Tag Archives: Gifts

Get Organized and Take Stock Before You Shop For The Holidays

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:

Take stock:

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.

Thoughtful gift-giving:

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!


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Myth #6 About Clutter and Getting Organized

Myth #6

I have to keep this because my friend gave it to me.

It is always the thought that counts when it comes to giving and receiving gifts. Just because the person giving you the gift liked it, does not mean that you have to like it too. Also, even if you do like it, but you have several other similar items, you do not have to keep it. Thank them and quietly give it away to a charity that actually can use that item.

As you do this, the gift becomes more than it was. It is a big sign of disrespect to hoard items that you do not love, use or need. Move the gift forward and magnify it’s reach by helping someone else who actually does love or need it! I give you permission to let go of any gifts lying around that you have been holding onto because of guilt or a sense of obligation.

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Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

If you’re ever stuck on what to get someone and afraid your gift will become unwanted clutter, here’s the perfect solution. Give the gift of a clutter free home with these clever and useful organizing products.

Bedside Storage Mattress Book Remote Caddy

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

Is your bedside table overflowing and constantly cluttered?  This handy organizer keeps your clutter contained , organized and off your bedside table.

This little bedside organizer will keep your glasses, books and phone within easy reach. It easily secures to any bed in between the mattress and your box spring.

It also makes a perfect clutter-free gift! I gave one to my Dad a few years back and he loves it!


Wall Mounted Storage & Organizer for Your Home, Closet, Garage and Shed

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

I use these jam- clamp grips in every garage and mudroom that I organize. The jam cleats are quick and easy to use. Most importantly, all of your tools will remain organized and off the floor. It holds up to 11 tools!


Wall Mounted Mail Sorter Key Hook Organizer Rack w/ Black Memo Bulletin Chalk Board

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

Hanging a message board in the family hub helps keep every family organized. This chalkboard has a few extra bells and whistles that make staying organized even easier. Hooks for keys and a ledge for phones and notepads makes this chalkboard a perfect gift for every busy family!


Dry-Erase Entry Butler

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

This entry butler is another version of a family hub organizer except it features a patent-pending real bamboo dry-erase surface which includes a dry erase marker. It also includes 2 metal hooks to hold keys, bags and scarves.


Metal Wonder Hangers

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

This drop-down hanging device is perfect for every person you know that has an overflowing closet.


ClutterFREE Hangers Cascade Hanger Set

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

These locking hangers are another idea to create more rod space in an overflowing closet.


Portable StowAway Rack Organizer

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

This organizer makes a great gift for every crafty and handy person you know. It contains and organizes beads, nails, or any other small parts.

I love this version because it includes separate and removable cases so that you can micro-organize within your organizing system!


12 Tin Magnetic Spice Rack

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

Spices hanging on the wall follow my number one organizing mantra – Use your vertical space! This magnetic board keeps spices off the counter and the clear lids make identifying spices a snap!


Personal Hair Style Organizer

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

Imagine a bathroom counter where everything is contained and there is actually a place for your blow dryer and your curling iron! This mini-dresser can sit on your counter, contain and organize the stuff that never seems to have a good place to live.


Multi Device Charging Station and Cord Organizer for Smartphones, Tablets and Laptops. Universal Compatibility with iPad, iPhone, Samsung, Android and More.

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

This charging unit will keep all of the electronic devices charged, organized and ready to use!


Neoprene Zip-up Cable Sleeves

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

Cord clutter is a nuisance. This cord bungie system keeps wires contained and looking much better than hanging loose and crazy.


Desktop Cable / Wire Organizer and Management Solution

Organizing and Clutter-Free Gift Solutions

Contain those crazy cables with this captive cable system. Each capture unit has a 3M adhesive back so you can mount them anywhere that works to keep your cables easily accessible.




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Holiday finance and time organizing


Do you have any suggestions on ways to save money and be more organized prior to this busy holiday time?

Gabriella, Entrepreneur


Compile a list now of the people you will buy Christmas gifts for this year. Keep this list in your purse or wallet. As you go into stores for errands, buy presents and make a note on your list. Keep a running tally and you will avoid duplicate gifts. Wherever you decide to store these gifts, make sure to keep them all in one space. An under-the-bed storage box will serve you well throughout the year. Pre-shopping increases the likelihood that you can take advantage of sales. You will also be more in control of your money.

Your gifts will be thoughtful and it becomes easy to buy extra items while you are already shopping. By the time November rolls around, you will be finished with your list and ready to check it twice. If you come up with a missing item, use the ‘After Thanksgiving Day Sale’ to buy any remaining gifts on your list. It is always a good idea to buy three-five extra small gifts for the occasional hostess gift, co-worker gift raffle, or surprise holiday guest. Implement this practice now and in

December you will be able to enjoy the parties and holiday cheer without stress. Give this a try and you’ll never shop on Christmas Eve again.


Kathi is a professional organizer, image consultant and event planner based in San Diego California.

Please submit your questions to: advice@addspacetoyourlife.com
San Diego Professional Organizer

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Year End Gratitude Sale ~ Teleconsulting ~ buy 3 hours get one free!

Happy Holidays from addSpace To Your Life!

 As the year ends, I think about all of you with gratitude and love.

I feel so honored that you have visited this website and invited me into your life in an effort to make your world more organized. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

As a way of giving back, I am offering everyone a free hour of organizing tele consulting.

When you purchase 3 hours of tele consulting, you will receive one on the house!

You can also use this offer as a gift for a loved one who might need a gentle lift to get their life back on track.

This is the perfect time for you to get  your life, home and papers organized so you will be prepared to take on 2014 with gusto! Click on the button below to receive your gift certificate and let’s set up your first organizing tele consultation!

Feel free to contact me for questions or more details:

Call: 760.436.4266  or Email: advice@addSpaceToYourLife.com

Blessings to you and yours this holiday season,

Kathi Burns, CPO®

Holiday Special  ~ Buy 3 hours of tele consulting for $225, get one free! This special must be purchased by Dec 31, 2013 and can be used at any time in the future.  (Value $75)

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Create a gift station for yourself this holiday season

As the holidays draw near there, is nothing better than a having a dedicated place to wrap gifts and find your gift wrap.

This client had just moved into a new house, and when we unpacked her gifts and gift wrap, I wanted to put it in one area for her so she could easily access it throughout the year.

We found a place in the garage that had open cabinets and a shelf below. We consolidated all of her gift wrap, bows, ribbon, greeting cards and gifts and placed them into tubs and containers in the cabinets above, making sure to include tape and scissors.

We had a separate container for gifts bought for specific people, a container for gifts for kids, and another container for hostess gifts. We placed a large board on the shelf below to create a surface for wrapping gifts.

She now has a one stop shop in her garage for gifts. Any time she needs a gift she can just open the cabinet, find the right gift and wrap them right there. She knows right where everything is and it’s very easy. A benefit to having the gift station in the garage is that she can grab a gift on her way out the door and get it in the car before she’s had a chance to put it down and forget it.

There’s no better thing to do for yourself than to set up a gift closet or gift cabinet, especially this time of year. Have fun and create one for yourself. It’s a really great way to stay organized and avoid stress during the holidays.


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Clear the Clutter Before the Holidays

As a child the holiday season seems so magical. Houses are decorated, there’s always amazing food everywhere, visitors stop by from all corners of the world, and everyone is happy – except for the person in charge of making sure the holidays go off without a hitch.

That person is generally the primary caretaker of the family and he or she has a lot to do to make the home holiday-ready. As tempting as it may be to shove everything that isn’t aesthetically pleasing under the bed or in a closet, cutting the clutter is what really needs to happen.

The following things help make sure that your home, family, and mind are free of clutter and ready for the holidays.

Start Sorting Out the Clutter

Begin with what’s most important. If you know that guests will be staying at your house overnight or, God help you, longer, and your spare room is a catch-all for all the random things in your life, start with that room. Sort through the room and make three piles: one to keep, one to throw out, and one to give away.

Toss the trash out that day. If time allows, drop off the other pile at a thrift store, or at least get it in the trunk of your car. If you don’t have the time to put away all of the items you’d like to keep, store them in a container and stack it neatly in the closet, basement, attic or garage so that it is out of the way, but not adding to the clutter.

Once the clutter is removed from a spare room (or rooms), tidy things up so it is fresh for guests. Then close the door and pretend that room doesn’t exist until guests arrive.

He Sees You When You’re Cleaning

The next to think about are the areas that are going to be the most visited during holiday get-togethers. This generally involves the kitchen, dining, and family rooms. Take a look around these rooms and identify items that are either used infrequently or not at all and remove the items. That doesn’t mean the items have to be discarded or thrown out, but they should be stored in an area where they won’t get in the way of holiday entertainment.

Other areas that need to get free of clutter before the holidays include the refrigerator, cupboards, and closets.

The refrigerator gets a lot of abuse during the holiday season as it is the go-to place for storing large platters, eggnog, grab-and-go foods for guests, and all the necessary ingredients for a Christmas meal. Before you’re faced with the task of cramming yet another dish into the fridge, take some time to go through and get rid of unnecessary food items. You might be surprised by what you find.

The same goes for cupboards and the pantry. Plus, when you clean out these areas, you might find canned goods that can be donated to those in need.

Clear Your Mind and Clear Your Home

As for the last, and perhaps most important thing that needs de-cluttered before the holidays, well, that’s your mind.

Don’t be afraid to schedule a massage, spend a day at the spa or on the golf course, or do something that helps you de-stress and clear your mind. After all, the holiday season isn’t about being stressed; it’s about spending time with family and friends and enjoying one another’s company.


Dana Rasmussen writes about ways to organize your home, office, and life on sites like Reputation.com.




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How to Organize ANY Closet

Would you like to get inspired to clean out your closets and get organized? Watch these amazing before and after photos to get started!

You will see real life before and after photos and examples of master closets, garage storage systems, pantry organizing systems and even craft and gift closets get organized and orderly!

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Organizing Tips For The Holidays

Holiday Décor – Don’t feel obligated to hang every decoration every year. Take time off from your treasures, maybe this year go minimalist and see how it feels. It can be a huge relief!

Store your treasures in special plastic tubs with seasonal colors. This makes finding all of your items easy even when they get lost behind the camping gear on the top shelf.

Purge the old, dusty and musty décor – Take time to purge your old decorations and keep only the items that you enjoy seeing every year. Downsize and make decorating easier in the years to come.

Create a Gift Closet – Designate one place to store gifts, paper and cards throughout the year. Stock up as you see gifts on sale throughout the year. A running list posted on inside of the door makes it easy to keep track of what you have on hand and also to grab a quick hostess gift on your way out to a party.

Time – Just say no. You do not have to attend every party and gathering that you are invited to. If the day arrives and you would rather sit at home and decompress, call and excuse yourself from the gathering.

Gift Giving – Start your holiday thinking before you start your holiday buying. Make a list of everyone you will buy for this year. Leave a space beside their name and as you purchase, check their name off. Also, if they mention what they want throughout the year, you can make a note beside their name. Keep this list in your wallet and when you are out and about, you might find that perfect gift before the holidays arrive!

Gift Cards – Consider gift cards this year. These wonderful little ditties save you time, stress and wrapping paper. The real plus it that your recipient has the opportunity to get what they really want!

Plan a Gift Exchange – Secret Santa gift exchanges provide the perfect opportunity for family members to get the big gift they really want and would never buy for themselves. Draw papers from a bag with each person’s name and their big gift request. This saves time and the stress of finding the perfect gift while ensuring that everyone gets what they really want. Make a pact to buy only one gift with no surprise small gifts allowed or this exercise could turn into a real gift extravaganza.

Give Magazine Subscriptions- Support your friend’s hobbies with tis thoughtful gift. They will think of you every month as they read your gift.

Shop Online – Be an armchair shopper and save time and money on sites like eBay. For the best deals, log on very early or late in the day to hit auctions as they close.

Parties –  If cooking for the masses isn’t your style, go easy on yourself and host a ‘bring a dish’ party. Friends and family rarely resent bringing one dish to a party and your job will become considerably easier. Provide the main course and you are done.

Gather Your Family Off-Site – Have your family gathering at a nice restaurant with desert and coffee served after at your place.

Rent Dishes for Your Fancy Dinner – There is no better feeling than placing all of the dirty dishes in a rack and sending them away to be cleaned and disposed of. The price is nominal when you wake up to a clean house in the morning.

Hire a Caterer –  or buy pre-made feasts at your local grocery. Add a few special ingredients to each pre-made dish and it will taste homemade.

Plan an Open House – friends and family can drop in throughout the day and the expectations are lower. Guests don’t expect a gourmet meal and the mood will stay light and festively casual. No expectations except to catch up with your favorite people!

Host a Holiday Craft Party – Give Homemade Gifts This Year. Schedule the entire day for friends and family to stop by and make gifts. Set up work stations for each craft and ask that people bring ingredients for the designated crafts. Great ideas include; Mix in a jar recipes like soups, cakes and cookie mixes. Other ideas are wreaths, small decorated trees, pillow cases, gift tags. Use your imagination and have fun!

Create Ritual – Formulate a plan that resonates with your hearts desire: This can mean spending a specified evening by yourself for pampering or getting everyone you love together at the same time every year, even if it is on a conference call. Create an annual habit that makes you feel like this time of the year is special and sacred, whatever this means to you.

Spend the Holidays Solo – You are not obligated to go home for the holidays. If you really need to take a time out – do it, take a trip or curl up with your favorite book or watch a movie by yourself. It’s all good if it is what you need. Jump on a plane and go somewhere where others don’t celebrate the holidays and decompress. You can create a your own personal holiday interlude and start the New Year revitalized, relaxed and perhaps even smug…

Nourish Yourself – Take time to be alone and contemplate your blessings in life. Spend the day in nature and enjoy the sunshine. This day can be the fuel to keep you going during the busiest part of the holidays.

Hire a Cleaning Service – Treat yourself to a clean house without the hassle. Set up an appointment in November for your home to get cleaned the week of Christmas or Hanukkah and remove that task from your list so you can focus on other more important details. If you don’t regularly enjoy a cleaning service, make it your gift to yourself.

Dress to Celebrate – Take the time to create an outfit that makes you feel festive. Go through your closet and decide what you will wear in advance. Add a new piece to your existing holiday attire or splurge this year and get the perfect black dress that you can wear all year. Dress it up with a pair of sparkly party shoes. A cashmere sport coat can take any man from day to fancy evening events looking fabulous even while wearing blue jeans!

Bake With Friends and Swap Cookies – Set a date to have your girlfriends over to bake all day. Have everyone bring ingredients and baking dishes for their favorite cookies and desserts. This is a great way to spend quality time with your friends and get your pantry loaded for the holidays. If spending a day together doesn’t work, have everyone make triple recipes and schedule a swap during a morning or afternoon coffee break.

Keep Your Figure – Don’t let the holidays negate the weight loss you have achieved this year. Cut yourself some slack, strive for weight maintenance, not loss during the festive season. Use the secrets below to maintain your weight:

Drink a large glass of water and a protein bar before you attend a party. This way you will arrive satiated and less likely to eat everything on the buffet.

Offer to bring a vegetable platter to the party. Stock it with goodies that you love to snack on. Splurge and make a fabulous non-fat dip so it tastes as good as possible. Remember that alcohol is very high on calories. Offer to be the designated driver to your company party. You’ll probably fair better in the long run with less embarrassing moments to relive with your officemates.

Shop on a full stomach to avoid the lure of the food court at the mall. Take snack bars with you in case you have to shop longer than expected.

Volunteer – Show up at the pediatric ward of a local hospital to deliver small presents.

Call your local senior center to see if there are people who will be alone during the holidays. Ask if you can visit and bring a picnic lunch, cookies  or light snack to share.

Contact Habitat for Humanity and help build a home. Many trips are organized abroad during the holidays and might provide a good reason why you can’t go home and visit the relatives.

Find Ways to De-emphasize Commercialism – Prepare your kids for the upcoming gifts or lack thereof. Make a pact with your friends to not exchange gifts this year. Instead exchange cards that represent a service like babysitting, a home-cooked catered meal, popcorn and movie rental delivery etc. Spend time collecting blankets and food for the needy and help the less fortunate by sharing your time, energy and love.

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Holiday Organizing Binders Help You Keep It All Together

Create a Holiday Organizing Binder – If you are constantly under the gun and can’t find your list or lists for gifts, party snacks, favorite recipes, travel itineraries or necessary addresses, you might want to make a simple three ring binder to keep your act together.

Holiday card list with addresses

Gift tracking lists

Favorite holiday recipes with ingredients lists

Travel Itineraries

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