The holiday season offers an array of opportunities to get gussied up, but we need to be ready. No, frantic last-minute foraging in your closet for something to wear. Below are some Closet Organization 101 basic guidelines, which are especially useful during this busy time of year.

Current Only

Unless you have unlimited storage space, which would be lovely, but most of us are not that fortunate, you will need to maximize your closet capacity. Given that we have a finite amount of space to work with, hopefully you have moved the out of season garments elsewhere. It’s winter, let’s not have your favorite sun dress or board shorts taking up valuable space. That goes for items that do not fit properly, need repairs or laundering, as well.

Categories Are Useful

Another helpful tip is to arrange clothing by general category. For example, have all your dressy garments together in one section. Keep workout wear in one area and the same for casual weekend garb. Professional work outfits should be grouped in one place. If you have shelves available, you can fold non-wrinkling pieces like sweaters there to make more room. Then arrange tops all together (best by sleeve length) and likewise with bottoms, separating pants and skirts for the ladies.

Tiered hangers can save precious closet space by accommodating multiple pairs of pants. They work for scarves too. Speaking of hangers, you want uniformity. Sturdy hangers with griper patches at the shoulders are great, but again if space is at a premium, consider purchasing the thinner felt covered hangers which require less space. You can even take the category approach a step further by sectioning like garments by color. With this exercise, you might find that you are the proud owner of 14 white tops or 20 pair of blue jeans.

Accessories Galore

Category guidelines from above can be useful in this arena, too. You can organize shoes on various tiered storage devices: door hangers, metal racks, etc. Boots should be grouped together and likewise with athletic shoes. Hats can be stacked to save space. Handbags can be hung on pegs or laid flat and layered or grouped in marked bins from your favorite container store. Now that you have your closet beautifully organized, the best is yet to come…

Have Outfits at the Ready

This is the most time-saving technique ever. Determine how dressy your calendar of holiday activities is going to be and make a list. Let’s say you find invitations to two dressy parties, oops, New Year’s Eve too, so make that three. You also have an office party requiring biz casual, and four casual events.

Use suit hangers to put together complete outfits with accessories, jewelry, ties, special under garments, and even shoes. Ladies, the perfect jewels to set off your ensembles can be placed inside a Ziplock baggy with holes cut in the tops to slide over the hanger. Separate each outfit with satin lingerie hangers to avoid wrinkling.

Group all your gorgeous holiday outfits together in a prominent section of your gloriously organized closet, where they are at the ready. This may prove to be so useful that you want to try it with your work and play outfits, as well.  Save time and consternation, look great and have fun!

If this sounds too daunting to tackle by yourself, the Organization Queens of SolutionsForYou are a mere phone call or email away. 

Anne Blumer and her talented team can be reached at 503-706-3502 or anne [at] solutionsforyou [dot] com

Now that Halloween, the official kick-off to the holidays (at least according to retailers), has come and gone, it is time to prepare for entertaining. Whether you are hosting the big Turkey Day feast or smaller get-togethers, your kitchen will likely be the hub. To alleviate as much stress as possible, let’s get your entertainment central organized.

1. Make a Plan

Plan your menus early on to avoid last-minute consternation. Pull out your favorite recipes, or even check out Pinterest for something new. Be sure to do a practice run, if you are experimenting with untried concoctions. If your guests wish to bring side dishes, give them their assignments early. Speaking of guests, it is wise to inquire about allergies or special food restrictions in advance. Even if you are fortunate to have a double oven, create a timeline for Thanksgiving or other large spreads to allow for various cooking temperatures and times. Identify dishes that can be prepared ahead of time, as well. Also, think about making regular meals to freeze and eat when you are knee-deep in holiday meal preparation mode.

2. Clean, Scrub & Disinfect

Your guests, specifically those with a desire to help or who simply want to chat, will probably congregate in the kitchen, so you will want it clean. Put on those rubber gloves and get busy. Tackle the biggies: the oven, microwave, refrigerator, and even the dishwasher. During the fridge clean up, go through the contents to consolidate where possible, and check expiration dates. Scrub and disinfect the countertops, too. Wipe down the cupboard doors. Don’t forget to clean and disinfect the garbage can. Make sure you have plenty of trash bags on hand.

3. De-clutter

Maximize your workspace by removing any unnecessary items from your counters. Check your spice cupboard for duplicates and expired items. Remove extra dishes, mugs, summer use pieces, etc. that you probably won’t be using. Stow them away elsewhere to make more room. Gather similar goods: put all the cereals together, all canned foods, all baking ingredients, and the like in the same cupboards. Find a new temporary home for anything you probably won’t use. You can always retrieve it if you do need it.

4. Stock up

Shop early and stock up on things like wine, spirits, and baking supplies such as sugar, flour, and nuts. This also helps spread out the extra expenses of holiday entertaining. It is a good idea to have To Go containers on hand if you plan to send guests home with goodies or left-overs. Pick up inexpensive plastic containers at your local Dollar Tree or even start saving up Costco tubs with lids, Taleni ice cream jars with screw-on tops, and similar repurposed freebies. If you send guests home with your favorite Tupperware containers, there is a good chance you will never see them again (the Tupperware, not your guests).

5. Gather Special Items

Get a jump on holiday decorating and entertaining by pulling out your Auntie’s vintage holiday tablecloth or Grandma’s crystal serving platter. Check the condition of your special holiday treasures and launder or scrub as needed. Make certain you have all the unique items at the ready to showcase and serve your holiday fare beautifully.

6. Enjoy!

Throughout the year and especially during the holiday season, being able to gather those you care about in your home to share your love through delicious meals in a source of joy, so relish it. Prepare early and savor every moment. You deserve it!


Remember, the helpful team of Professional Organizers at SolutionForYou can support you with any room in your home.

We are only an email or phone call away: anne [at] solutionsforyou [dot] com (503) 706-3502.

Here are 5 houseguest etiquette tips to get you invited to visit again and again.

1.  Be thoughtful and grateful.

Bring a small gift that you think your hosts will enjoy.  Such as a box of chocolates, a bottle of wine, or something representative of your hometown.  Or, treat your host to a dinner out.  Send a handwritten thank-you note following your visit.

Thank You Note Photo
Photo by Unsplash

2.  Play by the house rules.

After you’ve arrived, remember to ask your host about the house rules—what time people tend to go to bed, if you need to know anything about their pets, whether you should take your shoes off in the house.

Photo of Rules
Photo by Unsplash

3.  Entertain yourself.

Don’t rely on your host to entertain you 24/7. Research, before you arrive, places you might want to visit.  Such as a museum, art gallery, shopping district, or a scenic location.

Art Museum Photo
Photo by Unsplash

4.  Be Independent and clean.

Make your own breakfast, clean up after yourself, make your bed, wipe your bathroom counter and before you depart collect your dirty linens and put them in the hamper or laundry machine.  A general rule of thumb: it should look like you were never there when you leave. “The best houseguests leave no trail,” Emily Post.

Bedroom Photo
Photo by Unsplash

5.  Don’t overstay your welcome.

Make your visit short and sweet. Generally, keep your visit to no more than three nights.

3 moons photo
Photo by Unsplash

What tips can you share below on how you are someone people want to visit them repeatedly?

How to be a Memorable Host to your Houseguests

1.  Welcome!

Hopefully, you can be home when your guests arrive.  However, sometimes that is not possible due to work or other commitments.  Have a spare key available and tell guests where you hid it if you won’t be home when they arrive.  Or, if you have a garage code give them access to it. Provide essential phone numbers and household instructions so they know how to operate the alarm system, TV remote control, Wi-Fi access, and how to use the coffee maker.

photo by Unsplash

2. Create a cozy guest room.

It’s a no-brainer to make sure to clean your home before guests arrive. Go above and beyond!  You want your guests to feel at home.  An inviting atmosphere is key.  Take time to fluff the pillows, dust the furniture, check your guest bed to be sure you have fresh linens on it and have extra pillows and blankets accessible. Make room in a closet and dresser drawers, so your guest has a place for their clothing or at a minimum create a suitcase stand. Put a few books, a flashlight, and a water carafe and glass on the nightstand.

cozy photo
photo by Unsplash

3. Treat your guest with extra touches.

Have toiletries readily accessible by setting them in a small basket or tray on the bathroom countertop, so they are easily accessible. Adding a seasonal candle, hand soap, lotion, and shampoo to a guest bathroom goes a long way. Remember to set out clean towels for your guest’s use.

tray of handmade soaps photo
photo by Unsplash

4. Have breakfast basics and snacks easily accessible.

Let your guest know they shall feel comfortable helping themselves when they are hungry if you are not available.

breakfast parfait photo
photo by Unsplash

5. Offer fun entertainment options.

Create a list of possible activities and provide local magazines, brochures, and maps if you are not their tour guide.  Set up a table with a jigsaw puzzle, so your guests are occupied when you are not there to entertain them or for the two of you to work on together.

jigsaw puzzle pieces photo
photo by Unsplash

Do you have guests arriving for the upcoming holidays?  What tips can you share below on how you prepare for your overnight guests?

Do you need help getting your home decluttered and ready for your guests?  Let’s get started!

The 5 Steps to Organizing process as it applies to your Holiday schedule:
#1 Strategize
 List all your holiday activities that you want to do
    ACTIVITY                                                                 WHEN
1.    ______________________________________________
2.    ______________________________________________
3.    ______________________________________________
4.    ______________________________________________
5.    ______________________________________________
List everyone that is on your gift list and your budget for each.
    NAME                           GIFT IDEAS                      BUDGET
1.    ______________________________________________
2.    ______________________________________________
3.    ______________________________________________
4.    ______________________________________________
5.    ______________________________________________   

#2 Prioritize
  • Work from the above list and eliminate the activities you and your family do not wish to continue.
  • Eliminate the activities that are in your “should” category.
  • If it is too difficult to decide, narrow it down to each family member can pick one and only one activity that is most important to them.
  • Create new traditions as your family grows and matures.
  • Make an agreement with those on your previous gift list to eliminate that practice this year or donate your time, money or possessions to a charity.
#3 Localize
  • Write down your new and improved list of activities, traditions and gift list you want to continue this year.
  • This list is what you will now use to create your timeline for the rest of the holiday season.
#4 Containerize
  • Work backwards from your winter holiday to determine what you need to do and when.
  • On your family calendar write down when you are going to do each activity and any other days necessary to complete the activity. 
  • For example, gift making can involve more than one day to buy materials, make gifts, wrap gifts, and mail or deliver gifts.  Or, hosting a holiday open house involves planning the menu, deciding who to invite, buying or making the invitations, shopping for the food, preparing the food, and cleaning the house.
#5 Maximize
  • Can you follow this plan easily?
  • Did this plan help you to enjoy the activities you chose?
  • Did this plan enable you to enlist the help of your family?
  • Will you want to continue this next year?
  • Now, you and your family have an agreed upon holiday plan.  When other activities come up—invitations to parties, school productions, etc.—you can look at your holiday calendar plan and decide if it will fit into your plan.  If not, say NO and be at peace with your decision.  If it will, say YES and enjoy the holidays!
Please share your strategies to you have for avoiding holiday stress.
If your kitchen isn’t functioning at high efficiency it is a recipe for a holiday dinner disaster!  Organize it now to ensure stress-free holiday meal preparations.  Here are few quick tips to get started:
  • Purge your pantry – look at expiration dates and remove all expired food, including spices. For more ideas on how to organize a pantry view my video at
  • Group all of your baking supplies and materials together and create a baking zone in the kitchen. This will make holiday baking a snap!
  • Be realistic about how many coffee mugs, travel cups/mugs, plastic drinking bottles, and plastic containers are needed. Nix the surplus and gain space for what you need to easily access.
  • Relocate infrequently used appliances, kitchen equipment, and entertaining items to a storage room or garage to free up the prime real estate in the kitchen for what is used regularly.
  • Let go of any cookbook, gadget, dishware or ingredient that has not been used in the past six months
  • Toss the recipes that haven’t been used in a year and put favorites in sheet protectors in a binder. 

Still feeling overwhelmed? Call me and I’ll pull together the perfect organizing package to effortlessly get your kitchen functioning at high efficiency.