As an organizer, I find that it is very hard for my clients to part with gifts that were given to them a long time ago. Oftentimes these gifts are no longer useful, but are kept for sentimental reasons or because they don’t want to hurt the feelings of the gift-giver.
Here are a few ideas for gifts that will not take up any space and will help the person receiving the gift wind down from all the holiday craziness.
Gift cards to restaurants.
Prepaid cleaning service.
Car wash certificates.
A day or service at a spa.
Gift card to get a hair cut or nails done.
Food/Flowers/Wine of the Month Clubs.
Homemade food or desserts.
iTunes gift card.
Redbox gift card.
If you keep in mind the personality and interests of the person you are presenting the gift to, it should be easy to find one that will not clutter up their home.
These are just a few ideas. If you know of any other clutter-free gifts to give, feel free to share in the comments section below.
Image courtesy of Feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, it’s time to focus on the biggest holiday of the year…Christmas.
Just knowing that we are officially in the Christmas season brings on feelings of stress. We’re cooking and baking and partying and shopping and wrapping and traveling all within a month’s time. Of course, we’re stressed!
Well, here are a few tips we can all use to dial down the stress this holiday season.
If you plan on doing a lot of cooking and baking this season, take some time to create a shopping list of all the items you’ll need. Check your pantry and cabinets first to make sure you don’t purchase duplicates. Purchasing everything at once will help eliminate multiple trips to the store and dealing with massive crowds.
While we’re making lists, create one for all of the gifts you plan to give this year. Try to include everyone-relatives, teachers, bus drivers, gift exchanges, newspaper and mail carriers. Assign an amount to each gift and that will give you your shopping budget. I use the app Christmas Gift List (free for Android) to keep track of the gifts I have purchased and still need to purchase. There is also a free similar app on iTunes called Gift List.
Speaking of shopping…if you’d like to avoid the crowds, try shopping later in the evening or early in the morning. The crowds will be much lighter during those times.
During the holiday season, be very picky about the activities you participate in. Saying yes to everything that comes along will surely overwhelm you. Decide in advance which activities you will attend and devote the “empty” days/evenings to family activities (baking, watching holiday movies, wrapping gifts, etc) When invitations come in on those days, you can say you have plans and not feel guilty.
Play holiday music as much as you can stand it. Listening to holiday music is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Pandora is constantly playing in our home.
Take some time to do something just for you. Take some time off of work, have someone watch the kids and do something that makes you calm and happy.
Last but not least…Relax and enjoy your holiday with family and friends.
With Thanksgiving and Christmas quickly approaching, I thought I would share some tips to get your home ready for the guests that will be visiting during this festive time.
*Some of these tips are no-brainers, but sometimes forgotten, so I wanted to issue a little reminder.
The first place to start is with your entry closet. Go through the closet to ensure that you have enough space for your guest’s coats, scarves, gloves and any other outdoor items they may bring with them. Hang a plastic shoe bag with multiple pockets over the door to hold keys, phones, glasses, etc. Move extra coats to another closet in the house. This is also a good time to re-evaluate if you even need the coats anymore. If not, create a giveaway pile for a local coat drive.
Find a location near the door to store shoes. You can use a basket, plastic bin, or floor rugs to show guests where to leave their shoes. If you currently have a storage system for shoes, make sure there’s room to store your guest’s shoes also. If not, move extra shoes to the bedroom.
In the guest bathroom, hang hooks over the door for their towels. If you’re able, it’s best to issue different color towels so they don’t get mixed up when hung.
Consider placing a basket or tray on the bathroom counter or guest room dresser so they can keep track of all of their items. A basket of sample-sized toiletries are helpful as well.
Store extra rolls of toilet paper where guests can see them. (nuff said!)
Keep a basket of fresh fruit and snacks out on the counter so guests can feel free to grab something when needed. Water bottles in their room add a nice touch as well.
Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
With the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, I thought I’d post a few tips on how to navigate shopping at the stores. (An online shopping guide to follow soon!)
There are many tricks that the stores use to get you in the shopping mood which causes you to spend more money than you originally planned.
Let’s outsmart them once and for all!
When visiting the store, try to go during the week before lunchtime or in the evening about one hour or so before closing. Less people are in the stores at those times, so you will be able to take your time, ask any questions, and experience shorter lines at the register.
It goes without saying that you should dress comfortably especially if you will be trying on clothes. A t-shirt, jeans and slip on shoes should do the trick.
When trying on clothes, take multiple sizes into the dressing room with you. I know you are ALWAYS a size 2, but sometimes the factories make mistakes with the sizing.
Here’s a biggie: Don’t always trust the mirrors in the dressing rooms! If the mirrors are hung on an angle, you will appear taller and thinner than you really are. That’s why when you get home and try them on again, you say “What happened?” Well, that’s what happened-you were tricked. Be sure to try all of the clothes on again when you get home.
If you are not planning on purchasing something, don’t touch it! Once you touch the item, you are emotionally attached to it. This has gotten me into trouble more times than I’d like to admit. Take my advice: Look, but don’t touch.
Ok, here’s a funny piece of info to keep in mind. This comes from RealSimple.com. Stores know that most people are right-handed, so they set their stores up to use it to their benefit. Because righties look to the right when they enter a store, the most expensive items are placed to the right. They will hang certain displays and play music on the right to get you to move in that direction. Of course, they also put their sales and clearance in the back of the store so you have to pass the more expensive items.
So, there you have it! Hopefully these tips will help you save money and your sanity when shopping at the stores.
Let me know if you have any other tips to share in the comments below.