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Clearing Cell Phone Clutter

August 13, 2018

Let me preface this post by saying this: my husband's cell phone gives me hives. Seriously. Love the man, but when it comes to being organized or simplified in his personal spaces... he's a work in progress. :) Let's put it this way, he has about twenty-five folders full of apps -- and at least three of them are called "Finance". But the apps have nothing to do with finance. And his 72 unread emails... I can't. I LOVE YOU BRYAN LEY, BUT YOU'RE A MESS!

I'm campaigning for him to let me at his phone (you know I love a challenge). He's not sure this is a good idea. So I started trying to explain to him exactly what I'd do to clean up his phone and how it would make his entire life better (ok, but really). Can I get an amen?

So, here, my friends, are the steps I'll take to clear the clutter on Bryan's phone (IF he'll let me at it) and bring about world peace. We're going to focus on a few key elements:

  • Lockscreen
  • Homescreen
  • Apps
  • Notifications
  • Notes

LOCKSCREEN: This is simple. Choose an inspirational quote, a special photograph, or a simple beautiful screen to be your lockscreen. Keep this in mind: anyone who picks up your phone (even if you have a password on it) will see this. Be sure the time stamp and date don't cover up anyone's faces. (IE: Don't create visual clutter). 

HOME SCREEN: Yes, this includes your wallpaper, but what I'm really talking about here is your home page on your phone - Page 1. I keep mine pretty simple with just a few rows of apps.

APPS: Any apps that I am trying not to overuse, I keep in folders, not on the homepage. (IE: social media apps -- yes, even though I use those for work. It's not that hard to swipe to the back for them when I need them. But if they're staring at me on my home screen late at night, I'm tempted to spend mindless time on them.) I sort my apps into 8 folders categorized by color (an idea I got from The Home Edit). I didn't think I'd like this method at first, until I realized my brain actually looks for apps by color, not by icon or name or category. Delete any apps you don't use.

NOTIFICATIONS: This is life changing. Are you ready? There may be certain notifications you have to keep on or need to keep on (work related, etc), but the other ZILLION red dots and buzzes and dings and alerts and push notifications... TURN. THEM. OFF. Yes! You can turn them off! And once you do, you'll never go back. I get text messages. That's it. Oh, and phone calls. And I let my iCal alert me too because our team is remote. Other than that, OFF. You're welcome. Seriously, TRY IT. You do not need to get a pop up notification every time someone likes your Instagram photo. Nope.

NOTES: If you have an iPhone, here's a tip: utilize your Notes app to keep running lists and important information. It's so helpful and easy! 

Alright, Bryan Ley, I'm coming for your phone when you'll let me! I promise it'll change your life! ;)

Weekly Top Ten: Vol. 116

August 10, 2018

Happy Friday, friends! Here are ten things that brought us a little bit of joy this week: 

1. EL Playbook Re-Launch: We re-launched two of our best-selling EL Playbook Masterclasses this week! We've created workbooks that you will receive in the mail, along with a link and video access code, when you purchase these business resources. The ultimate way to jumpstart your business! 

2. Emily's Back-to-School Favorites: Did you miss our back-to-school favorites last week? We shared everything from backpacks to alarm clocks to help you manage this busy back-to-school season. 

3. Canvas Bins: We love these bins for kids' rooms and playrooms! They come in a few different sizes and are perfect for keeping toys put away! 

4. Whit's Baby Favorites: Our Creative Director, Whitney, welcomed a new addition to their family this summer. She shared all of her must-have baby items to help new mamas simplify those first few months at home. 

5. Emily's New Favorite Jeans: If you follow Emily on Instagram, you know she's been searching for the perfect jean for awhile now. She's finally found them! We know you're gonna love these! 

6. Our Simplified Community: Simplifying is hard, and we believe it's best done in community. Join our Simplified Community on Facebook for lots of encouragement and tips! 

7. Chicken & Bacon Ranch Bowls: Simple. Healthy. And so yummy! The perfect meal for a busy weeknight!

8. The Coziest Throw: We love these throws. They wash well and are so soft (all of those five star reviews speak for themselves!). 

9.  Binder Restock: Our Home Base Binder and Recipe Binder are officially back in stock! Our very favorite housewarming gift!

10. Our Spotify Playlist: Don't forget to listen along with us on Spotify! Sign up here to receive a new playlist in your inbox on the first of every month. 

Love and Rhythms During Tricky Times

August 06, 2018

We recently left our 4,000 sq ft home in Tampa for an (adorable) 1,200 sq ft beach condo in Pensacola. We're renting for two months while our forever home is being finished here. We moved early so the kids can start school. Luckily the place we're in is furnished, and our buyers in Tampa are wonderful and allowed us to "rent back" for two months to store our stuff. Oh, the logistics of moving. :)

While Bryan is handling the tactical parts of starting services, stopping services, working remotely for his Tampa company, and coordinating with the movers and our builder, I'm spearheading... the trickier side of things... the day to day of loving three little hearts through a cross-state move. Though we always knew we'd move home to Pensacola one day, the day we officially made the decision that it was time... I knew this would be the trickiest, most important part of things. Our kids were born in Tampa and, even though we travelled back and forth to Pensacola 6-8 times every year (yes, I've nursed in every Starbucks parking lot down I10, discovered every safe rest stop along the way, and memorized every oak tree up Hwy 19 -- seriously, my next book should be all about road trips, ha!), this change is still well, a big change. New friends. New home(s). New places. New faces. New everything.

If you've read A Simplified Life you know that rhythms and routines are the structure around which we shape our daily lives. Let me start this conversation with this caveat though: FLEXIBILITY is key. Flexible routines that can be scrapped, changed, or flipped on their heads at any given moment are important. Sometimes we scrap routines just to teach our kids to "roll with it" and "go with the flow" when life happens.

I started making notes about the little routines, cadences, traditions, and special "objects" that comfort my kids, make them feel safe, and give them that sense that "everything is as it should be" (even if "everything" looks different). Now that we've been here in Pensacola for a handful of days, I'm noticing what's working and what doesn't really matter too much. Personally, I'm noticing some of the "objects" that I'm really glad we brought. These are "things" that make me feel... like I'm at home. Just as its important to nurture their little hearts, it's important to nurture Bryan's and my own... as we are in a big time of transition as well. 

Off the cuff, here are a few things I'm really glad we did before we left:

  • We made time to hug a lot of friends. I'm really glad we did this. Like, I moved meetings and re-scheduled play dates, and cleared my plate where possible so that I could drive 20 minutes away to show up at a friends door just for a hug. Those were special.
  • We tied up loose ends around town. We left reviews for favorite service providers and shops (see my list here). We made sure to visit our favorite spots one last time.
  • We packed only the bare necessities. Obviously we're in a smaller place. But there's something quite awesome about the fact that it takes me 15 minutes to clean this condo from top to bottom. My old house took hours, easily.
  • We packed things like my blue and white jewelry tray that sits on my bathroom sink (a gift from Shay Cochrane), our favorite coffee mugs, the melamine plates we use every day, the cutting board I use multiple times a day, and our favorite dry erase calendars / lists (of course) to hang on the fridge. I asked Brady what "things" made our house feel like a home and he said "pineapples." That made me cry and laugh at the same time. Here are some of our favorites 1 | 2 | 3.
  • We are committed to our Friday pizza nights. It may be a new brand of pizza, or it may be pizza cooked in the oven at home (we're excited to try this brand this upcoming weekend), but Friday pizza nights live on!
  • Bedtime routines stay the same. Bath, brush teeth, stories (or funny tales told by Daddy), prayers, and bed. All three kids are in the same room right now. We're still figuring that out... 
  • I've also kept everything for the move in my Simplified Planner (yes, shameless plug because it just REALLY works for us). I have the kids school forms, information on ballet classes, paint swatches, gate and key codes galore, and so much more. Keeping our ever changing schedule (and -- now that my team is split down the middle Central / Eastern time zone -- it's a whole other layer of complication to simplify). Giving all the info a home really helps keep my brain on track.
  • I also know that more than any "thing" or any routine, my kids feel most at home when they are with Bryan and I. People, more than stuff or traditions, are what they need the most. The book Simplicity Parenting is my favorite parenting book I've ever read. In it, the author talks about getting kids through "tricky" times -- and about "soul fires" that accompany those times. I've already seen a few with my kiddos, but knowing to expect them helps fuel me with extra grace and patience. Basically a soul fire is when things just become too much and they need some down time (love, blankets, movies, cheetos -- whatever your kids love languages are, haha) to soothe and smooth things out.

I've been realizing a couple of things the past few days. Though I've tried to manage the heck out of this transition, my kids really are so much more resilient than I anticipated. Also, the Gulf of Mexico is right outside our door right now so they're like, "whatever, we're good, mom!!" I'm looking forward to school starting soon so they can dive into that "new-ness" and we can get into the swing of things for the year. So many fun things on the horizon!

copyright 2018 emily ley