Post Christmas Organizing


Merry Christmas to everyone and I hope you are all enjoying this time with your family and friends. I know there are some super ambitious people out there who are ready to take the tree and all other decorations down NOW and while I appreciate their enthusiasm, I’d like to offer a couple of suggestions to ease the process. First, there are 12 days of Christmas so you actually have until January 6th to complete this. If waiting the 12 days isn’t your style, dismantle at will but be (neat) smart about it.

Are there decorations sitting in boxes that you haven’t used in a few years and really don’t want to ever use again? Could somebody else in your family use them or is there a friend that would enjoy them? Pass them on to someone else who would like them or donate to a shelter, church, Salvation Army, or Goodwill organization. Just because you see them once a year doesn’t mean they don’t take up space in your home the other 11 months. Let go of any decorations that don’t fill you with the Christmas spirit.

Do you have broken decorations or lights? Get them fixed or get rid of them. You can recycle lights and other electronics or plastics by contacting Earth911to find out where to take them.

Did you put up a real tree this year and need to dispose of it? Here is a link to learn how to recycle it. Kudos to you for buying a biodegradable tree!

How are your ornaments stored? I’m crazy about these options for lights, ornaments, and stockings. Although I usually recommend  clear boxes for clients’ putting things in storage, red or green are fine for Christmas because the colors symbolize the contents. You can never go wrong with clear, though.

You can also check out my entire Pinterest Board on Christmas Organization for other suggestions. Who doesn’t love Pinterest?

But my best advice to you for getting organized after Christmas is to take your time to enjoy the season and what it truly means. Take time to savor being with your family and friends without rushing to get, buy, or do something. Read, play games, cook, eat, take walks, and create some fun memories to look back on in the future. People will remember your hospitality but not the wreath on your door or the decorated mantle. There is no prize for the person who decorates best or puts them away quickly.

Happy organizing!


Eager to hear your organization questions!


I am so excited to announce that Neatsmart is going to be a guest on the internet radio show, “At Home with Paisley” on America’s Web Radio next Thursday, December 20, 2012. We are going to be talking about ways to get and stay organized during the holidays and after, and I’d like to hear any questions you have ahead of time. This is not a dial in show so I need to get your questions quickly, by midnight tomorrow, December 11, 2012. It could be anything from “how do I best store strings of lights?” to “how do I get packages ready to be shipped?” to “how do I keep track of who gets what?” Please submit them in the comments area and I will address them on the show. I’ll also provide a link to the show if you aren’t able to listen at 3:00 EST on December 20th.

At Home With Paisley is hosted by Paisley McDonald, one of Atlanta’s most sought after interior designers, and airs weekly on Thursdays at 3:00 pm EST. Please check out her wonderful and amazing work on her website at or at her Facebook page, where you can see more of her before and after transformations.

So ask away by entering your questions in the comments section below! There is no such thing as a dumb question, just an unanswered one. I’m eager to hear what you’d like to know about organizing for the holidays and organization in general.

Happy Organizing!

Get inspired to get organized

Yesterday, my friend Heather came over to my house for a quick visit and we were lamenting the passage of time, how we sounded like our mothers (gasp!), and pending holidays around the corner. She is going to have a house full of company for Thanksgiving which is always a mixed blessing: you love having loved ones come and stay but there is a lot of preparation that goes into having it all happen seamlessly. Heather said, “I love entertaining and having people over because it forces me to clean up my house.” Truer words have not been spoken. There is nothing like friends or family coming and staying for a spell to force you to look at your home with fresh eyes.

  • How long has that pile of papers been sitting on that table that I never noticed until now?
  • Has this closet door always been difficult to close because it is stuffed to the gills?
  • Do we really not have a vent in our guest bathroom? (this is actually true in my house and will be fixed hopefully before company comes for Christmas)
  • Do I always just throw stuff in the guest bedroom when I don’t know where it should go?
  • Has this room/ closet/ flat surface really become my dumping ground?


Do any of these ring true? Sheepishly, I have to nod my head as well. The great thing about writing and reading online is that nobody is watching you silently agree that your house has gotten a little out of control this year. It happens to all of us because life is full of change and activity. If it weren’t we’d be static, boring people. Having clutter in your home is it is a bit like boiling a frog: it slowly creeps up on you and don’t realize the water is boiling or that your home needs some help. If you watch Hoarders, you’ll realize that these people didn’t start acquiring stuff yesterday; it takes time to amass and accumulate.

Fortunately we have these annual built in times of reflection like company coming over, spring cleaning, New Year, end of summer, etc. when we can pause and reflect on our lives and decide if we like how it looks, how it functions, and what we can do to improve. Shoving the boxes and bags to the back of the closet isn’t going to solve the issue of the clutter. You are going to have to decide if you want to change and, if so, when. Having a built in deadline like pending company is an excellent motivation for change. Use that inspiration to clean out that cabinet or closet but also try to find out the source of the clutter to begin with so you don’t have to keep facing the same piles repeatedly. Everything needs its proper place in your home or it shouldn’t be there. Now is the time to start clearing out what you don’t need so you can show your home’s beauty and relieve yourself of the stress of having to deal with excess stuff. Enjoy the time with your family and friends instead of hoping that nobody opens that super stuffed closet or scary drawer.

Ordered and ready to go for any craft project you can imagine!

Happy organizing!

What gift do you give the person who has everything?

As we approach Halloween in the next couple of weeks, I am reminded of what comes after: Thanksgiving. Which is shortly followed by Christmas and Chanukah and then we are in a new year before we know it. Pretty soon, Santa’s helpers will be making their lists and mall traipsing with unhappy children in tow, wondering what to get, to buy, to decorate, to ship, and ultimately to open. The vicious cycle continues after with the returns, the taking down, and throwing away. Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays and all of the excitement and meaning that surrounds them but it’s easy to get caught up in the things that really don’t matter.

Let’s take gifts, for example. Now, we all love gifts but what is the one thing we all want more of and yet it is rapidly slipping through our fingers? It’s TIME. Time is irreplaceable and yet we waste so much of it inadvertently. But let’s consider TIME as a GIFT and now the scene changes. Giving the gift of time to someone could be offering to run errands for a friend or bringing the mail to a neighbor. You could bake bread (or cookies) and deliver it (one of my mother’s wonderful Christmas traditions) which saves the recipient time in preparing to feed his or her family. Even sharing favorite recipes is saving time for the recipient because they don’t have to search for a tried and true dish to prepare and serve. Offering to have someone’s kids over is a wonderful gift of time that also provides the additional treasure of QUIET to a busy family.

<Insert product plug here :-)>

The gift that everybody secretly wants but nobody requests

So, have you ever considered the gift or organization services? It can be the perfect gift for most people on your list and here are a few reasons why:

  1. It always fits. There is no issue with color, style, size, or gender.
  2. It comes in an envelope so wrapping is minimal. Bow optional.
  3. Even if you are the most meticulous person on the planet, you need help from time to time clearing clutter and arranging spaces. It’s a fact.
  4. After the holidays is the calm after the storm that usually means excessive stuff lying around that either needs to be put or thrown away. Get help with this task to make it seamless.
  5. New Year = Resolutions. If you’ve got clutter in your closet, you’ve got old habits in your head, and baggage on your shoulders. Lighten your load and you’ll make room in your life for the new and improved you.

To give the gift of time, order, and peace, click on the Contact link at the top of the page or send an email to Packages start at $150 for 3 hours of consulting time and can be customized. This is a gift that is good for the recipient, great for the giver, and it gives the gift that can’t be bought: time.

Happy Organizing!