Simplify Your LifeSimplify Your Life
Marcia Ramsland
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Reduce the mess and stamp out stress. Ramsland offers a grace-oriented approach to organizing your home, your time, and your life. Master the "2-minute pickup" method for cleaning any room, create a "personal organizing center" and learn to spot the red flags of disorganization that keep your home from the beautiful place it was meant to be.
     

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1. “Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay that Way! is the title of your new book for women (and those who live with them.) Why is it so difficult to simplify our lives today?
It is said that every day we receive 200 inputs that we need to process in our lives – that includes mail, phone calls, e-mails, voice mails, interruptions, store clerks, TV, and telemarketers. That is a lot of input and any number of rabbit trails can pull us off course.
Because our lives are so frantic and busy, we can’t afford not to simplify our lives these days. People are so overwhelmed that stress seems like a normal part of life. That’s not normal, and we’ve got to find ways to reverse that lifestyle by simplifying our systems each day just to keep up with all the demands.
My favorite quote sums up our lives so well, “It’s not the things we do that make us tired, it’s the things left undone that wear us out!” We are living with a lot of undone things and I want readers to know how to move from chaos to control and from complex to simple.

2. What are the most common problems people have from not being organized?
The most common problem people have is not having enough time to get everything done. Early in the book I tell the story of Sue whose reputation as a good Mom, loyal friend, and dependable employee were all falling apart over unbaked cookies, a misplaced birthday present, a late arrival to work, no toothpaste, and a shirt to iron! These are organizational issues to conquer, not character flaws to sabotage her identity. Frustration, loss of respect from others, and general all around gloom and stress are the result of not being organized enough to be on top of things. It is a recipe for personal and relational frustration when someone is not organized.

3. What are some of the benefits of getting organized and why are they so important in the busy lives of women today?
In the book I list several of the benefits of being organized. Everyone one of us has something that motivates us to simplify our lives. Those benefits for busy women mean they:

-save time
-don’t have to look for things
-think clearer
-are a nicer person
-feel better about yourself
-save money
-have less stress
-are more productive
-don’t feel guilty
-have more time for people
-don’t feel embarrassed

Life is just too busy to NOT be organized. And when you consider all that you have to gain by upgrading the quality of your organizing habits, it is well worth growing about.

4. "Simplify Your Life" is full of excellent organizing tips and systems; what is your experience as a professional organizer and what can the reader learn in this book?
As a professional organizer known as “The Organization Woman” for my practical teaching and advice, my tips have been in Women’s Day and Cosmopolitan magazines. I appear on radio and TV to help people save time and problem solve their particular stressors. I taught fifty seminars a year and organized clients in all situations across the country for almost two decades.
I give the reader the “inside scoop” on how to solve life management issues like a pro. With fast-paced, step-by-step instructions, the reader will find fresh ways to manage their daily schedule, your life at home and at work, and special seasons of life such as parenting, the holidays, and transitions.
The book is light, entertaining, and motivational. You can’t help but see how your personally live a more peaceful and purposeful life by using Simplify Your Life as a measuring stick of what you are doing right and what things you can “tweak” to smooth out the rough spots in life. There is definitely something for everyone.

5. Your book is based upon your own philosophy called the PuSH sequence; give us some examples of how that concept applies to simplifying life.
The PuSH sequence is an acronym for my trademark system that not only gets you organized, but also helps you stay that way. The acronym stands for Project, you (the key component), System, Habit, which is the logical sequence to getting and staying and a chart at the end of each chapter shows you how to recognize how close you are to being organized.
For instance, when you clean a closet, it is a Project if you have to spend a half-day going through everything; it becomes a System if you set up a plan to accomplish it regularly; and once it becomes a Habit, you will stay organized and conquer your clothes closet for good!
The “u” in “you” is you and your style of doing the closet. Some like a closet with matching plastic hangars while others make it a showpiece with mahogany built-in drawers and shelves. It’s all up to you and your style, but the organizing principles in the book are critical to making it work for you, and not you for it.

6. Do you think there is ever a point where a woman is so far gone in home and life that she can't regain control?
Personally I can empathize with that question because I was not naturally organized. But when I realized my life was so frustrating because I couldn’t get anything done, I decided to get organized. And you know what? I discovered it was EASIER to be organized than disorganized! Really. When you can find things, when there isn’t clutter all over your house and office, and when you know how to get things done, life is definitely easier!
I believe there is hope for every woman to make changes. I want my readers to walk away saying, “I have hope – and I can do this!” I’ve taken great care to make sure each chapter is focused on heart-warming client stories and principles with charts, tips, diagrams, so that each reader can find exactly what they need to get organized in that topic. And with only 14 chapters, they can be through the book in two weeks by reading one chapter a day.

7. You have one unique chapter on dealing with “transitions” which you say are, “Those rare but difficult times in life when everything you put together falls apart.” Tell us about those.
What is unique is that the next to last chapter talks about transitions in our lives, when everything we put together falls apart. I felt women didn’t want to know how to get and stay organized when life is perfect, because it rarely is. So I included how to get organized when your life falls apart. That’s real life. This is my favorite chapter in the book because there is so much depth to it.
8. Where is the best place to start simplifying my own life and stop being trapped by a cluttered lifestyle?
The best place to start simplifying life is at the point of the most pressure and disarray. For instance in the first chapter of Simplify Your Life, I tell stories of three clients who made different life changes. Debbie came running up to me and said she lost 100 pounds in the past three months since my last seminar. I was stunned until she explained they were 100 pounds of clutter from her closets and garage! She felt so free and we shared a good laugh as everyone around her congratulated her as well.
The second lady was an attorney who lost more than her share of sleep when she became a new Mom. So we mapped out working systems for her new life as a working professional starting with the most familiar until she could get control of her time at work and home. She was happy to know she really could balance her life and I taught her (and the reader) how to do exactly that.
In the third story, Lindsey’s marriage went from strife to calm just by cleaning up all the clutter. Her messy habits were tearing down her marriage and making her household miserable. After our class she conquered her clutter and regained her husband’s respect by giving away extra toys, tossing piles of papers, and creating cleanup systems for the household with three children under four years old.
This way the reader does some listening and personal reflection before embarking on her own place to start. My advice is: “Keep what is working, change what is frustrating!”

9. Is it really important to a woman spiritually, emotionally, and relationally –to have a simplified and orderly life?
Getting organized is a definite plus to all three areas. Just by organizing your spiritual life you will emotionally and relationally enjoy life more. Consider having devotions for example. When you wake up and your Bible isn’t by your bedside, your pen is out of ink, and you never bought a notebook to write out what you are praying about, your personal quiet time with God will suffer. And it isn’t because you are unspiritual – it’s because you are in disarray organizationally.
Yet when you always have your Bible in the same place, a working pen, notebook and a bookmark in your Bible and a devotional book you are reading, you can get right into your devotional time and focus on what God has to say to you for that day. It works.

10. What's next?
Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay that Way! carries my life message that I plan to deliver through speaking, writing, and consulting: Make your life count each day by simplifying each aspect until it works smoothly for you, and not you for it.
This book is the first in the Women of Faith Life Style product line. It will open doors to offer practical resources on other practical topics designed to connect with and encourage women in everyday life.
There are some other projects in the works for me that will unfold as the book sweeps across the country. I can’t wait to see what God will do as people become unencumbered with disorganization, and purposefully make a difference at home, at work, as parents, at the holidays, and even in life transitions. There is a way to get organized and simplify your life to get on with the business of real living.