Tips & Inspiration for Organizing a Simpler Life

November 2012 – Vol. 11 No. 11


“Sweep away the clutter of things that complicate our lives.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


Thank you for subscribing. . .

Welcome new subscribers! And hello to all. I hope you enjoy reading Organizing Plain & Simple Monthly as much as I enjoy writing it. If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. If you received this issue as a forward and would like to receive your own free subscription, you can sign up at www.unclutter.com.


10 ways to simplify holiday shopping

When it comes to holiday shopping, a little organization can make a big difference between having a stress-full or a stress-free holiday.

1. Do like Santa and make a list. Write down the names of people you plan to buy gifts for. Jot down some gift ideas next to each name. Cross names off the list as you buy for each one. I recommend keeping your list in a small notebook or use a Smartphone notes app so that it’s always handy.

2. Find “one for all” gifts. When I find something I love, like a beautiful scarf or book, I think about who else might love it and may buy more than one. Then I can check several names off my list at once.

3. Schedule time to shop. Look at your calendar and block out shopping dates and times, even if it’s only a half hour on your lunch break or on your way home. Set a deadline to be done with your shopping a week before the holiday to avoid last-minute running around and give yourself time to start enjoying the holidays.

4. Draw names. Many large families simplify holiday gift shopping by having family members draw one name from a hat. So instead of having to buy and wrap a lot of gifts, you buy one really great gift for your chosen family member – something they’ve been wanting. According to the NPD Group, the #1 home item for gift giving this holiday season is a single- cup brewing system like the Keurig Platinum Brewing System. I got one last year and it seems to me that everyone either has one or wants one.

5. Shop the Internet. I dread having to deal with crowded parking lots and stores, so I do a lot of my shopping online. Many online stores offer free shipping for a minimum order. (See the Product Review below for a couple of my favorite organizing gifts to give or keep!)

6. Know your budget – and stick to it. From the comfort of your home, comparison sites such as www.Froogle.com are great for finding whatever you’re looking for at the best price. When you’re out shopping, you can use a free Smartphone app like RedLaser to scan bar codes and find out what it’s selling for at other stores – locally or online.

7. Think about consumable gifts. Most of us don’t really need more “stuff.” Consider giving edible gifts like a basket of gourmet coffee or tea, some biscotti, and local jam.

8. Give an experience. One year, I bought my husband a gift certificate for ticket to ride in a WWII B-52 bomber airplane. It’s something I knew he would never buy for himself and he loved it.

9. Simplify gift wrapping. Instead of that last-minute marathon gift-wrapping session, this year schedule 15 minutes each night after dinner (or when the kids go to bed) to wrap presents. Know what I do with gifts that I need to hide from overly curious family members? I stash them in my suitcases. You can lock them if you have to!

10. Ship gifts the easy way. Avoid long lines at the post office by printing labels with postage for your packages at www.usps.com. And here’s the best part: you can request pickup from your home at no extra charge.


QUICK TIP: 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 even.

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 atwww.sendoutcards.com/kuper. Your first two cards are on me! 


Favorite organizing products and resources

As a professional organizer for the last 12 years, I’ve used and recommended a lot of organizing products, services and resources. Every month, in this column, I share my favorites.

Last month, I introduced you to a company that can digitize all your old family photos and videos. There are other companies that do this, too, but I join with many other professional organizers who recommend ScanDigital.

Just a reminder: I have obtained special discounted vouchers (35% off) For you and you can buy as many as you wish at http://bit.ly/SfL23G. (There’s a disclaimer that there is a limit of one voucher, but that is only for customers who have opted for the My Life, Digital prepay and save plan.)

Anyway, this month I have two great gift ideas for busy women – plus special discount codes to help your holiday shopping budget go further.

Take a look at DotMine Day Planners at www.timemine.com. The two gals who started this company set out with a simple philosophy: create fashionable, functional and affordable day planners to help individuals and families organize busy lives. Here’s how they describe their products: “We start with great art. . . fun, elegant and sometimes funky. Then, we arrange and design the contents of our planners to serve families, students and professionals.”

I actually just discovered this product today and contacted the company to ask if I could get a discount for you and they said, “Yes!” Enter coupon code UNCLUTTER30 at checkout for a whopping 30% discount. Shop at www.timemine.com.

The Purse Perfector is another great holiday gift. I love my Purse Perfector. When I want to change purses, I just lift it out of one and put it into the other and I know I have everything I need. I just learned that it now comes in two new colors, plus you can save 15% through December 2, 2012. (If you miss the savings deadline, check out the Promotions tab and you might find a new promotion.)

Go tohttp://bit.ly/11rjzBato see the new colors.Here’s the magic code you need to enter at checkout to get your 15% savings): NEWCOLORS15.

By the way, Purse Perfector is proud to support our military and their families with free shipping to any APO site. No promotion code is necessary. When you enter an APO address during the purchase process, your free shipping will automatically apply.

For a look at more of my organizing favorites, visit www.unclutter.com/favorites.


Shameless promotion: Come visit me on Facebook!

Last month, I set up an organizing support group on Facebook. This is a place where you can go any time to ask questions, get tips, post before and after photos and videos of your organizing projects, check out what other people are up to, share things that have worked for you, and generally get inspired to get more organized.

If you want to join us, just log in to your Facebook account and type Unclutter.com Organizing Support Group in the Facebook search box (or follow this link: on.fb.me/WYN6ST to go there directly). Click the Join button at the top right. Once you are approved (just a formality), you will be able to post and see other posts.

Here’s something I posted this week – an Entrepreneur magazine article on how to make money from your business clutter. Here it is for your reading pleasure: http://bit.ly/Srgpcd


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


PRIVACY POLICY: You have received this mailing because you signed up to receive free monthly organizing tips from Donna Smallin or at Unclutter.com, or because a subscriber forwarded this mailing to you. Please know that I respect the privacy of my subscribers every bit as much as I respect my own privacy. I promise not to give, sell, trade or rent your e-mail address to anyone.


TO CHANGE YOUR E-MAIL ADDRESS: Send your old and new e-mail addresses to me and I will be happy to make the change for you. How’s that for personal service?


“Organizing Plain & Simple Monthly” is a free subscription service of Unclutter.com. The publisher, Donna Smallin Kuper, is a motivational speaker, spokesperson, and bestselling author of nine books on how to unclutter, organize, simplify, and clean up your life. To contact Donna Smallin Kuper, send an e-mail to donna@unclutter.com.


FULL DISCLOSURE: I, Donna Smallin Kuper, am an affiliate of many products that I recommend and endorse, so any given issue of this newsletter may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and purchase something, I may receive a referral commission. All proceeds from affiliate programs go toward the continuation of this complimentary newsletter. Thanks in advance for your support! Please note that I only recommend products that I would recommend whether I got paid or not.


Copyright 2012 Donna Smallin Kuper, 5540 Douglas Ct., Shelby Twp, MI 48316


Excerpted with permission from Donna Smallin’s free organizing tips newsletter at http://www.unclutter.com. If you do use an excerpt from my newsletter, I would love to see it! Please send to donna@unclutter.com.