It’s that time of year when houses fill with holiday cheer in the form of holiday gifts, decorations and accoutrements that make the season festive. Many of my clients are downsizing or trying to maintain a clutter-free home and they take a different view of the holidays as they work to simplify their lives. I’m not talking about anti-capitalism; but shopping, buying and gift-giving requires a paradigm shift to stay focused, organized and on the right track.
Some of you may want to move toward those same goals so let’s break it down:
Visit the gift closet/drawer (most of us have one) before you start buying new gifts. Assign each gift to a person on your list. If you have a lot of extras you haven’t used for years, donate them to agencies looking for unwrapped gifts.
Take your list and shop early to avoid expensive last-minute purchases and to stay within budget.
Look in your food pantry and take stock of what’s there before you buy any new food. If there are items you aren’t going to use and aren’t expired, give them to the Food Pantry in your area.
Unearth the paper products, decorations, and holiday cards you bought last year at the end of the season before you buy anything new.
Peruse your clothing closet for holiday wear that you still adore and haven’t worn more than once. Maybe an accessory such as jewelry, shoes or a scarf will give it that needed update.
Gift of time: An experience to enjoy with someone else where you lose track of time!
One-of-a-kind gifts: Handmade gifts (yours or others).
Gift of creativity: If the receiver of your gift wants to get back to creativity in his or her life (i.e. painting, scrapbooking, writing, woodworking, photography, knitting, etc.), give a gift card to a favorite craft/hobby store.
Gift for the future: For the child who has everything, contributions to a college fund could be the answer.
Gift of nothing: If people tell you they don’t want a gift; listen to them. In other words, give them what they prefer, not what you prefer to give them.
Planning for the future:
Take all donations to your favorite charity before December 31 to get your tax receipt for 2015 taxes.
Go through your children’s toys and clothes before they receive new items and take them with you when you donate the items.
Keep large future monetary purchases in mind (i.e. house down payment, new car, etc.) to keep spending in check.
If you are paying off credit cards or saving for retirement, don’t forget those commitments at the holidays; stay on track.
It can be challenge to disregard the commercialism and retail frenzy of the holidays, but if we become discriminating and savvy shoppers, the New Year won’t bring new bills, but rather new memories to look forward to!
This article was written and published by my colleague Vali Heist of the Clutter Crew. She provided so many great tips for this season that I had to share them with you. Thanks Vali and happy holidays to all!
I need to find the perfect place or person to give my donations.
Many clients get stuck with boxes full of donations because they are waiting to find the perfect person to give them too.They spent a lot of time clearing their clutter and making decisions but then ran out of time to research where to donate these items too. They feel that they must find the perfect recipient before they can let it go. This is a very thoughtful gesture but not productive. If you believe in passing your good out into the world, you will probably also realize that no matter where you send your donations, they will end up right where they should and find the person who really needs them.
As you clean up after the holidays, you might have a pile of holiday cards lying around that you received last year. Here is a win-win solution and a challenge for you and one of the easiest ways for you to donate to a good cause! St. Judes Ranch gladly accepts used greeting cards and recycles them to raise money. You will only need an envelope and postage to complete this task.
So go ahead and sort through that stack of cards. As you examine your pile of cards, be honest with yourself and keep only the cards that have significant meaning. Remember this – you are not obligated to keep the cards with your friends and family photos on them! Only save them if you absolutely love them. Remember it is the thought behind the card that counts! You can look at each photo card and say ‘my, how they have grown’ and then recycle it.
Please keep only the cards that have significant meaning to your life.
Over the course of a lifetime, if you dont use discretion and hold onto every greeting card you receive, you will end up storing and taking care of literally thousands of cards. Trust me, I witness these massive collections and get paid to get rid of thousands of cards every year!
So, go ahead, get rid of your clutter and purge the cards that you dont need. Sort through your cards, put the photo cards into your recycle bin and send the rest off to St Judes to repurpose and multiply their value again!
Here are the details about the program:
To Donate Your Cards:
Year round, St. Judes happily accepts used all-occasion greeting cards. Please review the following tips before sending in your donation.
Card Donating Tips:
All types of greeting cards, including Christmas are accepted.
Only the card front can be used (please check to be sure the backside of the front of the card is clear of any writing, etc.)
We can not accept Hallmark, Disney or American Greeting cards
5″ x 7″ size or smaller is preferred
To mail large quantities in the least expensive way, use the United States Post Office in a Flat Rate Box (available at the Post Office), which holds up to 70 pounds
On this easy-to-use site you can research hundreds of respected charities , find answers to frequently asked questions and complete a simple online donation form . Or, if you prefer to speak with a representative, then please feel free to call us toll-free seven days a week to start our no-hassle donation process.
We pick up cars in most any condition, provided they are towable and have an engine. No smog certificate is required. We offer same day pick-up anywhere in San Diego. You get a tax receipt for your charitable contribution. You are entitled to take a deduction for the fair market value of your vehicle in its present condition. We cannot affix a value . Mon -Thu 8:30am- 5:00pm; Fri 8:30am- 4:00pm
1.6 Partners Mentorship Program 1984 Sunset Cliffs Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92107
Help partners mentor at-risk youth of San Diego County. Accepts any car, running or not – no smog check. Free towing, handles DMV paperwork for tax purposes, provides copies of ownership and transfer documents, a picture of your vehicle and a copy of the Kelly Blue book page showing your car.
3.1 The Friends of the Library 4193 Park Boulevard (Main Office)
San Diego, CA
The Friends of the Library will assess whether any of the books should go into the collection or be sold in the booksale. Proceeds from the booksale go to the Public Library and are matched 100% by the City of San Diego. Most all other branches receive contributions.
3.2 Read All Over
contact: Deborah Borza
Created in memory of 20-year-old Deora Bodley, who died on United Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. This program calls for students throughout the world to collect and share gently used books with others in their communities. Call for current book drive information.
3.3 St. Judes Ranch for Children
100 St . Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005
Mail used cards to the address listed. St. Judes collects holiday, birthday, or any occasion cards and transforms them into recycled greeting cards made with the love of a child. The residents of St. Jude’s Ranch turn used cards into “new” through their Born Again Card Recycling Program and then sell them to make money for savings, college, recreation and spending.
Check your local phone book for used bookstores in your area, or find out what your local schools can use for their libraries.
GreenDisk’s Personal Electronics Program (PEP) is designed to meet the recycling needs of individuals, businesses and government agencies that have small amounts of electronic waste or a one-time need. Concerns about data security and environmental responsibility are met by our well-defined recycling procedures and comprehensive audit trail.
5.3 The Friends of the Library
4193 Park Boulevard (Main Office)
San Diego, CA
Most all other branches receive contributions.
5.4 Lou’s Records & Tapes 434 North Coast Highway 101
92024 888/LOUS-REC www.lousrecords.com
Take your CD’s, old records, cassette tapes, video tapes, etc. and get cash or store credit.(Temporary trade-in policy change: Due to major overstock in the used dept, we are temporarily amending our trade-in policy. We are currently only accepting used items for STORE CREDIT ONLY. Until further notice, we will not be paying cash for used items. Sorry for any inconvenience.)
CollectiveGood is the mobile devices recycling resource. If you have spare mobile phones, pagers or PDAs sitting on a shelf or in a drawer, you can recycle them here in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. You can choose from almost 200 charities that will benefit from your old cell phone donation.
The CALL TO PROTECT campaign collects wireless phones to benefit victims of domestic violence. Proceeds from the sale of phones help fund agencies that fight domestic violence and are also used to support the educational efforts of the Wireless Foundation. Other phones are refurbished and become lifelines for domestic violence victims when faced with an emergency situation.
If you want a few dollars for your old cell phone, you might try selling it. There are a few sites that’ll buy them, with prices all over the map. For instance, a Nokia 3520 fetches $20 while a 5120 gets you $3.
Our mission is to assist low-income San Diegan women transition into the workforce with confidence, pride, and dignity. Therefore, all donations must be in excellent condition (no obvious tears or missing buttons), clean, and on hangers to preserve the garments in ready-to-wear condition.Business suits (skirts or pants) Beautiful blouses (that will work under a suit jacket)
Nearly new shoes
Day runners, portfolios and brief cases are also gladly accepted
Interfaith does not generally accept new clothing, except for the following programs. Veterans program can use donations of dress shirts, suits and ties, jeans, and new underwear & socks. Items must be in good condition. Confia hiring hall greatly appreciates donation of work boots. Babies and children’s clothing (socks and underwear).
Reclamere Inc. specializes in providing a variety of end-of-life services for electronic equipment, such as: computers, network infrastructure gear, telecommunications equipment, etc. Our team is focused on meeting your specific business needs. We will provide a secure, legal and environmentally sound solution for equipment removal and/or disposal as well as data destruction. We purchase and sell computer equipment on a regular basis.
8.15 Josh Tays 619/788-8138
Takes old computers and updates and fixes them up to donate to the Dress for Success organization. They give them to women that need a leg up to re-enter the working world. If it’s not too far, he’ll even come pick them up.
Computers Pentium 2 or higher are fixed and donated to schools. Under Pentium 2 are recycled at no charge! Donations of fax machines, printers, telephones and cell phones are accepted – drop-off by appt. Call ahead to confirm that your donation can be accepted.
13.1 Carlsbad – 760/639-6118
Carmel Valley – 619/235-2111
Chula Vista – 800/237-2583 Coronado – 619/522-7382
Del Mar – 858/755-9313
El Cajon – 619/596-5100
Encinitas – 760/633-2837
Escondido – 760/741-4818
Imperial Beach – 800/237-2583
La Mesa – 619/287-5696
Lemon Grove – 800/499-7587
Mira Mesa – 619/235-2111
National City – 800/237-3583
Oceanside – 760/439-2824
Penasquitos – 619/235-2111
Poway – 858/649-5410
San Diego – 619/235-2111
San Diego County (Unincorporated) – 877/713-2784
San Marcos – 760/639-6116
San Ysidro – 619/223-5211
Santee – 619/596-5100
Solana Beach – 800/714-1195
Sorrento Valley – 619-235-2111
Valley Center – 800/714-1195
Vista – 760/639-6118
To find out about Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) collection in your area, choose from the numbers at left or call the Regional HHW program hotline at 800/714-1195.Before taking materials to a drop-off center, be sure to find out about volume limitations and proof of residence requirements.
13.2 HHW Drop Off Center
1145 East Taylor Street
Open Saturdays, (except holidays) from 9:00 to 3:00. For Del Mar, Encinitas, San Marcos, Solana Beach, Escondido and Vista residents in unicorporated county. Before taking materials to a drop-off center, be sure to find out about volume limitations and proof of residence requirements.
13.3 Poway Materials Handling Yard 12325 Crosthwaite Circle
Open Saturdays, (except holidays) from 9:00 to 3:00. For Poway and residents in the unincorporated county
Children’s Hospital Thrift Stores accept donations for all kinds of items, including clothes, computers, toys, furniture – even cars and boats
16.4 The Elizabeth Hospice Kathleen Horwath –Thrift Shoppe Manager
1005 South Escondido Boulevard
Escondido, CA 92025
760/747-33161845 East Valley Parkway Escondido, CA 92027
Compassion in Services. Will pick up. (Many senior volunteers keep it humming.)
16.5 Goodwill Industries of San Diego County, Inc. – Donation Centers For information on Goodwill’s programs and services:
San Diego 619/225-2200
North County 760/722-8582 www.sdgoodwill.org
Bonita – Park & Ride, 805 & Sweetwater
Del Mar – Park & Ride, Sorrento Valley Road (I-5 & Carmel Valley Road)
El Cajon – Park & Ride, Washington at Jamacha
El Cajon – Trolley Station, Main & Marshall
Escondido – Park & Ride, I-15 & Via Rancho Parkway (on Del Lago Boulevard)
La Costa – Park & Ride, I-5 & La Costa Ave.
Lakeside – Park & Ride, Mapleview & Route 67
La Mesa – EDCO 8184 Commercial
La Mesa – Trolley Station, Grossmont Center Fletcher Parkway
La Mesa – Trolley Station, Amaya Street
Mission Valley – Hotel Circle North, (Church Parking W. of Handlery Hotel)
Mira Mesa – Park & Ride, I-15 & Mira Mesa
Oceanside – Park & Ride, Route 78 &
Oceanside – Park & Ride, I-5 & 78
Point Loma – On sports Arena at Rosecrans
Sorrento Valley – Park & Ride, 805 & Vista Sorrento Parkway (North onramp to Route 805 at Mira Mesa Boulevard)
16 convenient locations in San Diego County. Staffed 7 days a week from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Some locations open later. Goodwill is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. The resale of clean, reusable donations provides job training and paid work experience to San Diegans with disabilities and other barriers to employment that are working to become self-supporting, and to provide a brighter future for themselves and their families. Goodwill programs include: state-certified vocational training, free job search and employment services for the community, community employment for people with more severe disabilities, assembly and packing services for business, e-boutique and more! Good will is also an employer of almost 600 people in our community year-round.Organize a donation drive for your neighborhood, community, club, or church. We can help you with all the details.To protect your donation from vandalism or theft, we suggest that you donate during posted hours.
16.6 My Sister’s Closet
Gail J. Polk – Director of Retail Operations
3590 Fifth Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
Proceeds from the store help the YWCA provide Domestic Violence and Self-Sufficiency programs for women in need. You can help by “opening up” your closet and your heart! Purchase items from the store. Donate your high quality clothing and accessories, furniture and collectibles to sell in the store. Volunteer your time and energy for YW programs.
API provides a listing of used motor oil hotlines. CIWMB site can be searched for a certified used oil-recycling center. Most service stations, repair facilities and oil change centers will accept used oil and filters. Try calling your local automotive supply store for program information.
The Lion’s Club collects used eyeglasses for redistribution in developing countries throughout the world.Collection centers can be found in local libraries, and at Lenscrafters, For Eyes and Pearle Vision locations
18.6 Grocery Bags
Plastic grocery bags are accepted at most grocery store chains including VONS, Albertsons, Major Market and Jimbos.(Better yet, bring your own cloth bags when you shop!)
18.7 IMS Cardboard Boxes
Small reimbursement for recycling of cardboard boxes.
18.8 Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council 800/828-2214
Call to find the business nearest you that reuses Styrofoam packing peanuts.
18.9 TUBFRIM NO-3540 Nesbyen, Norway or to
Helga Moore – President, Sons of Norway
San Diego Chapter
2429 Marilouise Way
San Diego, CA 92103 email@example.com www.tubfrim.no/
Please, never throw away canceled postage stamps and phonecards. Stamps and phonecards from any country in the world can be used. Tubfrim collects and sells used stamps and telephone cards, and uses the proceeds to aid the eradication of tuberculosis among Norwegian children.
When preparing to move, many folks don’t know where to start. The key is to establish a plan to stay organized leading up to and during the move.
Many people think of moving day as being a “day event,” otherwise known as “moving day.” When in actuality, effective planning of your move should be looked at more like the planning of a wedding. It is an event that requires planning weeks and sometimes months in advance. The more you are able to chunk what is needed to be done into smaller parts, the less overwhelming it will be.
Organizing a move breaks down into 8 major parts.
1. Changing addresses- You will need to contact 20-100 different places to change addresses depending on your stage of life. Create a spreadsheet and list everyone that you will need to contact to change addresses for. You can do this well in advance of your move.
2. Donating or Recycling Items You No Longer Want
Before you even start to pack, it is advisable to go through your entire home and select which items you want to keep, and which ones you want to donate, throw out or give away. A good rule of thumb, if you have not used it in the last year, you should get rid of it. There is no point to moving items that you no longer want.
In San Diego you can donate to many wonderful charities, one of my favorites being the following:
Father Joes Village will come to your house and pick up belongings and donate to several different causes of your choice.
3. Selecting your moving vendors
It is good idea to select and find your moving company 1 month in advance if you have the time. Many moving companies, particularly in the summer, get full booked. Schedule in advance, and then change the date if you need to.
Check with your local BBB for the ratings of your moving company. Only go with a moving company that has an A rating and is fully licensed and insured.
If you are moving locally, you will save money going with a local company that charges by the hour and who is fast and efficient. When you are paying by the hour, efficiency and experience matters.
4. Start packing early
Order moving boxes on-line to save time and start packing early. Most people create a lot of stress simply by waiting too long to get moving boxes and start packing. Areas that can be packed weeks ahead of time are the following:
The bathroom and laundry room (you can not move open cleaning products though)
Winters clothes if it is the summer, or summer clothes if it is the winter.
anything you will not use for a few weeks
5. Don’t change your routine during the moving process
A big part of organizing effectively during a move is keeping a level head. Make sure that you continue to keep your normal routine of exercise, reading, or soaking in the bath. These moments of relaxation will help you organize in a calm and effective fashion. Many people stop engaging in these activities the month they are moving, which helps increase the stress level.
6. Make Sure to Have Everything packed in moving boxes BEFORE your movers arrive.
Local movers charge by the hour. Therefore, if you are fully packed and ready to be moved, the total cost of your move will be less than if the movers have to wait for you to seal moving boxes or collect loose items off the floor. Time is money when you are moving and you are totally in control.
Note: My colleague Jerry Berzanski, President of Discount Movers has graciously provided these professional moving tips.
It’s time for me to admit that I have not cleaned out my junk drawer for at least 2 years. Truth be told, it was created when we moved in!
Now I do feel that every home should have one (ONE) junk drawer and I do help my clients create them. This way, there is a designated place to stash the miscellaneous and random tools like matchbooks, keys, screwdrivers, pens and tape.This particular drawer had big appeal to me as a junk drawer when I set up house for 2 reasons:
1. It was located in my kitchen
2. It was the smallest drawer in the kitchen.
Since my kitchen, like most, is the family hub, it made sense to create a junk drawer there. And my rational is that if I used a very small drawer, I would probably have less junk. And due to it’s size, it would not take long to get out of control and I would be prompted to clean it out sooner, as opposed to later!
So, sure enough I dumped everything out into my large salad bowl and made quick work of sorting and tossing. One bag for trash, one bag for donate (I have no idea where all of the pens and post it pads came from), one bag for outbound to other drawers and all of the rest back into the new drawer organizer.
By the way, my new drawer organizer was the beginning of my inspiration to clean out that particular area! Whatever it takes to get going is always a good thing!
I was on a roll so I decided to take a quick trip around my house and get rid of a few more things. Here is what I ended up donating. Yay!