Keep life on track
Planning ahead is key, expert organizer says
By MOLLY BELMONT, Special to the Times Union
First published: Saturday, April 5, 2008
It's 10:30 p.m. and you're frantically shopping for a last-minute birthday gift at the 24-hour drugstore. Last year, you were in the same situation. Didn't you swear this wouldn't happen again?
We've all been there, assures Neil Bindelglass, a professional organizer. Bindelglass, who owns Let Me Organize You, a home organization and staging business that will soon move to Saratoga Springs, is an expert on planning ahead. "A little advance preparation and having a calendar where you really track these things is the key to never missing anything," Bindelglass said.
Take the time to record birthdays and anniversaries in your calendar at the start of the year. Then, at the beginning of each month, sit down with your calendar and plan for upcoming events. Do you have to go to the mall for a shower gift? Do you need to stop at the spa for a birthday gift certificate? Schedule the shopping trips you need to make so you don't forget.
Create a space in your home where you keep cards and other special occasion supplies like gifts and wrapping paper. This can be a drawer, a cabinet or even a corner of the hall closet. This is your staging space, and it should be well stocked for the barrage of birthdays, anniversaries and last-minute invitations you will face this year. Be sure to replenish your supplies regularly, so that you always have what you need.
Here are Bindelglass's suggestions for what you should keep on hand:
Cards and stationary: Have a selection of greeting cards including birthday cards, apology cards and anniversary cards. Condolence cards are also essential and "monstrously hard to find," Bindelglass said. When he finds a card that has the right sentiment, he clears the rack, he said. You may also want to have some blank notes, stationary and some thank-you cards. Keep the cards bound together with a rubber band, and include stamps in your bundle, so you can get cards in the mail immediately.
Gifts in reserve: Keep an inventory of last-minute presents and hostess gifts. Suggestions include glass vases, coasters, picture frames, and other home decor items. Bindelglass said he is always on the look-out for nice gifts, and if he sees something that's affordable, he goes ahead and grabs it. Bottles of wine are also good choices, he said.
Important contacts: Maintain a list of phone numbers for florists and mail-order gift services. Bindelglass keeps contact information for Teleflora, Harry and David, and Edible Arrangements, but you may have other favorites.
That's a wrap: Finish your presents with wrapping paper, ribbons and a bow or a gift bag. You can buy a wrapping paper organizer to help store your paper, tape, and scissors. Be sure to keep a selection of different designs so you're ready for whatever comes your way.