About Melissa Schmalenberger

Posts by Melissa Schmalenberger:


Holding On

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on September 2, 2014 in Family, life, Moms |

Admit it, you have that pile of things that need to be mailed or dropped off to a family or a friend. The pile always grows and never seems to disappear. It may be an article in the newspaper that you thought they might like. Or it may be your son’s hand me down jeans that you are giving to a friend. We all have that pile. For some of us the pile is small, for others the pile is large and can even be all the contents of your house.


If your pile is small and you get the items to people on a consistent basis chances are you don’t have a problem. But if you are holding on to things for much longer and the items are much larger you may need an intervention. Here are some things that I have encountered in my role as a professional organizer and as a mother who holds on to things for her kids.


  • My son may need these dishes when he moves into his first apartment. Yes I have those dishes in my basement. Son #1 has said he doesn’t want them, but why wouldn’t he? They are perfectly good bowls.
  • This set of furniture will be perfect for my niece’s new house. I know that she will be in need of furniture so I should just hold on to them for her.
  • My daughter will love this family heirloom/china someday! This is the sad reality, someday may never come. I have a beautiful set of china that I registered for when I got married. It really was the only gift that I registered for. I don’t use the china and in fact I started using my butter dish as a soap holder in the bathroom just so I could say I use my china! My china’s days are numbered as they will be leaving the house soon to go to someone else’s home to be loved.
  • My grandchildren will love these Precious Moments figurines when I die. Chances are the answer is no. However my grandmother did have a set of tiny porcelain  animals that were on the top of her door frame in her living room and I would have loved to have gotten those when she passed.


So my advice to you (and to myself) is that if you are holding on to something to pass on, ask yourself a few simple questions:


1. Have they expressed interest in the item? This does not mean a passing comment like “this is a comfy couch.” They should say things like “I love this! When you are tired of it I would love to take it off your hands!”


2. Have you asked? If you are not sure of the answer to question one, just simply ask.


3. Accept the answer.  This is an important piece of advice that you need to take to heart, don’t let your feelings get hurt. Just remember it is just stuff! Their memories with the stuff may not be the same, so there may not be the same attachment to the item. The pepper grinder that my grandmother used, I see her hands when I grind pepper. My children never met her, so they do not have the same memories. It means something to me, not to them and I am ok with them not wanting the pepper grinder.


4. Do you have room to store the items? We don’t always have the space and we could live a simpler life if we let go of those things we are storing for someone. Do you plan on downsizing and need to hold onto these items for someone? Or worse yet do you have an offsite storage unit.


5. How fast can you get it out of your house? The sooner the better! I challenge people to call the niece who wants that couch and say you have a week, come and get it or it is going to the donation site. When people have a deadline you will see action. Without a deadline people will take advantage of the situation and keep dragging their feet.


So I challenge you this week to look at what you are holding onto! Can you get these items out of your house and start to live a simpler life?


To Joyful, Organized Living,

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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Boxing Up A Life Part Two

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on August 24, 2014 in Uncategorized |

  Last week I blogged about how painful it was to pack up my son as he prepares to move 250 miles away to college this week. I not only packed up the stuff he was taking to college, but also the stuff he was leaving behind. This one container of memories will go to [...]

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Boxing Up A Life

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on August 17, 2014 in Family, life, Moms |

As I prepare to pack up my middle son and send him on his way to college 250 miles away, I am reminded by some advice a friend of mine gave me when I did this two years ago, if I was to cry, it could only be tears of pride and joy. I am [...]

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Lack Of Time Getting In Your Way?

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on August 12, 2014 in Family, life, Moms |

There is a proven fact out there that we all have the same 24 hours a day in a seven day week. This is where it becomes interesting, we all have the choice to decide what to do in those 24 hours. My biggest pet peeve, and I mean biggest, is hearing people say they [...]

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To Multitask Or Not Multitask That Is The Question

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

“Multitasking is merely the opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.” Steve Uzzell   As women, we pride ourselves with being able to do a million things at once, but can we really? It seems to me that we have been sold a bunch of lies when we were told that [...]

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Would You Buy This Again?

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 29, 2014 in Family, life, Moms, money |

The reasons that we have clutter varies by person to person. Just like the ability to get rid of it varies from person to person. For some it is easy and they can rid themselves of sentimental items without a blink of an eye. My husband could donate my wedding dress with no problems but if I [...]

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Dorm Room Packing Essentials

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 22, 2014 in Family, Moms |

  I have reached that time that another child is about to leave the nest. This child going is much harder than the previous one….because I know how I will feel afterward. With my oldest I was excited and told by a friend to only cry tears of pride and joy. And I did. But [...]

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What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 15, 2014 in Uncategorized |

I had an interesting conversation with a family friend last week after she pointed out that I “made” my son carry my supplies to my car for an organizing party. She told me that he was mad at me and that I should be able to do it myself. What I saw and heard was my son sitting in [...]

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Life Will Start When My To-Do List Is Done

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 8, 2014 in Family, life, Moms |

For the last three months I have had one long to-do list. It seems like every single day I needed to work through it just to get to the next day. If I skip a day nobody did it for me. It lands right on me and my perfectionistic ways. I know exactly when it [...]

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Organize Those Darn Kids

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on July 1, 2014 in Uncategorized |

There is lots of finger pointing when I work with clients. Mostly the mess in the house is blamed on children. I would agree that children create about 85% of the clutter in our homes. But how we deal with the clutter is 100% our responsibility. Children are not born to organize. Well, maybe a [...]

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