Archive for November, 2008

Clutter Free Holiday Gift Giving That Is Both Meaningful and Useful

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

You know it happens.  The gifts you give often become clutter in the back of someone’s closet, or stuck in a drawer, or simply lost.  We also always have people in our lives who are the ‘hard to shop for’ type.  Sometimes they already have everything they need, yet you want to give them a gift.  In either case, in place of a physical gift, here are some meaningful and useful gift ideas – I promise they won’t end up in the back of the recipient’s closet.
– Accepted at more than 4,000 locations, no blackout dates, this certificate can be the perfect get-away weekend idea, starting at $25. – Make a donation in honor of the gift recipient, or give a friend a membership to a non-profit organization. At Just Give you can donate online to thousands of charities.

AMEX Gift Cards for Gas – Since we don’t have reindeer to pull our cars, everyone can use a little gas. Gift cards are accepted by most major fuel brands.

Gift A Tree – Plant a seed for a greener tomorrow with the Arbor Day Foundation.  With each $5.95 card purchase, a tree will be planted in a national forest that has been damaged by fire, insect or disease, and you’ll receive a Give-a-Tree card to present as the gift.  Buy more then 100 for only $3.95 each. – Everyone loves the movies and having Fandango Bucks makes going to the movies easier. Personalize your gift with a message and choose one of the many occasion-based themes! This gift can be emailed or printed for delivery.

Food and – This is one of our favorite local charities. Your donation allows Food & Friends to serve more than 1,100 men, women and children, each day, who are living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses.  Just $25 provides enough food for a week of freshly-prepared meals.

New Holiday Survey – Do You Make Time To Send Holiday Cards?

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

I’m curious if the readers of take the effort to send holiday greetings to their friends, family and colleagues.  If one of the answers below doesn’t describe you, leave a comment about your holiday card habits.

Do you plan to mail holiday cards this year?

View Results

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Six Holiday Survival Tips to Help You Save Time And Money

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

It’s not even December 1st, yet with Black Friday behind us, we’re already feeling pressed for time?  I over heard someone at the store saying, “each year I don’t think I’ll survive the holidays!”  The person with her agreed holidays were very stressful.  Wake up!  Holidays are not suppose to be stressful!  If you’re easily stressed during the holidays, keep reading.  I’m giving you six holiday survival tips.  I hope they make life easier for you.

  1. Wrapping Paper: If you run short of holiday wrapping paper, or simply want something more creative, use your child’s art work. Grandparents especially love this packaging. If you have rolls of unused wall paper, use it to wrap gifts.
  2. Save on Gas: Driving from store to store to buy gifts can be tedious, not to mention time consuming. Shop online for holiday gifts. Sites such as waive shipping charges!
  3. Gift Notebook: Have one central location for all your holiday lists and ideas.   You’ll include your shopping list, meal planning, notes on travel, sales fliers, etc.  Also, designate a folder pocket or envelope for gift receipts to make returns a breeze.
  4. New Tradition: Must a traditional holiday meal be rich in calories in order to make your family happy? Start a new tradition of health-consciousness dining this year. Consider polling your guests for their favorite dishes. Then look for low-calorie version recipes online!
  5. Say Yes: When someone offers to bring something to a party, or to help you out in any way, say YES! They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t truly want to help.
  6. Donate Decor: If decorating is part of your holiday celebration, edit and donate the items you’re no longer displaying in your home. This will make storage easier after the holidays.  This should be done before the holiday as many donation sites will not take holiday decor after the date has passed.

7 Time-Saving Tips for Mailing Holiday Cards!

Friday, November 28th, 2008

Writing holiday cards can seem like a burden, but with a little patience and some proper planning, this otherwise burdensome task can become a meaningful way to send some holiday cheer. Here are 7 time-saving tips to simplify this process.

  1. Begin to address envelopes for the holiday card now. Try to do five to ten envelopes an evening.
  2. Once the envelopes are finished, write five to ten cards per evening.  The envelopes take longer if you do them by hand, so that’s why I do those first.
  3. Challenge a friend or relative to see who can get their cards in the mail first. Make sure to have a fun prize.  Involving a friend who you’re accountable to, will help you stay focused.
  4. Avoid long lines at the post office by going during their non-peak hours.  Statistically the slowest time at the USPS is 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM.
  5. For the budget conscious, buy discounted holiday cards at the end of the season for the next year.  Next year, you’ll save time because you won’t have to go hunting for the perfect card.  I love saving time and money!
  6. Prior to mailing your cards, weigh one to ensure that you do not require additional postage.  Speaking of postage, buy a bunch of Forever Stamps if you mail letters each year.
  7. If you don’t like sending cards, consider a ‘holiday letter’ that is mailed out around New Years.  You’ll save time by not feeling the need to write a personal message in each card.

With these easy ideas, you’ll be able to maximize your time and simplify your life during the busy holiday season.

Container Store Offers Extension on Oprah Discount

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

We all love saving money,
and I want you to be organized, so I’m sharing this information with you.

Just in time for the holidays, The Container Store has extended their promotion for Oprah’s “Clean Up Your Messy House Tour”.

They offering a 20% savings through Sunday, November 30.  Yes, that’s 20% off everything in the entire store!  Click here to access the coupon page. Click on ‘print this coupon’ when you’re on that page.

Now’s the perfect time to buy the organizing supplies you need to have an organized home for the holidays.  If you need help, give us a call or drop us a note.  Otherwise, get busy people!

Rubbermaid Interviews Certified Professional Organizers® – Including Me!

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Rubbermaid’s Manager of eMarketing and Brand Communications, Jim Dietzel is on Twitter, a social micro-blogging website.  I’m one of 18 professional organizers on Twitter they’re ‘following’.  On Twitter, Jim’s user name is @Rubbermaid and you can find me on Twitter as @DeClutterYou.  Jim asked if I was willing to be interviewed in a “Question and Answer” post on Rubbermaid’s Adventures in Organizing blog.  With so many organizers to choose from, I was excited to be one of the first Certified Professional Organizers® (CPO) to be interviewed.

In the Q & A Jim asked why I wanted to be certified as an organizer, he was curious about what types of projects we experience with our clients, and what are typical challenges most people face when trying to get organized.  His zinger of a question was when he asked me what is the most difficult thing for ME to keep organized.  What do you think it is?  I’ll tell you that it is not shoes, clothes, my kitchen cabinets, or tools.  Visit their blog to read the entire interview and find out how easy it is for the organizer to be disorganized.  Check it out here.

Thanks to Jim and Rubbermaid for including me on their blog.  If you want to subscribe to their blog, click here.  If you don’t subscribe, be sure to check out Jim’s Five-Part Series on Garage Organizing.

Oprah Visits Washington, DC To Help Declutter Your Home With The Help of Peter Walsh

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Oprah has once again teamed up with clutter expert Peter Walsh, to help America “clean up your messy house.” This time, they’ve partnered with my church favorite store, The Container Store and they’re coming to the nation’s Capitol! They are looking for the messiest LIVING and FAMILY ROOMS and BEDROOMS in Washington, D.C.

The Oprah crew is looking for a willing DC area resident to show their clutter on National television and let Peter Walsh solve all your troubles. If your home isn’t messy, you can turn someone in. If you’re the one who needs help, what space in your life needs a MAJOR decluttering makeover?

They will be making our decision ASAP, so the sooner they hear from you, the better your chances!

For complete application instructions click here.  Who knew there would be a music video about cleaning your house!  Watch the clutter bug kick-off tour video.

Peter Walsh is best known for his on TV decluttering on TLC’s Clean Sweep and his books, most recently Does This Clutter Make My Butt Look Fat.

On Oprah’s November 12 episode, The Container Store offered a 20% off your purchase coupon available for download from Oprah’s website.  It’s good until November 19, 2008.  Click here to download.

On the same show, Peter suggested you take photos of your child’s artwork, upload it to a website like and have them create a scrap book.  If you’ve ever worked with me, you’ll know I’m often making this suggest too.   Especially for 3-D artwork or any craft projects created with food.  I also recommend making these scrapbooks of keepsakes you don’t necessarily have space to keep, but you want a visual cue to trigger the memory.  Snapfish has offered a free standard 20-page 8″ x 11″ custom-cover photo book per household.  Offer expires soon, so click here to redeem.

I wonder if Peter will need help when he’s in DC?  Peter, you’ve got my number – give me a call.