The holiday season is here, the question of what gifts would be most meaningful looms large. We usually think in terms of “things” when focusing on the perfect present. Yet more “things,” added to the other things that overflow from drawers and shelves, may not always be the best choices.

Take a few minutes to check over that list you’ve been putting together. Look at each person and think of something meaningful on a long-term basis for that person. What are the issues they struggle with each day, both at work and at home?

One common issue that so many people strive for is to become more organized. More organization enables people to focus on what matters most, those things they list as values and as long-term goals.

As you’re determining the optimal purchase, consider giving something besides a material item that may have to be learned or may end up as more clutter.

• Give your time. If you know of someone who could use help, and if you are capable of being an organizing assistant, book an appointment with that person. Your gift then becomes, for instance, a four-hour time block exclusively devoted to organizing a specific area together. The catch here is that it has to be scheduled. Otherwise, if you just say, “I’m going to help you get organized when we have time,” it won’t happen. In the end you haven’t given any gift.

• Ask for help. If you are the one who wants help getting organized, ask for coupons from your children for assistance, or a time block from your spouse to work on the spare room together. This eliminates one of the obstacles to getting organized, which is often that it’s not always fun to do. Having an assistant to share in the work and to keep you focused makes a difference and adds an element of fun.

• Barter for or hire assistance. If organizing simply is not your strength and you’re not comfortable helping someone else, work it out with another person. You can barter with a friend who does have organizing strengths, or you can simply purchase a gift certificate for a session with a professional organizer.

Check that list again. What gifts would be truly meaningful, helping you and those you love to gain more personal hours, or to focus more on meaningful goals?

In this society where we often can’t even fit all of our material possessions into our homes and offices, we may not need more “things.” Becoming more organized can eliminate storage costs, late payment fees, missed deadlines, family conflict, and stress-related problems — a priceless gift.


Ahwatukee Foothills resident Denise Landers is the author of “Destination: Organization, A Week by Week Journey.” She helps businesses and individuals accomplish more with productive office systems. Reach her at (602) 412-3876 or go to

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