Welcome to the Simplified Solution’s Blog!

I’m Bobbie Spera, a Professional Organizer, Home Management Consultant, entrepreneur, and mother to an amazing little boy.  It is my passion and purpose to help others simplify their lives! I do this by providing my clients with a personalized organizing experience, hands-on help, and knowledgeable guidance.

In this blog you can read my Simplified Solutions on everything from kid’s clutter to time management!

Please also take a moment to visit my website as well: www.simplifiedbybobbie.com

There you can:

Oh, and remember to leave me a comment – I LOVE to hear *your* thoughts and tips!

Thanks for visiting,

~Bobbie~

717-316-0160

info@simplifiedbybobbie.com

This is a sticky post! continue reading?

Home Management 101

(I originally wrote this article for Families With Purpose.)

Each new year is an opportunity for a fresh start; a chance to make your life better.  Which is why now is the perfect time to become the COO of your home. The CO-what? The COO – Chief Organizing Officer!  ;-) As moms, wives, and even just as women we typically have the very BIG and important job of running our households (day in and day out).  So, why not have the title to go along with it?!

But, I don’t want you to just have the title… I want you to live up to it.  And here’s how you’re going to do it:  run your home like a business that’s been infused with order and lots of love.  Sound silly?  Well, think about why big businesses are successful.  They have structure, plans, organization, and the dedication to make it work.  I have a feeling that you already have the dedication part which stems from love; so I’m going to show you how to put the rest into place. Read more »

Thanks for Watching!

Thank you to everyone who tuned in and watched me last night on TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive!

Wasn’t that an AMAZING transformation?  I  just wish you could’ve seen all of the hard work that went into it while the cameras weren’t there!  The family really put all they had into it and what a sweet bunch to work with.

That was my FIRST episode, but not my LAST! We’ll be filming another episode starting this month.  I’ll keep you posted on the details as they unfold!

Remember, no matter where you are on the scale of disorganization, Simplified by Bobbie can help!

Watch Bobbie on TLC!

There is some exciting news I’ve been anxiously waiting to share with you.  This past Spring I was contacted by TLC to be the organizer on an episode of Hoarding: Buried Alive!

After the initial skepticism and shock subsided I quickly agreed and then we got to work.  A LOT of time went into working with the client to clear out, organize, and simplify their home; but what an amazing experience it was!

I can’t wait to see the finished episode!  It’s hard to tell how the show will unfold (as TLC shot so much footage).

I hope you’ll tune in and watch along with me.  The air date is Wednesday, December 4.  (As best I know, it will start at 10pm eastern time.)  Double check your guide closer to then and set the DVR!!  ;-)

Remember, no matter where you are on the scale of disorganization, Simplified by Bobbie can help!

Is Your Kitchen Ready for the Holidays?

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming! Is your kitchen ready for the “overtime” it’s about to put in? Think about how much time you’ll soon spend in this area prepping, cooking, baking, and entertaining. Before the madness begins dedicate some time to organizing your kitchen.

When working with clients to simplify their kitchens I always implement zones. Zones are simply areas of like items grouped together in a location that best fits their use. Here are some sample areas:

  • Preparation (an area where you have the most counter space to spread out)
  • Mixing bowls, measuring cups/spoons, cutting boards, knife block, etc
  • Cooking
  • Spices, Oils, Cooking Spray, Cooking Utensils, Pots, Pans, Lids, etc.
  • Baking (may be in the same area as cooking depending on your space & needs)
  • Baking ingredients (ie. baking soda, flour, brown sugar), baking pans, muffin tins, etc.
  • Storage (where you wrap up leftovers and make lunches)
  • Tupperware containers, plastic baggies, cling wrap, foil, etc.
  • Serving
  • Plates, bowls, utensils
  • Beverages (best kept near/above the dishwasher – faster to unload & put them away)
  • Glasses, cups, mugs, etc.
  • Entertaining (infrequently used, store down low or up high)
  • Platters, trays, chip/dip dish, ice bucket, etc.
  • Food (divide into areas w/in the pantry or organized in groups w/in cupboards)
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Snacks
  • Dinner
  • “Extras / Bulk”

Imagine where you naturally gravitate in the kitchen to carry-out these tasks. This is typically where each zone should be set up, with everything for that purpose at your fingertips. Really take time to evaluate where the proper locations of these zones should be. Once in place they will save you time, energy, and stress! You’ll be set for the holidays… and beyond!

(This blog was originally posted by Bobbie for Families with Purpose.)

Situational Disorganization: Becoming a S.A.H.M.

Going from NOT HAVING a baby to HAVING a baby is difficult enough on its own, right?!  BUT when you couple that with transitioning from a full-time career (or even a part-time job) to becoming a Stay-At-Home-Mom (SAHM), it can become quite the culture shock!  As it turns out motherhood is kind of a world all in its own; and it can be a lonely one if you’re not equipped for that transition to stay at home.

When you’re working you typically have routines and a rhythm to your days (ie. get up in the morning, get dressed & ready, go to work, come home, make dinner, relax with your spouse, get ready for bed, go to bed, get up and do it all again the next day).  During that time you have interaction throughout the entire day.  When you’re a SAHM those interactions sometimes go away all together.  It can be hard to maintain relationships when you’re dealing with such a time consuming and busy part of your life.  In a nutshell, it can really take a lot out of you! Read more »

Holidays: Blissfully Busy or Painfully Packed?!

Happy Homemade Holiday!

There’s something to be said about the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But there is a fine line between this time being “blissfully busy” and “painfully packed.” Personally, I’m looking forward to a blissfully busy time this year. However, I can’t say that I’ve always felt that way! So, what changed? Well, the answer is three things really.
Read more »

Situational Disorganization: A New Baby!

The quote that came to mind for this series was “the day before your whole life changes is like any other day”.  Isn’t that so true?  You have no idea that in 24 hours your entire world is going to be different, but it is.

Yes, of course in this situation you know the day before you have a baby that soon you will have a baby.  BUT, if you are a first time parent you have NO IDEA what that is going to mean to you and your life as you know it!!  Even if it’s not your first, you’ve never quite been in this situation before (you’ve never had two kids or three, etc).

I’ve Been There:

Before I had my son (9 years ago) I had it ALL together.  Not a thing out of place in my house, schedule, or in my attire.  And I was naive enough to think I wouldn’t miss a beat once my bundle of joy arrived.  HA!  From the start I had a whole plan of how my hospital stay was going to go, the soothing music to be played while I labored through the pains, the pretty nightgown I’d wear when family visited the hospital, and I even had a planner called something like “Your Organized Pregnancy” to keep me on track.  I know you moms out there are laughing right along with me now, aren’t you?!  Well, in short NONE of that happened; 22 hours of miserable labor led me to an emergency c-section, and there was NO (I repeat NO) soothing music that would get me through that pain.

You can see where this is going, and I could go on and on about toddler-hood stories where I continued to be disillusioned!  Like trying to organize toys by type all while my little guy was working tirelessly against me to undo my clever systems.  I just had no idea, and wish someone would have told me that this particular situation can throw even the most organized person for a loop!  Regardless of your particular experience of bringing new life into the world, I can tell you this… you can’t always be prepared, despite your best efforts.  But the good news is, eventually, you learn.

Lessons Learned:

  • Plan as much as you can, but know you can’t plan for everything. Let yourself off the hook and recognize there is a learning curve (and that’s ok)!  So plan for what you can and “roll with” what you can’t
    • set up a sitter for one afternoon each week so you can run errands or treat yourself
    • make meals ahead and make use of your crock-pot
    • use your bank’s on-line bill payment service to automate bill paying
    • plan a 15 minute quick clean up before nap and bed time
  • Accept help… a lot of help. As independent as you are, it will be a godsend when:
    • someone prepares a dinner for your family,
    • runs an errand on your behalf,
    • or helps around the house (let ‘grandma’ fold the laundry or do the dishes… she’ll be happy to help; remember she’s been there and understands what you’re going through.)
  • Recognize ages & stages… don’t expect more than what is typical for your child’s age.   This is especially good to remember when implementing chores and organizing systems.   In the beginning simply tossing all of the toys into a pretty basket is all the organizing you need.  As your child’s understanding and abilities grow, so can your organizing systems and routines.  (Click on the “Kids & Family” Category to the right, then scroll through pages of my articles related to getting the kiddos organized!)
  • Sometimes good enough is good enough. I hate to say lower your expectations, but you should definitely have revised realistic expectations.  You will no longer have as much time, energy, or focus to complete tasks as you once did.  This goes for anything from housework to relationships!  Of course before I had a baby my house was cleaner and I was free to visit with friends more often… but a baby changes all of that and your expectations should change too.
  • The days are long, but the years are short. When life gets hard, the house is a mess, the baby is crying, and you’re wondering how you’ll do it all again tomorrow… take a deep breath and remember that this too shall pass.  Before you know it the baby will be crawling, then walking, then off to school, and then good grief can I get a hug at the bus stop please (answer: doubtful mom)!

I Conquered That:

After learning those lessons the hard way I found my “groove”… I hesitate to say balance, because that implies everything received equal attention, and that’s not the case.  More so I recognized priorities; the important things (mainly my amazing little kiddo) got the majority of my love, attention, and time… and the rest, well it either got planned in between or simply let go (some forever and some temporarily).  Thankfully, life has a way of showing you what’s important if you are open enough to recognize it.

Situational Disorganization: Been There, Conquered That!

Did you know that, on occasion, even the most organized person can be thrown off their game and tossed into the chaos of disorganization?  It can even happen to a Professional Organizer… gasp!  Truth is, it happens to all of us!  I call it situational disorganization.  These situations are major life events or life changes that break all the rules you have in place and resist the order you’ve worked so hard to create.

In my new blog series “Situational Disorganization:  Been There, Conquered That” I’m going to address some of these situations, how they have the potential to throw you off track, and how to get back on it.  Not only will you get my professional insight, but my personal as well – considering I’ve been there and conquered that!

Here are some of the topics you can look forward to:

  • Having a Child
  • Becoming a S.A.H.M.
  • Building a Business (while Raising a Child)
  • Divorce
  • Relocation
  • Home Renovation

Each of these situations will cause chaos in your life for as long as you allow.  For change to occur you need to recognize the issues, find the breakdown in your current systems, and create new ways of organizing and maintaining life.  That’s when you conquer your situational disorganization and take your life from CoMpLiCaTeD to Simplified.

I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with you in hopes that you can CONQUER whatever situation is challenging you!

**Oh, and on a side note I had been using the term “survived that” until I talk to my friend Jeff Brandes (coach, author, and awesome motivator).  He deserves a shout out for pointing out to me that I’ve not just survived these things, I’ve down right conquered them.  I really liked the sound and feel of that and it’s been my word ever since.  Thanks Jeff!**

If you are in the midst of a difficult situation and would like it added to the series, please submit your idea to info@simplifiedbybobbie.com for consideration.

Happy Simplifying,

Bobbie


Dorm Day or Dooms Day?!

For parents it can be dooms day for teens it’s synonymous with freedom… but either way, when your teen moves out of your house and into a college dorm, there’s a lot to be done!  Where do you start?

You can compare this situation to you relocating to a new home. I always challenge people in this instance to consider one thing:  What do I REALLY NEED to take with me?  Before a single box is packed, your teen needs to ask themselves that same question.  When they do, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • How will I be spending the majority of my time?
  • What will make me feel the comfort of home?
  • Will I have time to maintain what I take?
  • Is it worth taking since I’ll need to bring it home again in a few months?
  • What’s the worst thing that will happen if I don’t take this?
  • Am I ok (or can it be easily replaced) if it gets damaged, lost, or destroyed?

Once they’ve truly and thoughtfully answered those questions, you can begin packing.  It’s nice to pack items into sturdy containers that can serve double duty once moved in.  For example, pack clothes in an under-bed storage container that can continue to be used as clothes storage or can be re-purposed to hold additional school supplies or extra toiletries.  Toting items in colorful stacking crates is convenient, especially when you re-purpose those crates into a functional nightstand (stacked and turned on their sides with the opening turned forward they’ll be perfect shelves for books, a journal, or electronics).  Think outside the box and see what other items you can use as double duty!

Here are a few other items that will be helpful for your teen’s new space:

  • Command Hooks – hang backpacks, hats, accessories, jackets, and more – they go on quick and come off easy when the semester is over
  • Label Maker - a quick label on your items helps prevent confusion between you and your roommate
  • Dry Erase Calendar & Message Decals - always know where you’re supposed to be, with an removable/repositionable dry erase calendar (use the message bubbles to leave notes for your roommate or reminders for yourself)
  • Collapsible Cubes – these colorful cubes make great containers for organizing smaller items, but fold up flat when you’re ready to move (remember to have your teen pick one or two colors as accents for accessories, these will show off their personality and add a pop of fun to an otherwise neutral space)

I hope these tips will transform what could be dooms day into a fantastic dorm day for you and your teen!

Good Luck, Have Fun, and Happy Simplifying

Downsizing & Organizing

As we go through life, we eventually (hopefully) find that LESS is MORE.  Even by the time I’d hit 30, I’d realized how much of YOU can potentially be consumed in life by your house, work, children, family, and friends.  I quickly realized that I was going to have to simplify & downsize, and really let the statement “Less is More” be my mantra.

No matter what age you are, or what stage of life you’re in… if you’re interested in organizing & downsizing, and simply shedding the things that are weighing you down (cluttering up your space) then this is for you!

Whether you are downsizing your actual home or just the amount of possessions you have it’s helpful to assess the way you’re thinking about your things.  To keep you from falling into a habit of “I’m used to having this so I must need it”, here are 5 Questions to Consider when you are going through the Purge/Keep step: Read more »