Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life November 2010 – Vol. 9 No. 9
“The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.”
–Author unknown

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Last-minute holiday organizing Even if you started early, you may find yourself racing to meet holiday deadlines. Following are six last-minute holiday organizing tips, plus a bonus tip:

1. Do like Santa and make a list.

Make a list of people you still need to buy gifts for. Next to their names, write a few ideas. Check off each name when you buy the present. If one gift would be perfect for multiple recipients, buy multiples of that item from a single source. For example: This year, I went online to Simple Truths* and bought autographed copies of the inspirational book Learning to Dance in the Rain for family members and friends. And I got free shipping!

2. Downsize your commitments.

Decide how you will celebrate the holidays. As a family, discuss which events or traditions are the most meaningful or fun. Pick a manageable number of events, and then do and enjoy only those. Remember to include time for “events” such as sitting around the fireplace, watching favorite holiday movies or making cookies.

3. Keep it simple.

If you’re hosting a party at your home, keep the menu simple. If anyone offers to bring anything or help out, say yes! Think in advance how you could use help so you’re ready if someone asks. In fact, consider a pot-luck get- together. After all, the holidays are about sharing!

4. Schedule mini-projects. Examples:

*Get your holiday cards out on time by working on the project in phases: sign cards, address envelopes, stamp and seal. (Or check out SendOutCards for fast, easy holiday card sending – see related article below.)

*Make cookie dough one night and freeze in batches. Then bake a batch each night during or after cooking dinner.

*Instead of that last-minute marathon gift-wrapping session, spend 15 minutes wrapping presents each night until you are done.

5. Share to-do’s.

Invite friends for a casual tree-trimming party. Get family members involved in holiday gift wrapping, card writing or baking and enjoy quality family time doing these things together.

6. Prepare ahead.

For example: If you’re having the whole family for a holiday meal, set the table up to a week in advance.
Unclutter your living areas and do a thorough cleaning of your kitchen and bathrooms now. Spend a few minutes each day to keep these areas clean and then clean high-traffic areas only the day before guests arrive.

My favorite tip: Create an artificial deadline one or two days before the big day so you can enjoy some pre-holiday R & R!

Fast, easy holiday card sending

If I told you I have a really easy way for you to get your holiday cards out this year, would you be interested?

I have just the thing! SendOutCards is an on-line service that lets you send real paper greeting cards from your own computer, using your own handwriting and signature.

You choose the card you want to send, or create a card using your own photo on the cover. Then personalize it with your message (and more photos if you wish!) and click SEND.
SendOutCards does all the printing, stuffing, licking, stamping, addressing and mailing – all for about $1 per card!

Talk about simplifying your life this holiday season. Try it and you’ll see what I mean. Check it out at www.sendoutcards.com/kuper. Your first two cards are on me! (Full disclosure: I liked the SendOutCards service so much, I became a distributor, so I now earn a percentage of all the cards and gifts sent by my customers. Nice, huh? You could be earning some extra cash for the holidays and into the New Year by doing the same. Watch the opportunity video www.sendoutcards.com/kuper and get in touch if you want to learn more.)

Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 10 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources. Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

This month, I’d like to suggest a couple of holiday gifts that may inspire friends and family to unclutter, organize, and simplify their lives.

1. “The SAFE” is a pocket drive that houses a program for organizing home inventory, medical records, and important documents. A tool that could organize all the important stuff of life would make a great gift or stocking stuffer.
For more information or to order, visit www.LifeLinkSafe.com.

2. How about a coffee mug, journal, magnet or calendar printed with clever organizing cartoons? You’ll find them here: www.OrganizedGreetings.com.*

3. Here’s the perfect gift for women who love their handbags – The Purse Perfector.* It’s a cleverly designed handbag and purse insert that not only organizes any handbag, but also makes it a snap to change handbags. I use one in the big bag I use to carry my laptop and I love it.
Check for discount codes on the web site’s blog tab.

4. Give the gift of organization! One of my books perhaps? I recommend The One-Minute Organizer or A to Z Storage Solutions for quick solutions or the more comprehensive Organizing Plain & Simple – all available at my web site Unclutter.com.*

Shameless promotion: The red carpet awaits!

My mission is to teach people how to unclutter, organize and simplify their lives to create more time and space for the people and things they love and more importantly, become the person they were intended to be.
To that end, I’ve written 8 books on the subject with a total of one million copies sold worldwide in 15 languages.

My book Organizing Plain & Simple is a finalist in the 2011 LA Organizing Awards. If you have not yet done so, would you please take a few moments now to vote? Click here: http://bit.ly/bEdjNY and enter the site as a new user. You can only vote once, but every vote counts! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

That’s all for this month. Until next month, keep it simple.