Gift giving

February 12, 2019

I am an advocate for giving gifts that won’t clutter up your friend’s and family’s homes Sometimes we put in a lot of thought into gift giving; other times we fall victim to the pressure of giving ‘something’ for the sake of it. This of course, can lead to clutter!

So, before buying gifts this Christmas, do some planning. Grab a cuppa, a notebook and pen and brainstorm. Write a list of the people you will give gifts to.  Consider if they’ve mentioned something they’d love to do or have. Brainstorm things you think they may like. Consider the practicality of it and if they are likely to use it or enjoy it.

I’ve found that my favourite presents have been experiences. My favourites were:

  1. A ‘choose your own holiday’ letter.  It had check boxes to tick off options for location, activities and dates
  2. A consultation with a Feng Shui Practitioner
  3. A voucher for French cooking lessons

I remember these gifts more than items I’ve been given because I have memories, feelings and associations linked to them.  It doesn’t mean I value the other gifts less, but I’m hard pressed to remember all of the gifts I’ve been given over the years.

As I’ve found these sorts of gifts pleasurable, here are a few clutter-free options for you. Gifting Experiences:

  • Movie Tickets (standard or Gold Class)
  • Tickets to the zoo
  • Voucher to a restaurant or high tea venue
  • Theatre tickets
  • Go-Karting, Bowling or Paint-balling Voucher
  • Red Balloon Voucher (this site is well known for experience based gifts, lots of great ideas here)
  • Overnight stay at a fancy hotel
  • Massage, pampering or healing sessions
  • Voucher to a psychic
  • A day out to an art exhibition
  • Music lessons, singing lessons or art class… check out the classes at your local TAFE or Community College to see if there’s something that suits your loved one.
  • Last but not least, you could make up an itinerary for a day filled with their favourite things (eg: breakfast in bed and a walk around the lake, followed by a lunch at their favourite restaurant and a game of putt-putt golf.  The evening will end with a personal massage and take-away of their choice for dinner.  This idea will take some careful planning, but if you know the person you’ll easily come up with some great ideas.  It may only be one thing (eg: lunch at their favourite cafe) or it may be a full day experience.  It’s really up to you.

The list here is endless, with so many options of stuff to do! If a voucher doesn’t exist, make one.

What’s best about these sorts of gifts is often you’ll go along with them and enjoy the gift too.  Can’t complain about that!

Reprinted from Virginia Wells | WellSorted Professional Organiser, AAPO member

Files with labels

Small business owner? Entrepreneur? Stay-at-home parent? On sabbatical?

There should be a designated area inside your home that can ensure your administrative tasks and business management procedures are streamlined, efficient and orderly.

Take a tip from Feng Shui practice – have your work environment reflect respect for you and your work.

If you implement a few ideas with the way you like to work, you’ll be much more likely to use them.

Take time this month to set it up properly once and for all, and then the future will simply require simple maintenance.

Managing Your Paper

Design a filing hierarchy or have one created for you by a professional organizer that makes sense to your work and company.
Use the language you would normally use, with familiar names. Keep it simple and use categories that summarize the nature of the file.

The simpler the system, the quicker and less taxing it is to use. Give your brain a break – don’t store information with one system for paper, another for electronic and yet another for emails. Constantly using the search function wastes your day, 30 seconds at a time.

Understand your document retention obligations:

Ask your lawyer and accountant for a list of the documents you are legally obligated to keep.

Many people are afraid to throw away items. Set a clear policy for what needs to be kept, and what can be safely discarded. A clear retention policy lets you edit with confidence and avoid a build-up of obsolete documents.

Aim to handle everything only once. When you are holding or looking at a document, determine if it is necessary to be kept. Otherwise, toss it immediately.

 Managing your Space

Your work space is the command center for your work: Is there a logical flow (think of an assembly line) of work through the office? Do you have a place to work comfortably and efficiently on your projects?

A comfortable chair, an uncluttered workstation, drawers or file cabinets, adequate shelving and lighting are essential elements.

If you are short of space, think vertically. Is the area above your desk unused? Install shelving or a cabinet to maximize your storage space.

Choose the products, efficiency tips and time management tools that appeal to you. If you have a favourite brand or colour – use it and be consistent.

If you like things visible, use products to make them accessible while keeping them neat, such as a vertical sorter for files or a magazine holder for the items you use frequently.

Eliminate anything in your workspace that doesn’t relate to your work. Don’t let your desk area become a dumping zone. Provide an in-box for others to use if something needs your attention.

Experiment, if something doesn’t work, try something else.

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Mini Hanging Racks at Restaurants

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When in central Mexico recently, I discouvered a fairly common phenomenon in many of the restaurants.  They provide a mini-sized coat rack beside each table for patrons to hang their handbags, scarves, jackets to avoid putting them on the floor or draped around their chairs.  I thought it so practical and considerate.  Here is a […]

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Clutterless Gift Ideas

December 15, 2016

am an advocate for giving gifts that won’t clutter up your friend’s and family’s homes Sometimes we put in a lot of thought into gift giving; other times we fall victim to the pressure of giving ‘something’ for the sake of it. This of course, can lead to clutter! So, before buying gifts this Christmas, […]

Read the full article →

Keeping Counters & Surfaces clutter-free

November 8, 2016

And remember, once you’ve determined homes for all your things – Don’t just put it down, put it back. [houzz=http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/55288753/list/10-strategies-for-keeping-surfaces-clutter-free w=200]

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New Year? Clean Sweep!

January 14, 2016

Posted and quoted in University of Toronto’s newspaper The Medium this month. http://themedium.ca/features/its-time-to-make-a-clean-sweep

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Honoured by POC with the 2015 Ambassador Award

November 8, 2015

I was humbly awarded the 2015 Ambassador Award from Professional Organizers in Canada in recognition of mentorship to peers and  community, as well as upholding the principles of the industry.

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More great ideas for up cycling your stuff

July 1, 2015

http://twistedsifter.com/2012/06/creative-ways-to-repurpose-reuse-and-upcycle-old-things/?utm_content=buffer3be8e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin.com&utm_campaign=buffer But as usual, you’ve got to be realistic about finding the time to do these sorts of things.

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