How to Overcome Decision-Making Overwhelm and Make Clutter Clearing Easier

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decision-making overwhelm
As a professional organizer and clutter coach, I really believe that an uncluttered life is the best gift we can give ourselves. When we clear out the clutter we create space – physically, mentally and emotionally – for our dreams to come alive. Anything becomes possible when we can easily let go of the superfluous and give focus to what really matters. That kind of reality sounds great, right?

But (and you probably know this all too well) clutter clearing requires effort. The most energy draining part of the process is making decisions – with what to keep and what to toss being the most pressing. Every item requires contemplation. All that repeated decision making is exhausting, and the temptation to second guess ourselves exists at every turn.

Sometimes we even avoid making a choice because we’re afraid it will be the wrong one. We’ll actually spend energy thinking about what to do, go back forth in our minds trying to figure out the right course of action but never come to a definite conclusion. If you ask me, this one of the saddest ways to waste time.

And Bertrand Russell, the wise philosopher, would no doubt have agreed. Here’s a quote from him that absolutely nails it:

“Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.”

So what should we do, accept the idea that clutter clearing has to be exhausting and frustrating? No, a hundred times no! We definitely don’t have to settle. What we need to do is act smarter. By that I mean we need to be strategic, we need to go into clutter clearing with a definite plan of action that will support us in the decision making process. And it’s actually much easier than it sounds; as a matter of fact it’s downright simple.

I’m talking about creating a decision-making policy. Why a policy? Because policies clarify what to do in any given situation, meaning you won’t have to think about and weigh the options. They save time, energy and effort by streamlining the process. That’s exactly the reason businesses have them, they know they would overwhelm their employees if they had decide everything on a case-by-case basis.

Here are some policy suggestions to get you started. You can adopt one of these or create your own. All that matters is that the policy has a clear pathway to a decision.

  • You can set a time limit for analyzing each item. I’d suggest a minute or less per item, then make the decision, even if that means you have to flip a coin.
  • You might create a policy that says anything that hasn’t been used in over a year needs to go, no questions asked.
  • Perhaps you designate a quantity limit for each type of item. Items above that threshold must be donated. For example, maybe you decide you’ll keep two sets of sheets per bed, or three bath towels per family member. Any number above that needs to be let go.
  • Maybe you decide on a holding limit for periodicals. You might be generous and decide after six months out they go. Or maybe you are little more rigid and once the new issue arrives, the old one hits the recycle bin.
  • You might decide to employ one of my favorite policies, the one-in-one-out policy. My closet has a set number of hangers, before a new item can claim a hanger an old item has to be bid adieu. Is it always easy to say good bye to something? No, but since this is my policy I’m prepared for the decision. And if I don’t want to make it, I don’t acquire something new. In any event, closet clutter has zero chance of taking hold.

Policies aren’t just for controlling the physical stuff. We can clutter our lives with too many commitments. You can create policies in this area as well. For example, you might decide that you’ll say no to any activity or invitation that requires you to give up weekend time with your family. Or maybe you create a policy where you only volunteer with one organization at a time.

The bottom line, you create policies to streamline the decision making process. What’s great about policies is that they can be used in any area of your life, think of them as a tool that will guide you to a satisfying outcome with far less effort.

So what policies will you create?

Check out the companion video on YouTube – Decluttering and the Decision Making Process: How To Make It Easier

kellyThis guest blog post was written by Kelly Jayne McCann, the Organizing Maven – a professional organizer and clutter coach who helps people get organized through her blog, tutorials and online courses. Check out her website for more information. Also, read more about her on the Organize-It Blog Interview with an Organizer.

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Clothes Hangers – Closet Details

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Clothes Hangers – the Inexpensive Way to Revamp Your Closet

Clothes hangers are often the last thing we think of when organizing our clothes and yet, they are an important detail that makes a world of difference in the efficiency of our closets. If you default to the wire dry cleaners’ hangers or the plastic clothes hanger that came with your garment purchase, you likely have a mixed jumble of odd-sized, mismatched hangers that are not necessarily tuned to your wardrobe needs. Read on for an opportunity to reevaluate your hanger collection and optimize your closets for maximum space and organization. And here’s another thing – clothes hangers are one of the least expensive ways to organize your closet – and some designs utilize vertical space, making your closet instantly bigger.

wire multi-tiered hanger

1. Multi-Tiered Clothes Hangers – Use that Vertical Space in Your Closet

Is your closet overstuffed with slacks and skirts hung on single hangers? Why not stack them using multi-tiered hangers? Think of all the horizontal space you will free up in your closet – plus, you won’t have to spend as much time rummaging for your slacks, skirts and jeans.

2. Padded Clothes Hangers – Protect Delicate Sweaters and Knits

Padded hangers help protect delicate garments from snagging, while retaining their shape. We’ve all experienced those ugly bumps and bulges that resulted in last minute ironing and fussing. A little extra care eliminates those problems and your sweaters will be grateful.

cedar shirt hangers

3. Wooden Clothes and Coat Hangers – Support Coats and Heavy Suits and Components

If you’ve ever gone into your closet and found your favorite coat crumpled on the floor with a broken plastic hanger inside, I don’t need to explain this to you. Wooden hangers also take up more horizontal space, but this tends to give garments breathing room so that they’re less apt to wrinkle. If you have ample storage space, there’s no reason not to purchase matching wooden hangers for your entire closet. Wooden hangers look elegant and are also very efficient. Several wood types are available, but the cedar ones have the added benefit of deterring moths.

4. Children’s Hangers – Just the Right Size

Kid’s clothing hangers are smaller profile and utilize space more efficiently – plus they are less apt to stretch out clothes. Acrylic and wooden ones are available to suit your needs.

5. Wire Hangers – Sleek, Modern and Sturdy

Wire hangers take up LESS horizontal space and are therefore ideal for cramped closet situations. Organize-It’s wire hangers are a step above dry cleaner varieties and come in a range of styles, including multi-tiered pant and skirt hangers and accessory hangers for scarves, belts and other items. Most are chrome finished and add a sleek look to a closet.

belt hanger

6. Accessory Hangers – For All Those Extra Little Items

Scarves, belts and ties tend to get strewn about drawers and closets and are always the items that hold up your staging and make you late for work. Keep them all together with dedicated hanging storage solutions and your mornings will be less stressful. Promise.

7. Plastic Clothes Hangers – the Super-Inexpensive Way to Hang Clothes

Plastic clothes hangers are an inexpensive upgrade to your closet, and replacing all your hangers with matching ones standardizes the amount of space each garment occupies, making for a neater, more uniform appearance. They don’t provide the same amount of breathing space as a robust wooden hanger, but they give more than the standard wire hanger. Organize-It carries high-grade plastic and acrylic hangers in a variety of styles to suit your needs.

8. Non-Slip Clothes Hangers – No More Evening Wear on the Floor

Non-slip clothes hangers have foam padding to prevent sheer fabrics from slipping off the hangers. Some even have bendable arms to configure for your garment for extra holding power. These are fabulous for keeping lingerie, dresses and other slippery fabrics in place.

canvas hanging purse organizer

9. Hanging Closet Shelves – Souped-Up Clothes Hangers

Hanging closet shelves are great for spaces that lack shelf or drawer space (think dorms and small bedrooms). Supplied with hangers made for standard closet rods, these provide multiple compartments for stacking sweaters, shoes, purses, shirts and other items. They are relatively inexpensive and make great temporary or permanent storage solutions in your home.

Regardless of your taste and storage needs, it’s important to consider the details when organizing your closet and, in this particular instance, thoughtfully-chosen clothes hangers are an inexpensive way to establish order in your closets, which makes your morning rituals less stressful. Many of Organize-It’s hangers include quantity discounts for multiple purchases too (be sure to sign up for coupons and promos at the bottom of the home page).

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New Year’s Resolutions – Healthy Eating for 2017

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Eating and Exercising for Health in the New Year

Welcome to 2017. If you’re like a lot of people, you may have brought an extra couple of pounds with you into the new year. No need to beat yourself up over it. You aren’t alone. Lots of people are on the same boat, in fact. According to statisticbrain.com, 32.4 percent of U.S. resolutions are weight related. Whether or not you have recently put on weight, you may feel the need for a healthier lifestyle as you enter the new year. Feel free to add weight management and better health to your resolutions list.  I sure am – and I’m happy to share a few of my tips with you.

Exercise

Cardiovascular

Exercise is going to boost your metabolism. Whether you have a gym membership, take a spin class, or simply get on a walking/light exercise schedule, most experts agree that morning exercise is the best for boosting your metabolism. Even walking 20 minutes a day will help increase your metabolism as well as improve your heart function. Short on time? Incorporate a walk into your lunch break at work, or buy a small-profile stepper if your workplace has room to store it. There are a couple of gym memberships that are really affordable you can check out as well. Punching out for a quick workout is a good way to break up the day and increase your concentration during the afternoon hours, where it may start to wane after long hours of sitting.

Weight Training

Even moderate weight training several times a week replaces fat with lean muscle and helps increase your resting metabolism, which is highly desirable for weight loss. Whether you do it with a trainer, videos, or YouTube tutorials, weight training is a major component in regulating blood sugar, increasing metabolic processes and building strength in your muscles. Both cardio and weights are recommended for all around conditioning and also for managing glucose. Of course, if you have health problems, you should seek the advice of a professional but a good diet consists of two components – exercise and dieting – for optimal results.

Food Preparation

It’s a lot easier to manage your weight if you make your own food. It’s a fact. Fast-food and restaurants are generally super-caloric, high in fat and simply not geared towards health. And it’s difficult to control portions when the gigantic pile of American-sized food is plopped in front of your watering pie hole. The anecdote? Just make it yourself – and you’ll be glad you did.

Freezing food in measured portions is one idea, or simply preparing your meals for the week in standardized containers. If you take that whole dish of casserole to work, it’s just too tempting to have one more bite.

Portion Control

collapsible measuring cups


Regardless of the diet you use, portion control is cited as one of the most important aspects of dieting. Measuring and dividing your servings as you prepare your meals will help you resist the temptation to overeat. Collapsible measuring cups are a space-saving way to pre-pack your lunches and high-quality food storage containers like these ensure you limit the quantity of your lunches.

food storage containers


This mega-set has airtight, latched-lid containers in a variety of sizes to carry soups, stews, sandwiches and more, and they are freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. This would be perfect for a weekend cooking mission, in which you could prepare your food a week or two in advance and refrigerate or freeze it for future use.

kitchen scale


Scales are also great for controlling portions, especially if you are doing a strict diet. I use one to weigh fish portions for the week when I’m being extra strict. This Polder digital scale weighs up to 11 pounds of food and has a slim design for super-efficient storage.

Metabolism Boosting Foods

fish steamer


Omega-3 Fatty Foods – including fish, flax seed and reduce inflammation and boost resistance to leptin hormones, which are a factor in fat burning. You can also get these from supplements. Recommended dosages range from 1000 to 2000 mg. per day. Fish is one of the few “meats” you can easily cook in the microwave (which you could even do at work). This fish steamer is inexpensive, at only 8.99, and you can throw in some asparagus or other vegetables for a quick healthy meal.

Tree nuts, lean proteins like cottage cheese, natural Greek yogurt, and spinach are other foods that help keep you in burn mode. Also, most bodybuilding sources recommend eating smaller meals throughout the day, which keeps your system burning (digestion, by itself burns calories). Follow up an intense workout with some healthy protein to add muscle while you’re still in burning mode.

Reduce Trans Fats

Probably one thing all the experts can agree on is that trans fats are bad. Trans fats cause inflammation and slow down the bodies’ ability to burn fat. Avoid the office donuts, fried foods, most fast foods, margarines, and well, um, you probably should start checking your food labels if you haven’t already. You’ll be surprised at what’s in a lot of the food you buy.

Eat Lots of Greens

Whether you like cooked greens or salads, greens are so low calorie, they’re practically a free food, provided you don’t add lots of fattening dressings and toppings to it. Here’s an idea, make your own low-calorie dressing using healthy ingredients. You can spare yourself the harmful preservatives and make it from your own fresh ingredients, including fresh fruits like orange (don’t go crazy) and healthy oils. Rice vinegar with only small amounts of oil is a great way to enjoy a salad without the fats. Use a sugar substitute to further reduce calories.

salad chopper


This OXO bowl makes quick work of salad making as you can chop the ingredients right in the bowl with the included rolling cutter. It has a 5.5-quart capacity and continuous curves for quick, smooth cutting.

Reduce Carbs like Pasta and Bread

Low-carb diets such as the Paleo are very popular and many people respond well to them.  There are several bread alternatives that I wrote about in an earlier post that give you a “sandwich-like” satisfaction without all the carbs.

spiralizer


Pasta lovers are turning to things like shirataki noodles to satisfy their cravings, but substituting vegetables for pasta is another really delicious alternative. This spiralizer is an easy way to make ribbons from zucchini, beets and other vegetables for use as low-carb pasta substitutes – or even for salads and garnishes. This is a great way to enjoy a pesto or other indulgent dish without the guilt and the calories.

Meal Planning

magnetic meal planner


Planning your meals ahead of time ensures you have what you need on hand for healthful cooking, meaning you’ll be less apt to binge or resort to eating out. Whether you use an app or paper, planning is going to help you monitor what you eat as well as give you a creative space to arrange meals that satisfy your need for variety as well as nutrition. This 55-sheet magnetic Meal Chef notepad gives you 55 weeks’ worth of meal planning, so you can schedule ahead as far as you need to. The magnetic back means you can hang it right on your refrigerator for convenience.

Whether you choose a Paleo or other diet, remember that your metabolism may acclimate to what you’re doing after a time. Also, there is no perfect diet for everyone. Listen to your body. If what you’re doing stops working, it might be time to switch up your diet, change your exercise routine, or do something different. If you have the means, consult a dietitian, an exercise physiologist, or some other health specialist for recommendations on what’s right for you.

Love, Clutter Control Freak


You might also enjoy our “getting organized – 2017 – making and keeping New Year’s resolutions” post on our Organize-It blog.

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Blendtec – the One Gift You Need for Christmas

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blendtec-blender-2016

Blendtec – the only Appliance that Replaces All the Others

Be good to yourself over the holidays, or persuade someone else to be good to you.

You need a Blendtec blender for Christmas, and there are lots of reasons why. The Blendtec is a wonderful, time-saving, super-efficient appliance. All the good stuff you hear about them is true, including what I said in the Organize-It product descriptions. In researching and writing about Blendtec, I totally sold myself on it. Yup, I bought myself an early holiday gift! Hey, when you’re a hard-working single person, why not? It’s not like anyone else offered to buy me one. 😉

Having used it for over a month now, you REALLY can replace most of your appliances with it, and I did. I packed up my food processors, stick blender and mechanical food choppers for eBay and Goodwill. Grandma’s mixer is packed while I contemplate it, but you can even do batter in a Blendtec, and, as a single person, my baking needs are limited.

I bought a red Classic-style blender and it has auto-functions for no-brainer mixing of smoothies (my most everyday food item), soup and more. The motor is so powerful you could probably power a tablesaw with it. I’m not exaggerating. This thing can chop practically anything. If you don’t believe me, check out Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” series on YouTube. They blend a variety of food and non-food items (Coke/Chicken and Justin Bieber Blend are my two favorites).

Nut butters? No problem. Grind meat, chop vegetables, puree soup, and make ice cream with the greatest of ease. If you’ve ever been frustrated at your blender’s inability to chop ice, this appliance pulverizes it in seconds with it’s thick, durable steel blades, that are sure to outlive those flimsy other-brand ones. And yes, you can mix a variety of batters (research the techniques online) – especially with the large-capacity WildSide jar.

No matter which model you pick, regardless of the pre-programmed functions, you can still make all of your favorite foods using a variety of techniques, and the included manual has everything you need to get started. The higher the model number, the more speeds and pre-programmed features. I got the basic Classic 575 with the WildSide jar, and I absolutely love it. I can throw in smoothie ingredients, push a button, and walk away while the blender runs the smoothie program. I love how no-brainer it is and when I make more complicated mixes, it has 5 incremental speed settings to suit the application, plus pulse.

I have a really busy life and only cook for myself. More and more I do healthy smoothies for quick meals as I have little spare time for food prep, plus I’m a bit of a super green food junkie. I did away with the juicer because of a. space in cupboards and b. fiber is good. Note that some models have a juicing program built right in. Of course, you will have to strain it if you don’t like the pulp.

When I do have time to cook, I LOVE cooking soups and stews. Squash soups are especially comforting in the winter months. My Blendtec came with a Wildside jar, which is large capacity (90 ounces) and made of heat-resistant plastic, which means you can puree soups while they’re still hot. How cool is that? As a bonus, it has measurements on the side in case you’re doing precise blending of multiple ingredients.

I’ve wanted a high-end blender for years but couldn’t decide on the best one. I am one of those obsessive review readers who has to research everything first. I read, I researched and I talked to people who have owned the other big brand, whose name I won’t mention because I’m too polite. Two big factors in my purchase were the warranty and the motor rating.

The Blendtec has the highest motor rating available in a consumer product (3 peak horse power and 1560 Watts), and it’s warranted for 8 years (and no, that isn’t a typo). If you’ve been wanting a Blendtec, this is the time to do it. We have lots of models available, so be sure to check out our website and put it on your Christmas list. But before you purchase, please be sure to sign up for Organize-It’s email list using the “Get Deals” button at the bottom of our home page – so you can get the instant sign-on discount. Signing up for our email gives you weekly discounts, new product announcements, occasional recipes, and organizing tips and tricks – plus previews of our latest blog posts. Organize-It’s also offering free shipping through December on Blendtec blenders (this offer may not be combined with other discounts, however). Use code Blendtec584 (case sensitive) for free shipping.

Love,

Clutter Control Freak

P.S. I was really naughty and bought myself an additional gift (January birthday) of a Twister jar using a holiday discount. It is JUST THE RIGHT SIZE for a single smoothie serving, and I can stow the bigger WildSide away until I need it for larger portion dishes. It comes with a special twisting lid that accelerates the processing of really hard stuff like nuts. Plus, it includes a bonus Spectacula spatula designed just for Blendtec twister jars (25 dollar value).

blendtec twister jar

You might also enjoy our Healthy Eating for 2017 blog post.

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Techie Gift Ideas 2016

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techie gifts 2016

Techie Gift Ideas for 2016

A carefully chosen techie gift satisfies the digitally-inclined people in your life while making the Clutter Control Freak happy, whether it’s your mother, girlfriend, boyfriend or me. Device cords, controllers and small devices scattered around the house can be VISUALLY DISTURBING to those with orderly sensibilities – as well as making stuff hard to locate – so read on for lots of techie gift ideas in a range of prices.

mobile ipad desk

Mobile iPad Desk – 287.00

It’s a desk; it’s a mini-entertainment center; it’s a mini-food bar; it’s work you bring home when you didn’t want to; it’s a mobile office in a dirty Coney Island – or in the musty, up-north cabin your partner insisted you visit next weekend. It has a hanging file bin to keep you organized and a small bottom shelf for gadgets, small pets or late-night sandwiches. Whatever you want it to be, it works, so feel free to add it to your shopping list for yourself or your favorite sales person. Even better, if you have an office, give up that expensive lease, reduce overhead, and, for around 287 dollars, a sedan becomes a super-efficient office on wheels you can take with you on adventures (yes, it is sized to fit on your front seat). Minimalism is a beautiful thing, and, no, Clutter Control Freak does not charge you a consultation fee for this techie gift recommendation.

universal tablet stand

Universal Tablet Stand – 39.99

A universal tablet stand is a GREAT gift for any tablet owner as it adds so much versatility to a tablet. Adjustable to fit most models up to 10.1 inches, and sturdy enough to trust with your expensive gadgets, this stand means movies anytime and anywhere – without having to hold or precariously balance your tablet. For your recipe-loving, culinary-enthusiast friends, this excels at displaying digital recipes when cooking, leaving hands free for kitchen magic. Use it for reading instructions while fixing household appliances, or watching YouTube how-to videos when your water tank breaks. How about a music stand when learning to play the guitar using online tutorials? You get the message. This is one handy techie gift for only 39.99.

remote control caddy


Remote Control Caddy – 17.99

Okay, so some people have one TV but the real media junkie may have several – or an X-Box, stereo system, dedicated game station or a variety of other devices. This is the gift to manage ALL of the remotes so there are no more bumpy surprises when plopping down on the couch, plus you’ll eliminate those frantic under-cushion, late-night searches. Put all the remotes here – in one of the five pockets – and forget about them ’til movie night. Manuals, magazines or comics go in the center section. As a bonus, this remote control caddy spins completely around for convenience and has a leather-look finish for handsome looks. As of 12-8-2016, it’s on sale for 17.99, an inexpensive and yet super-useful techie gift for your favorite game boys and girls.

wall cell phone holder

Wall Cell Phone Holder – 6.99

This wall cell phone holder has a built-in clip to hang directly from an available outlet. Keep it here for overnight charging (or any-time charging) and it won’t get lost. At 6.99, it makes a great stocking stuffer and is a very essential gift. I mean, who doesn’t need one of these?

Bobino cable wrap


Bobino Cable Cord Wrap – 2.99

If you’re like me, loose cables everywhere drive me absolutely CRAZY! Even if you aren’t like me, you still need these – so does everyone else. And at 2.99, you can buy LOTS of Bobino cable wraps to create a blissful household devoid of tangled wires. Fun? Well no, but it’s sometimes okay to give people what you want them to have for Christmas. It’s small, easy to use, and also comes in red, making it almost fun.

microfiber cloth


Microfiber Cloth for Device Screens – 6.99

This is another of those universal gifts as literally everyone needs one. Safely clean screens with soft, efficient, reusable microfiber cloths from Casabella. It makes another great stocking stuffer, or accompaniment to those more expensive gift gadgets (like iPhones), but large enough (12 x 14 inches) to use on television screens and monitors.

monitor stand organizer


Monitor Stand and Organizer – 56.99

Messy desk problems? Issue solved with this monitor organizer, which includes space to stash all those loose gadgets, devices and office supplies. Made of breathable-yet-sturdy steel mesh, this stand features two side pockets and a center drawer for notepads and other necessities. It’s great for college students, home offices and more. An added benefit is that it raises the monitor up four inches. Hint: most workstations are not ergonomic, and you’d be amazed at what the difference a correct-height monitor can make in physical comfort. Fact: most monitors are not set high enough for proper work posture.

tv console wall mount

Wall Mount TV Stand – 239.99

This white TV stand is our top Pinterest pin, and it’s no wonder, given its clean, sleek look. It holds up to 165 pounds, can support 58-inch televisions, and has a ton of space to store all your media. Three top compartments store peripherals with smartly-designed back recesses for efficient cord management. It’s available in black, espresso, or white.

There you have it, my techie gift ideas for 2016. Of course, you probably have ideas of your own and will certainly want to check out Organize-It for lots of gift ideas, as we have a ginormous selection of computer and desk accessories, kitchen gadgets, craft organizing supplies and decor.

Love,
Clutter Control Freak

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Green Gifts

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Green Gifts for your Eco-Friendly Family and Friends

Green gifts help put the green in Christmas – so why not indulge your eco-friendly family members in a way that suits their conscientious souls? There are so many ways you can sustain the environment while pleasing the earthy-crunchy people in your life, I’ve decided to share a few ideas with you…

1. Edible Green Gifts

Some people do like green eggs and ham, so consider food for a lovely green gift. Whether it’s homemade cookies or a loaf of chocolate cherry sourdough bread, everyone loves food, including your eco-conscious friends. Find a recipe tailored to your gift recipient’s particular likes to make it extra special. Pack it in a glass food canister or some other non-plastic container so it can be repurposed for food storage after your gift is consumed. Homemade granola packed in an oval-sealed storage jar adorned with your favorite ribbon (or twine) makes a lovely holiday presentation.


glass food canister


oval glass canister


Loose leaf tea packed in a basket or jar, combined with a travel tea infuser makes a lovely gift and encourages a little self-indulgence, while a selection of hand-picked bagged tea may be packaged (by you) in this delightful bamboo tea storage box.


green gifts tea infuser


green gifts bamboo tea box


Healthy food gifts presented in planters or small compost pals are a clever way to show you noticed while encouraging their eco-friendly ways. These are only a few edible green ideas to use as a springboard for your own brainstorming.

2. Green Gifts that Take Up Zero Space (for the True Minimalists)

Your minimalist loved ones may not want stuff for holiday gifts. Many prefer experiences: wining, dining, entertainment, sports tickets, etc. Experiences make great green gifts as they do not require maintenance, do not contribute to landfills, and do not require storage space. Think about your gift recipient. Who do they like? What are their causes? Classes in cooking, art, massage, essential oils, and blogging are just a few great ideas for your knowledge-hungry loved ones.

Digital music downloads and other entertainment services are great “experience” gifts that don’t take up physical space. Think subscriptions, online learning and media services (not advocating one here, just putting it out there – you know who they are).

3. Homemade Green Gifts

Homemade green gifts, especially consumable ones, are a great way to show people you care by adding a personal touch. Handmade soaps made from natural ingredients and essential oils make a lovely gift, as do gifts made from recycled goods. Buy some organic shampoo base and blend in their favorite oils for a personal gift tailored just for them. Making your loved one a luxury item goes along with the “experience” gift ideas by giving someone permission to ethically indulge in a soothing, luxurious activity.

4. Green Gifts Galore in the Form of Decor

Whether it’s renewable bamboo or hemp-woven rugs, sustainable decor makes a lovely gift for your favorite tree huggers. Organize-It has a huge selection of Lipper Bamboo products for just about any room or any purpose. Make your own set of office organizers from individual bamboo components, or deck out your loved one’s bath with gorgeous bamboo bath accessories. Fortunately, all of the Lipper bamboo and other products can be found in one convenient location on the Organize-It website.

5. Green Gifts that are Clean Gifts

While cleaning may not seem very exciting for a holiday, cleaning with Caldrea products almost seems like a luxury. Made with biodegradable ingredients with intoxicating essential oil scents, a thoughtfully selected array of Caldrea cleaners would be a welcome addition to most eco-friendly homes.

Caldrea sea salt/neroli-infused counter cleaner is a welcome addition to a vanity. Pair it with their corresponding laundry detergent and package in an attractive stainless steel compost pail, and you have a lovely, sustainable gift.

green gifts caldrea detergent


compost pail

6. Green Gifts you can Grow Yourself

Even in the winter, plants make lovely gifts and serve as a pleasant reminder that the season will actually change, as they always do. These sets of small pails are ideal for planting herbs, but you could also fill them with homemade candies, seed packets or a variety of other items. They come in galvanized or copper finishes and include a deep tray to corral them (which looks great on a windowsill or countertop). Buying seeds is another idea and if you give your gift in a container, you can save the waste of all that wrapping paper (thinking really green).


herb garden container

7. Green Gifts from Recycled Materials

Whether you are buying from artisans or making it yourself, recycling materials is a great way to please both your eco-people and mother nature. Recycle boutiques can be found easily on the internet – or you can roll up your sleeves, haul out the sewing machine, and make a divine mess on your kitchen table. Gift-making can be a great family project, whether your make homemade wrapping paper, ornaments, wreathes or other handcrafted items. How about a crazy quilt from outgrown clothes, or candy tins made from tuna cans and recycled Christmas cards from last year? Or a groovy retro-knit beer cap vest or pantaloons? You’re only limited by your imagination here. Be creative. Go crazy. You have my permission (and I’m sure you were waiting for it).

8. Green Gift Cards – You Don’t Have to Decide

Buy a gift card and let your green person select their own green gifts. Organize-It sells them here, and we have about 20,000 products (not all green, but all colors and varieties) to select from, including recycling products, kitchen accessories and techie gifts. Gift cards are also great because they are so EASY – no shipping, no packing, no wrapping. Just plug in the email address, pay, and leave the rest to us. It’s all digital, behind-the-scenes magic. Whatever you decide to do to make your holiday green, have a fabulous one!

Love,
Clutter Control Freak

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Wellness Mats – Be Kind to Your Legs This Holiday Season

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wellness mats
Wellness Mats are just what you need as the holidays approach. Why? Long hours spent standing, chopping, dicing, rolling flower, processing are fatiguing to your body and hard on your legs and back. Wellness mats provide .75 inches of cushion for your feet and legs and help keep your blood circulating properly as you prepare your bountiful meals. They work by displacing and suspending the weight of your body, giving comfort to your joints and assistance in maintaining a good posture.

They come in multiple sizes, color choices and patterns to match your decor. You may be thinking, “but I can get a rubber rug and the dollar store for a few bucks.” Well, yes you can but it won’t have the padding, the quality, or the health value of WellnessMats brand mats.

Furthermore, high-quality Wellness Mats have the following features, not found in cheap hardware store mats:

  • 99.9 percent anti-microbial.
  • Stain and chemical resistant.
  • Flame resistant.
  • Heat and puncture resistant.
  • Non-curling, beveled edges for safety.
  • Patented polyurethane construction for long life.
  • 20-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Wellness Mats are smartly-designed with the user in mind. Beveled edges provide a smooth transition, so you won’t trip when stepping over them. They’re slip-resistant and sturdy, providing comfort wherever you stand. They’re great for using in front of the sink or stove, or anywhere you are likely to be standing for extended periods of time. Think dishes, rolling dough, slicing vegetables, etc.

In addition to the kitchen, Wellness Mats are also great for using in front of workbenches, your craft station, your potting bench and other workstations. Note that they are designed for at-home and professional use. You have probably seen them in places like salons, in fact.

Anti-fatigue mats reduce stress on your ankles, legs and back and minimize spinal compression while reducing exhaustion. This holiday season, be good to your body and gift yourself with a Wellness Mat. You won’t regret it and neither will your legs. Wellness Mats are on sale this week for 20-percent off at organizeit.com and stacksandstacks.com thru 11/28/2016.

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Essential Oils for Stress

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essential oils for stressWhether you are de-stressing from the elections, or just from your work day, using essential oils for stress is a safe and natural way to reset your nervous system. There are many oils with stress-reducing chemical properties, but here are a couple quick recipes to get you going.

Note: Be sure before using the oil to test yourself for allergies by placing a drop on your forearm and cover with a bandage overnight. Remove the bandage in the morning. If any redness or lumps appear, do not use it. You can also test with the individual oils to pinpoint the sensitivity. Allergies are rare, but some people do have sensitivities.

Stress Relief Essential Oil Blend #1

  • 10 ml. of carrier oil (such as coconut oil)
  • 3 drops of lavender or chamomile
  • 2 drops of frankincense
  • 2 drops of lemongrass

Stress Relief Essential Oil Blend #2

  • 10 ml. of carrier oil (such as coconut oil)
  • 3 drops of ylang ylang
  • 2 drops of patchouli
  • 3 drops of bergamot
  • 1 drop of geranium

Rose is an emotionally powerful essential oil but also one of the most expensive, so if you happen to have some (or some rose absolute, an inexpensive alternative), it’s well worth experimenting with. Other good oils are orange and neroli (from bitter orange tree blossoms).

Application

Apply to temples, wrists, back of knees, chest, back of neck, and/or behind ears. Alternately, skip the carrier oil and add the essential oils to a diffuser or a warm bath before bed. Add a cup of chamomile for sound sleeping.

Warning: this is an adult dose. For children or pets, please seek out sources for proper dilution.

Using essential oils for stress is a safe alternative to toxins and a great way to pamper yourself and recover from a hard day, week, or election year. See our other post for suggestions for a basic essential oil kit for everyday living.

Love, Clutter Control Freak

You might also like the following, to help you de-stress:

Bath Spa Pillow
bath spa pillow


Bath Caddy Relaxation Center

bath caddy relaxation center


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2016 – Reduced Shipping Costs to U.S. and Abroad

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reduced shipping rates
Organize-It and Stacks and Stacks negotiated a fabulous shipping deal that greatly reduces shipping costs, both to the U.S. and select overseas destinations. What does this mean for you? Well, when you order from either site, you get the same great products with fast tracked shipping at greatly reduced shipping rates. International purchases are often out of the question due to exorbitant rates. Now customers in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, German, Ireland and the UK can buy great products and receive them quickly (often in only a few days).

The discount has been applied to both http://www.organizeit.com and http://www.stacksandstacks.com, so be sure to check them out. While both sites share many products and have comparable pricing, Stacks and Stacks has more decor, while both sites have TONS of organizing products.

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Essential Oils for School

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essential oils school

Essential Oils – Tool Kit for Surviving the School Year

Economics. Biology. Cold pigs and half-dissected frogs stuffed in your dorm refrigerator. What to do with them?

Oh, those notes. Where are they? The latest Game of Thrones is on your roommate’s TV and it’s so much more interesting.

Algebra… How many Hillarys divided by two Trumps will it take to fill an orange crate? Oh, the debates are on.

Seventeenth-century painting just got less interesting when the resident advisor started a twerk session during the dorm’s first-Sunday, voluntary-dream therapy breakfast group, but wait, you came here to learn!

Let’s face it, dorms are distracting; as is life. Unless you’re not human, you probably struggle with focus. There are practical things you can do to help yourself, however. Often times, just switching the off button helps tremendously, but it may not be so easy if the switch resides in your head.

Essential Oils for Focus

Amazingly, there are some essential oils that may encourage focus. No, we don’t sell them, but we’re thinking about you and thought we’d share a few tips to help you get through the final leg of your term.

Oils for Concentration

  • Peppermint
  • Clary Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Frankincense
  • Bergamot
  • Juniper Berry

For studying, the best ways to use the oils are either by sniffing directly or using in a diffuser (one engineered for use with oils). The chemicals get to the brain faster when inhaled through your nose. That said, when cut with a carrier oil (such as almond or coconut oil), a topical rub applied to vital points is also very effective. Plus, you can do it in public without rousing suspicion (or risking confiscation or arrest). Rub on wrists, behind ears, around ankles, at temples – or use your intuition. Don’t use the oils straight, they need to be diluted in a carrier oil. One or two drops to two tablespoons should work (or ten drops to 30 ml.).

If you feel hyper or scattered, the tree resin (Frankincense) and Juniper Berry are nice grounding oils. Peppermint is a great wakeup oil. Cool and stimulating, it can make you more alert. Try mixing some with your shampoo to get going in the morning (same ratios as with the carrier oil). Don’t apply peppermint near your eyes or other sensitive tissues.

When you’re studying for an exam, try sniffing some rosemary while you’re studying, then smell it again right before you take the test. Smells have a way of recalling memories and information. This a great memory trick and one worthy of sharing.

Essential Oils for Stress

We all have it. Sometimes a little stress is good, but not when it interferes with your concentration, your work, or your studying. The universe gave you lots of safe, aromatic plants to help you feel good. Many splendid oils come from trees, including the roots, resins, bark and blossoms. Ylang ylang is a great de-stresser and you can use it the same way as outlined above. A diffuser is great because you can use it while you’re sleeping – plus it helps relax you for deeper sleep.

Orange or bergamot are other great de-stressing oils and they can help modulate blood pressure – and have lots of other health benefits. Clary sage also has calming properties and it’s good for hormone-induced stress.

Oils for Reducing Stress

  • Ylang ylang
  • Patchouli
  • Chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Bergamot
  • Cedar Wood
  • Lavender
  • Myrrh
  • Frankincense

Lavender also has some amazing physical healing properties – especially for burns. You can find lots of information about essential oil properties online.

Essential Oils for Immunity

When you’re in school, it’s hard to avoid germs, unless of course, you’re doing it remotely or have a private room lined with Lysol-doused aluminum foil. Along with managing stress, it’s important to eat right and get lots of rest so you can feel and perform your best. Should you get sick, and you just might, sitting with all those germified “other people,” here are some great oils to have on hand:

Oils for Colds

  • Lemon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon Bark
  • Rosemary

These oils all have amazing individual properties, but combined, they form a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-viral mix. The blend is especially effective when you use it immediately – just at the onset of the sniffles – on vital points such as the soles of feet, wrists and behind ears. I’m not exaggerating! This is a powerful mix! You can buy it premixed from a number of manufacturers under names similar to “Thieves” but if you mix it yourself, you’ll have leftover oils so you can play amateur alchemist in your dorm room just as soon as you finish dissecting those pigs and complete those impossible math equations.

For “Thieves” proportions, check out this website, and remember the “Thieves” oils are all inexpensive staples that are nice to keep in your medicine cabinet. Please note that before using any essential oils, you should perform an overnight allergy test to detect if you have any sensitivities. Put a drop of pure oil on your skin and cover it with a Bandaid overnight. If you have any redness or swelling, don’t use it.

These suggestions aren’t just for college students, they’ll benefit most anyone and make a great home or travel kit for minor cuts, burns, etc. Please note that the doses recommended in this post are for adults only. Child doses require greater dilution, so please do some research before administering oils to children (or pets). There’s a wealth of free information on the internet about medicinal and other uses for essential oils, including recipes for eco-friendly cleaning products.

Have fun!

Love,
Clutter Control Freak

For two de-stressing essential oil recipes, view our other post.

You might also enjoy this tea storage blog on our sister site, which features a tea storage box that gets repurposed into an essential oil holder. And check out this piece on getting focused at work (which totally translates into school studying habits).

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