Vanessa Hayes is a Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Get Simplifized, professional organizing company. She also co-hosts Simple Life Together, a Podcast dedicated to leading a simple life in the modern world.
Designing the life you were meant to live is not only possible, it’s is something you can take control of yourself and MAKE it happen. A great place to start is by making the commitment to simplify your life. As I said in the last episode, simplifying your life is one of the most impactful things you can do. As we bring Simple Life Together to a close, we wanted to offer a little update on where our simplicity journey has taken us over the last three years. This is Part 2 of that update. Do yourself a favor and listen to Episode 78 first 😉 This is what will most likely be our final update episode, so if this is your first time listening in, I’d suggest you go back to around Episode 65: Strategic Simple Living to make sure this episode and Episode 78: Still Simplifying After All These Years Part 1 make sense. Of course if you want in on ALL the goodness, just start at Episode 1! It’ll be worth it, guaranteed! Thank you all so much for listening in! It has been a great ride and I’m sure we’ve learned much more from you than you learned from us. Please…go out there enjoy your… Simple Life Together! Comprehensive list of past SLT Episodes
Simplifying your life is one of the most impactful things you can do to ensure you’re living the lifestyle you’ve designed for yourself. The life you were meant to live. In this episode of Simple Life Together, we offer a little update on where our simplicity journey has taken us over the last three years. And…it has been amazing! This is an update episode, so if this is your first time listening in, I’d suggest you go back to around Episode 65: Strategic Simple Living to make sure this episode and Episode 79: Still Simplifying After All These Years Part 2 make sense. Of course if you want in on ALL the goodness, just start at Episode 1! It’ll be worth it, guaranteed! Comprehensive list of past SLT Episodes
It’s been a while since our last episode and many of you said you wanted an update. So, we posted on the Simple Life Together Facebook page and the Edit & Forget It Facebook Group and asked for your questions. Since we’re in the thick of the Holiday season, many of you had holiday simplicity related questions. Others were looking for lifestyle answers for their questions, and many just wanted to know what we’ve been up to. Well…we sat down for over an hour last night and just kinda “freestyled” it. Read More… Topic: Simple Answers to Listener Questions Update on Vanessa’s S.I.M.P.L.E. Organizing System Course Vanessa launched her S.I.M.P.L.E. Organizing System course to a small list of people and it went really well! That said, we’re not really happy with how the course is currently hosted on an external site. The content is proven and system works, but we’re just not happy with any platforms we’ve tried. They’re too expensive and seem clunky. So we’re considering just making the course an “in your Inbox” course, so people don’t have to log into an outside website, remember another log in, hope the site isn’t slow, etc. People are comfortable in their Inbox. They go there every day. And it would lower the cost of the course dramatically. So I’m working hard on that, to bring Vanessa’s amazing system to more people in a simpler way. If you want to be in the loop with Vanessa’s course, the S.I.M.P.L.E. Organizing System, you can sign up for updates at and you’ll be the first to know when things are ready to go! Listener Questions Simplifying The Holidays – Tips on storing your Christmas decorations and paraphernalia…for next year – Giving experiences instead of things – How to keep the holidays simple – How to be present…NOT perfect…for the holidays – Tips on simplifying cleanup after the meal – Creative non-material gift giving ideas – Favorite holiday traditions – What to tell people when they ask what gifts you’d like – Favorite podcasts, audio books, blogs, simple living role models you find inspiring, iPhone apps as gifts New Year’s Goals, Resolutions – Setting  goals and resolutions for the New Year or any time – How to stop procrastinating – Simplicity when no one is watching or listening What We’ve Been Up To – Expectations vs. Reality as we transition – Updates on our move, status of the house build, etc – How Sunshine, our son, and his mom are dealing with our move – Our teardrop camper, favorite trips this year, planned trips for next year – New business ventures/challenges for moving Vanessa’s organizing business – When we’re getting our nationally syndicated talk show on HGTV and/or Oprah (we loved this question!) – Changes/updates to our exercising routines or smoothie making/juicing Question: So, we answered your questions…how about you answer one for us? What are your plans for the New Year? How do you plan on incorporating more simplicity into your life? We’d love to know! Announcements: Feedback: We’ve had lots of great comments on iTunes…thank you so much! The show went a little longer than we expected, so we’ll be sure to read the comments on the next episode. Shownotes: You can download a PDF of our show prep, too. Resources and Links: You can help support by using our Amazon Affiliate Link for any purchases you must make. Thanks! The Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar Comprehensive list of past SLT Episodes Photo Credit 
There are so many reasons to simplify. But one very lucrative reason to simplify is to increase the sale price of your home and set the stage for a quick sale. So, let’s talk a little about simplifying to sell your home. To do that, we’re going to share some of our experiences with doing exactly that over the last couple of months, so if you’re selling your home…or know someone else who is…or if you’re simply looking for a fresh start in your current home, maybe we can shed some light on things that worked for us. Read More… Topic:  4 Key Points To Keep In Mind When Simplifying To Sell Your Home Topic We recently had a fantastic sales experience when selling our home in preparation to move to East Aurora, NY. Our home went up for sale the evening of the 15th of May…and before our realtor was even able to put a sign up in the yard, it sold on the morning of 16May! The first 3 couples that looked at the home all put in solid offers. The first 2 for $10k over asking price! We accepted both and had a back-up offer throughout the entire closing period (yeah)! In the end, it sold for about $35K more than we had originally even hoped for! Background So as we mentioned in the last episode, we’re moving from the suburbs of San Antonio, Texas to the little village of East Aurora, NY, home of America’s simplicity movement back in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Well, back in December of 2014, I was doing some backwards planning and realized that in order to build our new home on schedule, the right thing to do was sell our house in San Antonio in the Spring of 2015. So, we planned on listing at the start of the real estate season…1 May. But in the mean time, all through Jan, Feb, March and April, I had been working out all the curriculum, scripts, testing the right platform, etc, for Vanessa’s soon to be released training product, Get Organized SOS, which is an intensive online course that teaches her proven system to organize any space. All this while prepping our house for sale. Vanessa and I planned to work on things in the background during this busy time, and launch a beta or test program in the late summer. But while meeting with my marketing coach in April, he challenged me to launch the beta NOW. I insisted that now wasn’t the time… Vanessa was actually in the middle of attending her week long annual professional organizers conference… Plus we were prepping a house, listing a house, selling a house, packing to move and moving into a new place over the course of the next 6 weeks. And, while Vanessa and I had all the material ready, we had exactly NO videos done! Plus, some of the video conferencing platforms were new to us. We needed more prep time! No…now was not the time to launch! But as any good coach does, he gently nudged me (actually, it felt more like my old paratrooper days as he kicked my butt out the jump door of the plane)! I called Vanessa and she said “Let’s go for it!!” No guts, no glory, right? So we launched the beta, shot the videos, and…it was awesome! But, man, it was hectic!!! The beta lasted all of May, and all the while we were prepping our home and the World Shedquarters for sale. Our home went up for sale, sold…done! Trouble was, now we had to find a place to live. So Here’s How It All Went Down… There were 4 key simplicity points that led to that great sale experience, our ability to to juggle a “crazy busy” schedule and still stay sane. And candidly, you could glean something from each one of these points even if you’re not simplifying to sell your home, but just looking for a fresh start or some positive change in your life. So here goes! Key Point #1: Make sure your desires are in line with your life plan, your goals are in line with your desires, and your actions are in line with your goals. Way back in Episode 32, we talked about how the choices we make impact everything in our lives. If you’ve been listening to the show for a while, you’ve heard about the start of our journey and you were with us through the sale of our land out in the Texas Hill Country, scrapping the idea of the big house in the middle of nowhere, etc. If you’re a new listener you can check out our About Us video and you’ll hear all about our decision to pursue a path toward more simplicity in our lives. So since then, we’ve taken consistent action. To a large extent, we shaped our own little world and how we live our lives in it. The world loves a self-made man or woman, but I love the saying from Earl Nightingale that “We are all self-made, but only the successful will admit it.” You know we’ve been on this journey for a couple years now, and we’ve been taking all the steps necessary to shape our world. And you can shape yours, too! You may have a lifestyle you want to live someday and by staying true to that you can achieve it. Make sure you’re living your Now in a way that supports your tomorrow. So again, key point #1…make sure your actions are in line with your goals. Stay focused. You can do this…but you have to be consistent. It’s the little things we do every day that keep us consistent and on path toward our goals. Alright…if you’re simplifying to sell your home, take heed. Key Point #2 is: Planning is a must! We followed our own advice from Episode 42, The Upside of Downsizing. We also took steps to make the 1800sf  home we had, live like it was much larger. Long before we planned to move, we made improvements to the house using what we call organization-based design. It’s our perspective of how we design simplicity and organization into our spaces. Our remodeling projects in the kitchen and bathrooms had a great return. And the World Shedquarters was apparently a hit, too! Improvements like cubbies, built in storage, the Elfa shelving system in the pantry, the new kitchen cabinets with slide outs, etc, all tied in to our organization-based design concept. And trust me…people know organized and simple when they see. They’re drawn to it. Nobody “wants” to live a cluttered life. So, show people a little calm and they’re drawn right in. On the tech side, we used Trello as a planning tool to manage, share, and track our To Dos. Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. We had a “Get House Ready for Sale” board that had lists for Inside, Outside, and Done. As we finished tasks, we’d move the from the Inside or Outside board, over to the Done board. I like it because it’s very visual, as opposed to standard “list” based. I’ve been using it since. You can find out more at Steve Dotto has some great videos on Trello over at I’ll put a link in the shownotes. So again, Key Point #2 is to make your plan. This will go a long way in helping to ensure you stay on track with Key Point 1, too, making sure your actions are in line with your goals. OK…Key Point #3 is: Understand the value of margin. Remember our definition of margin is “Uncommitted time and space in your life.” In this case, I’m referring to the ‘unused space’ portion of our definition. In the real estate world, nothing (meaning empty space and square footage) is worth a whole lot more than your “stuff” that takes up that space! There were so many things we could have kept “just in case” but as we were going through this I kept reminding myself that “just in case” things do nothing but get in the way. When you really need something, you can find, rent, or borrow it. As a worst case scenario, yes…you may have to buy it again. So forget about the just in case stuff. It’s just getting in your way. If you need something, you’re smart and can find it when you need it. Trust yourself and your resourcefulness. Tying in with that…our Edit & Forget It Challenge in 2013 and 2014 was key! It set the stage for truly decluttering our home and our day to day lifestyle. That said, we still got rid of well over 3000 more things in 2015 as we were simplifying to sell your home just before the move! We intend to live even more “light and lean” in our year in the apartment and in our new home in East Aurora. We’ve just really embraced the idea of incorporating margin in our home and appreciating the openness and empty spaces in it. As we’ve decluttered our home over the past couple of years or so, we’ve really come to love the increased peacefulness that having less stuff has given us. So again…Key Point #3 is to understand the value of margin. Free space. Both the Census Bureau and the National Assoc’n of Home builders list the number one reason for moving, as the pursuit of a better home. And one thing that consistently ranks at the top of desires for home attributes, is space. Living space and storage space. Show them the margin, they’ll show you the money. Or, give yourself some margin and gain a little more peace. And finally…Key Point #4 for us was: Get past the mentality that you’re selling YOUR house. It’s far more about the buyers buying THEIR future home! They need to see themselves there…the possibilities, the opportunities, and the wonderful memories they’ll make there. It’s not about you. If they walk into a messy, poorly maintained, or cluttered home, it becomes about you and how you live, and not about them. It needs to be about them! So again…key point #4 is you’re not selling your house, they’re buying their home. It’s kind of like gift giving… If I’m looking to give you a gift, I look for a gift that you’ll want and appreciate, not necessarily one that I want to give. Same goes for selling your house. Wrap Up: So if you’re simplifying to sell your home, here’s a quick recap: Key Point 1: Make sure your actions are in line with your goals Key Point 2: Planning is a must! Key Point 3: Understand the value of margin. Free space. Key Point 4: You’re not selling your house, they’re buying their home. So…there is no way we could have gotten more than our asking price, had such a great sale experience, and wrapped things up so quickly if we hadn’t simplified our lives and our home. Vanessa was able to keep an influx of clients happy, and we were able to prep, list, and sell the house, move, and develop and launch a 3-week, multimedia and coaching product all over the course of 6 weeks! (More on Vanessa’s product in later shows). And boy…were we ready for our road trip!!! Question: So, are you planning on simplifying to sell your home or do you want to make a positive change in your life? Do you think some of the key points we mentioned could help? If so, we’d love to hear about it and what tools or strategies you’re using that are helping you. Leave us a comment below! Announcements: Feedback: Special thanks to Jodialgara, Suea626 , Whitephone, and Ja-Ro-El-Sha for your reviews on iTunes! Shownotes: You can download a PDF of our show prep, too. Resources and Links: You can help support by using our Amazon Affiliate Link for any purchases you must make. Thanks! The Pursuit of Perfect by Tal Ben-Shahar Our Realtor Kim McCullough Supermom vs Super Mom Website Guide Comprehensive list of past SLT Episodes Photo Credit MarkMoz12
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East Aurora, NY, USA
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2 days, 15 hours
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