Setting up a Gift Zone

Quite a few times I have worked with a client organizing an area and we will come across a gift they had purchased and never sent. I’m all for buying gifts ahead of time. Sometimes you are out shopping and you see just the perfect gift for your brother but his birthday is past and it’s a long time until the holidays. Go ahead and buy the gift but then what do you do with it when you get home?

I recommend designating one or two places in your home to stash these gifts. If you have children you may need to get a bit creative to hide their gifts. I like to tag the items with the name of the person I had in mind when I made the purchase. I tend not to buy large items so I use a drawer in my guest bedroom for my gift zone. I have seen clients use a shelf in their basement, an under the bed storage container, or an area in a closet. These spaces do not have to have super easy access because you will not go there often. However, they should be easy enough to get to that you are not tempted to just lay the gift down “just for now”.

Another advantage of having a gift storage area is that when you do buy something and go to put it away, you can see what you already have. This keeps you from buying five things for your sister because she is so easy to shop for and only one item for your brother (another book?). It also keeps you aware if you are overbuying. It is great to have a couple of hostess gifts tucked away so that you can shop that gift zone before heading out to the store.

If you do not already have a zone for gifts, take a walk through your home now and see what place or places might work for you.

Happy shopping!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

A Bargain or a Hook?

Everyone loves a bargain! A word of caution, many bargains are not really bargains but just clever advertising. Some examples:

  • “Buy this and receive a gift!” Cosmetic companies are really good at this one. “Purchase $55 or more on cosmetics and receive a free gift bag.” You really like their foundation for $39.50 and you find yourself looking for something else you might use just to get that cute gift.
  • “It pays to stock up! Earn a $10 gift card every time you buy $50 in participating stocking spree items.” Example items – 12 mega or 24 double rolls package of paper towels, buy 2 family size cookies, buy 2 bottle of dressing etc. But wait, I’ve only spent $23. What else can I buy? You end up buying items you don’t really need and don’t have adequate space to store just for a $10 gift card.
  • “Free shipping when you buy $75 or more!” You love that blue blouse. It costs about $49. Standard shipping/processing charges will add $11.99. You find yourself leafing through the catalogue looking for something $26 or more. You end up ordering some socks or underwear that you really don’t need to save on the shipping.
  • “Everything a dollar!” What a deal! Or is it? Many times big-box retailers can actually be a better buy in quality and price.
  • “Winter sale! Everything 50% off!” A couple of things here. Those same items were probably marked up for the holidays and 50% off of something you don’t need or love is not $75 dollars saved but $75 spent for something that will just sit on your shelf or hang in your closet.
Am I telling you to never grab that bargain? Of course not. You should shop a bargain when it is something you really need, love, and have a place to put it away. Just know what you are doing and why.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Impulse Spending Leads to Clutter

You need a pair of shorts. Off you go to your favorite store. You find the shorts and a top that will look great with them. If you buy three tops you will get a better price. The necklace laid out with one of the tops would just finish the outfit. On the way out, you see a pair of sandals you like. They fit perfectly and look nice too. Man, if the shoe fits you’d better stock up. You buy the sandals in five colors.

When you get home and try to squeeze your purchases into your drawers and closet, you notice you have quite a few tops in the drawer with tags still on them.

You want a new shade of lipstick. Your favorite brand is having a sale. If you spend an additional $10, you get this lovely cosmetic bag filled with free samples. So you buy two lipsticks and get the “free” bag. Lovely! This is not such a terrible thing, until you put your bag in your bathroom closet and notice you have about 10 other bags in there – mostly full- of previous “free” gifts.

You go to the grocery store. You have a coupon that will give you $2.00 off if you buy 10 cans of soup. You also buy one bag of salad and get the next one free and there is a package of 25 rolls of toilet paper that looks like such a bargain.

Are we getting the idea? Don’t buy what you don’t need or love. Free is not always a bargain. Buying something you don’t need at a reduced price is not a bargain. Foods that you stockpile will crowd your space and may expire or spoil before they are used. This is not a bargain.

Having space to put your purchases away without overcrowding allows you to keep an inventory of what you have. It also prevents waste and buying items because you have lost track of what you already have.

Don’t buy items unless you know how you’re going to use them and where you are going to store them.. Impulse spending leads to disorganization and clutter, not to mention a strain on your budget.

Think before buying that next great deal!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Is Your Home a Money Pit?

Do you wonder where in the world all your money goes?

Let’s find some of those holes and turn them around.

1. You buy items you already have. You buy that cute green shell only to later realize you already have four in your closet. You buy BBQ sauce only to find a bottle in the fridge and several on different shelve in your kitchen. The answer to this is to group all like items together so that you can see what you have. Then look before you shop.

2. You are continually paying late fees and paying recurring fees for items you don’t really want. Even worse, you are damaging your credit rating. Organize your bill paying and keep a calendar of when bills are due. Even when credit cards are paid automatically, look them over. you might find that you are being billed automatically for gym membership or subscriptions that you don’t even want. You might even find fraudulent charges.

3. You are paying monthly offsite storage. One in eleven households rent a storage container to hold stuff they don’t want in their house. Now it the time to start purging. Why pay to hold on to items you don’t want in your home?

4. You are keeping clutter in your home that you no longer want but that may have some value. These items take up valuable space and camouflage items that you love The average US household contains 52 unused or unnecessary items worth the average of $3,100. Sell, consign, or even donate for a tax write off.

5. Your clutter hides items of real value. As you start to clear your spaces you may well find money, gift cards, and un-cashed checks.

5. You are losing valuable time. You can never regain the time that is lost looking for your keys, phone, or missing sweater. If you have fewer items and keep them organized, you will have more time to spend on something that really matters to you.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer