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    Stop Clutter In It’s Tracks by Ann Marie Guenther

    What do you love about the holidays, I mean, really love?

    What if you could have more of that and less of the other stuff?

    I learned a harsh lesson long ago.

    Protect your family by protecting your time. Do you want to go to a party every weekend, bake dozens of cookies for cookie exchanges and attend multiple other events? Probably not. Let me tell you a story about saying, “no.”

    Over ten years ago, when I had three children under the age of 5, my family had minimized our lives, particularly the toys of our children’s toys. After learning of the hazards of plastics, I rid of all of them and only had wood, metal, or natural toys. I was an aspiring tree hugger, and I wanted better for our babies. That Christmas, I told my mother-in-law that the kids would like Montessori toys, $ for their future cars and education. She laughed. I didn’t know what was so funny!

    Christmas morning grandma smiled as the kiddos opened boxes of bright and colorful plastic “deals” she had picked up. I don’t have much of a poker face so that she may have gotten the gist. The kiddos did say, “thank you,” by-the-way. I’m not a monster!

    The next morning Grandma came over to watch the older kiddos while I ran an errand. Just as she arrived, she may have noticed that my trunk was full of everything she bought for my children. “What are you doing? “Returning a few items so I can buy the kiddos some things they need.” So I shut my trunk and left. I’m not a bit@#, but “no” means “no!”

    Do you know what happened for every other birthday and Christmas from there on out? She purchased what we needed four our children often get money which is allowing them to go to buy new sports gear, attend events, and helping to fund their automobile accounts! Tough love works. Be strict and say, “NO!” By-the-way, my parents never had a problem with out gift ideas for their grandbabies.

    Here are some ideas for consumables, experiences, and things to help you gift-give for all ages without creating clutter:

    Consumables: Coffee beans, homemade hot cocoa mix, homemade cookie mix, DIY lotion, sugar scrub


    Ice Cream: Take a friend to the ice-cream store and spend an hour hanging out!

    Hike: Take your friend, big or little on a hike for an afternoon, pack a lunch and enjoy the company and scenery!

    Ice Skating: You can take anyone (except maybe great-grandma) to the rink. Grab some cocoa, and you are golden!

    Movies: Take anyone to a film of their choice; let them pick out their favorite snacks!

    Comedy or Improv: There are lots of local improv and comedy shows. Laugh away!

    Laser Tag, Mini Golf or Airsoft: Are you ready for some competition? These are all fun, depending on how much time you have.

    Camping: Get your marshmallows and matches out! Enjoy the great outdoors!

    On the more $$$ side:

    Massage, dinner, pizza making class, skydiving, concert tickets, theme park passes, tickets to a sporting event.

    Things: Consider asking the receiver what he or she needs, then get it! How simple is that?

    Gift giving is easier than you think and can be enjoyable for all parties, plus buying events creates less clutter, less cleaning while giving SO much more! Be a game-changer! (It took five years for the adults in my hubby’s family to stop buying gifts (unneeded junk) because I refused! Tough love works, LOL…eventually!

    That Girl Organizes helps crazed Moms donate and organize according to learning style, so you have everything at your fingertips by helping you donate items you Do NOT love, need or use!

    Use code #Turkeyslivehere for $50 off. Call 630.672.3637 to get on the schedule. Don’t forget that your spare bedroom may need a touch up before your relatives use it!

    • Ann Marie Guenther, owner of That Girl Organizes is known as Naperville’s most organized woman and the face of Facebook! Ann Marie declares that clutter is unproductive and sucks the money out of your bank account as well as the time out of your day. That Girl Organizes keeps Chicagoland homes and businesses productive and peaceful. As a former teacher, she developed her own exclusive system to teach people how to organize according to their individual learning style. This system keeps their homes productive and organized, saving time and money. In addition to her organizing business, Ann Marie now trains other organizers on how to grow their businesses when she isn’t speaking at events, on podcasts, radio shows or writing articles. Look for her first book in 2019!

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