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If You Only Read One Organizing Book, Choose This One

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As a professional organizer, you probably aren’t surprised to learn that I frequently review organizing resources. I read books, listen to podcasts, read articles, peruse websites, take classes, view webinars, and participate in email and Facebook group discussions. I do this because I want to be the best that I can for my clients, but also because I truly love learning about and talking about organizing. My favorite format is listening to podcasts or audiobooks. I spend a lot of time driving to client’s houses and to meetings, and I love using that time to learn. Sometimes I’m even able to directly pinpoint what I need. For example, if I am on my way to organize a client’s closet, I might listen to my favorite podcast about closet organization. 

There are so many wonderful resources available. In fact, it can sometimes get a bit overwhelming. More often than not, those who struggle with organization have frequently purchased many books on the topic. Sometimes they read the books and try to put the principles into place, and other times, the books end up contributing to piles of clutter and never get read.

Many of these resources are well-written and practically helpful. But not all of them are applicable in every situation. Every organizer has a different style and approach, just as every reader has different perspectives and needs. One book may be perfect for one group of individuals while leaving others uninspired. Just as there is not just one way to organize, there is no one size fits all perfect organizing resource.

So what if you don’t want to review multiple resources?  What if you’d be lucky to find the time to only read one book? If that’s your situation, the book I would recommend for you is Organizing from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. Julie is one of the most well-known organizers in the field, and her book is practically required reading for any serious organizer. You may be wondering why out of all the multitude of resources out there, I have chosen this particular one. Here are a few of my reasons:

1. By the time this book was written, Julie Morgenstern already had many years of experience working with clients. She used this extensive knowledge base in writing the book, and everyone can probably relate to at least one of the stories she shares.
2. This book has stood the test of time. The book was first written in 1998, with the 2nd edition being released in 2004. Organizers around the world have read and reviewed this book, and it is on the National Association of Professional Organizers’ (NAPO) recommended reading list for new organizers.
3. Instead of going directly to the “how to’s” of organizing, the author starts with a thorough discussion of the many different reasons why a person might struggle with organization. These different reasons can lead to different solutions, so figuring out which applies to you is essential.
4. The book is well-written with practical advice and plenty of specific examples of how to implement the principles. However, instead of using a “one size fits all” approach, the author encourages the reader to analyze their individual situation meticulously. This will make it much more likely that their organizing efforts will be effective and maintainable.
5. In the resources section, there is a helpful appendix that can be used when organizing any area of your home or business.

There are so many other valuable resources on organizing available, many of them free. If you would like other recommendations, I would be happy to recommend some to you. If you have an organizing challenge you’re struggling with, I’d love to help. Organizing is my favorite discussion topic, so feel free to contact me anytime. My email address is beshipshape@gmail.com, and my business number is 423-567-4273.

What’s in Your Junk Drawer?

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You probably won’t be surprised to learn that there is nothing in my junk drawer because I don’t have a junk drawer. I am an organizer, after all, and a junk drawer goes contrary to everything I believe. But then again, I realize I am definitely on the edge of the bell curve when it comes to organization.

My favorite quote when it comes to organization is, “Clutter is postponed decisions.” Barbara Hemphill, one of the most well-known organizers in the industry, actually trademarked this phrase over 30 years ago because it speaks so well to the root of the problem when it comes to clutter. A junk drawer is the very epitome of this concept. We have something in our hand. We want to put it in the right place, but we are in a hurry. The drawer is handy. We open it, we hesitate just a moment, but then we toss it in the drawer. This drawer might have started out with a specific purpose and some order, but with time and multiple scenarios such as this one, it has become a junk drawer, filled with numerous categories of stuff.

So what’s wrong with a junk drawer? Ideally, every item in a house or an office should have an established home and stay in that home unless it’s being used. Then after its use, that item should be returned to its home. But we all know that in the real world, this is not always practical. So while as an organizer I despise junk drawers, I also realize that despite our best efforts, they will crop up.

How do you prevent a junk drawer from developing? Get your household and office drawers organized in the first place with clear distinctions as to what belongs and what doesn’t belong. Live by that “a place for everything, and everything in its place” axiom every day. Don’t delay those everyday decisions – take the extra few seconds to think about where an item really belongs before tossing it in that oh so handy drawer.

What if all of that seems unattainable and a junk drawer is just a fact of your life? If that is the reality of your life right now, that’s ok. Give yourself a break. There may come a time when you’ll be able to prevent it, but for whatever reason, at this point in time, it’s just not feasible. So what do you do? Here are my suggestions:

  • Limit your junk drawer to ONE drawer only. Don’t use this “free pass” as an excuse to let every single drawer get out of control.
  • Before tossing something in there, if you have a few seconds, go ahead and put that item in its proper place (another room, another drawer, the recycling container, the trash can). Maybe you can make it not quite as junky as quickly. 🙂
  • Force yourself to dump everything out and organize it on a regular basis. Schedule it if you can, because we all know that something is a lot more likely to occur if it’s planned. If not, when it really gets out of control or too full to close the drawer, take the time to put it back in order.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Are junk drawers inevitable? Have you had success in preventing them? What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found in a junk drawer? Has this post inspired any change?

 

My “Organized” Does Not Equal Your “Organized”

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When you walk into a space, can you tell whether it’s organized simply be looking at it? Consider the following example of two offices. When you enter Office A, you see a clear desk, a clean floor, bookshelves with matching baskets neatly arranged, tasteful decor on the walls, and a file cabinet with labeled drawers. Office B looks completely different. The desk is covered with stacks of papers. There are several piles of books and binders on the floor, along with a a tower of milk crates filled with items. The bookshelves have collections of mismatched baskets and boxes, and giant Post-It notes with sloppy handwriting line the walls. Which office would you say is organized? In this example, I think we would all assume that Office A is much more organized.

Let’s examine the two offices a little more closely. In Office A, what if I told you that when you open the labeled drawers of the file cabinet, they are full of a huge assortment of various papers, the desk drawers contain a random collection of unrelated objects (office supplies, snacks, pictures, tools, coins, make-up, etc.), and the matching baskets on the bookshelves are mostly empty except for a few wads of paper and candy wrappers? If I were to ask the person working in Office A if I could borrow their stapler, this person might respond by stating they’re not sure if they have even one and suggest I try asking someone else. In Office B, the stacks of paper on the desk are divided by categories, the piles of books and binders on the floor are grouped according to ongoing projects, the mismatched baskets and boxes each have a separate category of supplies, and the Post-It notes define current job responsibilities for an office team. When I ask the person in Office B for a stapler, they go straight to the bookshelf and find it in one of the mismatched containers. Now which office would you say is more organized? Clearly looks can be deceiving.

You see, organization is much more about function than about structure. Being able to find what you need when you need it is a truer measure of organization than whether the space is pleasing to the eye. There is a place for neatness and pleasing aesthetics, especially in a public space, but when it comes to organization, the true test is in how the space functions. If a significant portion of the time it takes to complete the task is taken up in looking for supplies, I would argue that the space is NOT organized, no matter what it looks like.

The picture above is from a scene of a play I performed in last year with Kingsport Theatre Guild called “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. This play, an adaptation of the classic novel by C.S. Lewis, was one of my very favorite theatre experiences. One of the most difficult scenes for us to perform was the final battle scene where the army of King Aslan fought against the forces of the evil White Witch. During this scene, the stage was covered with actors, many of whom were involved in their own skirmish in the midst of the larger battle. Weapons of all kinds were wielded (I even had the opportunity to participate in a sword fight, which was my first experience with stage combat), fists were bared, hand to hand combats abounded, and there appeared to be a general sense of disorder. But nothing could be further from the truth. Every single movement in this scene was planned out to the smallest detail during countless hours of rehearsal. Every actor knew exactly what to do at exactly the right time to ensure safety and to convey the mood of the scene. Although it appeared chaotic, the stage was extremely organized.

Now think about your home or your office. Are your spaces organized? How can you tell? When you are ready to prepare a meal in your kitchen, can you easily and quickly find the recipe, the ingredients, and all of the tools you need to prepare it? When you were ready to prepare your taxes for 2017, could you find all of the essential paperwork and/or digital files you needed to file your taxes? Or did you waste hours in frustration looking for them? What about if you need to perform a minor home maintenance task? Can you  quickly find the manual you might need to consult and all of the supplies you need to accomplish the task?

Hopefully now you can look at all the areas of your home and office with a more fine-tuned vision. Look with an eye to function and efficiency. That doesn’t mean it can’t also look great. If your space is functional as well as pleasing to the eye, that’s a bonus! True organization can only be assessed by seeing how the work in a space is accomplished. It goes much deeper than what meets the eye.

Variety is the Spice of (My Working) Life

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I love my job as a professional organizer! There are so many aspects of my job that I enjoy. I am challenged and fulfilled. I constantly learn new things. I get to work with so many amazing and interesting people. I have a flexible schedule. But what I love most about my job is the variety. Every day is different. Each day I have a new organizing challenge. I’d like to tell you about some of the different organizing jobs I have done. It could be that there is something I can help you or a friend with that you hadn’t thought an organizer could do. Or at least it might be an interesting read in the theme of “A Day in the Life of an Organizer”.

  • I unpacked and set up an apartment for someone moving into the area. I was given only the instructions “set it up like you would your own home”. The new resident didn’t have to lift a finger, and the apartment was live in ready!
  • I am helping declutter and organize an entire house, one drawer, cabinet, closet, and room at a time.
  • I organized a storage shed with tools, fishing equipment, and car maintenance supplies.
  • I teach free organizing classes to groups.
  • I organized costumes and props for a community theatre.
  • I helped someone organize all of their paperwork and set up a system to maintain that order.
  • I decluttered and organized a basement and garage for someone preparing for a move.
  • I organized a storage closet with special event supplies and cleaning supplies for a small business.
  • I organized books and craft supplies in a school classroom.
  • I organized toys in a playroom.
  • I organized all of the files in a non-profit office.
  • I organized a library storage area.
  • I organized a craft closet.
  • I can help you organize your schedule and find ways to be more productive.

I’d love to help you with your unique organizing challenge! Contact me today, and let’s get started!

 

Why I Don’t (Want to) Live in a Perfectly Organized Home

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This picture of a disorganized attic wasn’t taken at a client’s home. This is my attic. I’m not necessarily proud of it, but I think it’s important that you see it. Although my home is definitely well above average as far as organization goes, it still has problem areas, and this is one of them. Although you might think the home of an organizer would be nearly perfect most of the time, the reality is that it isn’t. And I am ok with that.

Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to live up to a certain standard. We browse on Pinterest or thumb through a home magazine and see pictures of beautiful, perfect houses with everything in its place. We desperately want that! We try to figure out how we can achieve it. We think that if only we could finally get our house organized, life would be calm, and we would be at peace. We wouldn’t run around like the proverbial chicken, frantically arranging our belongings and our plans so that we can deal with the crisis of the day. But try as we might, the goal remains elusive, just out of our grasp. And we feel like a failure.

I interact with other organizers daily on email groups and Facebook pages. Recently one of these groups has been discussing the reality of our own homes. Organizers across the country are making statements such as, “I sure hope a client doesn’t drive by when my garage door is open!” or “If my clients saw my home, they wouldn’t hire me!” It’s been liberating to admit that even as specialists in organization, we still struggle. I love that about these groups! My comment on that thread was that I think it’s important for our clients to know that we can relate to them, that we are real people with busy lives and our homes reflect it.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that even though my house can sometimes get in disarray, I know how to recover. I have high standards for my home and my life, but I am also realistic. I don’t let my desire to keep things ordered keep me from enjoying life. And neither should you! The homes you see on Pinterest and in the magazines are wonderful, and we can use those pictures for organizing ideas. But never lose sight of the fact that a model home is just that – a model. Our homes show signs of being lived in. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Magazines and Coffee Cups

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Everyone has something they have a hard time parting with, even if keeping that item defies logic. Old magazines are a common item for accumulating clutter in our homes. Many people have boxes and boxes full of old magazines. They may be convinced that someday they will read them again. Or then again, they may know deep down that they probably won’t read them again, but still they want to hold onto them.

I recently read a great analogy concerning keeping old magazines. Once again, I owe this one to my favorite organizer, Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365 in Cincinnati. Lisa was talking to a client who had saved hundreds of old magazines. When she questioned her client about them, she learned that her client had actually already read every single one of those magazines from cover to cover. Here’s an excerpt from her blog entry, “Are Your Magazines Empty Coffee Cups?” 

That morning, I was 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Some of you may remember that I posted on Facebook that my first cup of coffee didn’t quite do it, so I stopped by Starbucks and got a tall Caramel Macchiato. Yum.

It was SO yummy and warm. And when it was gone – I THREW THE CUP AWAY. Even though I spent $3.55 on it…and even though I loved it. It was empty. I had enjoyed and consumed the product.

At the end of my story I said, “Your magazines are like empty Starbucks coffee cups.”

So then I asked, “Are there any titles you can part with?”

Her reply was, “All of them.”

Personally, I don’t have a problem with saving old magazines. I am happy to pass them along to someone else or recycle them as soon as I finish them. I only have a subscription to one, and I receive a few just from being a member of several organizations. In fact, I don’t hang onto many things at all. I am moving more and more toward simplicity and minimalism, especially since becoming an organizer. I delight in getting rid of what I don’t need any more. So at first, I thought this article didn’t apply to me.

But now that I am reading the blog entry again, the last sentence really hits home for me: ‘What are you holding on to that you have already “consumed?”’ For me, it’s not magazines. It’s not books.  I have given away many books and have almost completely switched to reading books on my tablet. In looking around my home, I realize the category I have the most trouble parting with is home decor. If you look in my attic right now (please don’t, because it’s kind of a mess), you’ll see that I have saved quite a few items that really aren’t my style any more. I like all of the decorations I am using in my home right now, and there isn’t room for anything else. I enjoyed those old decor items for quite a while, so maybe like the cup of Starbucks hot tea (I am the only Hyche who doesn’t like coffee), one might say I have already “consumed” them. So why do I continue to keep them?

Why do any of us keep things we don’t need? Well, that might just have to be another blog entry. In fact, it really could be a whole book! I think the first step in dealing with clutter of any kind is recognizing it and being willing to admit that maybe it’s time to make a change. I’m vowing publicly right here and now that I am going to part with some of my home decor items. And clean up my attic. Yes, even an organizer’s house has unorganized areas sometimes. 🙂

What about you? Think about your house and your belongings. Ask yourself the same question: What are you holding on to that you have already “consumed?” Are you ready to make a change?

 

 

 

How Organized is your Car?

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We all spend much more time in the car than we would like, so it makes sense that we would want it to be neat and organized. I would have never thought of a car needing to be organized until I recently listened to a podcast from one of my favorite organizers, Lisa Woodruff of Organize 365. In her 40 Weeks, 1 Whole House podcast, week 32 is devoted to organizing your car. You can find this and a gold mine of other organizing tips on her website. Here are a few tips I learned from the podcast, as well as a few ideas of my own.

  • Just like any area, keeping your car neat and organized requires maintenance. Getting unneeded items out of your car immediately will prevent buildup of clutter.
  • To help keep your car clean, keep some wipes handy. A Mr. Clean Magic Eraser is great for cleaning the running boards.
  • A small trash can help keep your car clutter-free.
  • I keep a bin in my trunk with the following useful items:
    • Umbrellas
    • Car scraper and brush
    • Reusable bags for shopping
    • Light jacket (I often get cold inside restaurants)
  • An emergency kit for your car is definitely a good idea. Click here to see what the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) recommends for this.
  •  The most useful thing I carry in my car is snacks. I call the peanut butter crackers that are always in my glove compartment my “emergency crackers”. The only real “emergency” they are usually needed for is if my blood sugar goes so low that I am extremely crabby. Did you know that hangry is now officially a word? Dictionary.com defines it as “irritable as a result of feeling hungry”. You might want to also keep a few water bottles in the car. 
  • Here are a few more suggestions of items to keep in your car:
    • A container for coins
    • Kleenex
    • Chargers for phones and other devices
    • Emergency medications
    • Blank notebook and pens or pencils
    • Disposable plastic bags
    • GPS device (not quite as necessary since smart phones have GPS)
  • This link “51 Insanely Cool Car Organization Hacks, Tips, & Tricks” has some ingenuous ideas for car organization.

I’d love to hear your ideas. What are your best car organization tips? What’s the most useful item you keep in your car?

 

 

Don’t Buy those Containers (Yet)!

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I LOVE containers! I love the variety of shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and materials. I love the basic ones that can be used to store most anything as well as the very specific ones custom made for one specific need. When I am lucky enough to be visiting a city that has a Container Store, I always find a way to spend some time there. It’s an organizer’s dream! I walk around practically salivating at the seemingly endless selection of products. Did you notice that containers are usually on sale around the first of the year?  Since getting organized is a very common New Year’s resolution, stores tend to capitalize on this by placing their containers at the front of the store and marking them down. So it’s the perfect time to buy them, right? What could be wrong with that?

The problem with buying new containers at the onset is that if we do that first, we’ve missed the crucial first step of any organizing project. The first step should always be reducing or decluttering.  No matter what part of your house or business you’re organizing, your first step should always be taking a good look at everything in that category and determining if you need to get rid of any of it before finding the appropriate container for storing it.

Why is it so important to reduce first? The simple fact is that vast majority of us are simply drowning in our stuff. Take a look at these statistics:

  • There are 300,000 items in the average American home.
  • 25% of people with 2-car garages can’t park both of their cars in them.
  • In our life, we spend 153 days looking for lost items.
  • Organizing is an $8 billion home organization industry that has more than doubled since the early 2000’s.

I could go on, but you get the picture. We simply have too much stuff! So if we just buy new containers for all our stuff, all we’re doing is shuffling it around. We’re not addressing the root problem, and we’ll never effect lasting change. When we own too much, our possessions end up owning us, rather than the other way around.

So if you’re all fired up and ready to get organized (which I happen to think is a truly admirable goal), begin at the beginning. Resolve to reduce first. Then you can go take advantage of those sales.

Happy organizing!

A Neater New Year

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There’s just something about a New Year that inspires hope. We look forward to the chance to start anew, get a fresh start, try again, correct our mistakes. Some of us set goals, make resolutions, or choose one word to help us focus during the year. Whether your goals are lofty ones or something simple and practical, we start the New Year thinking positively.

Sometimes we can feel overwhelmed by all of the things we want to change. We have a hard time getting started on our goals because they seem almost impossible. However, big changes are often the result of changing just a few simple habits.

I wanted to share a few words from one of my favorite authors and bloggers, Dana White. Dana’s story is different from most people who write about organizing their home. Dana fully admits that she is by nature a slob. In fact, she titles her blog “A Slob Comes Clean: Reality Based Cleaning and Organizing”. The reason I like Dana is that she offers hope for people for whom cleaning and organizing do not come naturally. Dana shares practical advice from her years of struggling to regain control of her home (she titles it her “deslobification process”). In her blogs, podcasts, and her book How to Manage Your Home without Losing Your Mind, her sense of humor and her willingness to share her real life stories are entertaining and inspiring. I particularly enjoyed one of her latest blogs, “10 Easy Ways to Have a Neater Home in the New Year”. Here is Dana’s list with a few remarks of my own.

  1. Do Your Dishes. This is pretty simple, right? But keeping up with this one daily tasks goes a long way toward keeping order. When things get overwhelming, Dana advises us to just start here. There may be a huge list of other things that need to be done, but if the dishes are in control, it makes the whole house seem more in control.
  2. Reduce the flow of paper coming into your home. Many of the items we get in the mail on a regular basis can be delivered digitally instead. Take the time to check on this and convert to digital delivery.
  3. Declutter your dishes until they all fit inside your cabinets. At the same time. This may seem like a no-brainer, but this simple concept can be extremely helpful. Define a particular amount of space for any item type. If there isn’t enough room in that space, you probably have too many of that item. Pick your favorites, and dispose of the rest.
  4.  Store your food containers with the lids on. Does this sound counter-intuitive? Won’t more food containers fit in a space if they are nested inside each other and the lids stored in a different place? Well, yes they will. However, before you know it, you’ll have containers with no matching lid (or vice versa) or 57 containers with lids when you really only need about 20 or so.
  5.  Create a Donate Spot. I only implemented this one recently, but it’s one of my favorites. I have an empty bin where I keep items to be donated. When that bin is full, I put it in the car, and while I’m out running errands, I drop by a donation center.
  6. Fold clothes straight out of the dryer. This can make a HUGE difference! Although it is tempting to put the newly clean and dry clothes aside and just go ahead and get the next load of laundry going, invariably you’ll get distracted. That pile of laundry will just continue to grow. It really doesn’t take that long to go ahead and fold and put the clothes away as soon as they’re finished.
  7. Hang instead of fold. The more clothes you hang, the less time you’ll spend on ironing. Who likes to iron anyway?
  8. Whenever you think of it, do a 5 Minute Pickup. This is a great one to include the whole family. Set a timer, put on some upbeat music, and get everyone involved. You’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish in 5 minutes.
  9. Buy a soap-in-the-handle dish scrubber, mark it “BATHROOM ONLY” with a permanent marker, and hang it on a hook or over the door in your shower. I haven’t tried this one, but it seems like a pretty good idea.
  10. Throw away (or recycle if you have an available and established recycling routine) pens that don’t work. I think this could be expanded to many more objects. As soon as you realize something doesn’t work, is broken, doesn’t fit, isn’t needed, etc., get rid of it! Don’t just set it aside for another time. Take care of it now!

I’d love to hear your reactions to this list, especially if start using the suggestions! If any of you have read Dana White, let me know what you think of her writing.

Here’s to a Happy and Neater New Year!

 

 

 

 

A Clutter-Free Christmas (Part 2)

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Merry Christmas! It’s Christmas Eve, and I hope that you have all of your gifts wrapped and are just about to “settle down for a long winter’s nap”. What a whirlwind this time of the year can be! Sometimes it seems like we anticipate this time of the year for so long, and then in the blink of an eye, it’s over. As you begin to put away your decorations and start to work on some New Year’s resolutions, let’s reflect just a bit on the Christmas gifts we receive.

In Part 1 of this post, I began by discussing our widespread problem with clutter. I think most of us would agree that the majority of Americans have way too much stuff. We are far better at accumulating items than we are at disposing of them. As a result, our houses are often filled to the brim with things, many of which we no longer need or want. At the end of the last post, I gave a few simple ideas for making sure that we don’t contribute to other people’s clutter when we choose Christmas gifts.

What about the recipients of gifts? When the holiday season approaches, we know that we are about to receive even more stuff. Rarely do we ever think ahead enough to clear out some space for these new items. If the gift we receive is something we really need or want, it’s usually fairly easy to figure out what to do with it. But what about when we receive something we don’t really need or want? How do we keep from adding to our piles of clutter? What should we do with it? Here are a few suggestions to help you out.

  1. Exchange it. If there are still tags on the item and you know where it was purchased, exchange it for something you do need or want. Most stores will take exchanges without a receipt. If you are lucky enough to have a receipt, you can use the money refunded to pick out something from anywhere you like. I really believe most gift givers would rather you have something you want than to hang on to something you don’t want purely out of guilt.
  2. Donate it. You’ve heard the saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” It could be that the item you received but didn’t need would mean the world to someone else. For example, someone who already has a huge collection of craft supplies may not be overly excited about receiving yet another box of colored pencils, but the local elementary school students would love to have it.
  3. Keep it. If the item is truly one of a kind but you can’t imagine ever using it, you might want to save it for next year’s White Elephant gift exchange in which you are challenged to bring an unwanted item from home, the funnier the better. Or if you just aren’t sure whether you want it, you could try keeping it temporarily. Put a date on the box or on your calendar a few months ahead. If you haven’t figured out a use for it by then, get rid of it guilt-free by one of these other methods.
  4. Regift it. But be careful. If you are as forgetful as I am, you might want to attach a note to it with the date you received it, who it’s from, and in what setting it was given to you. You certainly don’t want to wrap it up for a work colleague who was at last year’s party, where this gift was given by the boss to every employee. Some may frown on the idea of regifting. My opinion is that if it’s done with the recipient’s taste and interests in mind, there’s nothing wrong with it.

Without a doubt, the only thing you should NOT do with an unwanted gift is to just add it to your accumulated clutter. This is the easiest thing to do and what most often happens. I truly believe in the mantra “Clutter is postponed decisions”. This phrase, trademarked over 30 years ago by legendary organizer Barbara Hemphill, has never rung more true to me since I began working as an organizer. Hundreds of postponed decisions over the years created our clutter problem. Don’t keep adding to it. In fact, why not make a decision to not only stop adding to the clutter, but also to take some time this winter to deal with the clutter? It can be a very eye-opening and rewarding experience.