Unclutterer’s 2017 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Consumables

A consumable item — selected with care for the recipient’s tastes, dietary restrictions, scent sensitivity, and other needs and preferences — can be a lovely gift that doesn’t require any long-term storage. The following are just a few such items.

Edible delights

Wine, chocolate, cheese, and similar items can always be good gifts, if well chosen. For example, you would want to know if the person you’re getting chocolates for prefers dark chocolate or milk chocolate.

This year I’d like to suggest wines from Sonoma or Napa counties to support the communities ravaged by wildfires in October. Sparkling wines always seem festive, so a few choices might be Mumm’s Napa brut rose sparkling wine or the J Cuvee sparkling wine from the Russian River Valley in Sonoma.

The possibilities within this category are enormous, though. A few examples:

Personal care products

Some personal care products, such as shampoo, seem hard to buy for someone else — people tend to have favorite brands that work for them. But one fun item for those who use bar soaps could be one of the periodic table soaps. If you want something more traditional, you might consider the soaps from Nesti Dante, including its cypress soap.

And a nice lip balm might be a fine stocking stuffer. Some specific products that I’ve seen people rave about are the Tokyo Milk dark salted caramel lip elixer, the Dr. Hauschka Lip Care Stick, Palmer’s cocoa butter swivel stick, and Crazy Rumors lip balms in a variety of flavors such as spiced chai and orange bergamot.

One more option would be Girl Scout lip smackers in all the flavors you’d expect, including thin mint.

Art supplies

This category is filled with cool choices for kids of all ages — and adults, too. Some that caught my eye are the Color Splash liquid watercolor paints, the Rainy Dayz gel crayons, and the Jolly colored pencils. Copic markers come in various sizes to fit various budgets: six pieces (Ciao or sketch sets), 36 pieces, etc. For serious artists, the Daniel Smith watercolors look intriguing — the only problem would be choosing from the many colors.

And then there’s washi tape, available in value packs with lots of designs — or in smaller, more focused collections. There are also some pretty spectacular individual rolls.

Feel welcome to explore our previous Gift Giving Guides for even more ideas: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Some organizing products in development

From time to time we see organizing products in development on crowd-funding sites. Here are three interesting ones that might be of benefit to our readers.

Mac Caddy

The Mac Caddy is a 16-inch storage container that hangs on top of an iMac. Although it is designed for an iMac, I believe it would also hang on the back of the extra monitor I have for my laptop. I like the design because it gets everything off the desk and out of the way. It’s ideal for things you need during the day, but don’t need frequently. I especially like the slots in the sides so you can store items that are charging such as your phone or an extra battery pack.

Tuck Personal Organizer

The Tuck Personal Organizer is a desktop and/or wall organizer that holds items that you tuck into it. It would be ideal for pens, pencils on a desk, holding cosmetics brushes in the bathroom, or keys, sunglasses, and ID cards by the front door. The video shows that it will hold items even if turned upside-down. This would be handy for me as I tend to be rather clumsy.

Ninja Box Custom Foam Organizing System

The Ninja Box foam system allows people to create a custom protective foam organizer in their own toolbox or storage bin. It requires a bit of work for the user to create the foam mold. However, if I owned expensive, delicate equipment, I would certainly put in the effort to protect it. Ninja Box uses high strength, resilient automotive-grade foam and a high stretch film to protect, secure, and display what matters to you.

Unitasker Wednesday: Everyday Objects

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

Flowers in a can. Simplistic and minimalistic — something that many of us here at Unclutterer appreciate.

You too can get this contemporary look for your home with items from the Everyday Objects collection from Tiffany & Co. For a mere $1500, this sterling silver coffee can (coffee not included) can display the daisies you hand-picked while you were skipping through an open field in joyful bliss. You could spend about $30 to buy a coffee can (coffee included) and some silver spray paint but it won’t be exactly the same.

If the coffee can doesn’t interest you, placing a sterling silver crazy straw into a bone china paper cup would add a touch of elegance and whimsy to your kitchen for only $345. You just wouldn’t get that same feeling from the $22 you pay for the stainless steel straws (that you can actually use), stuck into robin’s egg blue paper cups.

So, if you’re looking for the ultimate gift to give someone who already has a lot of everyday objects, check out Tiffany & Co. Everyday Objects collection which transforms utilitarian items into handcrafted works of art while simultaneously draining your wallet.


Thanks to Unclutterer’s Editor-at-Large, Erin Doland for this wonderful unitasker suggestion.

Unclutterer’s 2017 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Stocking stuffers

For me, the best part of giving at the holiday season is stuffing a stocking with small, unexpected, useful items. The kind that surprise and delight the recipient. If you feel the same way, check out our suggestions for those on your list who love to be organized.

A good pocket knife

You cannot go wrong with a good pocket knife. They are immensely useful, convenient, and inexpensive. You can go crazy pouring over every option, but I rely on the Swiss Classic SD as my main carry. I’ve got two, in fact: one on my set of car keys and other on my wife’s. I’ve used mine to open packages, cut rope and string, remove tags from clothing (It easily slices through those annoy plastic rings!), tighten/loosen screws, and open letters.

If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, I recommend the Leatherman Wave, as it has a great mix of tools, is solidly built, and has a nice ergonomic design.

A Grid-It organizer

The Grid-It’s tagline of “the ultimate organizer” may be hyperbole, but not by much. This unassuming little tool comes in several sizes and can hold everything from business cards to cellphones, cables, pens, Altoids tins, and more. It’s secure and reliable. Keep it in a bag, use it for travel, or organize a junk drawer once and for all. They are also great for students who have limited storage space in dorm rooms.

IKEA cable management set

This cable management set from IKEA made my heart skip a beat. Get those cables under control and out of the way. Even if the people on your list have modest cable organization needs, they will appreciate getting them neatly arranged.

A portable scanner

A scanner can be such a boon to organization. Whether the goal is to go paperless or get documents quickly organized in the cloud, a scanner will get the job done. Since we’re discussing stocking stuffers here, we recommend the Doxie Go SE. It’s portable, wireless, and connects to cloud services like Dropbox, Evernote, and Apple’s iCloud. You can expand its memory with an SD card and when connected to Wi-Fi, it can even scan without a computer!

Instant Bag Hanger

The Instant Bag Hanger is a little metal ring which, when opened, lets you hang nearly any bag that weights up to 30 pounds from a counter top, table, cubicle, bathroom door, stroller handles etc. If you’ve ever had that moment of “What do I do with my bag?”, here is the answer. Plus, there is no need to search for it when you need it: simply clip it to the exterior of the bag for easy retrieval. This is one of those gifts that I end up buying twice: once for my recipient, and again for me.

Amazon home cleaning services

You might not know this, but Amazon can hook you up with a house cleaner. Depending on where you live, you may have access to Amazon Home Services (click to confirm availability in your area). Simply provide some information like the size of your house, the type of cleaning you’d like completed, and the number of worker hours you expect. It could be quite nice to receive a post-holiday clean up.

Personal library kit

Finally, here is one for anyone who likes to loan novels, cookbooks or even tabletop games. The Personal Library Kit uses old-fashioned library lending techniques for an organized bit of nostalgic fun. Lend your items with confidence that they will be returned.

Feel welcome to explore our previous Gift Giving Guides for even more ideas: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Unclutterer’s 2017 Holiday Gift Giving Guide: Experience gifts

Today begins our annual Holiday Gift Giving Guide. Between now and November 27, we will share numerous articles on uncluttered giving that can be used this season. Most of these ideas also will apply to gift giving throughout the year, irrespective of the occasion.

Every year, experience gifts are some of our most popular suggestions as they don’t take up space, give the gift-recipient something he or she likely would never do for themselves, and can often be accompanied by something like a book or a post-experience photo album to keep the gift in mind forever.

There are some things to consider, however, before giving an experience gift.

Will your gift be used?

Our friends and family know that we love to travel and love to dine out, so we have often received experience gifts for nights in a hotel, or a romantic dinner out. Several times, however, the gift certificate has almost expired for two reasons:

  • A hotel means leaving the city, which requires organizing a weekend (or a weekday as some gift packs don’t accept weekend reservations – it’s a good idea to check).
  • Leaving the city means spending more money in travel costs and unless the destination is a “wow!” for the gift-receiver, that money spent may feel like an obligation.

Are the choices interesting?

Before you give an experience gift, check out the options of where it can be redeemed. A night in a hotel might sound good, but what if the practical options only include hotels that no one would actually want stay at?

If your experience gift is a membership to a museum or cultural venue, really consider how likely that membership is going to be used. I love museums, but not so much that I would visit the local one more than once or twice a year.

Is the experience something the recipient would actually do?

On another note, the experience gift should be something that the recipient would actually follow through on. Be careful with people who talk a lot. For example, I’ve always been curious about a tranquility tank session, but honestly, I doubt I will ever follow through on that.

Taking all of the above into consideration, here are some ideas that might just be the perfect uncluttered gift for those you love.

A day at the spa: a massage or beauty treatment is something that few people buy for themselves, but almost everyone loves.

A night out: most dinner and a movie (plus an offer of babysitting if the gift-receiver has children).

Adventure gifts: if you choose something like a hot air balloon ride or a skydiving trip, don’t forget to make sure that no one suffers from vertigo.

A course: an amateur chef might love a cooking course, someone who loves hugs might appreciate a massage course, or someone who loves taking pictures might get a lot out of a photography course. Again, however, make sure that the person enjoys taking courses, or it may be a gift that never gets redeemed.

Travel gifts: many of this type of experience gifts require getting to and from the location, but if the person is a dedicated traveller, it might be the perfect complement to an already planned trip.

Feel welcome to explore our previous Gift Giving Guides for even more ideas: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Uncluttering and supporting veterans

A few years ago, we talked about organizing and donating military memorabilia. This year, in honour of Remembrance Day, we’d like to discuss a few other ways you can unclutter and support the proud veterans that have served their country.

Cell Phones for Soldiers accepts ALL makes, models, and conditions of cell phones and smart phones including new, used, broken, or cracked.

You can donate an RV, boat, motorcycle, or other vehicle to Wounded Warriors Canada. The vehicle will either be recycled or sold at auction depending on its condition and location. The funds go directly to Wounded Warriors Canada and the donor is provided a tax receipt. In the U.S., Vehicles for Veterans offers a similar program.

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) will pick up used clothes and household goods at your convenience and use them to support veterans’ programs. Simply visit their website to schedule a pick-up.

Unclutter all those hotel and travel points you collected and will likely never use before they expire. Donate the points to support veterans! In the United States, Fisher House Hero Miles Program provides round-trip airline tickets to service members (and their families) who are undergoing treatment at a military or VA medical center. They also accept points from various hotel chains. In Canada, the Veterans Transition Network can use your Aeroplan miles help veterans in remote areas get to the services they need.

We have recently learned that the U.S. Military Combat Camera History & Stories Museum is in the process of collecting donations of items such as paintings, drawings, film and still cameras, and video cameras from combat camera soldiers of the United States and NATO countries. If you have these items to unclutter, please connect with them.

If you’re busy uncluttering this weekend, please take a silent two minute break and remember those who served. Je me souviens.

Tools to make organizing a little bit easier

All sorts of physical challenges can make organizing more difficult. Some of the more common challenges are being on the shorter side (like me, at 5 foot 2 inches) and being unable to bend and get down on the floor easily, often as someone ages or has to deal with post-surgical restrictions. Other common issues include declining eyesight and manual dexterity as we get older.

The following are some tools that can help make organizing easier. This is far from a comprehensive list — there are many tools to help people with a wide range of physical limitations. These are unspecialized tools that might help with some of the most common concerns.

Step stools

For people around my height, a step stool is a crucial tool for reaching things on the top shelves of closets, garages, etc. The E-Z Foldz step stool and others that fold take very little storage space. If saving space isn’t an issue, the Stand ‘N Store step stool from Flambeau might be of interest. And for those who feel unsteady getting up or down, there are step stools with handles. Another advantage, for users with trouble bending: These stools can be moved from place to place using the handle.

Reacher grabbers

These simple tools have numerous uses. For example, they can allow you to take something fairly lightweight (boxes of tea, for example) off a top shelf and put it back without using a step stool. You can use one to clean up a cluttered floor, one thing at a time, without sitting on the floor or doing a lot of bending. You can avoid clutter build-up (and misplaced items) by picking up things that are dropped and might otherwise be hard to reach.

The right label makers

Label makers can be useful tools, but some people will find the small keys on most of them too difficult to use due to dexterity or vision issues (or simply because some of the required key combinations are confusing). An alternative might be the P-Touch Cube, which works in combination with Brother’s free app running on a smart phone. With this set-up, a person can use the dictation function to create the text. And even those not using dictation say it’s easier to create labels using the app compared to typing them on a label-maker keyboard. I haven’t tried this label maker myself, but some other professional organizers have used it and are fans.

Roll-out kitchen shelves

Converting the shelves in kitchen base cabinets to roll-out shelving makes access much easier, especially for things in the back. Companies such as ShelfGenie can make that conversion.

But you can also mount pull-out organizers on your existing shelves. This approach won’t make quite as good use of the space, but it’s almost certainly less expensive. Companies such as Rev-a-Shelf and simplehuman have pull-out organizers for various cabinet sizes.

Organizing and storing cords and cables

Jeri recently wrote about how cords and cables can be a source of clutter. Reader Juli commented and asked how best to label and store useful cords.

There are many different answers to that and it really depends on what types of cords you have, how you use them, and available storage space.

A small carrying case works well for organizing smaller cords (like those for laptops and smart phones), and fits nicely in a desk drawer. It’s also easy to pull out and take with you when you travel, even if the only travelling you do is to the local coffee shop.

Reader Lucie suggested folding or rolling cords and placing them in cardboard tubes from toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls if the cords are longer. This is a great option for extension cords and larger cables that connect audio-visual equipment.

Johncanon commented that he stores cables on a rotating necktie organizer (probably similar to this one) that attaches under a closet shelf. He bent each of the 12 hooks upward to hold more cables so that in one square foot in a closet, he can store and quickly find over 100 cables. An under-shelf mug rack would also hold quite a few cables as would this sturdy necktie holder designed to hang on a closet rod.

For those that want to wrap or roll their cords, Velcro-type hook and loop tape straps are ideal for tying them up. These are also useful for keeping the cords for small appliances and power tools from getting tangled in drawers and toolboxes.

Reader Alex Q places cables in appropriately sized Ziploc bags. He labels each bag near the top so when the bags are placed in a box, it is almost like a filing cabinet — easy to flick through the sealed bags and to find the one needed.

For frequently used, long extension cords, a storage reel is ideal. It is easy to wind and unwind the cord whenever you need to use it. H-frame reels are great for strings of holiday lights.

There are several different options for labelling cords and cables. Reader Lucie suggested using the plastic tabs from bread bags or an address label folded over the cord and stuck to itself.

The Cord ID Pro system allows you to label and colour code your cables to match with your audio/visual equipment making it easy to set up your system. The Cord ID Pro parts can be reused if you wish. Another option is to use self-locking cable ties with built in label. They attach securely to the cables and are one-use only — ideal if you’re worried about losing a label.

Thanks for your comment Juli. We hope that this post gives you the information you’re looking for.

Organizing bathroom towels

The bathroom is one of the hardest-working rooms in your home, and that’s why proper organization is crucial. I’ll leave the medicine cabinet, cleaning supplies, etc. for another time. In this article, I want to look at towels.

In my house, we have three types of towels:

  • Bath towels
  • Hand towels
  • Beach towels

What to buy

When purchasing towels — and this may sound counter-intuitive — ignore your experience with in-store softness. Wise manufacturers add softeners to their products for a great, but temporary, feel. Instead, check the label for 100% water-loving combed cotton. The combing process removes the shorter strands, resulting in a towel of longer fibers that will absorb lots of water and resist pilling.

Give your potential purchase a good visual inspection, too. If you can see the towel’s surface through the fibers, put it back and move on. You’re looking for a dense collection of fibers. Also, pick it up. A great towel will feel heavier than it looks. Finally, look for towels with double stitching on the edges. This will reduce fraying and help ensure a long life.

Most of this applies to buying beach towels, with two exceptions. First, look for selvage edging instead of double stitching. Selvage resists unraveling, which is important as beach towels are subjected to rougher treatment than those used in the bathroom. Also, look for a yarn-dyed pattern, meaning each individual loop is dyed through. It will be less likely to fade.

When you’re choosing towels, consider simplifying your laundry routine as well. As color-saturated towels should be washed separately, consider choosing towels of the same color, or in the same color family.

How many to buy

We suggest three towels per person (one in use, one for the linen closet, and one for the laundry). Although, people who do laundry frequently may just need two (one in use, and one for the laundry). You should also buy two bath and hand towels for each guest, plus two washcloths daily.

Where to store them

I like to keep towels highly visible and accessible. The greatest trick I’ve seen in a while is to use shelf dividers. You’ll easily fit three or four folded towels between brackets and up to six if the towels are rolled.

There needs to be a place to dry towels. I have a peg rack on the back of the door that is a good spot for wet towels to dry off. Our beach towels dry outside.

How to determine what to replace

When towels get frayed, snagged, or begin to fall apart, it’s time to get rid of them. Washcloths can become rags for the household or garage, while larger towels can be donated to an animal shelter.

You can easily stay on top of this area with a little planning and careful shopping. You can check out our other post on managing towels and if you have any tips to share with fellow readers, please add them in the comments below.

Planning for bulk shopping

As we’ve mentioned previously, shopping in bulk can create a cluttered stockpile of unused goods. But it doesn’t have to. There are advantages to bulk shopping.

  • Items may be less expensive in bulk packaging or by purchasing multiples of the same item.
  • If you work in a volatile industry and income is variable throughout the year, stocking up during periods of high income will allow you to cope with periods of low income.
  • If you live far away from discount shopping areas or the weather is unpredictable and you cannot get to shopping areas easily, buying in bulk will save you the time and effort of getting to stores who offer lower prices.

To avoid a cluttered stockpile, you should take a look at what you buy and how much you need taking into account several factors such as, what particular products you use, how long it takes you to use them, how long the product will last, and your available storage space.

What products do you use?

First, look at what products you use and note if you and your family prefer certain brands. There is no point in buying store-brand ketchup in bulk if your family will only eat a particular national brand. Create a master spreadsheet of products and preferred brands. Include all your consumables on the list such as trash bags, feminine hygiene products — even vacuum cleaner bags. Tip: Never buy items in bulk if you haven’t tried them before. You might find that the product (or specific brand) does not meet your needs. If that happens, you’ll be left with a pile of clutter.

How long does it take to use each product?

It is easy to estimate how long it takes to use some items. You may already know that you need to buy a jumbo jar of peanut butter every week and a large bottle of Caesar salad dressing every month. It takes more effort to figure out how long some products such as shampoo and plastic wrap last. For something like shampoo, you can do some calculations. If you use 2mL (1/2 tsp) shampoo per day per person, a 300mL (10oz) bottle would last 150 days or about five months.

For items like plastic wrap, where it may be difficult to calculate how much you use per day, write the date on the package with a wax pencil as soon as you open it. When you finish the package, note the date and you’ll have an idea of how long it takes you to finish the roll.

How long will it last?

If you’ll be buying in bulk, you’ll need to ensure that you use all of a product before it expires. Some products have different date stamps such as “use by” or “best before.” According to the Institute of Food Technologists, these aren’t necessarily the expiry dates but indicate when the quality of the product is likely to decline quickly. Food labelling varies by country so check with your national food standards centre for details.

Also note that the “best before” date does not necessarily apply once the food product has been opened. Stilltasty.com provides information on how long products should last once opened. They also give details on ideal food storage conditions which can help you maximize the life of your bulk purchases.

Remember that personal hygiene products (soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, etc.) may only last from 6-12 months. Many cleaning products (bleach, laundry soap, etc.) only last six months but some products last for up to two years.

Available storage space

Survey your available storage space. How much room do you have in your cupboards and closets for storing bulk items? Are you able to convert some space in a basement or garage to storage? Is the space easily accessible and suitable for the products you wish to store? Many foods, including canned and dried foods, should not be stored in areas with widely varying temperatures. Paper products should be stored in areas of low humidity.

Preparing to shop

The amount of available storage space will give you an idea of how much of each item you can purchase and how often it needs to be purchased. For example, an average family of four will use about 100 rolls of toilet paper a year. If you can store six rolls under the bathroom sink, and 30 rolls in a linen closet, then you should only buy a 36-roll package each time you shop and you’ll only need to buy toilet paper approximately three times per year.

Use your stockpile

Some people use the FIFO (first-in, first-out) method so the items that are purchased first, are used first. However, some retailers will mark down prices on soon-to-expire items. When you bring home your goods, check expiry dates and rotate your stock so that items that will expire soonest are used first.

American investor Mark Cuban’s wealth building tips include buying consumables in bulk and when they are sale. So, feel free to buy that gallon of Frank’s Red Hot sauce if you know your family will use it before it expires.

The Burner List: an interesting approach to to-do lists

“There are a billion to-do list apps and methods out there, and I think I’ve tried 900 million of them,” Jake Knapp wrote. He then went on to describe his own paper-based process, which he calls the Burner List, using a kitchen stove analogy.

He creates two columns on a piece of printer-size paper. The left column — the front burner — is devoted to his single most important project. He lists that project name (for example, “write book”) and then a series of to-dos related to that project. The to-dos are items that can be done in the next few days. The to-dos will not fill the whole column, and that’s fine.

The top of the right column is the back burner — the second most important project — and its to-dos. The bottom part of that column is the kitchen sink, which is where he captures the miscellaneous things he needs to do that aren’t part of either project. Things like “schedule eye exam” and “buy cat food” go here.

You can read more about Knapp’s process on Ideo’s blog or on Medium. He’s an engaging writer, and it’s a quick read.

Two aspects of Knapp’s approach grabbed my attention. The first was the obvious focus on moving his big projects forward — something that often gets neglected amidst all the kitchen-sink type items we all have. Corinne Purtill wrote an article entitled The to-do list is a tyrant that will keep your life and your goals small, which addressed the problem of “a constant focus on short-term tasks.” With Knapp’s to-do list, any lack of progress on the most important longer-term projects becomes painfully obvious.

I also noted Knapp’s comments on how he re-creates his list as items get done.

The Burner List is also disposable. It gets stale fast as you cross off finished to-dos. I “burn” through my list every few days and then recreate it, over and over. This act of recreation is important, because I always discard some unfinished tasks which no longer matter and I reconsider what belongs on the front burner right now.

Colter Reed wrote an interesting blog post about this idea of removing some unfinished tasks from your to-do list. The whole post is worth a look, but the following captures the core idea:

Tasks expire, just like anything in your fridge. It was relevant once, but not now. You missed the deadline. You don’t have as much free time now. It’s not important to you now. If you’re honest with yourself, it probably never was.

A task on your list is not a permanent commitment. … You can renegotiate the commitment at any time, especially if it’s just with yourself.

If the Burner List doesn’t resonate with you, perhaps one of the many of approaches I’ve written about before will be a better fit. There are also a huge number of apps for managing to-do items, one of which might work well for you. Or maybe you’ll want to create your own way of managing to-do items, just as Knapp did.

Uncluttering the garage

When you’re deciding where to start on a whole-home organizing project, it often makes sense to start with the attic, basement, or garage — whatever space you use as secondary storage for things you don’t use very often. There are two reasons for this:

  • As you clear out the rest of your home, you’ll probably find things you want to move to one of these secondary storage places. Clearing it out first makes room for you to do those moves later.
  • You’re probably less attached to many things in these secondary storage spaces, so it’s often quick and easy to make some real progress.

I’ve been doing my own garage uncluttering project for the past couple weeks. I knew it was time when bags and boxes were accumulating on the floor, making it harder to get into the storage closets. The following are some things I’ve done:

  • Dropped off donations that were just sitting in the garage.
  • Donated some items I had thought I might sell, after realizing I hadn’t done that for years and was unlikely to do it in the future.
  • Recycled the box from my printer. It made sense to keep this for a while, in case I needed to return the printer, but that time has passed.
  • Tossed an old pre-packaged emergency kit that had somehow gotten moldy.
  • Put the lid to a kitty litter box in a dumpster someone let me use — it won’t fit in my garbage can — since I’ve now switched to using an unlidded box.
  • Took a box of packing popcorn my local UPS Store. I rarely package something for mailing, and when I do I’d use something other than packing popcorn.
  • Got rid of random items I’d saved because they might be useful sometime — but which I hadn’t used in years and couldn’t reasonably imagine needing in the near future. And they were all things I could easily get again, pretty inexpensively, if by any chance I did need them.
  • Moved my cat carriers out of the garage and into my front hall closet, per the post-wildfire advice I read.

Now that I’ve done this uncluttering, it’s easy to put away the things I just bought that belong in the garage: spare light bulbs and batteries. I could also find spots for things I’d recently moved to the garage from the house but hadn’t put away for lack of free space.

I’m not done yet — I still need to go through all the old paint, for one thing. But my garage is working a lot better now.

Want to join me in clearing out a space? A friend named Dinah just wrote that instead of joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) she would celebrate DiProProMo (Dinah Project Progress Month). That sounds like a nice idea that other non-novel-writers may want to adopt.