Holiday Gift Guide

Here are 16 gift ideas for the holiday season -- some to help you get organized and declutter!


Time Timer

Many of you know my Gospel of the Kitchen Timer: few things work as simply, cheaply, or painlessly to keep us on-task. ("I'll work on the newsletter for the next 30 mins.") Now I'm loving a timer on my phone & computer - which, let's face it, are where we get distracted. Mine is Time Timer, & here are more.

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3-Piece Breakfast Cart

This 3-piece breakfast cart is the perfect improvised kitchen island or bonus counter. It's magical how you can tuck away the 2 stools. Extend the leaf when you need more surface space. There are even two drawers & towel racks on both sides.



A client introduced me to OrigamiRack's impressive line of freestanding shelves. They really do require zero assembly, fold down flat for storage, & open up into sturdy, nice-looking shelves in 20 seconds. And now they have furniture for all over the house: desks, carts, & more.


Hanging Jewelry Organizer

My favorite way to store jewelry is in a hanging organizer like this one. You can see everything at once, & it's usually easier to hang this on a closet rod or a hook on the back of a door than it is to make room for a jewelry box.


Coin-Counting Gadgets

I got these low-tech gadgets for my son but it's me who really loves them. Spare change clutters most homes, be it in a jar or scattered on surfaces. How to turn it into usable money? Coinstar is a good option, especially if you forego their fee by donating your cash or buying a gift card to a favorite retailer. But it's just as easy to convert 100% of it with these coin counting tubes (& paper sleeves that your bank might give you for free). I rolled $33.50 in 10 minutes while Sam built tiny forts with the finished product. Your bank then deposits the rolls or trades them for bills. You might even get very fancy with these sorting trays.

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Furniture Socks

Furniture socks are the newest entry in the "Why didn't I think of that" category. A client introduced me to these & they're just what they sound like: little socks for the feet of your furniture. They protect your floors with no adhesive to apply (or curse), saving time & money so you can save both for more important things.


Gift certificates from YOU

New Dream is a group that encourages us all to simplify & enjoy life more. They have a fun list of "last-minute gift ideas"  for things like "a night of indoor camping" for the kids, or "a day of yard work" for your parents. I would add that the key is to suggest a day & put it on your calendar, so the recipient doesn't have to do that task.  PS Donations to loved ones' favorite charities in their honor are also wonderful, fast gifts!


Gift Cards from Your Community

Gift cards for local businesses are the ultimate clutter-free gift. They also build healthy economies & communities. Here in Ann Arbor, for instance, you can buy a Main Street Area Association gift card for your recipient's choice of any of their dozens of businesses.


YNAB, aka "You Need a Budget" (& we all do!)

You know how the financial gurus say you need a budget as if it's easy, but making one & actually sticking to it IS NOT? I've tried all sorts of methods & YNAB is the best for me. It simplifies money. Take advantage of the free online classes & set-up is easy.


Wall Calendar

A big wall calendar with plenty of writing space is great for those who need to see the month on a scale larger than a screen, & especially for families who can't go digital for their shared calendar. Whatever calendar you use, sit down regularly with your "teammates" & preview the next few weeks: Is everything there? What prep & reminders are needed? My family couldn't function without these talks.


Sauder Sewing & Craft Table

A clever client found this hard-working desk/credenza for her daughter's craft supplies. It swings open to add an extra 2' of surface space & reveal lots of handy storage. It's called the Sauder Sewing & Craft Table, but could also be great for homework, projects, games, & as a home office.


Spice Containers

Check out Alisa's fabulous spice containers: magnetic, see-through boxes popped onto the wall. There is some set-up (labeling & filling the boxes), but it's great to reach over & grab what you need. Plus you avoid using a drawer, & won't need to re-fill often. When you do, buy new.

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Pot Lid Storage

Pot lids are tricky! Make quick, moveable, customized storage for lids in unused space with a few Command Hooks on the back of the cabinet door. To give as a gift, you could stealthily apply the hooks to the cabinet doors before the holiday, then make a quick note or drawing for the recipient to unwrap that shows them their magical new cabinet.


Elfa Shelving

Elfa shelving hangs from 1 top track, so it's pretty easy to install, very strong, & totally versatile. A Container Store gift card could be the trick here, since they'll have a 30%-off Elfa sale starting Dec 26! Other goodies like wall racks drawer units will also be on sale, & priceless space-planning services are free. (Rubbermaid's look-alike Configurations line is pretty good, but less durable & flexible & includes no planning help.)


Hassle Free Framing

Give a favorite picture or kids' artwork along with a pants hanger and a hook. You could use a removable adhesive Command hook to make it even easier. Great for switching holiday-themed art in &out, and for prolific child artistes.