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Organize + Energize: Give Experiences Instead of Things This Holiday Season

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


This holiday season, give experiences instead of things

Be honest. How many of you don’t need to bring one more item into your home? How many of you receive gifts, aren’t crazy about them, and throw them in a closet for them never to be seen again? Do you feel guilty getting rid of a gift you don’t like because you don’t want to offend the person who gave it to you?  I see this all the time when working with my clients.  Think about the gifts you’re giving this holiday season.

Here are 7 experiences you can give:

Spa gift cards.  Most people that are disorganized are overwhelmed and stressed. Find out what spa they like to go to and purchase a gift card for a facial, massage, manicure, etc.

Fitness gift cards. Do they like to work out? Find out where they take classes and purchase them a pass for a few classes!

Take them to dinner. How often do you get to see each other? Plan a night out at their favorite restaurant and enjoy the food and time together. Or, if you’d like, give them a gift card to dinner that they can use with their significant other. You could also take them to a play or movie they’ve wanted to see.

Book a weekend seasonal getaway.  When’s the last time you enjoyed some fun times together? You could go skiing in the winter or plan a staycation in a town in your state, or a beach weekend in the summer or foliage trip in the fall.

Do they want to learn a new skill?  Maybe they’ve been talking about taking up knitting, photography, or painting. Find out if they’ve been doing research and contact that business to see if they offer gift cards.

Find out where they do business. Where do they get their hair or makeup done? Some people will enjoy food, gas, or coffee cards. If they frequent there on a regular basis, you know they’ll use it.  Do a little research and find out what else they like to do for fun!

Give the gift of organization.  You knew I couldn’t leave this out. When people are disorganized and surrounded by chaos, the last thing they need is more stuff coming into the home. If they’ve been hinting that they need help, talk with them about giving them a gift card and if they’re on board, give them the gift of this experience.

There are so many other experiences you could give, but these are just a few to get you thinking. Before you rush out to purchase gifts this holiday, really think about the people on your list. Are you wasting money on things that are going to get thrown in the back of the closet? Most people that don’t like what they receive feel guilty about getting rid of it. It ends up staying in their home taking up space and energy.  Be mindful of what you’re purchasing this holiday and think about if buying an experience will be better and I bet the answer will be, yes!

Kristin Carcieri-MacRae, is an organizing & efficiency expert and owner of Organizing in RI. Kristin teaches her clients that living an organized lifestyle will save them time and money, decrease their stress levels and help them become more efficient and productive. Her articles have been published in local and national magazines. She has also given over 70 presentations throughout the state. Watch Kristin LIVE every Thursday at 3pm here on GoLocal LIVE with Molly O’Brien.


Related Slideshow: 10 Areas You Find Most Challenging to Get Organized

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Paper in any form

This was the most challenging space! 91% of people surveyed stated paper was their biggest headache. Just because we are in this digital age, people think paper is going to disappear. As long as we have mail, and paper at work, kid’s school papers, etc., paper is going to be around for a very long time. We need to develop systems to organize and maintain our paper clutter.

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 To stay on top of an organized closet, you should be emptying your closet twice a year. Switch your closets in the spring and fall. This will force you to take inventory of the contents of the closet. You’ll never know what’s hiding in the back corners of your closet unless you take everything out.

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When was the last time you emptied your entire food closet down to bare shelves? I asked this question at my last presentation and not one person could remember. Some said the last time their food pantry was empty was when they first moved in and others stated it had been years. Have garbage bags on hand. In every kitchen I organize, we throw out at least three garbage bags of expired food.

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This is the black hole of the house. If an item doesn’t have a home, it usually gets thrown in the basement on a shelf. You’ll walk into the basement one day and wonder how did it get so bad? The first thing you need to do in the basement is declutter, then categorize items and then decide how you want to function going forward. Measure your space and choose shelving units that will fit what you need to hold. Block off 3 hours and don’t leave the basement during that time. Staying in the room will keep you focused.

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The garage is an area similar to the basement. The garage tends to be a drop spot for outdoor items and usually there isn’t any organization.  Most tend to regret not organizing the garage when they find they can’t park their cars in the garage in the winter months when it’s snowing. Put this project on your to-do list this fall.

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Office at work

Most will say they don’t have time to tackle this area, but think about the time you are wasting by not being organized. The office can be challenging for some because you have paper, closet space, desk space and bookshelves. Most get overwhelmed and stressed just thinking about tackling this space. They think it’s easier to function this way than to actually tackle the project.

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Kid’s rooms

If your kids are over the age of 6, incorporate them in this process. If you don’t have the skill set to help them get organized, call in a professional to work one-on-one with them. If your kids are craving structure, it’s time for them to get organized.

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Another one of those black holes like the basement. You rarely venture into the attic and you continue to toss items in there that don’t have a home. The garage, basement and attic are really challenging areas because you don’t spend much time in them. Think about how you want to function in these spaces. Streamline and maximize this space. This room should have a purpose.

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Linen closets

When items are just thrown into this closet without being contained, chaos will ensue. Empty the entire closet, categorize, itemize and then measure the space. Purchase containers to match the space and what you have to hold. It’s all about maximizing space in this closet and being able to put your hand on something without moving five other items out of the way.

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This is a tough project even for people who are organized. Memorabilia items and photos are a challenge because as you go through them, you tend to reminisce. Save this for the last project on your list of areas to organize. Once you begin, just focus on tossing and keeping and then reminisce when the decluttering process is completed.


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