DIY morning menu chalk board

I needed:
An obvious list of breakfast options my family could easily choose from. 
I needed it to something I could change easily without having to re-write a whole list.  
I needed it to be easy to see - we are not morning people.

I had on hand:
An old cheap wooden tray I hadn't used in over 10 years sitting in my garage.
Red spray paint
Black chalkboard paint
Alligator teeth hanger thing for the back.

What I made:

We love it and it's working out wonderfully!
It keeps things simple and helps me feel organized.

How do you get through the breakfast rush?

well working appliances = simplicity

I mentioned to my husband last week that we either need to clean out the dryer vent or buy a new dryer.  I also mentioned that cleaning out the dryer vent was cheaper.  We added on to our home about 6 years ago and the vent had never been cleaned.  

We recently bought a new water heater at Lowe's and we both noticed a gadget that was designed to help you clean long dryer vents.  When my husband asked me to go back and get it I ran, as I know he does not enjoy being our handy man and this window of opportunity was small.  

The next day I was running errands and I came home to him using said gadget.  We were amazed when we opened up the shop vac.  It was so full of lint. He was so impressed he felt it was worth the time and effort.  

I'm posting this today to remind you to get this important job done.  Why is it important?
  1. You will cut down drying time if your vent is clean, which saves money and energy.
  2. Dyer fires - I don't need any more reasons!
When our appliances work well it helps us live more simple lives doesn't it?  It takes a lot longer to dry out your clothes on the line.  It takes a lot longer for a dyer to get your clothes dry if the dryer vent is clogged.  It's as simple as that.

Here's more info on how and why you need to clean out your dryer vent.

Here is the kit I bought:
And did you know there are a few ways you can recycle lint?  I simply used it as mulch in flower pots.  

Minimalist clothing

Every once in a while I run across a blog that truly inspires me.  I love learning new ways to look at daily tasks, new ways to revamp a system, and love when someone urges me more toward simplicity.

Simplicity does not come natural me.  I love variety, especially when it comes to my wardrobe.  I simply like lots of choices and I like mixing and matching what's in my closet, even though you'll usually find me in shorts and a Life Is Good t-shirt.

Thanks to my excessive use of Instagram, I discovered Un-Fancy.
Every three months she creates a new capsule wardrobe.  I was not moved to create my own capsule wardrobe, although it's fun to see what she chooses to wear for the next three months.

What did make me pause was the fact that she rotates her wardrobe every three months.  It was a light bulb moment for me because I only do this twice a year, which is inefficient.  I mean what I wear in the Spring I am no longer wearing in July and yet it sits out for me to move around and fumble with. It makes so much sense to do this every three months and that also means more opportunity to cull the closet.  And so I did a little bit of that.

And my husband saw my pile of clothes on the floor, asked what I was doing, then he did the same thing!  I struggle to get him to get rid of anything, but he doubled my pile!  I was so proud of him.  

Spend some time at Un-Fancy and read how it makes her feel.

There are some fun creative things going on in the blog world and with home delivery sites when it comes to simplicity and fashion.  Have you heard of Gwynniebee?  What about StitchFix?  These are great services to try out styles and they come right to your door.

What about you?  Have you read a super inspiring blog lately?  Have you used Gwynniebee or StitchFix?  Have you liked the service?

I'm pretty excited to start rotating my closet every three months.  I like how much room is on this hanging rod!
P.S.  I'm sorry my photos are so bad.  I haven't the slightest clue how to photograph in a dark closet!

Neo To Go, Ivory Soap, Avon ANEW, Gelato, Puffs, Shell savings they fit in a Simply Organized life?

As a blogger I get the opportunity to try out products on occasion.  Also as a blogger my perspective is from an organized and simplicity one.  Recently I was sent a nice package full of products to try and I was asked to blog my opinion about them.  It was a random box of stuff from Influenster.   See?

 Neo To Go - unfortunately we got a chance to use this immediately
Pros: Compact, convenient, fits on a key chain or in your purse
Cons: none
Verdict: Awesome.  It didn't sting her boo-boo
Simple/Organized: YES!  A must especially if you have kiddos
 Looky!  Her bandage matches her shoes!
 Breyer's Gelato Indulgences:
Pros: Convenient yet fancy dessert
Cons: Expensive: $4.49-$5.99 per container
Verdict: AMAZING!  All four of us loved this and we want more.
Simple/Organized: Simple!  It's an easy way to share a fancy dessert that tastes amazing without turning on the oven or piling in the car to go some where.  While it's expensive compared to a cheap tub of ice cream it's cheaper than going out for gelato.

Ivory Bar Soap
Pros: It's cheap and it floats
Cons: It's bar soap
Verdict: It's good soap
Simple/Organized: Simple esp. for kids' baths because it floats.  Organized because soap bars are nice and rectangle and store well.  

AVON Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother
Pros: Nice slim compact, it's silky smooth (Through 8/1/14 receive 15% off your ANEW purchase of $50 or more at with code ANEW15).
Cons: An additional step in a make-up routine
Verdict: I think it works.  I don't really have a lot to smooth out.  I don't have a lot of fine lines.  It does feel nice on the face but I won't be using it. I don't have time to add another product to my face.  
Simple/Organized: If you are streamlining the amount of products you use daily this does not make it more simple.  However, it is a nice square compact so it doesn't take up awkward space.  

Puffs To Go
Pros: Convenient and soft
Cons: none
Verdict: Hallelujah!
Simple/Organized: Both!  

Shell Fuel Rewards Network Card
Pros: Save 3 cents at the pump minimum, sign up was simple.
Cons: There's a lot more savings to be had but I simply don't have time to read it and learn it right now.
Verdict: Who doesn't love saving money on gas?!
Simple/Organized: Shell has a gas station super close to me so this actually makes saving simple for me.  When fill up you swipe your rewards card first, just like you would at Sams club.  The screen shows you your rewards (3 cents off), then when you choose your type of gas you can also see that the price you are pumping is actually 3 cents less than the listed price on the sign.  Please use this link to register.

I saved an extra $.50 per gallon today!
When you register a Mastercard and use it to buy gas you get a $.50 cents per gallon reduction the second time you use that Mastercard!  How fantastic is that?!  This card is worth it just for that one-time reward!  Sign up today with this link!

Thank you Influenster for giving us this wonderful TLCVoxBox of fun!  I enjoyed trying them and sharing my honest opinion.

How to pull off a garage sale the easy way

1. Involve just a few friends.
2. Use a remote location like a church space.
3. Make pricing simple.
4. Agree that everything left over gets donated.
5. Share with each other what you will do with the cash you just earned.

1. Too many people and it gets confusing to sort out the money.  Too few and it's not as much fun.  One person can work on signage, another on marketing the sale...
2. You can set up all week long and none of you is giving up your garage or house space for the week.
3. Tell every customer that all clothes are $1 unless marked etc.
4. The point of the sale is to de-clutter.  Because it's already out of your house you don't want to bring it back.  Designate one of you to be the drop off person, while one sorts money, and the other cleans up post-sale.
5. It's fun to learn how de-cluttering for cash is providing needs for your friends: swim lessons for kids, food money for vacation, spending money for the constant $2 needs, etc.

While lingering after coffee one morning I told Vanessa and Natalie that I had set a date for a garage sale, it was 2 weeks away and you would have thought I'd offered them chocolate straight from Santa.  They almost squealed saying, "Can I get in on that? I need to have a sale so bad but the thought of it is too overwhelming."  What do you know, my chosen date actually worked out for all three of us so we teamed up.  As you can see we each made a decent amount of money for our efforts and we had fun.  I heard both of these creative girls talk about how much stuff they accomplished in just two weeks after this sale because they felt lighter in all areas of their life.

Don't just say you're going to have a garage sale...DO IT!  'Tis the season!

Life of a blogger, site suggestions, book suggestion, and a great article!

So the site has been light on content I know (but this post is loaded with some goodies).  Why?

I'm busy.

I'm balancing my family with my businesses.  I'm constantly weighing where my time is best (most efficiently) spent based on my priorities. I'm trying to not to see my kids as blogging distractions.  It's the age-old struggle of trying to be your own person while caring for everyone else and hoping no one suffers, including you.

I am cleaning my house and asking for help when I need it.

I am caring for friends in need.

I am going on field trips with my oldest daughter and planning birthday playdates for my youngest.

I am organizing.  I am de-cluttering my own home.

I am keeping a health log because I want to know why my blood pressure has been a little high.  And I'm getting old.

I am meal planning and cooking all while shopping for a new range because my oven is not heating anymore.  I guess that happens when your oven is 22 years old.

I am missing our International student who returned to Pakistan.  Matters of the heart do wear you out.

I am trying to focus on budgeting and staying within that budget and also learning to forgive myself when I don't live within my own healthy boundaries.

I am not missing any soccer games.

And honestly, blogging takes a lot of time.  A reader sits down and devours a post in 5 minutes.  But the blogger has taken photos, edited photos, added text (website info so no one steals your photo), makes photo collages, has organized  her photos, plotted the story, written the story and edited the story (and gets mad at herself for still missing typos), schedules the post, then shares it on all the social sites she can.  Because let's face it, if you've spent an hour or more on a blog post, you want lots of people to read it.  Otherwise, what is the point?  When you say yes to something (writing a post), you say no to something else (spending time with your kid, cleaning, paying bills etc.).

This is the life of a mommy-blogger.  Not every mommy-blogger, but this one for sure.  I am sure most of you can relate to the push and pull in life.  I love sitting down to blog.  I hate feeling like my kids are a distraction because they are not, they are people, and are more important.  I love sharing ideas with you and sharing spaces we have made better for our clients, I hate the frustration of dealing with software that freezes on me half way through my photo work (no water marks on these photos - I'm done fighting with software today).

That is some of why the content has been light. When I say yes to something, I am saying no to something else and there is only room for so much.  And that is all okay.  When you try to go full-tilt at everything and don't say no to anything you burn out and no one gets the best of you, everyone just gets shattered pieces.  Life is too short to live stressed.  

Simply Organized is still here helping families in Northwest Arkansas live more simple lives with less stuff.  We are still here helping you love your homes and life.  

Are you a blog reader?  Leave a comment for your favorite bloggers thanking them for impacting you.  Most bloggers don't make a single dime for their efforts and hearing from readers is the only compensation they receive so hearing from you can make their day.  Social share posts you like, it's helpful to bloggers.  Do what you can to support those that help and inspire you.

Sites I love:
Natalie Creates
Recipe For Crazy

My latest book suggestion:

Get more info at Amazon.
And an incredible article everyone should read and live by:
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