Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Advance Gift Buying

Most of us at some point in the year buy a gift for someone and save it until the appropriate time (Wow, this is  just the perfect gift for ______!). The next step is storing it somewhere so that you remember you have it and remember where you stored it.

I have clients who have whole walls in the basement dedicated to gifts they have bought. Some clients have designated shelves in a closet, but don't always get the gifts to those shelves. The gifts then end up in boxes or bags throughout the house. I have seen gifts hidden under the bed or tucked into the master closet or perhaps into a drawer. Some people don't appear to have any designated spot - hence the "Oh, I forgot I had this" syndrome.

Suggestions for advance gift buying:
  • Don't buy anything unless you know who you plan to give it to and for what event. You can only store so many cute hostess gifts.
  • Have a designated area for all gifts.
  • As soon as you buy something - tag who is to receive it.
  • Keep receipts and write on the receipts a description of the gift.
  • Move the gifts along as soon as is appropriate.
  • Don't stock up gifts for a few people, no matter how adorable the gifts.
  • Never buy a gift for someone without first "shopping" at your home designated gift storage area.
Suggestions for storage:
  • Know yourself - determine how much space you really do need and set aside that amount.
  • Chose an area that is easy for you to access - otherwise you will suffer from the "I'll just leave it here for now." syndrome.
  • Consider having the storage near the gift wrap area.
  • Containerize small gifts into baskets or bins so that small items don't get hidden behind larger items.
  • Clean out the area once a year. Donate those gifts that are no longer relevant.
Buying gifts on sale are a great way to save if the gift actually gets to that person. No matter how much you save, it is not a bargain if it just languishes in your home.

Happy shopping!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Time is Near- Happy Holliday!

The holiday season is rushing toward us. This year we have quite a crunch with Chanukah starting on Nov. 27, Thanksgiving on Nov. 28, and Advent beginning Dec. 1. Our holidays become a long list of "things to do now." We end up exhausted by our over commitment, over buying, over eating, and sleep depravation.

How do we escape this madness?

  1. Work on your vision right now of how you want this season to look and feel. What is really important to you over the holiday season? What are your big 3 items? What do you dread about the holidays?  What do you want to change? Make a "do not do" list.  Have a family meeting and let everyone share what they would like to do over the holiday season. Compromise and come up with a plan then make a list.
  2. Brainstorm all that has to happen in order for this vision to come true. Assign tasks to everyone. Get very specific and detail oriented.
  3. Block out times on your calendar. Don't just put in the events but also schedule tasks like shopping, putting up the tree, decorating, baking, and sending out cards. If the calendar looks overwhelming, see if there is anything you can delegate or eliminate. Leave some days blank for the unknown.
  4. Designate zones in your house for holiday activities. Set up a gift wrapping/card writing zone. Designate a staging area for house decorations.
  5. Come to my workshops on Surviving the Holidaze either on Oct. 10 at The Juice Box, 6300 Posers Ferry Road Nw, Atlanta, GA 30339 (5:00 - 6:30) or on Oct 13 at Atlanta Unity, 3597 Parkway Lane, Norcross, GA 30092 (1:00 - 2:00). The workshops are full of good ideas and tips and a chance to win a door prize. Call 404-299-5111 or email jonda@timespaceorg.com to register.
What ever you do, visualize this holiday season so that you experience the joy and not the stress!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Organizing the Kitchen Zone

If you are working on organizing your home according to my zone plan, October is the prime month for your kitchen. The holidays are right around the corner and the kitchen will become a very busy place. Seasons have changed so you are ready to put away the ice cream maker and pull out the crock pot. This is also the time of year that food drives kick into high gear so clear out the food that has accumulated this past year because of impulse buying or overbuying.

1. Stand back and study your current kitchen set up. What is bugging you the most? Are your counters too crowded? Do you have difficulty locating items? Are some containers hard to reach?

2. Create a vision of how you want your kitchen to look and feel by the end of this month.

3. Make a list of all that needs to happen to make this vision come true. Some of the tasks on your list might include:
  • Declutter your counters. Take off everything that you are not using at least weekly. Put these items elsewhere or consider donating them.
  • Purge your cabinets. How many plastic containers or small saucepans do you really need?
  • Look for innovative storage ideas. Contain like items together to make it easy to locate them and to make it easy to pull out the container to easily reach what is stored in the back of your cabinets.
  • Organize for convenience. Store all materials for making coffee near the coffee pot. Place the coffee pot near the sink. Hang your favorite mugs nearby on the wall. Put rarely used items on higher shelves.
  • Set up your kitchen in zones - food preparation zone, cooking zone, dishes zone, food storage zone, and food serving zone.
4. When your tasks are finalized and written out, schedule them on your calendar. Break up the tasks into manageable bits so that you don't get overwhelmed.

By the end of the month, your kitchen is ready for anything the holidays can bring to it.

For more details on following this plan, visit my website www.timespaceorg.com and purchase my book, From Vision to Victory: A Workbook For Finding a Simple Path to an Organized Home.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer