JERI DANSKY professionalorganizer

November 2008 Newsletter

Tip of the Month: Donate holiday items NOW!


Do you have more holiday wrappping paper and ribbon than you'll ever use? Rolls of paper in a pattern that you've used for years, and are tired of by now?


And what about:

  • Ornaments that no longer appeal to you?
  • Leftover cards that you'll never send?
  • A decorative Santa figurine that was a gift - and just not your style?


Now is a great time to donate these things! And where might you donate them? Here are just a few options.

  • Some Christmas adopt-a-family organizations can use wrapping paper.
  • Freecycle is always a good place to offer such items.
  • I just checked, and my local Goodwill would be happy to accept Christmas decor items.
  • Pick of the Litter, the thrift store associated with my local Humane Society would love to get Christmas decor items; the store is just now putting out its display, and would love to add to it. I'm sure other thrift stores are in similar situations.


And while you're at it, you might also want to donate leftover Halloween candy to a good cause. One example: Soldiers' Angels will send it to military men and women stationed around the world.



Reflection of the Month: We get by with a little help.


Before I became an organizer, I worked for many years in the corporate world. Although most of my time there was interesting and rewarding, the last year was hideous; I'm sure many people going through corporate outsourcing, downsizing and such will relate to that. At one point I wound up taking antidepressants, and that was a good solution for the short term.


But when I had my business up and running and life was much better, I decided to go off the antidepressants, and one person who helped was my acupuncturist, Judy. She's just now creating a web site, and asked if I'd write a testimonial, which I gladly did. And I told her there was no need to make my comments anonymous; I was fine with having my name out there. We all have tough times, and we all sometimes need help. I see no reason to hide anything about my experience.


And then there are the two wonderful personal trainers I've worked with, first David and now Tala. I'm healthier and happier because of the help I've gotten from them.


And so it also goes with organizing. Sometimes it's just too much to tackle on your own. Before you think this is a blantant plug for hiring an organizer, let me point out that help can come in many forms. There are many books that might help. Some people swear by FlyLady. You might find a friend who can be your organizing buddy, helping you decide to toss the outfit that never did look right on you, and keeping you on track as you work through your office, closet, or garage - and then you can return the favor and help your friend declutter. Sometimes it just helps to make a public commitment to a group of supportive people that you will get something done by a certain date.


This is a season for giving thanks; one of the many things I'm thankful for are the people who've helped me make some major changes in my life. If there's some form of help would be useful to you, I encourage you to find it.



Organizing Quote of the Month regarding Saving Stuff and Storage Units


I have too much Stuff. Odds are, you do too. In fact, Americans own so much Stuff that they don’t have room to store it all. Our basements and attics are full. Our garages and workshops are overflowing. ...


Reporter Andrew Phelps originally rented a unit for what he thought would be a few months. Three years later he returned to find “Star Wars figures, little umbrella thingies that go in cocktails, and more trophies and old baseballs and yearbooks. Oh my God - my Nintendo 64!” For three years, he’d been paying a monthly fee to keep Stuff that he never used.


“I wound up throwing away, like, 98 percent of this Stuff,” he says. “I don’t know why I kept it in the first place.”


-- From Get Rich Slowly, refering to a story on NPR's Marketplace



Organizing Product of the Month



to do list on green paper; includes call cat psychic

I'm not advocating buying bottled water rather than just using tap water - but if you need those big 3-gallon or 5-gallon water bottles, this is certainly a nice way to store them. [via Cribcandy, which I discovered thanks to Organizer Wendy Davie of New Zealand.]



Organizing Book of the Month


Since people are planning their holiday seasons now, I'd like to recommend a short little book: Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas, by Bill McKibben. Don't worry if $100 seems absurdly low to you; you can use his ideas and spend somewhat more. Here are a few quotes:


"The point is not to stop giving; the point is to give things that matter. Give things that are rare - time, attention, memory, whimsy."


"Trimming the tree, eating the turkey, opening the stockings, singing the carols: if these things bring you joy, and for most people they do, then they are parts of Christmas you want to focus on. And you can focus on them more easily, as well as incorporate all sorts of new and borrowed rituals, once you've put aside the burden of buying carloads of presents."


"The point is to emerge from Christmas relaxed, contented, happy to have kept this season."


(In response to those who say spending less would wreck the economy, this online chat with McKibben suggests you might take the money previously spent on "carloads of presents" and buy something like food for a soup kitchen.)



Highlights From My Blog in October


There were 30 entries in my organizing and de-cluttering blog in October. Some of the most popular entries were:


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