SLT 007: Organizing Tips From an Unlikely Source & Life Lessons From the Playground


Organizing Tips From An Unlikely Source & A Few Life Lessons From The Playground.

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Main Topics:  

Vanessa’s Topic: Organizing Tips From A Toddler

Vanessa realized the lessons that we have been teaching our daughter since she was a toddler are also great lessons that adults can apply to their lives when it comes to getting and staying organized.  Here are the lessons/tips that were discussed:

  • Limit the number of toys (or projects) that you are playing with or working on. 

Too many projects gets overwhelming and cause you to loose focus.  Multi-tasking isn’t all that great.  Having few toys or projects also makes for easier cleanup.

  • Clean up after yourself.

Make cleanup part of your project.  Whether you’re baking in the kitchen or working on a craft project, part of the project should include cleaning up after yourself.  Don’t let it all pile up to point where cleaning up your home is an all day affair!

  • Designate a spot for everything.

Try using the same concept that preschool or kindergarten classrooms use…create zones and homes for everything. By creating zones in your home and having “a place for everything and everything in its place,” cleanup and finding things will be a heck of a lot easier!

  • Make cleanup easy.

Using open containers to store things is a key ingredient to having kids clean up after themselves. Same thing applies to adults. It’s much easier to toss an item into a basket or bin than having to lift a lid.  Bins are great inside drawers, on shelves and in cabinets. Hooks are another great tool to use to hang up coats, backpacks, scarves, belts and purses.

  • Create rules and routines.

We’ve previously dedicated  1/2 a podcast to this very topic. Creating rules and routines helps establish expectations so that you and other family members know who, what, when and why certain tasks need to be done and how.  Knowing what is expected prevents you from wasting time, duplicating effort and trying to figure out who does what…which cuts down on bickering as well!

  • Limit the amount of stuff you own.

It’s pretty simple…the less stuff you have the less you have to clean and maintain. You can control the amount of things in your home by practicing the “one in, one out rule,” editing your possessions regularly, controlling impulsive buying habits and thinking long and hard about how making a purchase might affect the harmony in your home.

  • Reward yourself.

If our daughter wants a snack or to go outside and play, we make a deal with her.  She’ll get the treat if she cleans up first. Her motivation to clean up is all based off of that reward.  You can reward yourself too. Tackle your most important tasks…then treat yourself to a little reward like a movie, reading time or extra time running (yes…Vanessa loves to run).

Dan’s Topic: Life Lessons Learned on the Playground

Flashback to Episode 5

  • LEARNING: “Knowledge makes everything simpler.”
  • Do you capitalize on things we’ve already learned?
  • How do our kids learn life’s lessons in today’s fast-paced world?

Life Lessons Learned on the Playground.  For each, ask yourself two things:

  • Do I still use this lesson today?
  • How are today’s kids learning these lessons?


  • SeeSaws or Teeter Totters: Teach us balance and leverage. Use Pareto’s 80/20 Rule for leverage.
  • Swings: Teach us to take action, coordination, and how to harness & use momentum. Swings also teach us situational awareness, looking out for trouble, timing our actions.
  • Monkey Bars: Let go in order to make progress. Sometimes you have to stretch. You can’t move forward without letting go of the past and the now and reaching for tomorrow.
  • Jungle Gym: How to meet a challenge, overcome fear, and enjoy the view. Be careful of others’ fingers as they climb to the top with you.
  •  Merry Go Round: It’s fun to go fast, but not sustainable.  Getting off a merry go round is a transition. Take time to get your bearings, to stabilize.
  •  Bullies:  They’re obstacles. You learn to go over, around, under, or in some cases, right through a bully. Sometimes it’s easiest to avoid, but in most cases it’s best just to deal with challenges head-on…
  • Sandbox: It’s fun to just get in, get dirty, dig and create. Mistakes in the sandbox are cheap, so practice there.

Key take-aways:

  • When you find things out of balance, leverage your skills by focusing on that 20% of effort that Pareto highlights.
  •  Don’t forget to take action when action is necessary and learn to harness and capitalize on your momentum.
  •  Become more situationally aware by paying attention to your environment, looking for dangers as well as opportunities.
  •  Remember that sometimes you need to let go of the past and “the now” to reach where you’re meant to be. Set your goals and move forward to meet them.
  •  Enjoy the climb to whatever you consider to be the top. Define your own top and be careful not to step on fingers and toes as you reach your goals.
  •  Prepare yourself for transitions and know that sometimes Life’s merry go round can throw your bearings off a bit sometimes.
  •  Know there will be obstacles in life. But most often challenges are just opportunities in disguise.
  • Our playground life lessons served us well. Today’s kids need a good mix of “old fashioned” and “modern” Life Lessons, plus a good friend, parent, coach, teacher or mentor to tap into the teachable moments we face in life.

Final thoughts:

Life is a playground.  And the playground isn’t nearly as much fun when you’re by yourself. What makes it the most fun is enjoying the playground with others you care about and that care about you.  Sometimes it’s ok to have a little alone time out there…but for the most part, Life’s Playground is best when it’s shared. Just like your Simple Life Together.

The “Thing” Segment:

Vanessa: The One-In, One-Out Rule To Control Clutter

Dan:  How much he enjoys his Big Green Egg!

Listener Feedback:

  • Laura: Saw a pin on pinterest and followed to “…your simple life together. Enjoyed the Organizing and Having Less …Your dialog was interesting and fun to listen to. I’ve been wanting to have a house of order for some time and keep looking for encouraging guidance to do so.”
  • Derek C. Olsen from left us a voice message that he loves the podcast! He also shared his passion for juicing, as he heard us talking about juicing in Episode 5 (see links below for more info on juicing).

Closing Thoughts:

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Links we mentioned in the show:

Laws of Simplicity and the Pareto Principle in Episode 005

Dan Mentioned his Big Green Egg (BGE). He buys BGE accessories here.

Our listener feedback talked about juicing…here are a couple of links to Dan’s posts: Juicing journey,  Juicing Day Six: A Personal Tragedy and if you’re interested in a juicing clinic that Dan participated in check out Your Chance to Learn About Juicing, Juicers, and the Benefits of Juice Fasting

Get Simplifized! Links:

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