Eradicating the Clutter of Mean Girls out of Your Life

I am a woman in my mid-forties and I thought that the days of junior high were over. But I have to admit that I have good memories of junior high and high school and they did not prepare me for how other adult women would treat me. I have been playing the scenes over and over in my head wondering what I did to deserve the mean girl treatment.


The first incident happened when a friend posted on Facebook inviting people to a local bar to listen to a band. I texted the friend and said I was on my way. I told my husband I was going out on a limb and headed out on my own without the security blanket of him walking in with me. This was a bold move. Even though people think I am an extrovert, I really am not. I walked into the bar and up to my friend and saw empty chairs around her and was about to sit down. She looked at me and said, sorry but these chairs are all taken. I looked behind her to all the other open chairs in the bar. I was not offered to grab one and come sit with them. I was in essence dismissed.


I remember leaving and laughing about it. I felt it was like a movie, set in high school, where you are invited to sit at the table with the cheerleaders and when you arrived with your lunch tray they ignore you. My feelings were not hurt as this wasn’t a close friend. I was just amazed at how rude the woman was.


But when this happens to you by a good friend or a family member it cuts more deeply. I posed a question to my Facebook friends last night asking the question about mean girls. I thought at this age it didn’t happen. I raised boys so for the most part this has not been a topic I was used to dealing with. My oldest son was bullied, by a girl and we dealt with it. But my youngest son reminded me that everyone has to deal with mean girls. The comments on my Facebook thread has me convinced that mean girls are alive and well.


Mean girls are found in work places, play groups, mother in laws, daughter in laws, mothers, sisters, daughters, volunteer organizations and church groups. They never really left junior high. Mean girls have gotten older but they have not matured.


The second mean girl event for me has been more painful to deal with as I thought the person was a good friend. When to your face you are told that they love you and then find out that meetings are held behind your back bashing you and Facebook side threads are written about you, it shakes you to your core.


I want to shout, what would Sheryl Sandberg say? I am trying to lean in and be a smart woman. I thought that women supported each other and raised each other up. To find out the opposite is true has me thinking that I need to face these bullies. But part of me is just saying to walk away.


My word of the year is authenticity and this relationship no longer feels authentic to me. I am finding this relationship incredibly difficult as the days go on. In order for me to be authentic I need to deal with this situation.


Part of organizing is clearing the clutter from your life. The clutter in your head is often ignored but is often what holds you back in clearing the physical clutter. The time that is eaten up thinking about how you could have done things differently is exhausting and takes up time. Time is wasted thinking about the mental clutter, which takes away from creating the physical transformations.


But part of dealing with bullies is being worried about the back lash of the attacks becoming even more vicious. You worry about the fact that if you talk to the “principal” that the attacks will just be more secretive. The time taken up with worry and concern in your head is monumental.


There is an old tale of a hound dog laying on a nail poking up from the floor whimpering. The hound dog never moved because the pain was not great enough, it just sat and whimpered. For me the pain is great enough. I am ready to move off the nail. But if I move, does that mean the mean girl wins? The mean girl only wins if I don’t move.


The choice is mine. I can leave. I can confront. I can stay. I can ignore. Whatever I decide, I know that the mean girl will not win. The only way the mean girl wins is if I let her write my story. So this week I start to write my own story. If you have a mean girl situation in your life, I encourage you to also write your own story. Together we can all unite and work towards eradicating the mean girls by making them powerless over our lives.


To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,

MS. Simplicity

Melissa is a Productivity Consultant living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 

Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon


Planning the Simple Graduation Party


The graduation announcements have started to flood my mailbox and my Facebook event invite section. I am one year away from throwing my final graduation party and it is coming too soon. Last night while I looked at my son and put my arm on his shoulder, I said to him that I am sure going to miss him. He slowly turned his head and gave me that look. You know the look, like I was speaking a foreign language to him. He reminded me that he will be going to college, in a year, not leaving me forever. Oh yeah, that’s right. This is a reason to celebrate not lament on how fast time has passed.

Here are a few last minute reminders as you are going through the final days and weeks before the party.

Tips for planning a graduation party:

Keep it simple. Keep it simple. Keep it simple. I want to know why we don’t have these big parties for our children when they become employed full time and have health insurance. That is the time that parents should celebrate! My parties may look like it was really expensive and took a lot of planning and time. But compared to what I was seeing out there, mine was on the conservative side of things.

Focus on what you enjoy. For example if you hate to cook, enlist some friends and family to help or if the budget allows, hire a caterer. If you are stressed about your house not being “picture perfect” focus on these areas; the kitchen, entry way, guest bathroom and whatever room the party is going to be held. Now is not a time to clean out your closets and organize your medicine cabinet. If you are having the party in the garage sweep the garage and hang up sheets to hide the messy areas.

Keep the beverages simple, bottled water and maybe 2 soda choices, one diet and one caffeine free.

Don't have your party be weather dependent, have a backup plan!

Ask for friends to serve as hosts at the party for you. Put a friend in charge of food, one in charge of drinks and one in charge of garbage. You need to enjoy the party too!

I have seen a lot of graduation open house invitations on Facebook this year, what a great and easy way to send out the invites to friends. Most family still want a paper invitation. But know that your kid will likely invite their guest list via social media.

The pressure is always on to have the perfect combination of photos of the kids at the graduation parties, but to not make it look like a shrine to the child....we have to keep those egos in check!  Have a framed and matted 8 x 10 of the graduate and have a pen available for the guests to sign the mat. This is a great keepsake for the graduate. I have seen these in Target in the frame aisle (they usually have a wedding couple in the picture). I used the Dr. Seuss book "Oh The Places You Will Go" as my guestbook. It is a keepsake and something practical as it is a book my son can read to his children someday. {We used the Dr. Seuss theme as a saying on a chalkboard that was on his display table, see photo at the top of article}

Poster board with fun pictures of the graduate through their life are fun to look at. Once again, keep it simple and find a friend who loves to scrap book, they could finish this project for you in a couple of hours. Tip, scan the pictures into a computer or make copies before cropping as some of the photos may be one of a kind. I like the photo boards that have a theme to them. Try to group them together into areas like their interests in school. Group the sports ones.....special friends......if they are in drama or get the idea. Instead of poster boards, I did albums for my oldest by theme that took my husband and I about 4 hours to create. We found our favorite pictures and had them blown up into 8 x8 and placed in an album, one picture per page and our album could not have pages added. We had limits and we had to pick our favorites. This also is something that my son can keep forever as opposed to a poster board that is hard to display.

Take all of the grade school pictures and display them in chronological order. It is fun to see the progression of the graduate. I am sure you have a family member that has been collecting these for years for you all jammed into one frame! I created one board with all of his photos from school on. It was a super cute way to see the progression through the years. I bought frames at the Dollar store and had a easy and inexpensive display.

A graduation party I attended a few years ago had a book that was assembled on line by the dad with the child’s quotes and pictures throughout his life. You do not need to tell the life story, just a few humorous stories here and there. For example, maybe they had a favorite shirt that they wore all through 3rd grade, or maybe the graduate hated math in elementary school and now they want to be a math teacher. Make it personal.

People are not looking to be fed a meal. Many have already been to several graduation parties during the day already. The only ones that are looking at being fed are your out of town family and guests. The majority of the guests are just there to stop in and say hi, drop off a card and leave.

Don't serve alcohol. It is just asking for trouble. First, alcohol gets expensive and can add hundreds of dollars to an already stretched budget. Second, alcohol could get into the hands of minors or the relative that really should not have anything to drink because they get even louder and more obnoxious. Have plenty of bottled water. If it is hot out, people will need the water to stay hydrated. My green tip is to have recycling bins placed so that it encourages people to recycle the plastic water bottles.

Pick a theme with the food, such as Mexican and stick with it. For example, have a salsa bar with different kind of chips and salsa. And a walking taco is always a good choice. What is the graduate’s favorite type of food? Maybe Italian, then you could have a pasta bar with garlic bread and different pastas and sauces for a heavy meal if you have a lot of those out of town guests coming. Cupcakes instead of cake.

Cupcakes are easier to eat, no cutting required and no utensils. Have the cupcakes in different flavors…what is the graduate’s favorite cake flavor? Instead of a traditional cake, we had cake bites for my oldest son's party, bits of cake covered in frosting!

Please keep in mind, don't stress and have fun! This is a party for you to have fun at as well! Ask for help and see what you can outsource!


To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,


MS. Simplicity


Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 


Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.



Learning to Let Go


I am almost 5 months into the New Year and my goals I set at the beginning of the year have started to fade. My energy had been zapped. I felt like a shell of the person I knew I could be. I really needed a kick in the proverbial pants. But then I got that kick, I took something big off my plate. Make that two big things. They were things that consumed my waking thoughts and ate up too much of my day. One was a personal relationship and one was work related. Both sucked my energy. They made me sad when I thought of them as I felt powerless to fix them. I really wanted to make them better. I tried everything I could. But then I not only cried uncle but cried and realized I needed to end both.

Ending things is very hard. I really didn’t realize how much of my day was consumed with thoughts of trying to make both situations better. I am a smart girl, I wanted to find the fix. I was dedicated to finding the answers, but I couldn’t.

My word for the year is authenticity and I found I was not leading an authentic life in those two key areas. I work for myself and I really am in control of my work. I have a strong marriage and great friendships and I am in control of my personal time. There really was nobody to blame but myself. I was the one who needed to take action.

But what I have found in the last week since ending both of the relationships, is that I feel whole again. I feel like my time is my own. My thoughts don’t wander and think about if I could have done something different. I am at peace. I know I did my best and I tried for longer than I should have.

Today I remembered a story about a table filled with full tea cups. In order to add another cup to the table, one needed to be moved. It didn’t work to stack them up as they would spill. You physically needed to move the cup off the table. But once the cup is moved, the space is clear. The space is clear to fill or to leave empty, the choice is suddenly yours.

For me I chose to leave the space empty until I knew that I was ready to have the space filled again. This time I would be the one in control over filling the space. And within the last two days I have had some wonderful things fill that empty space. I have been able to say yes to things I never would have had the energy to say yes to in the past.

Today I got a call for a wonderful opportunity connecting with some people that I admire and want to help. And yesterday I realized that I wanted to start taking part in events in our community again. Most nights I had been too tired and simply wanted to stay home and zone out in front of the tv. My brain had been working on over-analysis paralysis. Yes I may have made that phrase up. But seriously I would think so much about how to make the situations better that I couldn’t move.

We all know of people who are in over-analysis paralysis. Maybe they are like me and stuck in their head and can’t move forward. No movement seemed easier at times. But then I realized I needed to remove a few tea cups.

My one piece of advice is to do what my best friend did for me…she loved me and listened to me. She let me figure it out on my own terms. She didn’t demand that I make change. She didn’t tell me to get my act together and stop complaining. Ironically, she met me often for tea and talked through my decisions. She reminded me that as soon as I removed the cups from the table something wonderful would take their place. I just needed to have faith.

So this week take control of the time that is wasted that is housed in your head. Stop the energy of thinking how to fix hopeless situations. If you have tried your best, it is ok to move on. As my friend would remind me, it is never goodbye forever, it is just farewell for now. And just wait for something wonderful to take the place of what you removed. But take some time to relish in what was removed. Enjoy the empty space. Don’t be anxious to fill it back up. 


To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,


MS. Simplicity



Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 


Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.



Pushing the Easy Button on Life

I love the office supply commercial where an easy button is pushed and suddenly a difficult life circumstance turns easy. We all have different areas of our life that are difficult for different reasons. Some of us are dealing with the loss of a loved one. Some of us are dealing with a job loss. Some of us are handling stress in other ways. 

I wish in life we were given a limited amount of opportunities to push the easy button and have life give us the easy option to what we are going through. We would pick and choose carefully of when to push the button. I don't have many difficult times in my life but I sure would like to give my easy button away to others as I see my friends struggle.

While some are going through things that cannot be controlled, such as death, others go through really some self induced tough times. I watch some people struggle and I see others with the same tough life situations thrive. Why is it that some don't need an easy button and others if given one would use it on a daily basis?

What are the things that we can implement to make life move more smoothly? I watch some highly efficient people and I watch some highly inefficient people. The common thread I can find between the two groups is one thrives on drama and chaos and the other does not. I liken it to farming versus firefighting. Some seem to always be putting out the fires in their lives while others farm and nurture their relationships and life circumstances.

Here are some ways that I have watched efficient people farm and not need to use the easy button.

Outsource what you are not good at. Look at your life and think about what you are not good at. I am horrible at book keeping and paperwork in general. I also am not good at sorting our mail as I get easily distracted. However I discovered that my husband is really good at it. He does not get distracted when he sorts! He can give attention to detail that it needs, where I just throw it in a pile and hope I can find it when I need it. I save countless hours a week by having my husband handle our paperwork.

Stop doing what does not bring you joy. For most of this the list of joy suckers could be huge. For many of us it could be relationships with toxic people. If you have a friend that texts you on a daily basis or calls you and you feel yucky after the interactions, stop it. End the feelings of people bringing you down. Focus on what brings you joy!

Guard your time fiercely. Efficient people do not just give their time away. They are generous with their time if you make it past the initial threshold. If you do not make it past the threshold you can forget about it as they simply will not waste their time with you.

They easily say no. They do not have the disease to please by saying yes to things they do not want to do. Gone are the days of baking gingerbread houses for the second grade holiday party. My work around is if I am afraid of saying yes at volunteer meetings, I send my husband in my place. He does not have a problem saying no. 

Stay off of social media platform. I see some people have a social life that exists solely on line. They get in political or religious discussions that go on and on. They look for friends that are having these discussions and they join the fray. I do much of my interaction with my team through Facebook groups so I need to be able to efficiently use it. My way to get around the online drama queens is to un-follow the person or hide them from my Facebook feed. I am protective of the people that I surround myself in life and online.

Stay off of electronics when not working. I use to joke with my husband that his mistress was his computer. That computer finds its way into our private moments and I will admit my cell phone is right there with his computer. We challenge each other to be mindful or our time together. Because having a real life conversation with someone is so important. 

This week focus on where you can turn your attention to the easy button in life. Forget about the drama in your life and focus on what brings you more real life connections.

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,


MS. Simplicity


Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 


Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.



Liar Liar Pants on Fire

We have all heard that saying as a child, liar liar pants on fire and lately this saying has been going around in my head. I think it started when I saw a piece from comedian Jim Gaffigan talking about the tooth fairy and the cost of the lost tooth.

It got me thinking about the lies that we tell our children. When did it get to be socially acceptable to lie to our children and pretend there is a fairy that will leave them money for doing something their body is supposed to do; loose teeth? I had a child who was a late looser of teeth and he didn’t lose his first one until he was in second grade. Each time a classmate would lose a tooth he would come home all sad. And then you get the pressure of the fairy leaving just the “right” amount of compensation. Ridiculous.

Don’t get me started on that Santa fellow either. What happened to the Santa that would love socks and an orange? I heard that Santa leaves things like expensive electronics at some houses. Clearly Santa did not get the memo that my kids were good because he never left those types of things in my kid’s stockings. Lies we as a society tell our children.

But sometimes there are lies that we tell that are for the benefit of our children. I was recently reminded of this when my youngest was inducted into the National Honor Society as a junior. I was so proud of him as I remember the child who struggled with learning how to talk and read. He was pulled out for extra help with reading for his first couple of years in school. He started speech therapy before the age of two and he was diagnosed with a learning “disability” when he was in second grade.

I too was not a strong reader when I was first starting school. I remember being in a meeting with my parents when I was in first grade and my parents being told that I was no longer in the top reading group in my grade. I took that to mean that I was dumb. I was lying to myself. I told myself I couldn’t read so I didn’t even try. It wasn’t until I was in fifth grade when my teacher pulled me aside and told me I was smart and needed to read more challenging books. Her faith in me was all that I needed and my reading took off. The lie disappeared with the confidence of a teacher.

My son recently shared with me that he thought he was in gifted reading like his older brother. When he was pulled out for individual help he thought it was to do more advanced work. He wasn’t in the meeting when they told my husband and me that he was struggling. Instead we had a first grade teacher that said because we had a child with a late May birthday he will be a little slow at first but by fourth grade he will be all caught up. We never lied to him that he wasn’t a strong reader. We just treated him like he was. And he never knew the difference.

Another lie I apparently told my children was that with their particular learning “disability” that people with it become strong leaders in life. I never remember telling them that. But they remember hearing it and believing it. They embraced this lie and have become amazing leaders in their school and community.

As adults we continue to lie. We lie and tell ourselves that our home/boat/car are not big enough. As an adult woman I can tell you that we lie a lot to ourselves. We lie that our homes are not perfect and so we cannot have people over. I am here to tell you that nobody lives in the homes that are in the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog. I have been in homes that have tried to emulate the catalog, but there are kid’s toys all over the floor and spills on the counters and dishes that need to be washed. This is how it should be. We are human beings, not robots. I want to walk into the homes of my friends and see them lived in.
We tell ourselves the lies that if we get that new expensive purse will be happy. Or if we get that lake home we will be happy. We need to stop with the lies that society tells us and really dig deep and understand that having more does not equate to being more fulfilled.

I have a house that is easy to clean and maintain. I have clothes that are easy to wash and don’t require ironing or dry-cleaning. I have a car that has a few nicks and scratches in it. I have an easy going husband who requires little maintenance. I don’t stress about what society tells me. I do what it easy and convenient. That is what brings me joy. I am done with the lies that I use to tell myself that I needed to upgrade my house and car. We are still in our starter home and I am really happy. If anything we are at the point in our life where we will buy something smaller.

So listen to that voice in your head this week that is telling you lies. Is it to make you a better person or does it stress you out? If that voice is critical you need to tell it to take a back seat. If that voice speaks to you in a loving way and encourages you to do and be better, keep it going. The lies I told my children were not meant to hurt them, but to encourage them and have the confidence they need in life. Now if we could just get rid of that pesky tooth fairy!

To Joyful, Simplified Organizing,


MS. Simplicity


Melissa is a Productivity Consultant and author living in Fargo, North Dakota doing her best of living a life full of adventure. Filling a life of memories and not of things! 


Melissa's e-book on Kitchen Organizing can be found on Amazon.


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