564 Words About Gift Cards (and some special skills)

I, like all of you, have skills.  In addition to organizing,

  • I can quote movies and song lyrics from a range of decades and genres;
  • I can roll my tongue, and wink with either eye (my 12 year old’s suggestions);
  • I can read upside down, and I know the number equivalent of each letter of the alphabet, so writing in code is a piece of 3-1-11-5 (cake); and
  • For today’s purposes, I know way more about gift cards than most people.  (There are more skills, of course, but that’s enough for now!)

gift_card_holder_2lWhy do I know about gift cards?  In addition to giving and receiving gift cards like most people, I help administer a gift card-based tuition reimbursement program at my son’s high school, so I spend a lot of time working with gift cards.  To help you this Holiday Season, I thought I would drop some knowledge on how to use and give these handy items!

Here are some tips to help you manage your Gift Cards:

  • Gift cards are money.  Therefore:
    • They are meant to be spent, and
    • They need to be managed (management is defined as getting the most out of our resources).
  • Know where your gift cards are, and what you have in stock.  Have a single safe place at home to keep them, in one drawer or on your desk (Not all over the house!).
  • If you just don’t know how much a gift card is worth, call the customer service number on the back, or go to the website.  If a card has been used, the company can usually track exactly when and where the balance was used. Grab a sharpie,  and jot the date and current balance on the front of the card.  Keep a small sharpie with you, to jot the new balance on a card if you only use part of the value. This one clicks on a key ring!  minimarker_black
  • If you received gift cards for a certain store or restaurant, sign-up online or via an app or social media (FB, Twitter) for special offer notifications.  Use your gift cards along with those special promotions to get a bigger bang for your buck.  For example, I have a Starbucks Gold Card, and with my on-line account I receive special offers and can add money or gift cards to the balance.
  • Carry the gift cards you plan to use with you, but certainly not all the cards you have. Carrying all of them could be cumbersome and you risk losing them! (There are apps like Slide to manage and digitize your gift cards.)
  • And yet, you don’t have to take your gift cards with you.  If you receive gift cards for on-line retailers like Amazon.com or ITunes, redeem the gift cards and add to your online account balance when you receive them, and then toss the redeemed cards away.
  • USE YOUR GIFT CARDS!  They are money, but some can lose value over time, or merchants may go out of business.
  • If you have gift cards that you don’t ever plan on using, you can sell your cards.  There’s Craig’s List or Facebook groups dedicated to buying / selling, plus other websites or apps just a quick google search away.

This week, collect those gift cards from all the spots you’ve stashed them, and turn them around for more gifts, a nice dinner out or maybe some $$ for Christmas Shopping!

What Do You Want to Clear Out This Week?

downloadBaseball season’s over (Go Cubs!), the clocks have Fallen back, and this election year ard2015-logo-noborderwill soon be one for the history books.  The leaves are flying around the yard today, with a chilly wind.  It feels like November!  And November is a great time to de-clutter, clear the decks, close the door on summer and open up the flannel sheets and hot chocolate.  Conveniently, with November comes America Recycles Day on November 15th!

America Recycles Day, https://americarecyclesday.org/ , is a national initiative of Keep America Beautiful.  Follow the link, then click Attend an Event and plug in your zip code to search for recycling events in your neighborhood.

Looking for more ideas?  Here are 5 things to purge / recycle / donate / re-purpose / etc. this week, to get ready for colder weather and the holidays!

Shoes!  Go through that pile by the door.  Yes, THAT pile.  
Purge the icky shoes (those 4 pairs of old sneakers someone keeps around for “yardwork”?) and the singles (ah, flip flops, missing either a flip or a flop). Donate the too-small ones or never-again ones, and, as it’s November, friends, put the rest of the warm weather shoes away in each owners’ closet.
If you are looking for places to recycle your shoes, just google “shoe recycling”.  There are lots of options out there (for example, Nike recycles shoes to create running tracks and playgrounds).  Locally, check out http://shareyoursoles.org/, a great not-for-profit that shares shoes with under-served populations.
And, won’t it be nice to not trip over shoes every time you come in the door?!

Put Away the Halloween Decor (and the summer stuff, too, if it’s still lingering on).  
November 8th, friends.  Purge the summer and Halloween decor.  Box it up, label it well, put it AWAY with your other seasonal stuff.  Do not spend your cold weather months tripping over off-season stuff.
Enjoy clean and uncluttered surfaces for a few weeks, before the Christmas stuff starts creeping out!

Catalogs and Magazines.  
I recently had an epiphany, and decided to cut myself some slack when it comes to my burgeoning reading pile.  There are days and stages of our lives when we read voraciously, and there are days and stages when reading books or magazines regularly just isn’t meant to be.  My life is currently in the latter stage and the reading pile grows quickly out of control.  Last week, I reviewed my catalog and magazine backlog, and – considering it’s November – I tossed anything from October or before.
You can recycle them, of course, or you can share the magazines with a local doctor or dentist office, or senior centers and nursing homes.

Cardboard.
Ah, yes, cardboard.  Now is the time to purge cardboard.  I don’t know why We (and I mean a global “We” and not just the Klimczaks) all seem to hold on to cardboard boxes longer than necessary.  If you have to keep boxes, break down the tape and store the boxes flat so they take up less space.
We are coming into Christmas season, however, which could be sub-titled “Amazon Prime is awesome and UPS drops off boxes often” season.  As soon as I start our Christmas shopping, more boxes will come.  So, I would challenge you to part with most, if not all, of your cardboard boxes, safe in the knowledge that more will arrive soon.  Break it down flat, and send it out with the recycling this week!

Expectations.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda.
I’ll rarely tell you that you Should Do Something, or Must Do Something else.
We’ve got just a couple months left of 2016.  It’s time to take a look at our current status, look ahead at the next 8 weeks or so, decide…
What Needs to Happen: friends, family, wellness, Holidays, faith, professional efforts?
And
What Does Not Need to Happen: ???
Last week, I completed some long-suffering tasks on my to-do list.  It felt so good to finally complete them and cross them off for good!  What else can go?  Completed tasks, yet, but also unrealistic or unnecessary expectations for yourself or others?

So, embrace America Recycles Day, check out events in your area, and let go of some clutter this week!

What If… Your Halloween Decor is Scary, But Not In a Good Way?

In preparation of posting this blog, I just zip-tied a scarecrow to my front stair railing.  And threw away 3 tattered Fall colored dried flower… things.005

This may sound odd, but this week is a GREAT TIME to get rid of your Halloween Decorations. And Easter, and Independence Day and Arbor Day (though I don’t believe we decorate much for Arbor Day), etc.

Look around your home this week.  Are you decorated for Halloween?  Or for Fall, in general?

Yes?  Great.

Are there still Halloween  / Autumn themed items in the bins/ boxes/corner of the basement or garage where you store such things?

Yes?

Why?  Why are you keeping decorations you don’t use? If your house is decorated satisfactorily, and there are leftover decorations that did not get used this year, please take the time to think about just WHY you are still keeping these leftovers. Let me be the voice of reason here, and suggest that if these decorations didn’t make the cut this year, they are even less likely to be the Decorations of Choice in years to come.

True?  Yes, you know it is.

The same logic can be applied to other holidays, too!  Don’t tackle Christmas decor this week, though, the other holidays are enough for now, and Christmas Decor tends to be a much bigger project!  It’s easy to be objective about your Easter and Spring decor in October, trust me. This week, look at your items – REALLY look at them – and decide now if you want them to stay or go. Bag them up, donate them, sell them on FB, etc., just make the clutter leave your home.

003We, and our seasonal decor, have evolved over time.  These days, seasonal decor runs toward cut flowers in a favorite vase, door wreaths, table runners, linens and scented candles.  The last two Christmas grab-bag exchanges have kept me well supplied with festive dish towels, see photo (thank you, family! These make me laugh!). All are: easy to transition; easy to store; appealing to the senses (smell, sight, touch); and personal, collected with care over time.

Check out your seasonal decorations this week, and toss all the left-over and unloved seasonal decor.  Clearing the clutter now will make putting away your Halloween and Autumn decor so much easier, and will ease the transition into the next season.

Project #7: Menu Planning. I Blame the Gumbo Recipe.

 I like recipes. There is something enticing about those shiny pictures in a magazine, or the appetizing headlines in my daily All Recipes email that arrives just as I start to ponder “what’s for dinner” (Coincidence? I think not!).002

Obviously, Recipes and Meal Planning go hand in hand.

We always rely on Meal Planning, but especially at these busy transitional times of year. With the boys back to school, and my own attempts to eat better and healthier, last week I went looking for a crock pot gumbo recipe we have used before, and… I couldn’t find it.  Since I don’t often lose or misplace things, when I can’t find something, I get really irked! I decided then and there to get my burgeoning recipe collection back in order!

So, if you’re looking to get a handle on your Menu Planning and / or your Recipes, like me, here are a a few strategies that may help!

Tip #1:  Assemble Your Own Cookbook.
Over the years, I’ve made my own “cookbook”, collecting our favorites and new recipes to try into a 2″ binder.  This system works great, and the binder has become my go-to for menu planning.  The original binder was falling apart after much use, so over the weekend I purged a bunch of old / unloved / unlikely recipes and condensed the rest into a new and shiny 1 ” binder.  I slide recipes into page protectors (so I can wipe them clean if I splatter) and add them to the binder.  The binder has 4 simple categories, Baking / Beverages, Appetizers, Meals and Sides / Salads.  I don’t worry about alphabetizing since recipes can come and go.  Our favorites end up in the front of the category, which works just fine.

Tip #2:  Make Better Decisions.

Create criteria for choosing / purging recipes.  I often think with my eyes and stomach when I pull a recipe out of a magazine, so I have to review them again before I actually choose to keep them. You should ask your own questions, of course, but maybe mine will help get you started. Try these (or make up your own):011
  • Can I pronounce and readily identify all the ingredients? (if not, it can probably go.)
  • Do I actually own or regularly buy the ingredients?  (this, too, may indicate this is not the recipe for me.)
  • Do I have similar recipes already?  If so, what makes this one better?  (If it’s not better, toss it!)
  • Will anyone in my family EVER eat this with me?  (Rarely will I prepare a dish for only me, so a recipe had better appeal to others in my house!)
  • Does this recipe fit into my prescribed diet (if you’re supposed to eat  / avoid certain things)?
  • I just applied these criteria to a handful of recipes I had collected over the summer. I tossed most (see picture!) in the recycling bin, as victims of the “I have similar recipes to this” and “No one else will ever eat this” rules.

 

Tip #3: I stopped buying cookbooks (except for the one my friend wrote, of course!!).
I love cookbooks.  They’re so beautiful and full of promise.  BUT I usually go to favorites or magazines or the internet for recipe ideas.  So I don’t buy cookbooks anymore.  And I have even purged some over the years, when I realized I never opened certain ones.

Tip #4: If you regularly find new recipes, regularly try new recipes.
If you tend to collect new recipes, like I do, make time to try new recipes. Pull one out every week or so, and give it a whirl.  If you and the family like it, it stays.  If not… recycling bin!

Tip #5: Use the technology available.
I will not even begin to list all the cool websites and apps available for recipe and meal ideas.  I you’re reading this article, you can certainly google types of recipes or ingredients yourself.  Once you find blogs or websites with recipes you like, find the app, bookmark the website, or subscribe to the blogs to keep the good ideas coming.

 

Get a handle on your Recipes and Meal Planning this week, and your tummy and family will thank you!

 

P.S. I found the gumbo recipe and it’s on the menu for Saturday!

 

 

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO
Via LinkedIn, M. Colleen Klimczak, CPO

15 Minutes and $30. Chrome Shelves – 5 Solutions!

Chrome storage shelf unit, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways!  Chrome storage / shelf units are:

  • Sturdy (we’re talking – able to hold hundreds of pounds);1170bb44-bd15-4b8a-a37f-a79d6fc1b4dd_400
  • Aesthetically pleasing (they look nice);
  • Water and weather proof (ideal for garage and outdoor use);
  • Good for ventilation, with the open spacing;
  • Easily dis-assembled and re-assembled, if necessary, for ease in moving from home to home; and
  • Adjustable and flexible, coming in a wide range of sizes with feet that can be adjusted for uneven floors (like my sloping laundry room floor) or wheels to be added.

Over the years, I have assembled dozens of shelving units like these for clients and myself.  These sets are inexpensive, utilitarian and attractive, and can be set up in no time at all.

What organizational challenges or underutilized spaces could use a Chrome Shelving cure?

My personal favorite, a storage unit as a printer stand on the counter extension next to my desk (30″ H x 24″ W).

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Here, we use the shelves to hold luggage and extra bedding in a summer cottage bedroom
(30″ H x 36″ W).

004

The shelves are great for adding storage to awkward areas, like the small space between my wash tub and wall in my laundry room, or shown here as storage in an empty corner of a bathroom in need of a linen closet  (30″ H x 36″ W).

008

Ok, so these larger shelves cost more than $29.99 + tax, but they still were a snap to assemble, and a really great storage solution.  These two photos are taken of 6′ tall chrome shelving units, with the optional wheels added so we can maneuver the units.  One of my clients has 4 of these 6′ x 4′ units on wheels in her garage, and we can move them around based on need and convenience.  The photo on the left shows area rug and off-season houseware storage.  The photo on the right shows my own garage, with the shelves waiting for donation and recycling items that come and go from my clients.

035                             001

So, what organizational challenge can you solve with this simple solution this week?  Give it a try!

A Monster Standing Between Me and My Coffee.

Some mornings, I am greeted with a terrifying sight.
 

coffeeYou see, sometimes we (and I include myself in this “we”) will snack / cook / make popcorn in an evening, and not clean up the kitchen before going to bed.  The next morning, I head to the kitchen only to find a big mess between me and my first cup of coffee.

Ahhhhh!!!

On a recent weekday morning, I spent 10 minutes setting my kitchen back to rights after some last night snacking.  As I went through the usual list of tasks, I realized I could share this organized process!  Especially considering that this phenomenon may happen other times of the day, too, like when I rush home from a client to get dinner started before a busy evening only to find stuff on EVERY COUNTER and no room to cook.
 

(I just read a Real Simple article over the weekend, that likened this trashed kitchen phenomenon to “the refrigerator exploding”, or “the monkey house at the Bronx Zoo”.  It was a great article, click here to read the whole thing: http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/organizing/how-to-live-with-messy-person)
So here is what you need to clean up your kitchen in a flash!
  • A system;
  • An empty dishwasher;
  • A dish pan (to corral your dirty dishes);
  • A sink dish drain (no counter clutter!); and
  • cleaning spray and a paper towel or cleaning cloth.
dish pandish drainmicrofiber clothspray bottles
 
Here is the system
  • Pick a counter to start, and move around the room:
  • (30 seconds) Start with the easy: toss the trash, close the cabinets, put away the toaster or popcorn maker (for example);
  • (30 seconds) Put away food (we’re good about putting perishable stuff away right away);
  • (60 seconds) Load the dishes into the dish pan, and wipe down the counters with the cleaning spray;
  • (2 minutes) Empty the in-sink dish drain and put away the dishes;
  • (2 minutes) Empty the dishwasher if it’s clean;
  • (60 seconds) Load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher; and
  • (Optional – 60 more seconds) Run the garbage disposal, and then fill a dishpan full of hot soapy water and set any pans and non-dishwasherable items to soak.

Now, your kitchen is cleaned, or at least clean enough to start that first cup of coffee, assemble breakfast and pack lunches, or get dinner on the table!

When The Party Is Over… (A Plan For Your Party Clean-Up)

I was surprised to find that, in 6 years of blogging, I have not written a Post Party Clean-Up article.  So on the tail of a weekend full of parties, let me share my favorite tips for Post Party Clean-Up with you!

I know it’s tempting to leave your clean-up tasks until later or tomorrow, but an hour on clean-up today makes tomorrow so much brighter!  Consider, too, if your event is not at your home, you may need to clean up before you can leave, so it’s best to learn how to clean up-quickly and efficiently.

In addition to your other party prep steps (more on party prep here), make sure

  • the dishwasher is empty, and
  • you have take-home containers on hand to send leftovers home with your guests.

At the end of your event, here is your plan:

1.  Revel for a moment in the end-of-party glow, appreciating the awesome friends and family members that graced your home and / or event.

2.  Drink a very large glass of water, to stay hydrated and fend off any potential early hangover headache (just saying).

3.  If you haven’t eaten, put together a little plate now and grab a bite.  Maybe it’s just me, but I often forget to eat at our events, as I’m busy chatting and taking care of things.

4.  Take 2 minutes to change into something more suitable for an hour of cleaning, if you’re really dressed up.  Just DO NOT GET TOO COMFY!!

Now, roll up your sleeves and get to work!  Food and Floors are the biggest clean-up tasks.

5.  Empty the trash and recycling bins, and start fresh.

6.  Move all food and beverages to the kitchen!  Trash goes in the bin, recycling gets rinsed and goes to the bin, too.  We’ll get to food storage in a minute.

7.  Once the food and beverages are in the kitchen, restore order to the rest of your home:

  • Blow out all candles;
  • wipe down surfaces, clean the wine off the lamp shade (still just me?);
  • put the furniture away (folding chairs and tables), or back where it belongs; and
  • vacuum and run a quick mop if needed.
  • With a team approach, I usually handle the Restoring Order step, while my husband starts the kitchen tasks.
8.  Kitchen Clean-Up, tasks including: 
  • pack up left overs;
  • clean serving dishes;
  • load the dishwasher;
  • wipe down the counters; and
  • make sure everything is turned off before turning in.

9.  Day-After tasks may include:  

  • Empty the coolers;
  • put away the large serving items; and
  • take it easy and eat party left-overs (one of my favorite perks of hosting parties!).

With the next season of parties – First Communion, Mother’s Day, Graduations, etc. – upon us, keep these tips in mind the next time you host an event!

Want To Clear Clutter? Shop Better!

We need stuff.  I recognize that we and our homes require stuff to operate.  Yep, I get it.

But do we really require ALL that we keep? Are those trips to Costco or Sam’s Club, Target or Walmart really helping?

Let’s talk consumables. Consumables are, well, items we consume. Food and drink, paper goods, toiletries, even candles. Consumables are products that we use up and need to replace regularly.  Let’s call them our supplies or inventory.

Groceries? Shampoo and soap? Toilet paper, paper towels? Laundry detergent and cleaning supplies? Yes – All of these things take up space in our homes and require $$$ and time to be replaced.

How we use and replace our consumables can be directly related to our clutter struggles, though, and getting a handle on consumables is a step towards getting a handle on our clutter! Here is how to consume differently.

1. Opt out of your usual trip to the grocery this week. Delve a little deeper into your cluttered pantry, crowded cabinets or over-full freezer and use what you have.

2. Assign a home (shelf, cabinet, closet, etc.) for your consumables so you can find things when you need them (and not have to re-purchase them). Imagine if a store owner didn’t bother to organize her stock room.  The store could lose money and sales if they couldn’t put their hands on their inventory.  We dedicated a shelf in the laundry room to big purchases of toilet paper, paper towels and cleaning supplies, so we can grab what we need, and also easily determine when we need to buy more.

3.  Check your inventory before you shop.  Now that you have a home for your inventory, be sure to check it before you shop.  We usually have extra toiletries like toothbrushes and deodorant, so when those need replaced, we check the inventory basket before adding those to the grocery list.  Which leads me to…..

4.  USE A LIST!  We have a pre-printed grocery list hanging on the fridge all the time.  We are all supposed to add to the list when we realize a need, and then the list in theory is ready for me when I go to the store.  We all, including me, drop the ball sometimes and forget to add items, but that is why I also check our inventory before I leave.  And when I shop, I try to stick to the list.  Not even a great sale price may persuade me to buy an item if I know I neither need it nor have room for it at home.  (And, remember to bring the LIST with you, unlike me at Costco recently.  Or take a picture with your phone!)

5.  Shop for items based on NEED instead of a HABIT it.  My clients learn a lot about their shopping habits when we organize a kitchen.  For example, when we pull many similar items (let’s say canned green beans) from cabinets around the space.   They may say “every week, we eat lots of green beans, so I always pick some up when I’m at the store”.  Then we’ll realize the client’s meal planning has changed, and there were some busy times recently when they ate out a lot, or how the doctor recommended lower sodium veggie choices, or how the toddler decided to not eat green things for a few weeks, etc.  And how that “I buy 4 cans every week” has now wasted $$ and caused clutter.   Buy items because you need them, not because “that’s what I buy every week”.

So, shop a little differently, save some money and clear clutter – all at the same time!  Win, win, win!

Get back to ‘Everyday-ness’ first, THEN look at your New Year!

I love the holidays. I really do.  We’ve been blessed with wonderful times with friends and family, meaningful worship, rest and relaxation.

However, after 4 days  (or more!) of celebrations, I also love the return to “everyday-ness”. “Everyday-ness” was a term coined by Father Matt at Mass yesterday, in the context of “we need ‘everyday-ness’ to appreciate Celebrations”, and vice versa.

I liked the term, and it started me thinking.  We have to start with the basics, our routines, our ‘everyday-ness’ before we can move on to the bigger stuff, too.

Shower right away when you get up in the morning (unless you are that dedicated soul who actually exercises first thing).  I know, you may want to wake slowly or linger over coffee, but just shower already.  And if you’re thinking “well, I can do it later, or maybe i’ll work out later so I’m just going to sit around and stink until then”, just do it.  You can do it again later if you need to.

Have you ever noticed how your schedule gets snagged with “I”ll run my errands / get dressed / check in with work / leave the house / do anything productive AFTER I SHOWER” and then you delay this jump start to your day?  It’s not complicated, do it and get on with things.


Make your bed.
 Yes, seriously.  You can send me links on Facebook for the fear-inducing microscopic images of creatures that will grow in your bed if you make it every day, and I will still say Make Your Bed.  Studies show a strong correlation between happiness and productivity and daily bed making, look it up.  Plus, if you wash your body and your sheets regularly, those creatures in the facebook images won’t survive.


Put actual clothes on,
if you, too, have been lounging for a few days. Nothing productive ever happens in your fuzzy bathrobe or yesterday’s sweat pants.

Put stuff AWAY!   Have piles of things lingering around?  Unopened mail, opened Christmas gifts, clean dishes, clean laundry  (These are the things that I needed to put away this morning)? What’s in your piles?  Well, put it all away!

Feeling productive yet?  I bet you are!  NOW……   On to the Big Stuff!  This is a great week for planning.  This bonus week before Christmas and New Years presents a great opportunity to do some Big-Picture dreaming / planning / imagining for your 2016.

Here are two resources for Goal Setting, check these out!
  • http://davecrenshaw.com/business-goal/
  • http://acuff.me/2015/12/16-minutes-to-an-awesome-2016/

We’ll talk more about resolutions in the weeks to come, as well as strategic planning your whole house organizing, cleaning your virtual work space, organizing your finances for the new year, and that’s just January (can you tell I planned my blog topics today?)!  Happy New Year!

 

To:

Receive more ideas and suggestions like these;
Book time with me in person or virtually;
Arrange a presentation for your upcoming event; or
Discover the benefits of Organizational Coaching;

Please contact me.

Call / text 708.790.1940
Online at  http://peaceofmindpo.com
www.Facebook.com/MColleenKlimczakCPO
Via Twitter, @ColleenCPO

 

Tips for Getting Our Christmas Shopping Done!

The irony is not lost on me, friends.  A month ago, I decided this week’s blog topic would be christmas-present-lgabout gift buying /  wrapping, and I am not done with buying or wrapping.  So this will be a learning week for all of us.
Can I be honest here? I really dislike shopping.  I love giving gifts, but I hate to shop.  So, handling this necessary evil as efficiently and effectively as possible over the next few days will allow me to get on with the more enjoyable parts of the Christmas Season!

So how are we going to get this all done?  Buck up, little camper – We can do this, I promise!  Here’s how:
1. Start with Gratitude. Gratitude for the people in your life.  Gratitude for the Holidays, however you choose to celebrate.  Gratitude for the means to give gifts and share love.
2. Make the list and check it twice.  Naughty? Nice? really, who am I to judge?  To whom are you giving gifts?  This isn’t just the gifts you will exchange, go ahead and list everyone you need to buy for, like thank you gifts for teachers and coaches, or service people.
3. Cha-ching:  Add a budgeted dollar amount next to each person’s name, to keep you on track.
4. Ideas: Add any ideas that you have for each person on the list. Don’t wrack your brain (yet), just list the ideas that you have.  We’ll get to the brainstorming for more ideas in a bit.
5.  Review any gifts you’ve already purchased, and note that on the list, too.
6. Go through the gift stash. Do you have a Gift Stash somewhere in your home?  You should.  Basic Hostess Gifts, candles and nice bottles of wine are always welcome.
7.  Take Care of Business.  You have your list, your ideas, your budget and what you’ve already purchased.  Now we start to match things up.  Is there anyone on your list that you’re done shopping for?  Pat yourself on the back, and then move them to the Done List!  Can any of the gifts you have on hand (gift cards, candles, etc.) go to anyone on the list?
8.  If you still need ideas, now is the time to brainstorm:  Ask friends, ask family, google “popular gifts for xxx age kids/women/men”, etc.  I plowed through my reading pile while traveling last week, and found some great ideas in my favorite magazines (like Real Simple).
9. Get Shopping:  So, since I started this blog article this morning, I have made some progress.  I stocked up on hostess gifts, added errands to my to-do list for the next few days, and assembled my coupons and gift cards to do my on-line shopping in the next few days. Now I just need to spend an hour or two plowing through the rest of my list.
So stop reading, and get to it!  I hope by this time next week, we’re all done with our shopping and doing something more fun (like wrapping the gifts?)!