Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life
November 2016 – Vol. 15 No. 9

Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible. ~ St. Francis of Assisi

Time to prep your kitchen for holiday entertaining

Thanksgiving Table

                         Cartoon courtesy of

Holy smokes. Thanksgiving is almost here and Christmas is coming! Whether you’re entertaining or not this holiday season, you might want to schedule some time soon to get your kitchen ready. Here are three quick and easy things you can do in a total of one hour or less:

Clear your kitchen counters. Look at the stuff on your counters. If you use it every day (or at least several times a week), it gets to stay. Otherwise, put it away in a cabinet or drawer. Got papers cluttering up your counter? Corral them for time being in a decorative basket or something like this.

Remove paper clutter from the front of your refrigerator. Tape schedules, takeout menus, phone numbers, coupons, etc. instead behind kitchen cabinet doors. This gets them out of sight while keeping them handy. This is also a great place to hang photos and kids artwork where you can see it, but it isn’t cluttering up your kitchen.

Organize your pantry into zones. Sort like with like and store like items together; for example, pastas and grains, cereals, baking staples, canned soups, snacks. Zones make it easier to find what you want and put things away so they can be found by everyone else in the family. It also makes it easier to see what you have – and what you need to add to your shopping list for holiday meals and treats.

Ban the bag – grocery bag that is

Whenever possible, I encourage you to recycle, reduce, and re-use as part of your decluttering journey. Did you know that in one year, one shopper will use 500 plastic shopping bags? No wonder so many cities like San Diego have banned these bags and more are sure to follow suit.

When I made the switch, one of the challenges was remembering to bring my reusable bags to the store. So when I was done with them, I put them in my car. The second challenge I had was remembering to bring them into the store. I had to run back to the car a number of times before I finally got into the habit of bringing them in with me.

If you have plastic grocery bags you no longer need, don’t throw them in the trash. Return them to your local supermarket for recycling.

Listen as you work to this decluttering song

Just this morning, I got an email from a guy who thought I might be interested in his Donald Duck Umbrella song posted on YouTube, which he said “addresses clutter in a touching, somewhat humorous way.” I loved it and had to share. The singer/songwriter is Rich Eilbert.

Favorite products and resources

As a professional organizer and certified House Cleaning Technician, I’ve used and recommended a lot of products, services and resources over the years. Every month in this column, I share new and old favorites.

Last month, I introduced you to a company that purchases pre-owned designer handbags. Rebagg pays top dollar for luxury brands such as Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and more. Simply download the Rebagg app or visit to upload photos of your bag, and receive a offer within one business day. You can then request a free prepaid shipping box to ship your item(s).

This month, let me tell you about a really neat service that can help you find lost or misplaced items.  FOUNDio is a free lost and found website that helps you recover lost personal items without revealing your identity. Use it for cell phones, video games, tablets, keys, books, dayplanners … even pets.

Simply create an ID tag on the site. Print labels with your ID tag to affix to your belongings. Example: “If found, please notify me at TagID: YOURIDTAG Thanks!” If someone finds your item, he can log into FOUNDio and you will be notified via email. And you get your item back! Did I mention that FOUNDio is a free service?

Shameless promotion: Off and running again!

Guess who’s writing a new book? The title is Your Simple Home: Easy Ideas for Beautiful Living and it will be in bookstores next summer. The premise is that a simple home – one that’s decluttered, well-organized and easy to clean – can help you live your best life.

sdminmeetup2nov16 sdminmeetup3nov16Earlier this month, I hosted a meetup for people who were interested in exploring the full-time RV life as a minimalist lifestyle. About 30 members of the San Diego Local Meetup Group toured our motor home and the rv park. We talked about the pros and cons and I answered lots of questions. By the way, if you are interested in learning more about minimalism, check to see if there is a meetup group in your area by doing a quick search on Facebook. There are 100 groups across the country and also an online city group.

You may be interested in reading the following articles that include some of my favorite tips: – How to get the most from your vacuum cleaner attachments – How often you should clean out your closets and the right way to do it blog – Creative and cheap ways to store your luggage

And here’s one I wrote for’s blog on 8 ways to maximize closet space

On a personal note, I’ve been pretty busy with writing deadlines, but not too busy to get out and run. I registered to do the San Diego Resolution 15K (9.3 miles) race on January 7. It’s been a long time since I ran that distance. And I’m only up to 5 miles right now. My goal is to feel good at the finish and not hurt myself between now and then!

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Some links in this organizing tips newsletter may be affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I will earn a small commission. These earnings go toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter which is free to you, but does cost to distribute. Please know that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.