About Melissa Schmalenberger

Posts by Melissa Schmalenberger:


Time, Time, Time

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 16, 2014 in Family, Holidays, life |

What does this time of year mean to you? We are told what it is suppose to look like when we watch television commercials or see advertising. It is a two parent family gathered around a tree overflowing with gifts. But what I have found is that for the majority of us that is not our reality. I have friends who are dealing with health issues of their own or loved ones. I have friends that are going through divorces. I have friends who are dealing with depression. All of these things take the glitter off of the holiday and rip it raw. I am left with what the real reason for the season is, and that is to spend time with the people who love and care for you. It is up to each one of us to make this holiday about love and less about gifts which often create clutter.


I am trying to do my part. When I texted a friend last week to set up a coffee date she replied back that she was ill. I could have replied with a “feel better soon” message, but that seemed impersonal. My intuition kicked in and I followed up with a “that sucks” message. Because that message is real and it opened the door for her to be real with me. I ended up going to her house with some magic wonton soup and I sat and visited with her for a couple of hours. Yes I was busy and had things to do, like we all do. But I stopped and made the time. What I found was the gift to me was greater than the gift of my time. I saw her start to feel better. We had some real conversations and it was perfect.


Yesterday I caught up with a friend who is going through a divorce and she told me how hard it is to not receive Christmas cards. Her ex is living in their house and he receives all the cards. It made her sad until a friend told her that she should send her own cards out this year. She worried that she didn’t have professional pictures. But it doesn’t matter. People are going to know that she is doing ok and that means something when you are ending a marriage.


I think this year I am more sensitive than ever to the gift of time as my husband went through a job loss when his position was eliminated after working at the same place for 22 years. Our world was rocked but we quickly learned what we were both made of. We didn’t have a pity party. We worked hard together to figure out our next path in life. I gave up working as an attorney to raise our boys when we first had children. I put my career on hold for his. His job loss was not only a rejection of him, but a rejection of me. We were in this together.


The advice that I had given to friends in the past came back to me as I started to give myself the advice. My favorite piece of advice was “don’t let this experience make you bitter, but let it make you better.” My husband and I focused on the positives. We found we were often cheering people up when they heard the news. We didn’t want people to be sad, we wanted them to rejoice in our ability to find a new adventure. Once people understood our mindset, they started cheering for us too.


My husband is now at his new company but we took 10 weeks of together time and really learned what our marriage was made of. I would post pictures of us on Facebook with the hashtag 24/7 because for the most part we were together the entire time. We took a trip to look at the leaves on the east coast and we did some major home projects. We did things we knew we wouldn’t have done if he had been working. My husband began wanting to go back to a job where he used just his brain as we quickly realized that our bodies were not made for construction projects! That time we spent together was a gift that I will cherish forever. Now I see him for a few hours a day and I miss him but thankful that he is working. Now we make an effort to meet for lunch several times a week to keep that gift of time going.


So as this holiday season goes into full speed, I ask that you take some time and give it to a friend or family member. You don’t need to wrap it. You don’t have to worry about purchasing the perfect clutter free gift, as that hour or two is the perfect gift. And if that person is far away, there is this great thing called Skype or FaceTime that I have found is just about as good as the real thing. Take some time to have real conversations. Because you just never know what a few kind words can do. Pick up that phone. If you are waiting and wanting someone to call you, start to make the effort yourself. Start a movement of giving the gift of time.



To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,


MS. Simplicity



Serving the Fargo-Moorhead area as well as North Dakota and South Dakota. Also seeking new representatives for Clever Container in all areas of the country.


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Do You Hear What I Hear?

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 9, 2014 in Family, Holidays, life, Moms |

It is about this week every year that I start being asked the question, “are you done Christmas shopping?” I must admit that I am guilty of asking that question as well. It is as if it overtook the question of “cold enough?” But when I hear the same question over and over again the [...]

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Having a Clutter Free Christmas

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 2, 2014 in Family, Holidays, life, money |

Soon bright shinny packages are going to be placed under our tree but before you place that package please do one thing, make sure there is room for the gift. Too often we give without thinking of where people are going to put the gift. We live in a society of excesses and our children [...]

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A Plea For Your RSVP

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on November 25, 2014 in Holidays, life, Moms |

I have seen an interesting thing happen over the last couple of years; the lack of giving an RSVP. We all know what it means. We all understand the purpose of it. Yet people fail to give a proper response. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else. Sometimes it slips my mind [...]

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Don’t Guilt People Into People Keeping Your Clutter

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on November 18, 2014 in Family, life |

  I pride myself as being a fairly organized person. I take my advice most of the time. But once in awhile, I slip up and hear myself going down the road of clutter. When I work with my clients, I will challenge them when they want to keep something for someone to actually take [...]

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Steps of Service To Implement in Your Life

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on November 11, 2014 in Family, life |

I have been on a traveling whirlwind of late and although it has been fun, what I really appreciate is looking at the exchange and treatment of others. I am in a service providing industry and I always take note of when I get good service and when I get bad. I am happy to [...]

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What is Your Story

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on November 4, 2014 in life, Moms |

I often find that people get stuck with a story in their head that they find difficult to erase or rewrite. We are raised by our family of origin and influences of our cultural to believe certain things. That story is so loud that it often quiets any other voice. In my case my husband [...]

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Good Night To-Do List

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on October 28, 2014 in life |

I have been struggling with remembering what I need to do the next day as I am falling asleep, then I lie there awake thinking I can’t forget to do this. Meanwhile I lie awake. Sleep is elusive and instead of grabbing a pen and writing it down I toss and turn all night while [...]

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Decluttering After A Divorce

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on October 21, 2014 in Uncategorized |

I recently had a friend over for dinner who has gone through a divorce and I peppered her with questions. I am always fascinated by divorces, not because I am planning one, but simply because being a family law lawyer was a part of my life for so long. I like seeing how people can get [...]

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Four Things That You Can Do Today To Help You Sleep

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on October 13, 2014 in Family, life, Moms, Uncategorized |

I don’t know about you but I seem to have that nagging voice in my head that is on a never ending loop. I also know that I am not the only one with this nagging voice in their head. When I work with my clients, I find that they too have the same voice [...]

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