Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Hit and A Miss

If you haven't already, I recommend if you have kids, and even if you don't, to do a quick purge of books, toys, clothes, accessories, and other household items to free up space for all of the gifts you will receive on Christmas or that you already have received during the Hanukkah season. We are a little behind doing our seasonal purge, but this morning I had my kids do a clean sweep of their rooms for a charity pick-up I have scheduled right after New Years. I nearly fell over, but my son asked if he could do a clean sweep of the family room. Yes, he is in the Christmas spirit! So after this purge of the bedrooms and main rooms in our home I feel like our home is in better shape to have company and also to fit the new things that we may get as gifts for the holidays.

So that was my hit, but my miss was, going to the Trader Joe's in Old Town at 3:00! It was crowded and crazy, and I went to get some of their boxed chocolates to give as gifts, but they were out! Oh well, I have a plan B and a trip to Trader Joe's is never a waste of time.

Don't worry, if you don't have time to do a quick room declutter and purge before the holidays, you can always do it right after New Year's when you get organized for 2011!

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Shopping

Here it is December 10th and I don't have my holiday shopping list together. What? A professional organizer who doesn't have her shopping done, wrapped and ready to go by December 1st? I am a little bit behind this year, but being a very practical person, I tend to give practical gifts, so I figure it isn't going to take me too long to do my shopping. I also have been known to buy in quantity, if I like something and then give it out as my signature gift.

One year I gave everyone a coupon, saving Entertainment book tailored for their part of the country and another year everyone got a pizza stone with pizza fixings.

Here are some ideas to wrap up your shopping quickly to minimize stress so that you can really enjoy this special time of year.

1. Think about giving some high quality chocolate, coffee, wine or other consumable gift in a fun, festive container that the recipient can reuse.

2. If you are a baker, make some candy or other treat and create a fun label to show that you made it. You can buy a dish or unique container to hold your homemade treat.

3. Everyone is going to be thinking of getting organized after the holidays so give a gift card to the Container Store along with one of their unique stocking stuffers.

4. It appears that fondue is back in and the fondue pots are smaller and more attractive. Bed Bath and Beyond and Crate and Barrel have nice options.

5. An easy way to knock out shopping quickly is to personalize a gift card, which is the way I am going this year. For example, most people like to read, so along with a book store gift card, give one of your favorite inspirational books, a unique book mark, or reading light. Also, have you seen those puzzle/maze gift card holders where the gift card is placed inside and the recipient has to solve the maze to open the gift card holder? I did pick up several of those at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

6. Another great gift idea is to buy a Washington ornament such as the White House ornament, Mt. Vernon or Congressional ornament.

I don't mean to minimize the importance of finding appropriate gifts. There are those expert shoppers out there that truly enjoy personalizing and finding just the right gift for everyone. I think as the years go on, it gets harder and harder to do so, and in some respects the gift giving becomes the emphasis, instead of the holiday, and time shared together with family and friends. I think the more we can think of ways to simplify our shopping, the less stress we will feel and we'll enjoy this special season more.

I wish you luck finishing up your shopping and hope that I start and finish mine up quickly!