not she believed me, but I hope she did. I hope you do.

It might not happen for you all at once. In fact, it probably won’t. Clarifying your priorities, living with intention, and creating an environment that supports your best self is no easy feat. 

But consider the fact that every individual decision you make has the power to shift your whole world in any respect. Every choice is one that adds or subtracts, that affirms or undermines, that fuels or sabotages. 

Your Living Simply, like anything else, is composed of a myriad individual decisions.

If you want to Live Simply, choose the option that keeps it most real.

If you want to Live Simply, pursue that which feels most alive.

If you want to Live Simply, enable awareness.

If you want to Live Simply, be consistent with your choices.

You, master of your calendar, controller of your dominion, royalty of your life–you, my friend, are nothing if not the boss of your every decision, meaning that your ability to Live Simply lies right in the palm of your hand, the nib of your pencil, the stripe on your credit card.

Deciding to support your happiness and wellbeing is one thing you won’t ever regret (promise). 




Thursday, May 21, 2015

I guess I feel like being controversial this week. Maybe it’s all the dust I’ve been breathing in lately that’s bringing out my ornery side, I don’t know.

Like every other topic, organizing has been thoroughly condensed by publication after publication into bite-size concepts. Although most people know these rules by rote, many of them are, in my mind, ineffective, or, at least, over-simplified. So today I’m letting you in on three of the most common organizing rules that I think are hooey; balancing the scales with 3 common rules I think are right on the money, and raising the stakes with 1 rule I wish more people would advocate for (incessantly, as they do). 



3 Rules I think are nonsense…


1. To declutter your closet, turn all your hangers backwards. When you wear an item, turn the hanger around. After x amount of months, get rid of the clothes whose hangers are still facing the wrong way.


This rule is–pardon me for sounding jaded–laughable. For one, most of the male clients I’ve had don’t realize there’s such a thing as hanging a hanger backwards or frontwards. For two, most everyone I know is far too preoccupied and frazzled to ever seriously revisit and abide by the direction of their hangers many months later. 

But the biggest reason why I think this rule isn’t successful is that it isn’t inherently thorough enough. I’ve spoken about this before, but you just really can’t get into the editing mindset unless you fully commit, you take everything out, and you evaluate things in a neutral location.

Can this rule work for some people? For sure! And is that stellar for those people? Heck yeah! And do I think those people represent the majority of people? Heck to the no.


3 Organizing Rules That Are Nonsense, 3 To Adopt ASAP, & 1 Not Enough People Talk About; a professional organizer dishes.



2. If you’re unsure whether or not to get rid of things, put them in a box in the basement. Over the next x number of months, fetch out anything you recall and desire from the box. Anything left in the box after the allotted time period gets donated.


Similarly to the above rule, this one is far from being helpful for most people in my experience.

For most people, the “maybe” pile or the “let’s see about it” basement box is nothing more than procrastinating the inevitable. It’s yet another chance to avoid making a decision they are fully capable of making in the moment.

And the people I know and have worked with? They ain’t never going to go down to their basements on a pre-appointed time, nod obediently to themselves, and then cart that box out of there.

That box will sit there. For a long time. That’s what will happen there. For most people.


3 Organizing Rules That Are Nonsense, 3 To Adopt ASAP, & 1 Not Enough People Talk About; a professional organizer dishes.


3. Never touch a piece of paper twice.


This one honestly confounds me. I don’t know who made this one up, but I think it’s just about the dumbest rule ever. Why? What?


3 Rules To Live By…


1. One in, one out.


If there is one typical organizing rule that I condone and often recommend people follow, it’s the one-in-one-out rule. It’s the rule I find easiest for people to follow, since there’s no gray area to it. And especially once people have worked with me to become very familiar with what they own, it’s easy for them to evaluate a given collection of items and continue to vote off the weakest link with the addition of each new thing.

I love this guideline and highly recommend you get it going as well.  


3 Organizing Rules That Are Nonsense, 3 To Adopt ASAP, & 1 Not Enough People Talk About; a professional organizer dishes.


2. Store it where you use it.


This is another common organizing rule that I find completely sensible and highly helpful for people. In fact, being told they can and should keep things where they actually use them, even if that location isn’t typical for anyone else, is often the breakthrough moment with clients.

Your home and your belongings have to work for you, have to support your daily functioning.


3. Label things.


Labeling isn’t anal or “OCD,” it’s just smart. Seriously, do it. 


3 Organizing Rules That Are Nonsense, 3 To Adopt ASAP, & 1 Not Enough People Talk About; a professional organizer dishes.


1 Rule I Wish More People Mentioned…


Maintain A donation bin


At all times. No matter the size of the household. Have a collection spot or vessel for any donation items that crop up throughout your days. 
What organizing rules have worked or not worked for you??


Image credits: My Dubio, Martha Stewart, The EverygirlCurbly

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It’s been rawther hot and heavy around here the past two days, and so when someone tweeted me a request for help finding non-ugly fans I thought it a winning idea. Even though fans aren’t exactly typical Live Simply material, being cool/calm/collected definitely is. 

At least in Seattle, land of no AC, floor and table fans are a household staple in the warmer months. In fact, they’re really much more like seasonal decor items than mere appliances. At least, they can be, if you buy yourself one that isn’t a total hardware store downer– I’m cheap and plastic, hear me blow and sometimes buzz-rattle.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is no shortage of optically appealing fans from which to choose. And honestly, almost anything outside the five varieties offered by the Big stores look mighty interesting in comparison.

(No offense meant to those reading who only own ugly useful fans. I own two, myself, so no judgment. But the beautiful, stylish, floor fan I own is undeniably my favorite of the three, so there’s that.) 

Right, let’s get this breeze a’ blowing! 

Finally! Fans that aren't total eyesores! Ride all the heat waves this summer in style.


1. Vornado VFAN Vintage Whole Room Air Circulator, Green

2. Minka Aire Brushed Nickel Oscillating Table Fan

3. Compact USB Powered Desk Fan, Bronze

4. Swizz-Style / Stadler Form Otto Fan Bamboo Wood

5. Stadler Form Q Stainless Steel Air Cooling Fan

6. Fuoriserie Black One Speed Fan

7. Vornado VFAN Sr. Vintage Whole Room Air Circulator, Chrome

8. 48″ Bronze Traditional Style Adjustable Oscillating Indoor Standing Floor Fan

9. Fanimation Arden Pedestal Fan, Oil Rubbed Bronze