Tuesday, December 21, 2010

8 Gifts That Don't Clutter:Consumable Gifts!

Tired of gifts being returned or unused? Do gift certificates seem too impersonal? Give these gifts that will be used almost immediately!
1. Homemade preserves: Jams, jellies, pickles and beets — just like Grandma used to make! Dig through family recipes, search online or go to the local market and pick up a few bottles of goodies. Place in a basket or cloth bag, and voila!, the perfect present.
2. Wine: You can purchase wine at the liquor store or from a local winery — or make your own, if you are really ambitious. You can pick up nice, wines for less than $20. They are perfect for office gift-exchanges where you never know who may be receiving. If you are looking for something more high-end, try a bottle of dessert wine or a nice Scotch.
3. Candles: You can buy from local craftspeople or try a candle-making kit. Make each candle one-of-a-kind, and attach a small card. In your own handwriting, describe how unique it is.
4. Meat and cheese: A cheese basket and a stick of cured salami makes not only a nice and tasty gift, but is good for someone who doesn’t have time for Christmas cooking.
5. Charitable donation: Give the gift of giving! This is a nice idea, particularly if the recipient has an attachment to a certain cause. Perhaps a relative supports the local children’s hockey team or they volunteer at the local Boys and Girls Club. A donation on their behalf to something they care about is sure to put a smile on their face.
6. Magazine subscription: This is a great idea for any age. Children love getting their own mail, and magazines encourage reading. It’s also a perfect gift for the avid fisherman or hunter.
7. Day/Night out: It could be something as simple as dinner and a movie. Or how about an afternoon of side-by-side massages, or getting creative at a paint-your-own-pottery place? Better yet, let them choose! The true gift here is the gift of time together, so this is a good gift for someone who you have been meaning to call or someone who hasn’t gotten enough of your attention lately.
8. Homemade nutz n’ boltz: — Make up a big batch of delicious homemade nutz n’ boltz, then divide into mason jars, decorated coffee tins or cellophane bags. Some cereal boxes actually include the recipe on the side, but here is one favourite just in case:

Nutz n’ Boltz

- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- 2 tablespoons garlic salt
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 4 cups Cheerios
- 4 cups Corn Chex
- 4 cups Rice Chex
- 4 cups Wheat Chex
- 2 cups cashew or mixed nuts
- 2 cups pretzels

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
1. Melt butter in large baking dish (12 x 17-inch or so) in oven.
2. Stir salt and sauce into melted butter.
3. Add cereals and nuts. Mix well.
4. Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
5. Put on absorbent paper to cool before storing in airtight container.
6. You may use any combination of the dry ingredients to your own liking; just keep the same ratio of dry ingredients to liquid.

Think outside the box for gift ideas that will create long lasting memories and appreciation from your friends and family. These non-clutter gift ideas are something that anyone can enjoy!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Keep Your White Christmas Green

It’s simple. Christmas can be a wasteful time of year. More waste can mean more damage to the environment. Try these simple tips to keep your white Christmas green:
1) When choosing a real tree, ask where it can be returned so it can be turned into mulch: If you have the space, buy a potted tree that you can either re-pot for another year’s use or replant outside.
2) Artificial Christmas trees are realistic these days and come in a variety of shapes and sizes: They are easy to put together and even easier to take down. Make sure it will last several years, because fake trees are usually made of plastic and aren’t recyclable.
3) Switch to LED lights: They are available in indoor and outdoor versions in a variety of colours, and have an average lifespan of 100,000 hours. They can use up to 95 per cent less energy than larger lights.
4) Cut back on your holiday lighting: Smaller displays can be as attractive as larger ones. Instead of putting lights all around the outside of the house, select a couple of bushes and string the lights around them. Put the lights on a timer so they come on when it turns dark and go off before you go to bed.
5) Go paperless: There are several alternatives to gift-wrapping. You can use jars, bottles, photo boxes or cloth bags, among other things. If you decide to use paper, make sure it is recyclable so it doesn’t end up in the landfill. Try to stay away from glittery, shiny paper because it is harder to break down.
6) Buy less: This doesn’t just mean buying for fewer people or spending less on them. Give gifts that are personal, unique and take up less space. How about a gift certificate for a service such as an oil change or a massage? When you do buy, try to think in green ways, such as buying local or buying something made from recyclable material.
7) Bring back old traditions: For your tree, string popcorn and cranberries and make other homemade ornaments. Instead of throwing a huge soirée, have a small group of friends over for games and homemade eggnog. Or how about throwing a popcorn-stringing party?
Christmas can be a stressful time of year for many people, without the added weight on your shoulders of worrying what you are doing to the environment. Many of these tips are not hard and require little or no change to your holiday traditions. While everyone is dreaming of a white Christmas, you can be at ease that yours is green.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Organize Anything Gift Certificates

Do you have someone on your holiday list that is impossible to shop for? No idea what to get the friend that seems to have everything? Try an Organize Anything gift certificate for Christmas this year! It’s the perfect choice for the person in your life who needs a helping hand getting a handle on the clutter and disorganization in their life.
Whether they need organizing help at home or in the home office, Organize Anything can help. Know someone who could use some extra assistance getting their productivity up? We have a gift certificate for that. Know a student who wants some making their study habits more efficient? Have a grandchild moving out this spring to go to university? Buy a downsizing or relocating gift certificate for their parents.
Our gift certificates options are wide open so that they can be tailored to meet your needs. We offer professional organizing and productivity services. We also are available for public speaking engagements, teaching seminars and life coaching. Visit our website, www.organizeanything.com for all the details.
Please contact us if you aren’t sure if we offer the service you’re looking for organize1@organizeanything.com or (902) 233-1577. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter too (@organizeanow)!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Alternative Gift Wrapping Ideas

Sometimes wrapping gifts can be equally as stressful as buying — and sometimes equally as expensive. Here are some quick and cost-effective ways to nix the wrapping this year.
1) Baskets: They come in all sizes and shapes and can make even simple gifts look attractive. Packing your gifts in baskets doubles the pleasure as most will reuse as holders for bread, towels or fruit, or simply as an accessory. Wrap your goody-filled basket in cellophane and tie with a ribbon.
2) Tins: Antique and reproduction tins make useful and decorative additions to any kitchen. They are ideal for packing such food gifts as gourmet coffees and teas, spices, candy, cookies and cakes, and they will most likely continue to be used.
3) Jars: A Mason jar is the perfect container for homemade condiments, preserves or store-bought candies. Tie a red-and-white cloth napkin around the top and secure with a plaid or gingham taffeta bow.
4) Cloth bags: You can make these by sewing two colourful pieces of cloth together and inserting a drawstring, or you can purchase bags at a store or online. Small bags can be reused to hold jewellery, while larger bags are great for laundry.
5) Photo boxes: This saves a lot of time. Simply place a gift in the photo box and add a tag and a bow. Photo boxes come in an array of colours, patterns and sizes and you can find them for almost any occasion, giving the gift the feeling of being wrapped.
6) Recyclables: You can use movie posters, newspapers, pieces of fabric, comics, maps or whatever else you have lying around the house! Depending on the occasion or the recipient, you can be as basic or as creative as you like.
7) Ribbons and Bows: If something is large enough — or too awkward to wrap — avoid the wrapping process all together and stick some curly ribbons or a pretty bow on it. Scraps of coloured yarn can work for those who are trying to be extra thrifty.
8) Envelopes: For gift cards or gifts of money, place in a card and envelope. Write a letter on the outside of the envelope, roll up and place in a bottle to create a ‘message in a bottle’ effect — or punch a hole through the corner of the envelope and tie a colourful ribbon through it to hang it on a tree.
Being creative and using items around the house can save you time and money. Have fun with these great ideas – the recipient of the gift will enjoy your creative thoughtfulness.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Holiday Shopping for Those Who Have it All or Are Difficult to Buy For

Are you struggling this time of the year, trying to figure out what gifts you will get for everyone on your list? There always seems to be that one person who appears to already have it all. Instead of cluttering up your family’s and friends’ homes with more objects, why not give them something they will really appreciate? Here are some ideas on what to give that “hard-to-buy person” this holiday season. They will be pleased with their gift, and you will be pleased that you followed these tips.
1) The gift certificate is often looked at as a last minute afterthought. However, letting the receiver choose their own gift will almost always ensure that they get something they will like better than what someone else would have picked for them. Figure out their favourite places to shop and give them a gift card. Choose a store they enjoy, but may not always shop at. Many people always spend their money on their family members and friends, so gift certificates are a nice way to allow them to splurge on themselves.

2) Movie money is a great idea for someone who enjoys a night out but doesn’t always make it happen. Many people only go see a “must see” movie because the cost of the movie and snacks are so high. This way they can enjoy a night out without worrying about their budget. Add an offer to baby-sit to complete the evening.

3) Everyone appreciates looking at pictures of their loved ones. Take an old photograph and have it professionally restored to look brand new, or take a new photograph and have it resized and professionally framed. If there is a celebrity or picture in a magazine you think your friend would like, scan it and increase its size to make a mini poster or picture.

4) Tickets to a sporting event, play or musical are always great gift ideas. Buying tickets for a show as a present also eliminates the worry of getting them something they already own. This is also a good gift for someone who you may not know very well. You can easily find out a sport or team someone likes, or if he or she is an opera or country music fan.

5) Not only are homemade gifts more personal and unique, they are guaranteed to put a smile on the person’s face knowing you put such time and effort into their gift. If you know they have a sweet tooth, whip up a holiday sweet treat. My favourite gift is my friend’s homemade macaroni and cheese. She provides me with this delectable comfort food in portions that I freeze and enjoy for months to come. What are your special recipes? This gift requires only some time, ingredients and loving care. Or perhaps you create a recipe book of childhood favourites complete with photos.

6) Look around your house for materials to use and items to re-gift. Re-gifting is fine as long as you believe the gift is appropriate for the receiver and you think they will truly like it.

7) If you are buying for individual family members, why not put the cash together and buy a family present, like a foosball game for their family room or software for the computer. This is a good way to bring families together, and allows you to buy more expensive gifts that you would not buy individually.

8) People often discreetly let you know what they want, so pay attention to hints, listen and make notes. Better yet, ask them to make notes and prepare a list of items they would like and the particular shops they enjoy.
Remember that it is the thought that counts, so it’s never too early to start thinking about what to give the person who has everything or is difficult to buy for.
If you enjoyed this article, please pass it along to others who would find it useful and sign up for our Organize Anything newsletter on our homepage at www.organizeanything.com.

© 2006 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Organize Anything
Phone: (902) 233-1577 (902) 233-1577 Fax: (902) 455-0553
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.