Simple Luxury

As we enter the new year, I know it's easy to focus on what we want to change about ourselves and the resolutions we made (and probably broke by now), but we if we focused on the luxury we all have access to? The luxury that comes, not from million dollar yachts and Dom Perignon, but from appreciating the simple beauty all around us?

I would like to propose a few simple, happy changes to make.  Ones that will remind you of the beauty all around us and of how lucky we are.  If you're not in love with your life, consider trying a few of these.   Most can be had for free or under $20.  

1.  Display Flowers:  

For $3.99 at Trader Joe's or Safeway, or for free from your yard, fresh flowers (and branches, leaves or greens) are one of the most inexpensive way to feel truly luxe.  When you open an HGTv Magazine, or Better Homes and Gardens, there is ALWAYS a bouquet of flowers displayed in the homes.  The editors know we are naturally drawn to their beauty, so why not replicate it in your own home.  While I spend most of my time telling you to declutter and get rid of things, some very deliberate purchases can have a lasting, positive impact and make your life feel luxurious.

2.  Light a Candle:  

Another favorite $3.99 splurge is IKEA's Glimma Tealight candles.  These burn the best out of any tea lights I've purchased, and the tins they are in are recyclable.  If the thought of heading into an IKEA makes you break out in a cold sweat, you can also get them on Amazon.  I LOVE using the tea lights in my himalayan sea salt candle holders. They glow and make our room so inviting.  Also try a candle at the dinner table!  If you're feeling a little spendy, my all-time favorite candle is Danielle LaPorte's Clarity Candle.  At $32 (including shipping), it's a bit of a splurge, but it's so worth it and lasts forevah!  There are 3 other scents if that one doesn't do it for you. 

3.  Cultivate Gratitude:  This one is free and probably pays the biggest dividends. I'm not saying go out and buy a gratitude journal.  Those usually wind up with 3 pages filled, then shoved under a bed.  I'm saying notice, during the day, the things you have to be grateful for.  It's raining, but you're inside, and warm.  You wake up in the morning and have access to fresh coffee.  Bombs aren't being dropped on your house.  That sorta thing.  :) Tell yourself that for the next 3 days, you're going to pay attention to your blessings.  It'll change your life. 

4.  Make a Fire:  

Sticking with the $3.99 trend, grab a Duraflame log next time you're at the grocery store.  Most stores have them up by the registers.  Nothing feels more luxe than reclining by a fire as the winds howl and the rains fall outside.  

5.  Create a Morning Ritual:  This doesn't have to be complicated, it just involves a bit more than hitting "snooze" 3 times, then springing out of bed, racing to take a shower and get out the door.  Calm down. Go to bed earlier, so you can wake up refreshed.  Then pick one or two things to be your ritual.  For me, it's making 1 cup of coffee and reading a few pages of whatever book I'm in.  Bonus points if it's sunny and I can sit on the porch while sipping and reading.  It feels luxurious to take a few moments for myself before charging headlong into the day. 

6.  Watch a Movie:

Make it a guilty pleasure.  Something that makes you happy.  Intellectual think pieces, while amazing and important, aren't what we're talking about.  I'm talking Step Up, Magic Mike, Bad Moms, Bridesmaids.  Something that entertains you without requiring too much brain power.  Get out of your head and start laughing. Enjoy the luxury of letting go.

7.  Go for a Walk:

Even if it's just around your block, getting outdoors is the ultimate luxury.  Walk a bit more slowly than you normally would.  Notice the plants, the people, the houses.  Feel the air in your lungs.  Take a deeper breath.  Feel your muscles expanding and contracting. Stretch a little.  

8.  Take a Bath:  This can be free, or you can create a detox bath with a few inexpensive ingredients.  The important thing is to grant yourself the time to sink into a warm bath and zone out for a while.  If it feels luxurious to you, read a book and sip on tea.  If that seems like work, just enjoy the warmth and close your eyes.  

9.  Make Your Damn Bed:  You're an adult.  It takes 3 minutes. I timed it, and we have 4 blankets and 5 pillows to wrangle.  Nothing, and I mean nothing, will make your room look fancier and feel more peaceful.  Don't believe me, take before and after pics and see how you feel looking at the made bed vs. the unmade one.  Look at beautiful bedrooms on Pinterest and note how many have unmade beds. Still don't believe me? Make your bed for 3 days in a row and see how you feel.  You're welcome. 

10. Cook Something Healthy :

Seriously.  Nothing says luxe more than eating a high-quality, organic, healthy meal.  It doesn't have to be a huge production.  One of my favorite things is to saute 2 cups of spinach with some garlic and onion, then stir in a scrambled egg and top it all with some fresh avocado and a dash of Tabasco.  Easy, decadent, healthy.  

 

Well, there you go, 10 ways I wallow in luxuriousness.  Pick 1, or all 10.  I hope they help you!  If they do, please click the <3 or "share" button below. 

Fighting Clutter with eBooks

While I am a huge fan of library books in the traditional sense - go to library, check out books, save $20 vs. going on Amazon - they still bring the same amount of clutter into our homes as purchasing said books.  

The fix?  Borrowing eBooks! They are sent directly to your Kindle, Kindle app, or Nook.  If you live on the peninsula, you have access to the entire Peninsula Library System.  If you don't live here, well I'm assuming there is a similar program in any metropolitan area.  

So let's head to the Peninsula Library eBook page hosted by Overdrive.  If you don't live in the area, check Overdrive for libraries near you.

Are you there? 

Here's how to check out a book in 8 easy steps:

1. Sign in with your library card number (or an Overdrive or Facebook account).  

2. Search for the title you want.  

3. If it's available, click "borrow"; if it's already checked out, click "hold".  

4. The "borrow" button, once clicked, will say "read now".  Click that and it will allow you to read it on your computer through your browser.  

5. To download to an eReader, click on the "My Account" button at the top right.

6. Click "Loans" from the "My Account" dropdown menu. This will take you to your loans page. 

7. Click "Choose a Format" and then either Kindle, ePub or PDF eBook.

8. Clicking "Kindle" will take you automagically to Amazon and download it to your device.   

Toxin Free Home: Makeup

 

We’ve talked about toxin free laundry, bathing and moisturizing, so let’s move on to the stuff we smear on our faces.  I”m talking makeup, baby.  

I’ve always loved makeup.  Maybe that’s anti-feminist, but I love it’s transformative powers.  You can be anyone you want with a swipe of lipstick and a good mascara.  The thing is, most of us seem to pile on a lot….

A simple way to see how your makeup stacks up is to go to the EWG’s Skin Deep Database.  You can plug all of your makeup products into it and get their scores.  Many foundations scored ok if they were just foundations.  But, when you add in SPF, the scores go up into the danger zone.  

Remember our good friend Oxybenzone?  Main ingredient in many sunscreens. .  

So let’s talk about alternatives.  The two product changes that can make a big difference are foundation and lipstick.  Amount-wise, we use the most foundation and smear it on our biggest organ.  Between our skin absorbing what we put on it and ingesting a good portion of what we put on our lips, that can add up to a lot of chemicals getting into our bodies. 

If you’re going to use a foundation with SPF, look for ones that use titanium dioxide or zinc instead of oxybenzone (a known endocrine disrupter, allergen, and carcinogen). 

If you’re going to use lipstick, let’s get away from petroleum based products and go with natural plant oil and beeswax based products, so we can mitigate a lot of the damage. Look for ones free of Retinyl Palmitate, an ingredient in a lot of lipsticks that the FDA calls a known human reproductive toxicant.  I do wear lipsticks on special occasions, like today!, but for daily use, I use Waxelene as it helps keep my lips moist, is beeswax based and petroleum free.  

Well, that's a wrap.  if you have any natural makeup tips or photos, share them on social media with the hashtag #thesimplifiedlife  and if this video or post helped you, please consider forwarding it to a friend or clicking the "<3" button below.  

National Clean Your Desk Day

So today is Clean Your Desk Day.  Really.  

Clean yours in 9 easy steps.

1.  Sort like items with like items.  Start with loose business cards, then move on to paper; office supplies; pens and writing utensils; food; personal items and decor; photos; miscellaneous and trash. 

2.  Toss anything that is definitely trash and move on to your paper pile.  

3. Paper.  Divide it into things to be recycled, shredded, scanned and filed.  Do the actions. The less you keep, the less you have to scan or file.  Use the Scannable app on your phone if you don't have access to an office scanner.  

4.  Pens and Pencils.  Can some of them be donated to coworkers or the office supply room?  Keep 3 of your favorite pens, a pencil and a high-lighter.  The rest are just excess.

5.  Decor.  Pick 3 items to keep on your desk, donate the other ones or give to the Pam in payables that always comments on her love of your dolphin statue.  

6.  Photos.  Display 5 or fewer.  Any more than that and things start looking messy.  You can keep the others in a folder in your file drawer and swap them in when you want a change.  Better yet, scan them all and get a digital picture frame with USB drive to keep on your desk.

7.  Food.  Check the expiry dates.  Toss.  Keep the rest in one small bin in your drawer or cabinet.

8.  Office Supplies.  Just keep one of everything that you actually use.  Bonus points: just keep the pens, a highlighter and pencil. Let the office store room hold the rest of that stuff for you because you probably won't need it.  See if your coworkers are out of tape and give them one of your 38 rolls.   Keep the rest in a small bin or drawer. 

9. Miscellaneous "Stuff".  There are probably a few items that have nothing to do with your work life.  Take them home, give them back to their owner, donate them - just get them out of your desk. :)

Bonus Points: Wipe down your desk and drawers before you put stuff back into them. It's probably pretty crusty.  Yuck. 

<3 kat.png

Why Hire a Professional Organizer?

Hi there!  

In case you're visiting this site for the first time - maybe from Yelp, Google or a referral - I wanted to tell you a few of the benefits of hiring a professional organizer.  

We've seen it all before and we know:

Where to start. 

How to make the process fun!

How to get the job done in half the time it would have taken you on your own.

That you're not a hoarder, and even if you are, that's cool, we can help.

What organizing tools you need. 

Where to get the best tools.

How to dispose of it.  Whatever "it" is. 

Where to dispose of it.

Where to sell it. 

Where to donate it. 

Our services can be a tax write-off. Ask your CPA for details!

Compared to the cost of the "stuff" in an average American household (300,000 items!!!), our services are inexpensive.  

And can save you money in the long run.  No more "I can't find it, I guess I'll buy another". 

How to teach you new routines and systems so you don't need to call us back again. 

How to help you simplify your life so things don't get out of control.

 

Organizing is a bit like getting in better shape.  If you're not in shape, it takes a commitment to get there, but once you are, the maintenance is easy.  If you'll commit to us to do the work, we know you can have the neat and tidy home of your dreams, with less stress to boot.  

And incase you need a refresher every now and then, we now offer shorter sessions and virtual coaching.