Uncomplicate your thank you notes

One of the important habits and skills my mom taught us growing up was the necessity of writing thank you notes. While I HATED having to write them right after opening Christmas presents, it is a practice that has served me well my entire life. It can be short and sweet but is a perfect way of letting the giver know it was received and appreciated.

Gratitude is essential for a happy life but expressing it does not come naturally. Just ask any parent how many times they’ve said the phrases “say thank you” and “say please” to just one of their kids.

Writing thank you notes is not limited solely to gift-giving occasions. They can be sent at any time on any day you want to express gratitude. Be prepared with actual stationery and stamps so that you’re equipped when the time arises. Nobody wants to keep giving gifts to someone who doesn’t acknowledge them.

You need a system for organizing your thank you notes! Here are my tips for organizing stationery and making the process so much easier and #uncomplicated.

  • Check your drawers and cabinets to see what thank you notes you already have. I recommend storing them together so you don’t over-buy and can find them when you need them. 
  • Make sure they are clean and flat, not bent or crushed.
  • Do you have the right envelopes for the stationery? 
  • Holiday gifts do not require a holiday themed thank you note. Fold over notes or note cards are perfect.
  • If you need more, now is a good time to order or purchase them from your favorite stationer. I have found some cute ones at Home Goods and on Etsy.
  • Not having stationery will be a barrier to writing and sending them. If you have cards that you really like, you’ll be more inclined to get them written and sent.
  • Did you know that you can order stamps from the post office? Yes, you have to pay for postage but you get a really good selection and don’t have to stand in line.

Teaching kids how to be organized

kids organization

Happy Mother’s Day, Mothers and those who mother! I don’t get why we only celebrate Mothers one day a year so you have my permission to take the whole month! 

We all know that Moms make the world run so unfortunately they are too valuable to take a day off. But here is what you can do: 

Moms, get your kids to help you! Teaching kids how to be organized is one of those life skills like good manners and gratitude that will serve them the rest of their lives. Nobody is born knowing how to organize or to say “thank you” so it must be taught. You may say you’re not organized but you are more so than your child. You can teach this skill and it will pay off for you and for them.

Here are some tips to get kids organized and teach them those skills at the same time. They apply to adults as well so keep reading even if you don’t have kids!

  1. When it comes to toys and playtime:  clean up is part of play. Dumping toys from a container is pure bliss; putting them back is not so much. However you can teach them that putting them away is part of the process. Take 5 or 10 minutes to help them put those toys back when playtime is over to reinforce the pairing of activities. 
  2. Make picking things up a game. Reward them for putting trash in the trashcan or for who can put away 10 toys first. Gamification isn’t just for online marketing. It’s a huge part of parenting.
  3. Let go of perfection. Their version of neat will not be yours but it’s part of the process. Reward the attempt and keep showing them how it’s done.
  4. Purge toys, clothes, and books regularly. If it is not being used, especially if it doesn’t fit, donate or give away. You can try rotating toys that they don’t actively play with. More options are not necessarily better. 
    As they get older, get them involved with the review process. Identifying toys that they’ve outgrown and can donate to others teaches detachment to physical items. It also teaches them how to prioritize which is another key organizational skill. 
  5. Keep their toys and clothes accessible to them. You can’t expect nor do you want them climbing shelves or cabinets to get to their toys, books, or clothes. When it is accessible to them then they can at least attempt to put it back!
  6. Label, label, label. This alone eliminates the “I don’t know where it goes” excuse for not putting up toys. It helps you figure out where everything should go and indicates to them where it belongs. If your kids are not yet reading, use pictures as labels. Labels are also helpful for babysitters or visiting family members to know where things go.

While none of these tips will make a difference in one day, they all help to create an organized environment that serves as a solid teaching foundation. You are teaching and enforcing the good habits of taking care of and respecting your space. Putting LEGOs away may seem insignificant except to your feet but it’s part of the long and rewarding process of rearing the next generation.

Happy organizing!

Do not wear your spring clothes yet!

While it’s tempting to toss all of your sweaters and heavy clothes in back of the closet in exchange for lighter spring clothes, you need to stop! You need organize your winter clothes first, before you greet spring with sandals, lighter colors, and white jeans. This means putting away heavy sweaters, boots, coats, scarves, etc the RIGHT way first. Your life will be much easier when the temps turn cooler in the fall if you take a little time to properly organize your winter wardrobe. 

If you don’t put winter away first, you run the risk of ruining your clothes, shoes, boots, coats, etc. and losing an investment you made in your wardrobe. This happened to me several years ago. The drawer where I had stored my sweaters had a moth infestation soandI had to throw away every single sweater that was in it. Not fun or cheap to fix.

This is what you need to do to take care of your winter clothes before you switch to spring 

  1. Clean your clothes. I wash my wool and cashmere sweaters and scarves in mesh bags on the gentle cycle in my washing machine with gentle sweater detergent. After they dry on every flat surface in my bedroom, I fold them and put them away in a dresser. 
    DO NOT store sweaters or winter clothes in plastic bags, like the ones from the dry cleaners. They are natural fibers and need to breathe. Store in cotton zip up bags if you need to contain them.
  2. Don’t forget to clean your scarves and shawls. These sometimes get overlooked in the coat closet but the same applies: they need to be cleaned before putting away.
  3. Dry clean winter coats and hats that can’t go in the wash. If you wore it, clean it. Check pockets, too, for forgotten treasures.
  4. Evaluate your winter wardrobe. While you’re cleaning, this is the perfect time to evaluate if you want to keep these winter clothes. Did you wear everything? If it doesn’t fit or flatter, think if there is something you can do to alter it to make it work. If not, it’s time to pass it on to someone else. What’s the point of letting it take up valuable real estate in your closet if you don’t wear it or love it? Give to a friend or donate to charity.
  5. Match up gloves and mittens. I can’t tell you how many hall closets I’ve worked on that had a bin of single mittens and gloves. Make a concerted effort to find the mates and then get rid of any remaining singles. 
  6. Clean your boots and other winter shoes. This is so important, especially if you’ve gotten salt and mud on them. Depending on the condition of the boots or shoes, you may have to get them professionally cleaned but you can at least get all of the dirt off the heels and soles. Now is the time to evaluate if they need repair like new tips or soles.
  7. Store away. All of these clothes that you’re not going to wear for a while can now be placed in a less convenient location in your closet or home. Everything that you’re currently using and wearing should be at eye level or have the easiest access. Fold your sweaters to avoid permanent creases on the shoulders. Use lavender or cedar sachets in the drawers or fabric bins to keep them smelling nice and to ward off bugs. I’m not a fan of mothballs but they are great for warding of squirrels in your garden or attic.

It seems like a lot to do at once but if you put winter clothes away properly, they’ll be ready to wear when cooler temps return. You’ll know exactly what you have and where it is so you don’t waste time looking for your warmer clothes when you need them.

It’s ok if you’re not organized

You know, I’ve been doing this organizing thing for 9 years professionally and basically forever un-professionally.  😅 Ok, not professionally as a business; that sounds better. But I am here in your inbox today because I want to share an important secret with you.

EVERYONE is disorganized about something. And the inverse is true:  everyone is organized about something. 

Some people have immaculate homes but their offices are disasters. 

Some people keep piles of stuff everywhere but are never late for an appointment or sending a birthday card. 

Some people keep meticulous records in their files but their closets are overflowing. 

And it is all ok. Nobody is an expert at everything. 

Some people are born organized. They naturally gravitate to it like second nature. Most of us have to learn that skill just like multiplication tables and how to boil eggs. Neither is more valued than the other. 

So don’t be embarrassed if you have to call in a professional to help you get organized. A true professional will not MAKE you do anything you don’t really want to do. It is not their job to shame you or make you feel bad. It’s actually the opposite:  to help you feel comfortable and able to achieve your goal of having an organized home. 

Almost every person I have worked with starts a variation of the following phrases:

“I am so embarrassed for you to see this”
“I can’t believe my home looks like this”
“I used to be organized but then I had kids/ got this new job/ had a tragedy in my life/ moved”


And it’s all ok. Life throws us curveballs and we have to react quickly. Shifting our priorities to more important things means sometimes our good organizational habits slide. Or we never learned those good habits and need to now. Or we need to make adjustments to our current systems to make them work for our changing circumstances. Either way, there is nothing wrong with you. 

Call a professional. The right one will be delighted to help you and share her skills, secrets, and tools with you. She won’t judge or make you feel bad. She’s seen worse, trust me. 

Lastly remember that your version of “being organized” may be different than what you see on Pinterest or Instagram. We can help achieve your best version of organized! ☺️ 😊

photo by Canva

Uncomplicate life: Get organized so you’re never late

don't be late to your son's wedding

Is there ever enough time to get everything done in your day? Even without traveling, commuting, and going out much it feels like there is always something else pulling our attention that seems more important than what we are currently doing. The inability to focus is just one part of the problem. We are ALL juggling more these days and being organized is part of the solution.

One of my pet peeves is being late. ME being late and others. It just seems like in this day of navigation apps and audible reminders it just should not happen but it does. I feel like I am disloyal to my profession if I am late and that just feels so disingenuous.

But let’s not tell stories about me. Let me tell you a story about being late to your wedding. 

Of not, your own wedding. But your son’s wedding. Almost late. Like the last- possible- minute- and- we- are- starting- without- you kind of late.

(yes, I have permission to tell this story)

My sister Laura is just like me in her feelings about being late. She makes plans and lists and is a very thoughtful and considerate person. She is not flighty, scatterbrained, or unfocused. 

She would never be late for an event as important as her only son’s wedding. But she arrived at 10:59:32 for his 11:00 am wedding service. 

Here’s what happened:

10:40 My husband and I arrive. We’re early but there was no traffic. Socialize with early arrivals.

10:45 Everyone assumes I am Laura and starts telling me what I need to do as Mother of Groom. I remind them that I am not she. Eyes of all wedding participants widen in shock and horror.

10:46 First of 180 inquiries “Where is Laura?”

10:48 Her daughter asks “Where’s Mom?”

10:50 Groom asks “Where’s Mom? Maybe you should call her.”

10:51 I call her. No answer. I naturally assume she and her husband must have careened off the bridge and are currently drowning.

10:52 I call her husband. After 4.5 rings, he answers. He sounds very calm (monotone) and says “We will be there soon.”

Soon?! Are you kidding me? People are nervous here! 

10:57 Is she here yet?

10:58 When will she be here?

10:59 Um, anyone know where she is?

10:59:32 Car comes screeching in to the parking lot (no exaggeration). Everyone lines up and the wedding nuptials take place.

I wisely decided to wait until after the wedding to ask what happened. 😉

It was a tale of a series of errors that became more comedic as she progressed. 

  1. Waited (patiently) for husband to get out of bathroom. Not in a rush here so why make him expedite his routine?
  2. Although the skirt purchased 5 months ago was hanging in the closet the entire time, it still had wrinkles in it. Bad wrinkles.
  3. Steaming didn’t get the wrinkles out. Must find iron.
  4. Take out ironing board and iron skirt.
  5. Top purchased to go with said skirt for wedding was suddenly missing. 
  6. Must spend time trying on other options to find suitable substitute.
  7. Belt selected specifically for the outfit also missing.

Just writing this makes me feel anxious.

While none of those things by themselves would have caused any problem, it was the compounding of ALL of them that raised pulse rates.

The extra stress that was experienced by so many wedding participants was 100% avoidable. Not to say that mistakes don’t happen but all of these could have been avoided with a little advanced organization. 

I’m not saying life has to be perfect. In fact, it’s the things that go wrong that have made the best and, in this particular case, funniest memories. We are all laughing about this now and I hope you are, too.
If you are ever hesitating to organize that drawer or closet, do it. Make the time and get it done. Or hire someone to do it for you. 🙂

Life is too short to spend any more of it than we have to overwhelmed, stressed, or angry at ourselves for NOT getting things in order. 

When you’re organized, you’re free to experience more of life because your’e not wasting your time looking for the iron or sweater or risking your life to speed to get to the church on time!

Uncomplicate your outerwear

I trust you put away your Halloween decor this week. What’s nice is that pumpkins can segue nicely to Thanksgiving but you do have to get rid of the spiderwebs and other scary stuff. Just make sure it’s clean and dry before you put it away in your clearly labeled “Halloween Decor” box. 😉

Speaking of putting things away….when was the last time you decluttered your outerwear like winter coats, hats, gloves, and scarves? My guess is you put all of these away last year not even thinking if you would still be wearing it this year. Or you just closed the door on the coat closet 9 months ago and didn’t give it another thought.

This week, I want you to spend 15 minutes going through all of your winter outer wear. This means coats, gloves, hats, and scarves.

  1. Does your coat fit? Does it need repair? Will you wear it again? Does it need to be cleaned?
  2. Ditto for your kids’ coats. They grow so fast they may have outgrown last year’s coat already.
  3. Check the pockets of your coats for money, tissues, hair ties, and any other treasures you may have forgotten about. You’d be amazed at how much cash I find in coat pockets when organizing closets.
  4. Do the gloves and mittens have mates? Match them up if you can find them.
  5. Are these scarves and hats ones that you would wear and use again? 

If you answered “no” to any of these questions regarding wearing again, it’s time to donate to someone in need. If it’s just taking up space in your closet and you won’t use it, pass it on to someone who needs it. What you’re ready to let go of could be exactly what someone else needs!

You can donate gently used coats, gloves, hats, scarves to local charity and drop off sites. Check with nearby churches and synagogues who may sponsor coat drop offs for other charities like MUST Ministries in Marietta. You can also search for a local retail locations or non-profit that is accepting donations for the One Warm Coat Project.

Just spend a few minutes this week going through your outerwear and donate what you and your family no longer need. Your closet will thank you and so will a stranger who needed to stay warm!

Uncomplicate your gift closet

Welcome to week 2 of #uncomplicateyourholidays where I’m sharing suggestions for short tasks you can do NOW to make the holidays easier this year. Each week has a different task that I guarantee will make your holidays a little less stressful and a lot less overwhelming. Who else would like to #uncomplicateyourholidayseason?

Question for you:  do you shop ahead of time for gifts? I do 🙋🏼‍♀️

Yay! It is great to purchase gifts when you’re traveling or when you see something you know a friend or family member would love. 

Some of us like shopping for gifts when they are on sale which may not be close to the time we are giving it.

The problem with this is forgetting what you’ve bought because you threw it in a closet that’s disorganized and cluttered. Because out of sight is out of mind and if you don’t see it you tend to OVERSHOP. 

For this week, to help you #uncomplicate your holiday season I want you to focus on your gift stash/ closet

  • Pull all of the intended gifts out and make sure they are still in good condition
  • If anything is no longer an appropriate gift, give it away
    Sometimes we purchase for an occasion and then it doesn’t feel right for whatever reason—maybe the recipient outgrew it or changed jobs. I’ve seen many gift closets where someone has stocked up on baby gifts and forgot about them until the kids were in school. 🙈 It happens, don’t sweat it! Just donate it to make room for other timely, appropriate gifts.
  • Group gifts together by category (hostess gifts or food or beauty) or intended recipient before putting back in place.
  • If you know who the gift is for right now, add a stickie note to the outside with the intended recipient’s name and occasion such as “Laura b-day.” Don’t give your brain something else to remember–write it down!

I’m willing to bet if you shop ahead of time for gifts, you haven’t cleaned out your stash in a while or maybe even ever! Now is a good time to organize your gift closet (or cabinet, box, or wherever you keep your gift stash) so that you can find the right gift at the right time. 

There’s nothing worse than finding that perfect birthday gift you bought a week after their birthday!

Plus you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes to end of year gift giving because you’ll already know what you’ve got!

If you’re eager for more tips and a solution to make the holidays easier, keep reading to see information about my bundled solution called Holiday Smart Solution Bundle !

Uncomplicate your holidays

Are you ready to have the best Holiday Season?


How about a list of EVERYTHING  to get done in time to celebrate all of the end of year holidays? I created Holiday Smart Solution Bundle™to be your go-to guide to getting all of your holiday prep done ahead of time, without stress, and with time to spare. It’s my get- ready- ahead- of- time bundle that has all of the check lists, templates, tips, and cheat sheets to get it ALL (as in Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s) of your holiday prep done gracefully, easily, and with time to spare!


And you get membership into my Holiday Smart Facebook group where I’ll be sharing more tips and suggestions plus you can share with other members THEIR tips.

It’s your secret weapon for taming the holidays. Click here to learn more!      🎃 🍂 🦃 🎄 🥂 🎉

Uncomplicate your holiday cards

In my mission to uncomplicate your lives by organizing your homes, I can’t help but think about the end of year holidays that are coming soon. It seems like every year we plan to do better and start earlier and every year we are still stressing, shopping at the last minute, staying up ’til midnight to wrap gifts, and just feeling WAAYY overwhelmed. 

And this is supposed to be a happy time!

For the month of October, I am going to give you a short task suggestion to help you uncomplicate your life so you can enjoy the holidays this year. Each week has a different task and I guarantee will make your holidays a little less stressful and a lot less overwhelming. #uncomplicateyourholidayseason

AND I’m giving you specific steps to get it done. 

For this week, to help you #uncomplicate your holiday season I want you to focus on your old holiday cards

Getting cards at Christmas is great; it’s always fun to see pictures of friends and family and how they’ve changed. We love hearing from people we haven’t seen in a while. It’s fun to display these cards on our mantles, archways, windows, and bulletin boards during the holiday season.

But…We all struggle with what to do with them AFTER the holidays. Here are some option and none of them is wrong.

  • Throw them away. It’s ok, you’ll get another one. Plus the person who sent it to you has probably already thrown away the one you sent her. It’s not a priceless treasure.
  • Keep them in a box with your Christmas decorations. They will accumulate year after year. However, it can be nice to look at last year’s cards when you’re putting up this year’s decorations.
  • Store them in a book, scrapbook style. This is dependent on how many you receive each year and how much time you have to commit to this after the holidays.
  • Use the card as a gift tag. Cut the card in half and use the image as a gift tag for future gifts.
  • Use the image to identify friends. Take a picture of the card and use it as that person’s Contact photo in your phone. Then throw it away.

Those extra copies of the cards that you order “just in case” you run out?  You can let those go, too. Save a couple in your memorabilia box but you don’t have to keep that half full box of  cards from that you may have overestimated the order quantity.

Just start now so you don’t have to worry about it when you have even less time!

If you’re eager for more tips and a solution to make the holidays easier, see my post on the bundled solution I created called Holiday Smart Solution Bundle ! 

Uncomplicate your appliance manuals and warranties

organized appliance manuals

Paper paper everywhere. Are you like me in being surprised that we still have so much paper? The more our lives migrate to the digital, the more paper we still seem to have to face.  As in junk mail, flyers, bills, statements, estimates, agreements, marketing letters, and don’t get me started on political ads in our mailboxes. 😣

Some paper is wonderful like love letters, kids’ drawings of their family, and marriage certificates. 😊 Some of it is awful like speeding tickets, explanations of benefits, and boring tax documentation. ☹️

But managing and organizing all kinds of papers is a necessary and very present part of our modern lives whether we like it or not.

The trouble is organizing it can all be overwhelming and anxiety ridden. Do I need to keep this? What if I throw this out? Will I need it again? 

I am here to help you answer the often asked question of “how long do I have to keep this” and this week I am just going to focus on one aspect of household paperwork:

Appliance manuals and warranties


I am frequently asked what to do with all kinds of papers. You may remember an earlier post this year that was all about mail. I want to answer ALL of your paper questions so let me know what you’d like to see covered by clicking here and dropping me quick paper question.

To help you #uncomplicate your appliance manuals, here are my tips and suggestions:

  1. Designate a location for them. They are not something you need to access often so they don’t need to take up prime real estate. They can go in a filing cabinet or in a bin on a high shelf. The location just needs to be labeled clearly. The bin in the picture is a multipurpose bin from The Containers Store and works perfectly for this purpose.
  2. Toss any that aren’t needed. These accumulate fast and technology changes quickly, too. We recently cut cable so there was no reason to keep any of the documentation pertaining to our cable provider. Go through your current inventory and make sure you toss any that you no longer need especially because you don’t have the device any longer. 
  3. Toss any in a language you don’t speak. Many times there are multiple manuals in multiple languages provided with appliances. Scan what you are about to keep and make sure you keep only the instructions that you need in the language you prefer.
  4. Toss excess papers with the manuals. And by excess I mean additional marketing or informational material you don’t need. The excess papers do not need to take up space in your home.
  5. Use folders.  If you have a lot of papers that pertain to one specific appliance like a refrigerator, put them in a folder. Name the folder with what it is and the date when you purchased it, where, and how much you paid. If you ever have warranty questions or replacement/ repair issues you will have to answer these questions.
  6. Toss the store receipts. They are printed on thermal paper with ink that fades so don’t bother keeping it. That’s why Step #5 is important for the big ticket items.
  7. Consider NOT keeping them. While I think it’s important to keep the manuals, instructions, and warranties for your big ticket appliance purchases (refrigerator, stove, washing machine, etc.) you may want to consider tossing the manuals for smaller, less expensive appliances. Once you know how it works, do you really need to keep the manual? Plus, most are available online if you ever need to research them in the future.