Archive for November, 2012

Clutter-Free Gifts

November 28, 2012

Did you go shopping this past weekend? Maybe you were one of those who shopped after their Thanksgiving Dinner? I didn’t shop on Thanksgiving Day but I did shop at some of the small businesses in my community on Small Business Saturday. Did you? I will admit that I’m a great cyber shopper and in fact was one of those shopping on Cyber Monday. Interesting don’t you think that these shopping days have been named…

There was a terrific chalkboard saying posted on Pinterest last week regarding purchasing gifts for children. It went something like this: 1 thing they need, 1 thing to wear, 1 thing they want, 1 thing they read. I love this and hope you do too!You do not need to purchase an abundance of things. Too many things just adds to the collection. As a professional organizer, I’m always repeating this mantra to my clients: 1 thing goes out before 1 thing comes in. This is a wonderful time of year to help your children organize their toys and books. If there are toys that are in good condition but that your children no longer play with donate them to a local charity or Goodwill. Books in good condition can be donated to a childcare facility, your local library, or even your school. This way you make room for some things to come in and teach your children that they do not have to hang on to things they are no longer using. A valuable life lesson!

We usually take a family vacation over the holidays and the vacation itself makes up a large portion of my gift to my children. I am a big believer in clutter-free gift giving. These gifts usually involve an experience and they don’t take up any space! You don’t have to put them away.  There are many ways to give a clutter-free gift All you have to do is know the person to whom you are giving and then use your imagination. Here are some questions to get your creative juices flowing. What do they like to do? What are their favorite foods? Do they have a hobby?

Here are a few concrete suggestions:

1. Tickets to a show, the movies, or a local attraction – like the aquarium

2. Something baked: cookies, a cake, or even a casserole

3. Gift certificate to a restaurant (if the person has children you could include babysitting!)

4. Gift certificate for a spa service: facial, manicure/pedicure

5. Gift certificate for a lesson: tennis, golf, skiing, snowboarding, ballroom dance

6. Hire a Professional Organizer for a few hours to help a friend or family member get organized in 1 area of their home

The best part of giving a clutter-free gift is that you are not just giving a thing to use you are also giving an experience! It’s two gifts rolled into one – Isn’t that wonderful!

How Do You Show Gratitude?

November 20, 2012

As Thanksgiving Day approaches I have been thinking about all the many things for which I am thankful. The most obvious are my health, my family, my friends, my home, my hobbies, the community in which I live and the fact that I have a job I love. I appreciate all the blessings in my life but am I outwardly showing my gratitude?

One of the ways I demonstrate how thankful I am is to care for my home and garden. I make sure the inside of my home is organized. The items I treasure are displayed. Other items have homes in cupboards and closets. When I need these items I know where to find them and then when I’m finished they go back to their pre-determined home. My plants are watered. Infact, I go around most mornings with a watering can and admire the flowers or the new leaves that are pushing up. It’s easy to show appreciation and thankfullness for my home and garden because they require daily care, daily maintenance, in order to remain as lovely as they are.

What about my family and friends? Every now and then I promise myself that I will stay in better touch with my family and  friends.I have a large family – 2 brothers and 2 sisters, each of them has a family and we are spread out in the north east. I also have 2 sons and a daughter-in-law. My single son is in California and my married son in New York. I admit that I am in in close touch with my children but not as close with the rest of my extended family. This year I began a little weekly friends and family update e-mail. In the message I filled my family and friends in on things that are happening in my life. That lasted about 6 months or so. I skipped a few weeks and those weeks turned into a few months and before I knew it I had lost touch again. The truth is I treasure my family and friends. I am eternally grateful to have them in my life and appreciate the support they show me. I’m not sure they really know how I feel so because we are all so far apart, geographically, I will revert to showing my gratitude by reaching out in e-mails and phone calls.

I show my gratitude to my clients in the small extras I provide and by saying ‘Thank You!’ I do not take them for granted and am thankful for the trust they place in me by allowing me to provide them with my professional organizing services.

Every morning I watch the ‘Eleven Alive’ morning news broadcast. This station promotes what they call ‘Random Acts of Kindness’. I love hearing about the ways a reporter has helped someone in our community or something someone else has done to help a neighbor. It starts my day with a smile and gets me thinking about my behavior for the day. I believe that being kind in general is a behavior that is underrated. We all benefit from acts of kindness. It can be something as small as holding the door for the person behind you or something big like bringing dinner to your local fire station. These acts of kindness bring happiness not only to the recipient but also to the donor.

There is a man who works at my local grocery store. He and I exchange pleasantries when we see each other. He says ‘Good Morning, how are you?’ My reply is typically ‘fine. how are you?’ His answer never fails to get a smile out of me. He always says ‘I woke up today. It is a good day’. This reminds me that I am grateful for each day, that I should make the most of everyday, be thankful for all the blessings in my life and try to ensure that those I love and appreciate know how I feel.

Happy Thanksgiving!