About Melissa Schmalenberger

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Leaving A Life Of Simplicity

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on January 20, 2015 in Family, life, Moms |

 

This post is dedicated to all of you baby boomers out there who are struggling with all of your possessions as well as the possessions of your parents and your in-laws and maybe even that childless aunt or uncle. You have been entrusted as the family keeper of memories. You are not sure how you received this honor. But one day you woke up and your house was about to explode from things that don’t bring you joy but rather things you need to keep so that nobody becomes mad at you. And yes, the people that you are most worried about offending have now passed on.

 

But I am here to tell you, the people who have passed on do not want you to feel smothered by their possessions. I know that I don’t want to pass on the burden of “things” to my children and I hope I am leaving a legacy of experiences for them to remember me by.

 

One of the main reasons that I see my parent’s generation suffering so much is that they were raised by parents of the Depression era. These were people who when they bought a couch, they kept it for 50 years. These were the people who knew how to feed a family of 8 with a cup of flour and a few eggs. These were the people who mastered the art of hand me down clothes. So the baby boomers were raised by fiscally responsible and frugal parents. It was engrained in them to waste not want not.

 

The reality is that we are now in a digital area where things are not built to last anymore. Our children are not going to want any of our possessions. Trust me they don’t want our stuff, just call them if you don’t believe me. I am dealing with my own clutter issues and trying to discard as much now and live a life of simplicity so as to not burden my children. Here are some common areas that I see my clients suffering from.

 

Furniture: Furniture comes in various shapes and sizes. Furniture is bulky and takes up space. Chances are you have a few pieces that have been passed down to you. My theory is unless it is serving some practical reason, get rid of it and let someone else enjoy it. My mom has the bed that my grandparents had when they got married. I have tried sleeping in it. I am almost five foot ten, I don’t fit in that bed unless I am diagonal. This would not be a practical piece of furniture for me to inherit. Now if I had a young daughter, it would be perfect and I would love it.

 

Make sure that the furniture serves a purpose in your current life, not a life in the future. If you are holding onto something for your children, ask them now if they even want it. Chances are you will hear the answer no. Remember to not have hurt feelings over this. Rejecting a possession is not rejection of you.

 

Knick Knacks: In my world if you have to dust it, I don’t want it. I like clear and open spaces. Take an honest look at each tchotchke and see what kind of feeling it invokes. And then see where you are displaying it. Is it on a crowded shelf where nobody can see it? Is it hidden in a box? Is it shoved in a cabinet? If it has meaning and it brings you JOY, it should be displayed in a place of honor. Display it our donate it, but don’t box it up for its fate to be decided by another generation.

 

Photos: This is a hard one for so many people. What to do with the photos. I tell you, take the time to sort through them now and see if you know who everyone is in the photos. If you don’t know who someone is, discard it. You can take the extra step and see if someone else remembers, but chances are they don’t either.

 

Right now on my desk is a picture of my dad when he was probably three with his blond curls and a dog next to him and my dad loves his dogs. Looking at this picture makes me happy. This is a picture I wont get rid of, however my kids might someday. But I am going to make it easier for them and make sure the picture is labeled so that they know that it is a picture of their grandfather.

 

This summer I came across the unicorn {rare} of all pictures when I was watching a video of my aunt’s and uncle’s wedding, I saw my mom in the video. I paused the movie and took a picture of the screen of my mom as a young girl. My mom doesn’t have many pictures of herself when she was young, so this picture is a treasure.

 

Go through your photos now and discard any that don’t bring you JOY, or you don’t know who is in the photo. Or perhaps it is scenery that means nothing to you. Chances are you can toss a large stack of photos.

 

Recipes and Letters: These mean a lot to me, especially the ones in my grandmother’s writing. My mom also made a cookbook with all of our family recipes in it. That is a treasure. Anything in my grandmother’s writing that is beyond my name written is also special. Cards with just a signature do not mean that much to me. However if someone takes the time to write a note as to why I am special I display that note and then it goes in my happy file. My happy file is where I place papers that bring me JOY.

 

What I hope you do this week is start walking through your home and look at the legacy that you are leaving. Are you leaving one of clutter and indecision or is your legacy one of simple elegance. Don’t burden your family but rather encourage your family to celebrate a life that is well lived.

 

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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An Organized Bon Voyage

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on January 13, 2015 in Family, life, Moms |

  Travel for me is an easy thing to do…. when I am by myself. If things go wrong I just go with the flow and just brush it aside. But when I am planning a trip for many of us and spending lots of money it adds to the pressure, so I work really [...]

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Keeping It Simple and Perfect

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 29, 2014 in Family, Food, Holidays, life, Moms |

Now that the dust, pine needles, sugar high, gift tearing frenzy is over I can take time to applaud myself and say that the holiday I designed this year was perfect for me. Did I just say it was for me? Yes that is right. We design holidays for other people and what we imagine [...]

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New Year, New You?

Posted by Melissa Schmalenberger on December 22, 2014 in Holidays, life, Moms |

I have to admit that my favorite time of year is the end of the year. I always take time to reflect on how great the current year has been and what I can do to improve the incoming year. I tell people that New Year’s Eve is my favorite holiday as it is one of [...]

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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. [...]

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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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