Hosting For The Holidays? Here’s Some Tips To Get Ready

Hosting For The Holidays? Here’s Some Tips To Get Ready

Hosting for the holidays can be both fun and challenging. If you’re hosting a holiday dinner, there’s a lot to do. Being organized will help you alleviate some of the stress associated with being the “Hostess with the Mostest”.

Here are some tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable holiday gathering:




Plan Ahead:

  • Start planning well in advance to avoid last-minute stress.
  • Create a checklist of tasks.
  • Make sure to create a timeline to get it all done.

Delegate Tasks:

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
  • Delegate specific tasks to willing friends or family members.
  • Potluck-style gatherings can also ease the burden on the host by sharing the workload.
  • At the very least, ask your guests to contribute by bringing a side dish or dessert.

Create a Guest List:

  • Determine the number of guests you can comfortably accommodate.
  • Send out invitations early and request RSVPs so that you can plan accordingly.

 Plan The Menu:

  • Make a list of anything you need from the store(s).
  • Plan a well-balanced and diverse menu to accommodate different preferences.
  • Check with guests so that you can accommodate any dietary restrictions or allergies.
  • Label dishes with common allergens to help guests make informed choices.
  • Consider preparing some dishes in advance to reduce stress on the-day-of.
  • Have a variety of drinks available, including non-alcoholic options.

 Create A Festive Atmosphere:

  • Decorate with seasonal touches to create a warm and inviting ambiance.
  • Consider background music or holiday playlists to enhance the mood.

 Space and Seating:

  • Arrange seating to encourage conversation and mingling.
  • Make sure there is sufficient seating options.
  • Ensure there’s enough space for guests to move around comfortably and safely.


  • Plan some activities or games to keep guests entertained and involved.
  • For Thanksgiving go around the table/room and ask your guests what they’re thankful for.
  • For Hanukkah or Christmas host a gift giving exchange (ie, Secret Santa).

 Safety Precautions:

  • If guests will be drinking, make sure they arrange for alternative transportation or accommodations.
  • Be mindful of any potential hazards, especially if there are children or elderly guests.


  • Ensure your home is comfortably heated or cooled.
  • Ask your guests if there is anything they need.
  • Focus on creating a welcoming and enjoyable experience. 

 Technology Considerations:

  • Make sure your Wi-Fi password is available to guests.
  • Have an accessible charging station for phones and devices.


  • Consider enlisting or hiring help. It will be well worth it so that you can enjoy the evening and your guests. 

 The holidays are about spending time with loved ones. So, relax, enjoy and spend quality time with your loved ones during the holiday season!

 If you or anyone you know needs help with Organizing, Downsizing, Relocations, Estate Sales or Clearing a Property, let them know that we’d love to be of service!

Top 15 Tips to Get Ready for Upcoming Travel




I just got back from an amazing trip over seas and thought I’d write about how being prepared and organized helped alleviate the stress associated with getting out-of-town.

I’ve written about organizing and getting prepared for travel before and those blogs are on my website. However, this time I’d like to address the things to do before you leave to alleviate some of the stress associated with getting away.












The following 15 tips create a great checklist to prepare for an upcoming trip:

  1. Make sure you have your REAL California ID if traveling nationally. If you want to board domestic flights beginning May 7, 2025 you must have a REAL ID or another acceptable form of identification.
  2. Make sure your passport is up to date. More importantly, if your passport is going to expire within 6 months of your travel dates, you do need to get it updated. This can take some time so don’t wait!
  3. A few days before you leave, call your credit card company to let them know you’re traveling so that they allow your transactions to go through without a problem.
  4. Call your mobile company to find out what options are available to save on long distance calls, texting, etc.
  5. Make sure your neighbors know that you’re going to be away so they can alert you or the authorities if necessary. Perhaps you can ask them to keep an eye on things for you.
  6. Notify your alarm company and consider having more security while you’re gone.
  7. Put timers around the house so the lights will go on and off at different times in different rooms to give the looked of a “lived in” house.
  8. Have the Post Office put your mail on hold until you return.
  9. Activate your RING camera so that you can answer the door and keep an eye on who is coming and going.
  10. If you’re going for a long period of time, consider having someone you trust stay in the house to water the plants, feed your pets, bring in the mail, etc.
  11. Take photos of your drivers’ license and passport and keep them on your phone.  I also suggest taking photos and leaving color copies of both with a friend or family member not traveling with you.
  12. Give a friend or family number your itinerary so someone knows where you’re going and when. Make sure to let them know of any changes in your itinerary.
  13. If you’re driving, make sure your car has been serviced. Check all fluids and brakes so that you can feel safe on the road.
  14. If you’re flying, check in with the airlines 24 hours in advance to make sure your flight is on schedule, check in, get your boarding passes to avoid any surprises when you get to the airport.
  15. If you’re checking luggage at the airport, make sure that your luggage is going where you are.  CHECK the ticket that they attach to your luggage and make sure it says the name of the airport that will be your final destination. TRUST ME! If you do nothing else, heed this advice. This can make the difference as to whether you will ever see your luggage again. It happened to me and it’s one mistake I’ll never make again.

Although the goal of a vacation is to have fun and relax, getting ready to go away can be stressful. Being prepared as best you can will go a long way in making sure that things go smoothly.

If you or anyone you know needs help with Organizing, Downsizing, Relocations, Estate Sales or Estate Clearing, please give us a call at #310-560-5060.  We’d love to be of service!

Clutter vs Collection: What’s the Difference

Clutter and a collection are two different concepts that refer to the arrangement and organization, or lack thereof, of items. Here are some key differences between them: Clutter is disorderly and can negatively affect the aesthetics and functionality of a space, while a Collection is purposeful, organized and adds value or significance to a space.

Clutter refers to a disorganized and messy accumulation of various items or objects in a space. It’s often characterized by an excessive amount of things that are not properly organized or have no clear purpose. Clutter can make a space feel chaotic, look untidy and make it difficult to navigate. It might include items that are not used, broken, simply not well-maintained or have no clear purpose. Clutter can also have a negative impact on mental well-being and productivity as it can create a sense of unease, lead to a visual sense of overwhelm and distract from the tasks at hand. It can hinder productivity, increase stress and make it challenging to find things when needed.

Collections, on the other hand, refer to a purposefully curated group of items that are intentionally gathered together and organized based on a common theme, interest or value. Collections are often displayed in a way that showcases the items’ value or significance or beauty. Collections can be based on various themes including art, books, stamps, coins, memorabilia or any other items that hold personal or cultural value to the collector. Collections are organized with care and can bring a sense of joy, pride and satisfaction to the collector. They are often displayed and maintained in an organized manner to highlight the uniqueness and significance of each item within the collection.

Sometimes, however, collections can turn into clutter if or when they get out-of-control.  Remember that one of the significant differences is not the quantity but, rather, how it is kept and organized.   If you have a collection, by all means display it so that you can enjoy it.  But, make sure that your collection has a space that is conducive to the quantity of that collection to avoid the appearance of clutter.

If you don’t have room for your collection and it winds up in boxes or in the garage it is possible that something you once collected is no longer of interest to you.  If you are not displaying your collection, it is no longer providing the intended joy, pride and satisfaction. If that is the case, let it go. Consider selling or donating the collection.

In summary, clutter represents a messy and unorganized accumulation of items that may lack purpose, while a collection is a purposefully curated and organized grouping of items that share a common theme or interest. The key distinction lies in the intention, organization, and value attributed to the objects within the space.

Sometimes, It’s Not All About You

As a Professional Organizer I often come across situations that are just too overwhelming for people to undertake. Maybe it’s the garage. Maybe it’s the boxes or bins of memorabilia that you saved of your child’s artwork throughout the years. Maybe it’s just all the stuff you’ve accumulated over time.
Things have gotten out-of-control and it’s just too overwhelming. I get it! Sometimes, it’s all too much. The thing is, the stuff is not going away by itself. Someone has to do something about it or it will continue to grow and get out-of-hand or, at the very least, stay the same, which is still too much.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve met with clients who have been unwilling or unable to downsize and get things under control, only to leave it all behind for their loved ones to deal with. I have even had clients tell me straight out, “Let my kids deal with it when I’m gone”.
All I can say is, while that is an option, it’s really not the best one. It’s best to make decisions about your stuff while you still can. Furthermore, it’s not fair to leave all of it for someone else to deal with. Especially those that you love.
It is so important for you to make sure that you’re not leaving your children or loved ones with a ton of stuff to go through when your time on earth is through.  It’s difficult enough for them having to deal with the loss. Imagine how difficult it would be for them to now have to figure out what to do with all the stuff you left behind. Moreover, it is time consuming and quite expensive.
As I’ve said so many times in my newsletters (FYI, if you’re new to my email list head on over to my blog which includes all newsletters dating back to 2010 organizing and downsizing is a process and should be done consistently on a daily, if not regular basis.
So, here’s some suggestions to get a jump on things so that you don’t leave this all behind for your loved ones to deal with:
1.     Paperwork: Go through and get rid of old files, documents, recipes, newspaper clippings from long ago. You can do this a little at a time so that it’s not overwhelming.  If you don’t know what to keep, what to toss or what to shred, check with your CPA. If you don’t want to do this, call me. We’d love to help.
2.     Parents: When your children visit, make some time to go through the memorabilia you’ve been saving for them. Let them decide what they want and toss the rest. You might even consider making them a lovely book of the artwork and give it to them as a gift. Call me for the name of the company that provides this service.
3.     Everyone: Go through your home, inside and outside, and get rid of anything that is ripped, soiled, stained, missing a piece, no longer useful or broken. It’s of no use any longer, it’s just taking up space.
4.     Ladies: Go through your make-up and toss the old stuff. Old expired make-up is not good for you anyway.
5.     Gentleman: Toss the deflated balls, the rusty old tools and the athletic equipment you can’t or don’t use anymore.
6.     Working people: Figure out which electronic devices are no longer in working order. Gather those old computer towers that have important information on them but you can no longer access. Contact your IT service or bring them to the Geek Squad to retrieve the important info and toss the old equipment. They’re taking up valuable real estate in your office.
7.     Homeowners: Oh yeah, let’s not forget the garage. If you’re not parking your car in there, it’s time to tackle this area.  Think about it…you’re paying thousands and thousands for the car and parking it on the street and protecting the “stuff” in your garage instead.  How does that make sense?
8.     Storage: Ugh. It’s just not worth it. It costs a fortune and, you probably can’t access what you need anyway.  Unless you’re storing things temporarily due to a move or remodel, you need to re-evaluate the storage unit. If it doesn’t fit in your home, perhaps you don’t need it. Your call but definitely something to think about.
9.     Retired folks: Do you really need all of those office supplies that you used to use?  Why not give them to those that can use them? Donate to a school, church, synagogue, Good Samaritans, etc.  It will make you feel good to give something to someone in need.
10.   All together now: We are all guilty of having expired medications and expired food. Go through and discard old lotions/potions and healthcare items.  Take time to go through your pantry and freezer and get rid of the food with freezer burn and the cans that are about to explode. Time to discard the old and free up some space.
Again, none of this has to be done in one day BUT, start somewhere. Pick a corner and start making decisions. Or, start with a category…tackle the gardening supplies or the party supplies you haven’t touched in years.  Or, once again, call us. It’s what we do!
I get that none of this is fun BUT I promise you will feel a lot better when you do any one of the above. It just feels better. So, make some time this summer to get some STUFF done.  Do if for the people you love so that they won’t have to!
If you or anyone you know needs help with Organizing, Downsizing, Relocations, Estate Sales or Clearing a Property, let them know that we’d love to be of service!

Preparation For Students Going To College For The First Time

Preparing a student for their first time going to college can greatly enhance their chances of success. However, the transition to college can be challenging. With proper preparation and support, first-time students can thrive and make the most of their college experience.

Supporting their academic, emotional, financial and practical needs will help them feel prepared and confident as they embark on their college journey. Here are some important steps to help students get ready for college:

1. Understand admission requirements: Make sure students are aware of the admission requirements for their chosen colleges, including GPA, standardized test scores (such as SAT or ACT), and any additional application materials. Help them create a timeline to stay organized and meet all deadlines.

2. Campus resources: Students should familiarize themselves with the various resources available on campus. These may include academic advising, counseling services, libraries, writing centers and career development centers. Knowing where to find support will greatly benefit their college experience.

3. Housing arrangements: Discuss on-campus housing options, explore the application process and assist the student in submitting their housing application.

4. Packing: Create a checklist of essential items they’ll need for their dorm or apartment, such as bedding, kitchen supplies, school supplies and personal items.

5. Financial planning: College can be expensive, so it’s crucial for students and their family to discuss financial planning. It’s important to explore financial aid options, including scholarships, grants and loans. Encourage students to apply for relevant scholarships to help alleviate the financial burden.

6. Study habits: College coursework can be demanding. It’s important for students to develop good and effective study habits. Taking thorough notes and seeking help when and if needed to maintain a consistent study schedule, will be extremely helpful.

7. Communication skills: Strong communication skills are essential in college and beyond. Students will need to practice effective verbal and written communication, as they will need to interact with professors, classmates and potential employers. Encourage them to join clubs or organizations that promote public speaking and writing skills.

8. Independence: College offers newfound independence. As such, students will need to navigate their academic and personal lives. They will need to take responsibility for their own actions, manage their schedules and know if/when to seek help from professors or campus resources when needed. Balancing academics and social life and making responsible decisions is essential. Encourage the student to attend orientation programs, connect with potential roommates or classmates, and join student organizations to build a support network.

9. Financial management: Educate the student on budgeting, banking and financial responsibility, including managing expenses, creating a savings plan and understanding credit cards. 

10. Critical thinking and problem-solving: College coursework often requires critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. Encourage students to engage in activities that enhance these skills, such debates or analytical writing exercises and to take challenging courses that promote critical thinking.

11. Diverse environment: College campuses are diverse, with students from various backgrounds. Students should be open-minded and respectful of others’ perspectives and cultures. Understanding the importance of diversity and how it enriches the college experience, is so important.

12. Mental and physical health: College life can be stressful, so emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Encourage students to prioritize self-care, stress management, engage in regular physical activity, seek counseling services if needed and develop healthy coping mechanisms for stress.

13. Medical preparations: Makes sure that the student has completed all required medical forms, vaccinations or health screenings. Help them understand their health insurance coverage and locate healthcare services on or near campus.

NOTE:   Please make sure that they execute a Health Care Directive prior to leaving for college. Once your child is 18 years old, they are considered to be an adult and, if something were to happen, you will not be able to make a critical decision on their behalf.

If you or anyone you know needs help with Organizing, Downsizing, Relocations, Estate Sales or Clearing a Property, let them know that we’d love to be of service!

All About Car Organizing. Yes! It’s a Thing

Car organizing refers to the process of arranging and managing items and belongings inside a car to optimize space, enhance efficiency and maintain cleanliness.

Car organization can help you reduce clutter, keep essential items easily accessible and minimize the risk of an accident.

Here are some tips for organizing your car so that you’ll always know where to find things when you need them.

  1. Remove unnecessary items: Start by de-cluttering your car and remove any items that you don’t need. Keep a small trash container or bag inside the car to collect any waste. Empty it regularly to maintain cleanliness.
  2. Utilize storage solutions: Invest in car organizers such as seat-back organizers, console organizers and trunk organizers to store your belongings. These organizers typically have multiple compartments and pockets to hold various items.
  3. Designated spots: Assign specific areas for different types of items. For example, use the cup holder for your drinks, a center console for small essentials and the glove compartment for important documents.
  4. Storage compartments: Most cars have storage compartments like glove boxes, door pockets and under-seat storage. Use these spaces to store items such as car manuals, registration documents, tissues and/or an umbrella.
  5. Use cargo nets or bins: Consider using cargo nets and/or bins in the trunk area to secure loose items and prevent them from rolling around. This is especially useful for groceries or smaller items that can easily shift.
  6. Maintenance: Make it a habit to regularly organize your car. Take a few minutes each week to remove any trash or other items that don’t need to remain in the car and reorganize as needed. By removing trash you prevent dirt and debris from accumulating. This helps preserve the interior materials, prevents unpleasant odors and retain the value of your car.

Organizing your car offers several benefits as well. Here are just a few:

  1. Efficiency: An organized car allows you to locate and access items quickly and easily. When you know where things are, you can find what you need without wasting time searching. This efficiency can be especially important when you’re on the road and need to retrieve items safely while driving.
  2. Safety: A clutter-free car minimizes the risk of accidents caused by objects rolling around and becoming potential hazards while driving. Loose items can shift and distract you or interfere with the operation of pedals or controls.
  3. Preparedness: Having an organized car allows you to be prepared for various situations. Essential items such as first-aid kits, emergency supplies and roadside assistance tools will be easily accessible. This can be crucial during unexpected events like breakdowns, accidents or adverse weather conditions.You can purchase a pre-made kit or create your own but do make sure to have one in the car!
  4. Image and Professionalism: If you use your car for business purposes or frequently have passengers, maintaining an organized car creates a positive impression. A clean and well-organized vehicle conveys professionalism, attention to detail and care for your passengers’ comfort.
  5. Resale Value: An organized and well-maintained car generally has a higher resale value. When it comes time to sell or trade in your vehicle, potential buyers or dealerships appreciate a clean and organized interior, which can positively influence the valuation of your car.

Overall, organizing your car enhances convenience, safety and comfort, while also reflecting positively on your image and potentially increasing its value.

Remember, the key is to find organizing solutions that work best for your specific car and personal needs. Experiment with different storage options and adapt them as necessary to maintain a clean and organized vehicle.

If you or anyone you know needs help with Organizing, Downsizing, Relocations, Estate Sales or Clearing a Property, let them know that we’d love to be of service!