Ready, Set, Shop! Get Organized for Holiday Giving

by Lorie Marrero, The Clutter Diet
December 6, 2012

We are officially in the holiday shopping season!  As a professional organizer, that always makes me worry a little, because clients have often hired me in the aftermath of the holiday season to help clear out what accumulated.  I want people to be intentional and deliberate about what they are buying and giving, making sure they are not filling their own homes and the homes of their loved ones with clutter.

Here are some strategies to save you time and money and prevent future clutter during this season of giving:

  • Holiday GivingAlways shop with a list.  If you go shopping without a plan, you’ll likely fall prey to the clever buy-one-get-one sales and other ways that often cause you to buy more than you need.  Your list will keep you on track, let you know what successful shopping looks like at the end, and help you save money.
  • Check the newspaper before shopping.  Save some miles and dollars by going through the sales circulars before heading out.  You may find out that camera you wanted is half-price at a different store you weren’t planning to visit, and you can think through the route you’re going to navigate that day.
  • Did you already give Aunt Thelma a scarf?  Track your gift giving from year to year by keeping a simple gift journal in a notebook or spreadsheet list.  Nothing fancy, but it’s really nice to remember from year to year what you gave to the mail carrier, the teachers and your relatives, so you don’t accidentally duplicate some of your favorite gifts (causing clutter and awkwardness for them).  If you like, you can also track how much you spent, since that can be helpful in your planning.
  • One In, One Out.  Practice the rule that for every new item that comes in, one old item (or two!) goes out.  This rule is especially helpful to teach children that storage is not unlimited and their unwanted toys and clothing need to be let go and given to others.
  • Make some room.  Take some time to donate some of your excess stuff to your local Goodwill.  You’ll be making room for the new gifts you’ll be receiving, and you’ll get a tax deduction too!
  • And finally, don’t forget Goodwill for your holiday shopping!  Decorations, clothing and accessories are great finds, and your purchases support your community by helping people find work.  Happy Holidays!


Lorie Marrero is a designee of the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers and is a long time member of the National Association of Professional Organizers.  In 2006, she launched The Clutter Diet®, an innovative online member community that has helped thousands of members in eighteen countries around the world, making organizing expertise accessible and affordable to anyone, anywhere.  She is also the author of the best-selling book, The Clutter Diet, as well as The Clutter Diet blog.  You can find her at

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