Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Reflections

Let's enjoy the season! It's less than two weeks until Christmas. My holiday party, that I give each year, is already becoming a fond memory. Gifts and cards that need mailing are gone. While there are still a lot of tasks to complete, I am at a point where I can begin to enjoy my decorated home and some of the goodies that have been prepared. It is time to enjoy the holiday music and watch some of the holiday shows.

Join me as I let "good enough" become my mantra.

Cleaning will now just become maintenance work. I will delegate some areas to others.

Cooking will become lighter and less complicated. We will eat out more and have more snack-like meals by the tree.

I will schedule on my calendar some times to pick up those last minute gifts and stocking stuffers. I will take my time doing this and enjoy the surroundings and decorated stores.

I will set up a wrap station to finish the wrapping for my local gift giving.

I will enjoy the cards as they come in. I will read notes and check to see that I have correct addresses.

I will plan a trip to see the holiday lights.

As I work around my home, I will put on some holiday music.

On Christmas day I will start jotting down a list of ideas for future gifts. If I receive a gift that duplicates something I already have, I will start a donation box for items no longer needed.

I hope that your holiday season is the best one yet!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

To Tree or Not to Tree - That is the Question

Putting up a Christmas tree is a lot of work. Taking it down and carefully putting away all of the ornaments seem like even more work. Is it worth it?

That depends on you and your vision of what this Christmas season looks and feels like. For me, it is totally worth the effort. I love coming out each morning to  my living room, turning on the lights of my tree, and enjoying that first cup of coffee. It centers me and helps me get ready for the day ahead. There was only one Christmas that I was just not going to mess with the tree and that was a year of deep depression. Fortunately others intervened and the tree went up. Almost every ornament on that tree has meaning and memories for me. I know though as I continue to age, it is getting harder. At some point I may need to look at options like hiring someone to help or downsizing the tree.

I have one client who is in the midst of decluttering her home. She has decided that this year she does not want to bring out all her holiday trimmings because she feels it will just set her back on her progress. I have another client who has several artificial trees. She has decided to go with just one of her smaller ones and concentrate on her yard ornaments. Some people are traveling most of the holiday season and plan to put out just a few ornaments around the house and a wreath on the door.

The important thing is to know your vision and your reasons. Don't do things just because you always have done it or because others think you should. Do what gives you happiness and plan your time accordingly.

Happy Holidays!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


I enjoy giving gifts to the people I love. I feel that by giving something thoughtful and special, I show the person how much I care. It's not about how much the gift costs but how much I show them that I have been observant, thoughtful, and that I love to make a smile come to their face. But this is not always an easy task.

I often just ask the person outright or ask someone in the household, "What do you think they are hoping for this year?" I will then take something from that list and add another small gift that might go along with the item. If I am lucky, I will have been with the person at some time in the past year and had that "aha" moment that points the way to the perfect gift.

Then there are gift cards. Normally I really dislike giving gift cards. Part of the reason for that is I have come across so many unused cards at clients' homes. I think of all the money spent on these cards that is totally wasted. But for some people there are items that they love but they need to buy the items themselves. For example, my brother loves books. I have no idea what he already has or what he wants to read so a gift card to a book store is a great gift for him. I know he would totally use up that gift card and probably add some of his own money to it and come away a happy man.

My favorite gift is one that allows a person to have a wonderful experience. That lets them to something they might not otherwise do. Tickets to events, gift cards to their favorite restaurant, a season pass to a museum or botanical garden, or a promise to spend a day with them are all very special gifts.

I would love feedback on how you handle the art of gift giving.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Giving Thanks

In a couple of days it will be Thanksgiving. For me, Thanksgiving is all about family. I had an early Thanksgiving meal with my son, Darin, and for Thanksgiving Day we are celebrating with Rob's family at Pawley's Island.

As we gather I am reminded of so many things for which to offer up thanks:
  • Family that cares enough about each other to make the effort to gather
  • Our health
  • Our friends
  • Our environment - we will be in a beautiful part of the country
  • Our jobs and ability to get up and do things
  • Our spirit
  • Our love
  • Our homes
  • Our pets
  • Laughter
  • Wonderful food
  • Being wholly in this wonderful day
May we all take time to give our thanks on this special day.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Setting up a Gift Zone

Quite a few times I have worked with a client organizing an area and we will come across a gift they had purchased and never sent. I'm all for buying gifts ahead of time. Sometimes you are out shopping and you see just the perfect gift for your brother but his birthday is past and it's a long time until the holidays. Go ahead and buy the gift but then what do you do with it when you get home?

I recommend designating one or two places in your home to stash these gifts. If you have children you may need to get a bit creative to hide their gifts. I like to tag the items with the name of the person I had in mind when I made the purchase. I tend not to buy large items so I use a drawer in my guest bedroom for my gift zone. I have seen clients use a shelf in their basement, an under the bed storage container, or an area in a closet. These spaces do not have to have super easy access because you will not go there often. However, they should be easy enough to get to that you are not tempted to just lay the gift down "just for now".

Another advantage of having a gift storage area is that when you do buy something and go to put it away, you can see what you already have. This keeps you from buying five things for your sister because she is so easy to shop for and only one item for your brother (another book?). It also keeps you aware if you are overbuying. It is great to have a couple of hostess gifts tucked away so that you can shop that gift zone before heading out to the store.

If you do not already have a zone for gifts, take a walk through your home now and see what place or places might work for you.

Happy shopping!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Tips on Organizing Your Attic or Basement Zone

November is a great time to organize and clean out your attic or basement zone. It is not as hot or yet too cold for comfort. it is also a zone where many of us store our holiday decorations.

As you prepare to work in this zone, make a list of all the items you store there. The list might include:
  • Seasonal decorations
  • Seasonal house items like fans or heaters
  • Extra household items you are not currently using but want to keep
  • Toys or items to pass on to family or friends
  • Out of season clothing or sports equipment
  • Suitcases
  • Archival papers
Plan where each category will be housed. Items you do not plan to use in the next year are best stored furthest from the entry. This might include the extra items you are not now using and some of the  archival papers.

Attack the attic or basement zone by zone. Remove everything from the one zone you are working on and sweep down the area and look for any structural damage or infestations. As you place items back into their area, if you come across broken, unloved items, or multiple items (how many suitcases do you really use?) that have been hanging around for years, now is the time to let them go. You will feel much lighter when they are gone. You will have more room to move around and when this zone rolls around again next year, it will be a much easier task.

Leave space between each zone so you can safely maneuver to retrieve or store items.

Label all containers. Use large labels that you can see from some distance. Even if a container is clear, it is hard to see what is inside if the lighting is dim.

It helps to locate different holiday items if you use colored or themed containers to store your decorations. Still label the containers with primary items. This keeps you from having to dig through multiple boxes to find the advent wreath or crèche you want to use early in the season. Your organized attic or basement will make decorating and in-decorating a much easier chore.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, October 31, 2017


This past weekend we had a mini-family reunion at my sister's home to celebrate my son's 50th birthday. I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love for my family.

My sister, Ann, opened up her home for this event and her son, Tod, and his partner, Richard, also opened up their home for overnight guests. Ann, Tod and Richard also spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food. Husband, Rob, also spent time in the kitchen cleaning up.

My son, Ben, came to this event even though his lovely wife, Kellie, was not able to make the trip. He flew in and met up with my brother, Jim, and his wife, Mindy, at the airport late Friday night and left again on Sunday evening. Jim and Mindy were on about the same schedule and were still fighting jet lag from a trip abroad. Even the family that were local had to really work their schedules to carve out this special time. I really appreciate that effort.

We spent a lot of time catching up, telling stories, and laughing. These times with family are the best vacations ever. I am forever grateful for my family.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer