Summer Get Up N’ Go Pack

Fun Exploring

Summer is here! It is sometimes difficult to know what the weather is going to be like but it sure is nice to be ready if you decide on a last minute day trip! So most of us have an extra backpack kicking around – why not make up a bag so that when the weather and the timing is right you are all ready to go?

Here is your list of ‘ingredients’ to help make your adventure successful.

☼Bug spray
☼Small hand sanitizer or moistened wipes
☼Water bottles/water pack (1 per family member). Reusable is better for our environment!
☼A few small toys for the car ride (car bingo sheet, paper, crayons,
☼Small first aid kit
☼Sheet or thin blanket for picnic or rest
☼Small tissue pack
☼Light jacket or hoodie
☼Sunglasses and or hats (protect your skin and eyes)
☼$ in case of emergency (or an ice cream stop☺)
☼Camera if you don’t have one on your phone; good for capturing those special memories.
Don’t forget snacks. If you are hiking dried fruits, nuts, granola and sandwiches are easy to carry and not too messy!

This list can be tailored depending on what your trip is. If you are going to the beach substitute your picnic blanket for towel and for toys grab some bubbles and sand pails.

Most of all don’t forget to have FUN!!!

Summertime Fun
Summertime Fun

For more great summertime FUN ideas, grab your copy of Simplify: Summer for only $4.99! It’s jam-packed with ideas for making this summer the best EVER! Click to download your copy: Simplify: Summer

Minimalist Packing

minimalist packing


We’ve gotten pretty good at packing light. This is important now that some airlines have begun to charge for ALL bags! There was the spur of the moment trip to Great Falls Montana where the Cevrainis left their house with nothing but a change of clothes, some P.J.’s and a few snacks! It was one of the best weekend’s ever! (The whole story is back on my personal blog: ) I went to Edmonton for the week for work in the spring, and only took a back pack and my laptop bag (pictured above)! I had enough clothes for the week, including some workout stuff. Krystal and I went to North Carolina for the weekend for a retreat and we had a duffel bag each! Our families went to Florida this spring for 10 days and the Worths (5 people) had 3 suitcases and the Cevrainis had 4 (one for each person). We saw families with A LOT more than that and they struggled through the airport. Never again will we be like that.

The benefit is, it usually only takes me about 15 minutes to pack and then I don’t have a ton of stuff to try to carry around! I love it! The only thing we were missing for Montana was swim suits, but we did that on purpose because we all needed new ones and they were cheaper there! LOL!

Here’s my list of things that I normally pack in my suitcase (to be checked):

  1. PJ’s
  2. Toothbrush & paste
  3. Shampoo & soap
  4. Small bottle body lotion
  5. Norwex facecloth – this is the only thing I use on my face
  6. Norwex towel – this is light weight and dries quickly
  7. Contacts, solution & glasses
  8. Minimal “first aid” – tylenol, homeopathics etc.
  9. Feminine hygiene
  10. 4 pairs undies & socks
  11. 1 sport bra
  12. Capris or my other comfy pants
  13. 2 short-sleeve tops
  14. 2 long sleeve running tops – these are nice and are cool or warm for every day, great for layers
  15. 1 yoga pant
  16. 1 yoga top
  17. Swim suit
  18. Sandals
  19. Journal & Pens
  20. Books (1 or 2)

Here’s my list of things that I normally pack in my carry on:

  1. Passport and documentation
  2. My small wallet
  3. Book and notes that I’m working on
  4. iPhone and/or GPS for travel car (and charger)
  5. Laptop
  6. Few granola bars and snacks
  7. Kleenex
  8. Gum & mints
  9. Lip balm
  10. Water

Try packing less the next time you travel. What’s the worst that can happen? You may need something, but chances are it’s pretty minor. You won’t regret it – and you’ll love the ease of moving through the airport compared to the others that need a cart!


What I Didn’t Do (and What I Did)

I was beating myself up like I do sometimes.

Ever do this: think about all the stuff you didn’t get done? All the things you “messed up”?

This week, I didn’t:
  • Get more toilet paper! I mean, who runs out of toilet paper?!?!
  • Run – AT – ALL…even though every time I saw a runner, I longed to join her.
  • Do laundry. Not a single load. And who preaches about doing a load every other day??
  • Get my photo book done yet. Yep, I wanted it done yesterday!
  • Catch up on paperwork from post holiday that was two weeks ago now!
  • Stop myself from laying the guilt trip on my daughter when she was having a fit about a lost hat (that was me feeling guilty because I may or may not have indeed been the reason it was lost..
  • Go to bed early and get up at 5 like I like to do
  • Not cry at work just because I’m not superwoman and making everything perfect everywhere.
How about we try this: what DID I do so far this week:
  • Have all the supper meals planned so far so that we haven’t had to scramble for food on our busy nights
  • Help my daughter get rest and good food while she has the busiest, most stressful week of her year
  • Have a visit and lunch with my hubby and parents, talking about our garden plans getting advice from the expert
  • Restrain myself from screaming at stressed out daughter and instead pulled her in for a hug and a “i understand kiddo, and you got this” talk that helped her pick herself up and push on
  • Acknowledge and thank my little man for doing what I ask
  • Drive all over for dance without speeding like a maniac
  • Watch a movie that I’ve been wanting to watch with my sweetheart
  • Just have coffee with my friend instead of always talking shop
  • Listen to the robins for a little while and remember how much I’ve always loved  doing that.
  • Helped a few folks along their healthy living journey
  • Said good morning to strangers in the street
  • Write an imperfect blog post on my phone just so that I could write
We all stumble. Some days, are worse than others. If we sit and focus on all that we don’t do and mistakes we’ve made, it WILL be that way every day. EVERY DAY.
However, I’ve come to believe that EVERYONE has one good thing they have done and have happen to them.  Find that one thing and be grateful. It will mean all the difference in your life. Just one thing, everyday. Watch it grow.

Clutter Chaos

gerberia daisies

The dog wants out in the middle of the night. As you fumble towards the front door, you trip over the pile of clothes in the bedroom, bump over the box in the hall, stub your toe on the stack of books at the top of the stairs and have to push the coats & shoes out of the way as you struggle to get the door open…

You decide that you want to make a special cake for your 8 year old for his birthday. After pulling 8 pans out of the cupboard, including a bundt cake pan (what the heck is that thing for, anyway?), you finally find the one you’re looking for. You rummage through the pantry trying to find the brown sugar. When you finally find it, you realize that it is hard as a rock. You run to the store and end up buying a cake from the shelf instead; for twice the price of the sugar…

Your husband calls you from work and offers to take you out for dinner. You are elated and excited. After spending 10 minutes looking for your babysitter’s number on that piece of paper, you jump in the shower and knock over 3 shampoo bottles that have a tiny bit of shampoo left in them. Then you try to grab a fresh towel and pull down 5 others in the process. You untangle the cords from 4 different curling irons. You rummage through the closet past outfits you wore 10 years ago to find your favorite pair of jeans. You realize the top you wanted to wear is wrinkly in the dryer. 15 minutes later, you realize that the iron you plugged in isn’t heating up because it’s the one that your hubby was going to fix and you remember you bought a new one two months ago and find it still in the bag from the store sitting beside the freezer. After dumping 3 make-up bags out onto the counter in the bathroom, you’ve got your mascara on and quietly pray that it’s only a year old instead of the two you think it is. Your husband gets home and you realize that you forgot to tell him to pick up the babysitter. You get annoyed that he didn’t think of that and you start the evening off glaring at each other…

Everyone in the family is exhausted. You check the calendar and realize that there are 3 times in the week that you have to be in the opposite sides of town at the same time. You can’t remember the last time all of you sat down and had a meal together. You don’t remember the last time you just played a game with the kids or had a pajama day and just stayed home. If you’re not going to a practice or a recital; you’re heading to the mall “for something to do”. You realize that there are several items of clothing in all the closets (some still in bags) that have never been worn and are now too small. You have multiple projects on the go, and haven’t touched any of them in months. You are exhausted, and just don’t know what to do.

We have been there too, we know what it’s like. We’ve been doing a lot of minimalizing over the past couple years, we’re here to help you. Minimalizing isn’t about throwing out everything in the house. It isn’t about living like a hermit. It’s focusing on what is really important and getting rid of all the excess. It’s not about keeping up with what everyone else has or does; it’s about doing what is best for you and your family.

The Simple Life Gals encourage you to go through different areas in your homes and lives and really prioritize what is important to you. We welcome your questions and we’ll support you in whichever way we can. If you would like to book a session, with us, check out our sessions here: Organizing Services.

Spring is in the Air

This is an article that I wrote last year that fits well with this weeks theme.You may want to do a personal challenge of your own? Even if it is a small challenge, it is still moving forward! Follow Shawna on Simple Life Celebration’s Facebook page as she completes her 365 Thing challenge by getting rid of at least one item per day for the WHOLE year! 

☼Spring is in the air, the snow is melting, the sun is shining and the geese are beginning to fly back home. It’s as if that fresh air and sunshine brings with it this yearning to clean and find order in our lives! With Spring comes the inspiration to clean and tackle those areas that don’t regularly get touched.


I have been reading endless blog posts not only about Spring cleaning but also about clearing mental clutter, clearing emotional clutter and not letting other distractions get in the way of living life. I mean REALLY living life! I am taking this all as a sign from the Universe that this year we need to put a spin on things; in true Simple Life style. 😉


We say it all the time. We are not only Professional Organizers, we want to help you simplify your lives so that you can take the time to enjoy the important things. In fact this week I took a few minutes to physically write down a list of simple pleasures. You know the things that we so often take for granted. Many things that I wrote revolved around time; taking a moment to really enjoy the company of friends and family, going for a bike ride, surprising someone with a kind word or note of appreciation, cuddles and LOTS more. What if we made the time to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures? Wouldn’t life be grand!?!


And the thought that screams into many people’s heads is but I just don’t have the time! Poppy cock I say! I challenge you to really look at the time in your day. You may spend an hour watching some show on TV that you won’t even remember in the morning. Are you on Facebook once or twice a day? How much time do you spend on it? How often do you sneak on the computer or your phone to check emails? Do you find that you have subscribed to way more than you can find to read? Are you running from one thing to the next all week long? Perhaps it is time to recheck priorities and figure out what truly matters to you. Life gets crazy at times but if you don’t want it to be busy then evaluate your schedule.


Last year Shawna and I had our Minimalist Challenge. This was where we divided all of the areas in our homes into zones and tackled each one individually. We got rid of LOTS of stuff that we did not need, love, or use. We gave ourselves two weeks to get each space done. (Empty, clean, sort, purge, reorganize, put back together, and get the donations/recycling out of our houses.) It was really quite freeing and it was doable because we all did it together. We encouraged each other and were accountable. It was a personal challenge with a manageable time limit!


This year we wanted to do a followup to the Minimalist Challenge from last Spring.

We are calling it the Simple Spring Cleanse.

Here is the actual definition.



verb (tr)


  1. to remove dirt, filth, etc, from

  2. to remove guilt from


We want to cover both of the above definitions. By all means feel free to do the usual Spring clean but we are asking ourselves to also think not only about the physical stuff but also the mental, emotional, and even digital clutter that inhabits our worlds on a a daily basis.

What sorts of things can we get rid of?


  • items in your home that are broken, that you no longer need, want, or love.

  • magazine, newspaper or other subscriptions that you no longer read.

  • email/blog subscriptions that take time away from other important things that you want to do. (Keep you favourites only!)

  • Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google plus etc.- can you limit these in any way? Can you cut down your time here or have a day a week that you disconnect? Joshua Becker from Becoming Minimalist talks about Finding Significance in a World of Distractions. YES, love it! The gist is to recognize the distractions and manage them.

  • Emotional clutter. What is this anyway? Bernice Wood from the Blog, Living the  Balanced Life talks about what it is here:

Some of the emotional clutter we may carry:

Worries Low self-image

Toxic relationship Guilt

Anxiety Fear

Inability to trust Anger

Negative outlook, pessimist

Read more about this!


  • Mental Clutter. The Minimalist’s, Ryan Nicodemus writes about Decluttering your Mental Clutter. He describes this as “the voices in your head that won’t be quiet.” We all know about that. Those things from the past or present that make you feel anxious and weigh on your mind. These included physical health, circumstances, and past troubles. Time to deal with these and say good bye!



  • Unfinished projects. If it has been sitting around forever and you haven’t dealt with it then decide if this is something you really want to do. If you do then stop making excuses and schedule time to do it!
  • Nostalgic clutter. Gretchen Rueben author of the Happiness Project describes this as, “things you hold on to from your past that you don’t need or use.  Things like old text books, old love letters, etc.” I think I may still have all of my binders and textbooks from college. Hmmmm…

  • Aspirational clutter. How about those jeans that you are hoping to fit back into again?

  • Commitments. How many things are you involved in? Are you running from one activity to the next all the time? Do you want to be? Do you have time for the things that you really want to do?


Sound good? We think so! Let’s do this together. We can share stories and support on our Facebook page too.


The end result is happiness in the palm of our hands….Mmmmmm…..


Need help getting started? We can help!

A Meal Planning Gift to You

meal planning

On Saturday Shawna and I enjoyed a lovely latte at our favorite coffee shop! We decided to grab our new cookbooks and favorite recipes and compile our meal plan for the week. All we needed were our recipe books and binders, our handy weekly meal plan sheet and a pen. It was a nice way to visit, share ideas and get a healthy meal plan for the week!

Why do we meal plan? There are several reasons for meal planning and the biggest reason for me is to save time during the week. I save time trying to decide what to eat, get the groceries for that meal, and then prepare it. By doing up a meal plan I can prep ahead of time and have all of the ingredients ready to go.

What are other the benefits of meal planning?
● you will eat out less
● with a plan you will eat less pre packaged meals
● you will always have the groceries that you need
● less food waste because every food on your list will have a purpose
● you will save money
● you will eat a good variety of meals
● you will be eating healthier
● your family can participate in the meal plan
● you won’t have the stress of trying to figure out what’s for dinner
● less time wasted figuring out what to eat and grocery shopping
● less trips to the store means less impulse shopping and temptations

I would like to give you a template for a meal plan that I made to help you get started and on your way to healthy, happy meal planning!

Click here to download your copy: Weekly Meal Plan

Weekly-Meal-Plan1 pic








Bon appetit!



Open post
Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Simply Reflecting

WARNING: This post may contain extreme pride!

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!
Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Last weekend Shawna and I got together to evaluate our business and how we did last year. I knew that we had accomplished a fair bit but was really surprised when we started to write it all down. Let’s just say that I am so freaking proud of us for what we have accomplished in 2012!

  • The Celebrate Life Summit; a week long celebration that included 9 live events and 15 interviews with many of our favorite blogger friends.
Freezing in February for the Food Bank Event
Freezing in February for the Food Bank Event












  • More organizing sessions with some fantastic clients
  • More speaking engagements
  • The release of THREE new E-books
  • A Simple, Healthy Kitchen Event
Health Street Event
Health Street Event














The SLC Gals







  • We have been providing y’all with daily challenges on our Facebook page. We have had good feedback from these!
  • We have taken our own advice and SIMPLIFIED; no more doing things the hard way!
  • We have welcomed more clients and subscribers and appreciate you ALL so much!
  • We were featured as Champions of Technology.
  • We attended a Community Information Night and met some people interested in organizing.
  • We have met so many mentors, friends, and amazing clients!

We couldn’t be more grateful for all of the opportunities that we have had. Our goal is to help people simplify their lives by ditching the clutter and the guilt. This will continue to be our goal in 2013. We cannot wait to share our next exciting plans with you!


Calendar Craziness

It’s New Year’s Eve!!

What a perfect time to get going on celebrating all that was 2012 (We LOVED 2012 and are so thankful for YOU!) and move forward to 2013.

That’s what I love about New Year’s – it’s a “stepping forward” and “new beginnings”! However, both Krystal and I believe that resolutions do not stick unless you really mean them. We don’t even like to call them “resolutions”! Personally, I like to sit down a few days prior and just after to physically write down my goals and plans for the coming year. I loved, LOVED using my Create Your Goddess Year Workbook and I’m soooooo stoked as I have begun to use my new Create Your Incredible Year Workbook & Calendar (click to get your own!)


Krystal gave me a gorgeous calendar of the two of us that I will be using for SLC planning. We’ll also be using our new Create Your Incredible Year – Business Edition from Leonie Dawson to set up our intentions and track our progress! The Cevraini’s also have a STARS calendar on the wall where all the family stuff gets written down and can be visible from the supper table when those discussions come up. I usually have my daughter and husband help with filling in school holidays, school field trips, hubby’s work schedule and more. You don’t have to do all the work! It’s good for everyone to get involved in the calendar process – this is a MUST KNOW life skill! (Note to self: Get my sons more involved in this process!)

As most of you know, we’re pretty techie too. We love to sit down with pen and paper and create with these gorgeous paper calendars & workbooks, but we also MUST have all of this marked down in our iPhones for on the go. We use Google Calendar for this each and every day. This way, we’ve got our SLC calendars side by side with our family calendars and personal calendars. I created a little video  showing you how to do this for your family too!

(turn up your volume, I’m a little quiet in this one!)

We can help you get your calendars organized with a one on one mini-session – 77$ for 1 hour in the evening/weekend to get you started. We can even do this virtually! Contact us if you’d like to know more!

Did you know:

  • We post daily challenges on Facebook to help you get organized one step at a time?
  • You can also follow us on Twitter for these and other tips & tricks!
  • We live in Olds, Alberta Canada, but can help you virtually, anywhere in the world! We are tech-savvy organizers!

Towards a Simpler Christmas

simple Christmas

Written by Shawna November 2011

Well, it’s getting much closer now…we just got some snow here this week. Honestly, we’ve been pretty lucky that we haven’t had any up until now. That’s been kinda unusual! But with the snow, for me [S], comes more thoughts on Christmas.

As many of you know, I’ve been working toward a more Minimalist lifestyle. In particular, less stuff and MORE FUN has become my motto. This holds true for our Christmas plans this year.
We are going to be going to Disney World in the spring, plus, we’ve decided that we really don’t need so much STUFF. The kids’ Christmas wish list actually only had 5 items on it, most of which were pretty minimal. They even decided to ask for an XBOX 360 together (we’ll see what Santa thinks on that one) rather than thinking about separate stuff.
I have asked family to refrain from getting the kids so much STUFF – it’s not that we don’t appreciate it all, but we’ve come to love the time spent much more than the things we have – including the kids! They’ve discovered that they’d much rather go DO something than sit here surrounded by all their stuff that they just end up having to clean up all the time!
We each have our “things” that we love. Of course, for me, it’s my computers and iPhone. For my husband, his games and his beer stuff. My kids – their movies and lego and games too. But…our favorites have become each other more and more and that makes me VERY happy.
I’m encouraging people to give more gifts of time instead of stuff. What do I mean by that? I’ll give you some examples
  1. Wrap a new game and an invite for friends to come over and play at your house some night during the year. Make it a family friendly one – there are lots of them like the Cranium games and many different Monopoly versions are available.
  2. I recently stayed at the Executive Royal Inn in Calgary – they have a special offer that I think would be an AWESOME gift for your family! Instead of a bunch of little things that the kids would play with once, try this: “All Inclusive” Family Getaway Package: Deluxe accommodation for 2 nights, Prime Rib buffet dinner for 2 nights, breakfast buffet for 2 days, Family of 5 Zoo pass, Boxed lunch for the Calgary Zoo trip – $399 incl. taxes – that would be more fun and a little mini-holiday that you would all enjoy. Look for more deals like that one! You don’t have to go far!
  3. Season passes to area amusement parks, zoos, museums, etc – whatever your family favorite is. It’s cheaper to buy them ahead of time, and you’re going to go anyway, so why not make it a gift!?
  4. Shared babysitting between family and friends – babysit for free for each other, even overnight, so that each of you can have quiet, personal space “away” from the kids. Learn who you are as a couple again!
  5. Tickets to live theatre or music concert – Believe it or not, my kids (and my husband and I) absolutely LOVE life theatre! We’ve seen everything from small local productions of Willy Wonka to the Lion King and all have had my children mesmerized! It’s fun getting all dressed up and going to a special “show” like that. It’s a real treat and you’ll be surprised how much your family enjoys it.The Nutcracker and Scrooge have been favorites that we’ve seen several times now. Even seeing a special musical concert is a treat as well. Add a gift card for a restaurant and make it even more special!
  6. Our Organizing packages are something very simple, ready to go that you can just enjoy giving to someone that “has everything”. It’s perfect for the Mom with no time, for the mother-in-law that has everything and even for the busy Dad who just wants a break. Gift packages like ours are more about finding some free time and enjoying your family and doing something yourself than it is about the “stuff” in the package.
I’m sure you get the idea. These can be inexpensive local items to the more extravagant – whatever fits into your budget and lifestyle. I would rather spend more money on 1 great thing for all of us (like the Disney World trip) than the same amount on many, many different things that we outgrow, don’t need, and clutter up our lives.
I’ll be talking more about other aspects of the season that I would like to inspire you to simplify in the coming posts. I also read some posts this week:
I think these will inspire you to rethink how you feel about the holidays and what you focus on. Don’t try to change everything – just start with something. Make some new, SIMPLER traditions this year!


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