Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Holiday Wrap Up

The new year is upon us. So that means it's time to put away all the goodies from the holidays, eat all the cookies that remain, and make the last latkes for a while. (They're good all year round).

But you're a right brainer and it's sooooo tedious to clean up when there are so many other things to do...
Time to hunker down, step up and get over to organizing. [dread, sigh]

Here's a short checklist to help you push through.
Do one thing each day and you'll be done in no time.
Get family to help of course.
Put on some rocking music or mellow thinking music.
Ready, Set, Stow!

1. Collect holiday greeting cards. Toss, put into a holiday album or a keepsake box.
Green option: cut up cards to use as gift tags next year.

2. Grab the return addresses from the holiday cards and enter the new ones into your address list.

3. Wrap up ornaments and decorations and put into containers.
If you have many, make separate containers for:
Tree ornaments, indoor lights, outdoor lights, indoor decorations,
outdoor decorations, holiday wrapping paper.
**Label the bins!

4. Before you put all the decorations away, look over the items you did NOT use.
Give away or toss the items that you don't love any longer.

5. Put Hanukkah dreidles and menorah's into a bin with anything else you have for the holiday.
**Label the bin!
Keep extra candles handy to put on birthday cakes!

6. Gather all the instructions from your new gifts.
File them in a "manuals" file box.
Make categories such as: Toys, Electronics, Appliances, etc.
** Label the files!

7. Save gift receipts for one month to be sure the item continues to work properly.
Save original boxes for warrantied items until the warranty expires.
Then you can safely recycle them.

8. For the tracker: Keep track of gifts you have given and received, wish lists, send thank you cards and more at - no cost.

9. What's your best tip for wrapping up the holidays?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Recycle Holiday Gift Cards

It's been a good year for my husband, who is a High School English Teacher. Every year at this time we get a flood of gift cards (happily accepted).

Up to now, after they were used up, I would struggle to toss some out because some are really cool looking. Honestly. Some stores actually put thought into the design (Target, Starbucks, iTunes).

The other looming question: Will the cards be collectible someday?

I now have a great Right-Brainy way to re-cycle them thanks to a random comment to a comment on a blog. No joke.
(Debbie Jordan Kravitz of Virtually Organized asked her followers on Twitter what we couldn't live without.
I said nose strips. I stand by it.
Paul Merrill, a rubbish artist in Colorado, commented that he has a post similar.)
and here comes the winning comment:

An idea for recycling: Ian cuts these up into guitar picks!
Yay! A great used for cool, hip plastic.

Another idea: Ice scraper for car windows

What else can you do you do with your used gift cards? (besides tossing them)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Re-Gifting gone wild

I've blogged about decluttering by regifting but I never expected to find this:
The Regift Kit!!!

I couldn't be more proud. (sniff. shedding tears of joy)
For just a few bucks, you can get stickers that help you make light of your re-gifting habit and have a good time with the whole idea!

The Regift kit has stickers and cards for sending a trinket off to a better owner!
Less clutter for you!!

My favorite part of the site though is the owner's email address:
-- Allison

Sunday, December 14, 2008

About Organizing for Visual People

Lots of people I organize with say they are "visual" and want to have the fun, pretty things out where they can see them and enjoy their space.
Yesterday, working with a client, this became a slight sticking point because the area was utility shelves in her laundry room, which can be seen from the kitchen when the door is open.
Most of the items were kitchen roll-over items for entertaining, such as trays, bowls, casseroles, etc.
Even though the space was working fine, she didn't like how it looked!

So, when you don't like it, fix it.
We decided to weed out items she didn't need and take some lesser used items to a storage area so her utility shelves didn't look so "busy" and cluttered.

The first thing we did was take everything off so she could visualize the shelves with nothing on them.
Then we only put back up the things that she uses daily or weekly.
Then we put back up the things she uses monthly.
We did some arranging and re-arranging as we went along.
Now the things she uses only rarely (about 30%) we made a space for in her basement storage room. Her Christmas items, Easter platters, and odds and ends were on the way out so that the shelves looked more attractive.
We also found several items she didn't use at all and she was ready to give them to charity (even a gift from her son).
All this took less than an hour.

So what space are you living with even though you don't like how it looks?
Try removing 30% of the items and see if it looks less cluttery.
Send me a photo if you do!
-- Allison

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Zappos Creative Environment

Would you want to work here?
I would! I would probably work for less too just to be in a fun environment.
See more about this workplace here:
Zappos Offices

Re-Gifting Rules for the Season

As a professional organizer, and rampant de-clutterer, I asked my followers on Twitter and facebook friends about re-gifting to see if people are all in agreement these days.
Our opinions are about the same - re-gifting is a great way to get things to the right person and declutter at the same time.

My Re-gifting Rules:
1. It's ok to re-gift if the recipient would really like it.
2. It's not ok to re-gift anything used
3. Mark your gifts you might re-gift with the name of the person who gave them to you so you don't mistakenly give them back or to friends or at same event.
4. Make fun of re-gifting by having a re-gifting party where you can only bring something you got and isn't right for you for whatever reason.
5. Never re-gift fruit cake
6. Never re-gift a partially used gift-card.
7. Repackage whenever possible (new wrapping) or you might leave an old card in by accident.

Twitter replies about re-gifting
Love to regift BUT some have to go to a worthy cause especially from my dear sister in law

I so agree with ur views on regifting something that hasn't been used &was not right for U but is "just right" for ur friend

Facebook replies:
So, regifting researcher . . . If someone gets, say a 2.5 lb can of gormet peanuts from a printer, but that someone doesn't eat nuts . . . is it in good taste to regift it to her client who is The Professional Organizer? :)

Depends on the gift - if it is something that you will never use and you give it to someone who can use the item, then I think it is a great idea.

Regifting.. there is nothing wrong with it as long as the person will like, enjoy or appreciate.
Agreed. In the spirit of recycling (and giving) - anything given to the right person for the right reason is OK. I think we should remove the stigma of used items completely, it was artificially drilled into us by retailers. I have a ton of Lincoln Logs and other such things that my kids have grown out of and can easily pass on to several ... Read Moregenerations.
I say - consider it the "green" thing to do. Maybe we can start a "Green Christmas Revolution." By the way - you're all getting socks with holes in them. :)

Depends on the motivation. If it's truly a matter of having a great gift around that you just aren't going to use but is perfect for somebody else, it can work. But if you're secretly trying to justify not spending money on somebody you don't like much by re-gifting, that's bad karma!

Hmmm, I haven't re-gifted, but I have donated several things I would never want or use to a charitiable thrift store nearby. (People, please don't give crap just to say you did something...know your friends and give them something appropriate.) But, if I did get something great but thought another friend could make better use of it, I think I would happily pass it on. (No passing on the dreaded fruitcake, and the like, though.) :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Did I wear that last time??

Do you ever worry about wearing the same outfit to an event with the same people, but cannot remember what on earth you wore the last time you went?

I actually tried writing my outfit down on my calendar every day so I didn't wear the same thing to the same client over and over again.

Now the problem solvers over at Weekdate have designed a closet notepad to track your outfits so you're not seen in the same thing too often.

This has even bigger implications for organizing though. If you take the time to really write down what you wear every day, at the end of a year you'll be able to clearly see, without a doubt, if you don't wear certain clothes. And that can help tremendously when you have to make room in your closet and make tough choices about what to keep... and what's gotta go!

It comes with a hole for hanging.
If you don't have a hook in your closet, 3M Command hooks are super easy to put up and come in so many sizes you can find one for just about anything. And you don't have to put a hole in the wall because they stick right on. I like this size for my calendar - it hooks right on.

-- Allison

Either ON or OFF

Are you a creative person who operates in ON or OFF mode, but not much inbetween?
That's me in a nutshell... and I have been off for a few weeks.
I started a project around the training/mentoring in my organizing business (Organizer U.), and oooops, I have neglected my funky little blog.

But it led me to give some thought to the creative process and whether other Right Brainers have these same tendencies.
Well, today I had a meeting with a book graphic artist and whaddya know, she says she's the same way. No wonder I prefer a marathon of organizing rather than doing it a little at a time. When I'm focused I'm really really focused. And when I'm not, I'm not.

Something to think about. It doesn't make me a good or bad person, but it's useful to know so I don't set myself up for failure, expecting myself to work on something in bits when I'd rather be "All in".

How about you?