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Why Decluttering your Kitchen Will Help you Eat Healthier

Eat Healthier
It’s the month of January and many of us are trying to eat healthier and make better food choices. We know that clutter causes stress, anxiety and a sense of feeling overwhelmed. Not many realize that a cluttered environment can also keep us from being successful in making good food choices. What if our home environment, specifically our kitchens are sabotaging our dieting efforts?

 

Tired and hungry after a long day, you may be confronted with all the clutter and to-do’s in your kitchen. In that moment, your stress level may go up, but it is unlikely you will want to declutter! Your brain will seek something pleasurable instead, and you might want to reach for the bag of chips on the counter.
Research shows that if we unclutter the kitchen counters and pantry cupboards we may eat fewer snacks. Brian Wansink, PhD., Cornell Food Psychologist, author of the book Slim by Design states that according to research, people who live in cluttered environments eat 44% more snacks

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The Case for Handwritten Thank You Notes

Thank You Notes are an Important Tradition

The holidays are about traditions. Some holiday traditions are generic and some are unique to the family, some are old and some new. At some point, the job of passing on these traditions shifts from the grandparents, to parents of young children. It’s not discussed, it just happens that way. Family traditions need repetition in order to carry on, much like good habits need repetition to stick. In our half Jewish family, we do a great job with the traditions surrounding Christmas, but we are lousy about lighting the menorah at Hanukkah. This year we only remembered the first day, shame on us. Actually, shame on my husband and me, because we need to be the ones to carry out these traditions so that they become ingrained in our children’s experience of the holidays. It’s that whole lead by example thing. Something else the kids won’t continue, if we don’t,

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A Calmer Home Environment May Help Reduce Your Anxiety

anxious woman

Anxiety: You Are Not Alone in How You Feel

Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the US. That is a lot of folks who very often feel panicked, overwhelmed, tense, may have low self-worth, intrusive thoughts, and paralyzing self-doubt that affect their daily life. Sometimes you may successfully hide how you feel while in public, sometimes you withdraw. Anxiety can be mentally and physically exhausting. It affects every facet of life. Sometimes, not even those closest to you, understand

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Get Your Paperwork Under Control This Month!

Organize paperwork

It’s January and that means it’s time to catch up on things like paperwork and bills. Time to pay that holiday credit card bill (ouch!) and finish up returns and exchanges. As you pay your bills and do your filing, you might notice how full your file cabinets have become over the past year. January is the perfect time to purge paper. Doing it now will not only help you feel in control, but with everything neatly filed, tax season will be a breeze!
Do you have a pile of old utility statements?

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Simplify Experts Receives Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016!

Simplify Experts 2016 Super Service Award
We are so proud to announce that for the third year in a row, Simplify Experts has earned the coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award. This award goes to the top 5% of service companies which service the local area marketplace. The winners must meet strict eligibility criteria including an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade and review period grade. We are thrilled and excited to continue to provide excellent professional home organizing services to the Seattle area.

 

Simplify Experts is the most accredited professional organizing firm in the Pacific Northwest.  In addition to other accreditations, Denise Allan  is the only Master Trainer in Chronic Disorganization in the PNW.
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Making the Decision to Get Organized – Are you Truly Ready?

Are you ready
Making any life change requires a strong decision. We believe there are 3 qualifiers to any strong decision we make.  If these three qualifiers are there, the decision to engage in any activity or life path is easy.  On the other hand, if one or more of these qualifiers are missing, then potential for failure increases.
When working with potential organizing clients we talk through these three qualifiers to establish if the client is truly ready for change.

 

1) What’s your why?

Why do you want to start organizing your home?  If you have ownership of this decision, then we are good to go.  On the other hand, getting organized to stop your husband nagging is not a strong enough reason to initiate. You should want it for yourself.  You might be thinking, “I want to organize my bedroom, to create a beautiful space to wake up to, and not have piles of papers and boxes of items I need to sort through daily. “  Perhaps you have learned over time that your ADD brain needs to start quietly from bed, to ease into a productive day. These reasons sound like a solid why.

 

2) Do you have the support you need?

In some situations, we may decide on a course of action and be off and running.  In other
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Do You Need a Clutter Diet?

One in four gifts may go unused. Sparefoot.com study says.

What to do With Unwanted Gifts

Once the holidays are over, “on average, more than 1 in 4 gifts go unused.” “79% of Americans admit they never use some of their gifts,” found a recent study by Sparefoot.com. That means in a family of five receiving 4 gifts each, every holiday season 5 items would go unused. If these unwanted and unused items remain in the home over 10 years this would be 50 items. 50 boxes taking up space needed for other things. This number is very conservative – many more gifts are given in a typical family. This statistic also doesn’t include gifts received for birthdays and other special days as well. All these potentially unwanted gifts contribute to our clutter, our overstuffed closets, cupboards, and toy chests.

Why do we keep unwanted items?

Folks will often tell us: “We should keep it because it was a gift. We may use it one day. We can’t give it away it is brand new. The gift has value. Maybe we’ll re-gift it. Maybe someone in the family will use it.”

Clutter causes anxiety

When we keep unwanted items eventually our homes become cluttered and this clutter creates stress and anxiety. If the closets are full then it becomes difficult to retrieve what we need. We lose track of where things are. Toys take over several rooms in the house because there is no more space in the children’s bedrooms or playroom. Kitchen counters disappear under unused appliances and gadgets making meal preparation and cleaning difficult. Garages fill up with bins and boxes and cars no longer fit. The home stops being a restful place.  Anxiety and stress impacts how the family functions.

Gift Obligation

Once the receiver thanks the giver warmly, the receiver has no further obligation to the giver. If your children receive a new board game from grandma and show little interest in playing it, snap a picture of the kids playing the game and let it go. If you receive a duplicate on something you already own, consider donating one of the items.

Clutter Diet

Clutter in our homes has also been linked to poor diet choices. Cluttered kitchens have been linked to increased snacking. Many Americans will make New Year’s Resolutions to eat better or to begin a diet. Many agree that in addition to a food diet they also need a clutter diet.

One in One Out

To keep clutter from growing, utilize the one in one out policy. If you received a holiday gift of a kitchen gadget you are excited about, donate a kitchen gadget from your cupboards that you no longer use. Love your new Nespresso coffee machine? Donate your old coffee maker. This way you will create space for your new gift without increasing the volume of stuff in your home. Utilize this strategy in every room of your home.

 
Much like eating healthfully, keeping a home clutter free is an ongoing challenge. Both require tenacity. To be successful, sometimes we seek the assistance of a nutritionist and sometimes we seek the support of a professional home organizer! Are you ready to begin your clutter diet in 2017?

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Forget New Year’s Resolutions, We Celebrate you Today!

We celebrate the clients of Simplify Experts

I began writing this blog about New Year’s Resolutions. I was going to encourage you all to declutter, organize, simplify. Then I remembered that New Year’s Resolutions don’t actually work for the majority of people who try to set them. So, I began to write a blog about all the reasons why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work and tips for setting better, S.M.A.R.T. goals. That might have been nice, but let’s face it, it is the holiday season and you don’t need to be reminded of all the things you are NOT doing.

So instead, I would like to CELEBRATE YOU and what you HAVE accomplished this year; all of you, our amazing clients, our dear followers and our friends!

You have made it through 2016! I am going to say it, it’s been a doozy of a year. But, you have tirelessly nurtured and supported your family. You had fun but of course there were ups and downs. You learned, you took risks, slogged through, and rocked it. You know, normal life stuff…

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Professional Home Organizer’s Favorite Podcast!

Professional organizers enjoy Happier a podcast from author Gretchen Rubin

We enjoy a weekly podcast called Happier with Gretchen Rubin.  She discusses how to build positive habits into our daily lives. Here are some of Gretchen’s awesome tips.

  • Gretchen says: “Don’t accumulate excessive amounts of things“: free mugs, rubber bands, plastic take out containers, soy sauce packets, chopsticks.  These things have perceived value; you’ll never need more than 10 rubber bands, so come up with a max number and only keep that amount.
  • Gretchen’s one-minute rule: to help yourself keep on top of small annoying little tasks. To keep clutter down, consider setting a microwave timer for one-minute:  you can pick up a few toys, or hang up coats, put away a pair of shoes, or recycle junk mail, or put dishes in the dishwasher. If you do this a few times a day, or even once a day, you will notice more peace and less clutter around your home.
  • From research, Gretchen found that when people are under a ton of stress they go deeper into their habits whether they are good or bad habits…so it is important to have good habits to fall back on when things are tough. For the same reason, it is important to teach our children good habits starting when they are young.
  • Another Gretchen mantra is: “Outer order contributes to inner calm.” Clean up or organize one small area in your home. 10 minutes. A drawer, or desktop. You will feel control over the stuff of life and you will feel more calm and satisfied, and energized.
  • “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” A quote from Voltaire used by Gretchen Rubin in a recent podcast. We love this quote. In short it means we shouldn’t strive for unobtainable perfection, but rather, be honest with ourselves about our available time and energy. This applies to clutter in many ways. For example, some moms dream of creating beautiful custom scrapbooks for each of their children, but haven’t been able to get started for years, all the while hanging onto to every piece of their child’s memorabilia making the project more daunting by the day. Some folks hang on to broken furniture or appliances with intention of repairing them. As a result, they may lose the functionality of a garage or closet where the item takes up much needed storage space.
 Check out Gretchen Rubin’s podcast for more handy tips on how to be happier!
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What do you Want For the Holidays?

What I want for the holidays

Dear Family:
I am so happy the holidays are here. Before you think about buying me anything this holiday season, I feel that I should tell you that I don’t need a single thing. Seriously, I have everything a person could want in multiples. Anyhow, I like to think of myself as an aspiring minimalist and an “under-buyer.” (Thank you Gretchen Rubin for that term)

You’ll roll your eyes, but I am trying to resist the forces of consumerism that surrounds us. I don’t need

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