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Organizing My New Home Office With Martha Stewart!

Martha stewart office 5

For the last few weeks I have been working on creating a home office for myself. After working on my laptop from the living room and the kitchen table for over a year and a half … I figured it was time. :-) Since two of my four kidlets are now living on their own, that left one empty bedroom. So we did some bedroom shuffling, and I took over No. 3 son’s room. (Thus, the sports theme in the “before” photos.)

Here are couple of BEFORE and AFTERS of the room:

I have to say, I couldn’t be more thrilled with how it all turned out! At first it felt a little odd to have an actual office to work in, but that didn’t last long! Now I LOVE it and don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner! :-) Story of my life.

I’m still working on some ideas for the walls, but I got a real boost to my organization efforts this week when I received a box of goodies from the Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery product line that is sold exclusively at Staples.

Talk about great timing!

Now that the walls and trim are painted, and the furniture is in, their Stack+Fit™ modular system is EXACTLY what I was looking for to get organized! It lets you create your own custom organization system for your desk! And it looks so pretty!

I can’t believe how well it fits in with the rest of my office stuff, most of which was purchased from IKEA, except for the upholstered chair that I found at a sidewalk sale last Saturday for $35! Definitely the steal of the century! :-)

Now that I am all moved in to my new digs, I am working on moving all the STUFF I have stored all over the house into my office storage areas. Mainly the shelving unit and the closet. I still have some work to do, but it’s going to be great!

One of the things Martha and the nice people at Avery sent me was a package of these cute Chalkboard Labels! I have been sticking them on everything. :-) I love that you can write on them and then erase it if you mess up (like I often do!) or you just change your mind (which I often do!). AND they peel right off! Once I get some more shelving in the closet, I plan on using a lot more of these.

A couple of the other things they sent that I am getting good use out of are …

  • Magazine Files. I think I need about 10 more of these! They fit perfectly inside the openings in my shelves.

Martha stewart office 4

  • Vertical File Folders … which fit perfectly inside the magazine files. Come to think of it, I might need 20 more of the magazine files! And a bunch more of these.
  • Accordion Files. These are going to come in handy for my organization system. The fact that they stand freely for easy sorting and filing will make them the perfect replacement for the current folders I am using. While I really like the system I have, these will definitely be more aesthetically pleasing!
Martha stewart office 2
  • Shagreen Pocket. I was a little confused about the name of this item, so of course I had to look it up. Shagreen is “a kind of untanned leather with a rough granulated surface”. Which makes perfect sense when you look at it! It’s one of the things that makes these products so appealing to me. They really do make my home office look good!   I can tell you right now I’m going to be getting more of these too! I would love to put about 3 or 4 of them in a vertical row near the phone desk in our kitchen. They are a GREAT thing for corralling clutter that usually ends up all over my countertops! I love these. You can either hang them on a walls or corkboard with the push pins they include, or you have the option of using the adhesive strip to attach to metal, wood, glass, or tile.

Martha stewart office 1

 And I just love how everything coordinates so nicely! Leave it to Martha. :-)

They even sent me some stuff to help me get a jump on the holiday season! I mean look at this stuff! It’s Holiday Shipping stuff that’s easily pretty enough to put under the tree. No rewrapping required. They’ve pretty much thought of everything. The holiday shipping and wrapping products are available in-store at Staples.

home office

Now if I could just get some actually shopping done!! Black Friday here I come! :-)

Read This Next

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • Simple Decorating Ideas With Big Impact + A Mohawk SmartStrand Carpet Giveaway! | One Good Thing by Jillee says:

    […] Turned a bedroom into a home office […]

  • […] created this little space when I did my Home Office Makeover earlier this year. I really wanted a spot in the room where I could display items, pictures, etc […]

  • Keep organized? You’re kidding, right? I have a newborn, a 4 year old with a birthday this month, and a 3.5 year old, plus we are moving between X-mas and New Years. All I’ve got going is an endless stream of to-do lists. AnyDo on my phone for the win!

  • I wish I had some good suggestions but I’m not well organized at all. The closest I come is making a list, but I often lose the list. I’m going to steal some suggestions here.

  • I simply try not to get stressed out and overwhelmed, instead go with the flow and enjoy what comes my way. of course I have two essential events, a Christmas Card writing Sunday with my best friend, and a present wrapping party with friends. It puts some pip to tedious chore.

  • I like to keep it simple at Christmas for the kiddies. I wrap all their presents with their own separate wrapping paper and the ones from Santa will have his own, too. I keep their stocking stuffers separate and we place 3 different stockings throughout the house for their small gifts (i.e., toothbrushes, hot wheels or ponytail holders, etc.)

    The rule is one gift in — one gift to donate. So, that helps with our organization and our clutter! :-)

    Merry Christmas!

  • I try to keep organized by preparing for things well in advance. That means many thing for this time of year are thought about in August or before!
    Thanks for the cool giveaway!

    wildorchid985 @ gmail dot com

  • Christmastime I make lots of lists and put things together that go together (for example, gifts organized by family, wrapping and labels together, bows and ribbons together.) There are also labeled boxes for the Christmas decorations so I know which boxes to take out to decorate and where the decorations are to be stored after the holidays. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • I stay organized during Christmas by always keeping my ornaments and decorations in the same place. I also make tons of lists for gifts I have to buy and food I have to make for Christmas Eve and Cristmas dinner.

    pokergrl8 at gmail.com

  • My wrapping paper is organized in a rubbermaid container. . .that’s about as organized as it gets. The presents are jammed in my closet hidden as best as can be!

  • I have developed a Christmas budget based on many years experience. I have come up with a total amount and then divide it by 12 and save that amount each month. The budget includes everything from gifts, to stamps, to chocolate chips needed for recipes. So there is no stress over how much to spend. I keep a sheet in my calendar, previously paper — now electronic, with gift ideas I think about, hear about during the year. I have a spreadsheet with all my categories and the amounts to spend in each. Sometimes I over spend in one category and under spend in another, but the total amount is my goal.

  • […] lace tablecloth and 12 matching napkins from the consignment shop in town. (Same day I found my office chair! It was a banner day for thrifting!) I have always had a “thing” for Battenburg lace. I […]

  • Christmas time for us isn’t any busier than other times, we file our paper in tabbed folders, and manage our appointments on google calendar. Your office looks great, the shelf is beautiful. Excited to see martha stewart products in staples.
    songyueyu at gmail

  • I keep a small note book that I carry in my purse and jot down gift idea’s for each family member. I keep organized by checking off each gift that I purchased and a little note on where I hide them.

  • Looks amazing!!!! During the holidays, I make lists galore!!!!!! I keep track of all presents, who I need to buy for, and what all needs to be done prior to the holida (christmas cards, pictures, etc.). Without my lists, I would be so lost and scatter -brained!

  • I covered three boot boxes, I received free, with brown craft paper and used chalkboard adhesive stickers on each box, stacked, labeled No.1, No.2 and No.3. These boxes hold a larger variety of paper needs (photos, large mailing envelopes and extra spiral notebooks). The hanging organizer by Martha could hold the items used most often that you want to keep constantly available. I’m going to use that one.

  • I too have recently found myself creating a office space by repurposing things I already had and found here at home. I decided to use an old wooden kitchen table (blond color), old wooden office chair(walnut finish) and a laminated shelf tower(fake wood look). I primed first, then painted all pieces to match using antique white. I found storage for desk items an issue since I have no drawers on table. I liked the variety of items used for stacking file/document holders and storage for many type items used in home office space. Good Job!

  • I’m not organized. High school basektball season begins in December with away tournaments the 1st and 3rd weekends. The whole family goes into high gear the week before Christmas…..

  • I keep separate bins for each side of the family and as I buy they go into the designated bin. That way come wrapping time I’m not searching all over the house or forgetting gifts.

  • I keep organized with my planner. Especially around Christmastime, I would go insane without planning everything out, and making sure I have lists upon lists of things to check off. It keeps me from forgetting things (which I’m embarrassingly prone to do) and I also get this sense of accomplishment after having crossed everything off my checklist. I strongly all my family and friends to try it, much to their annoyance, but for me it truly works (:

  • We store most of our Christmas decorations in one closet (under the staircase) and a more than a few in a cabinet on the main floor, easier access. At the beginning of the season it’s easy to get to the cabinet and get the decorating started until I can get to the main stash.

  • I always have a tough time deciding what to get everyone, and I tend to overspend if I buy things all year. So starting in about October, whenever I am out with family members and we see something they like (but wouldn’t or couldn’t buy for themselves), I take a picture of it on my phone. I tag it with the person’s name, store, and price. Then, when I’ve set the final budget, I go through my photos and choose everyone’s gifts.

  • I take photos of all my decorations in each room. When it’s time to pack them all up, I store each grouping in it’s own box with the photo attached to it. Then when it’s time to decorate again, I know what goes where and no hunting for any items.

  • I have 3 lrg. tubs that I keep all my Christmas stuff in, I also make a list and mark off gifts as I buy them, I try to wrap and tag gifts as I buy them. My office is office/playroom could use a make-over.

    Thanks for the chance to win

  • I usually keep my ornaments in a zipper bag that came with a comforter set I bought. I use the smaller bags you get with drapes or single sheets when I travel to pack my personal items in. When I am home I use one for my makeup. A good way to go green

  • With seven homeschooled kids, I do a lot of stashing and hoarding in my bedroom. My closet gets completely filled with rubbermaid bins full of presents as I buy them. I keep a folding table in my room for sewing, crafts and wrapping. Each kid’s list is always in my purse, constantly getting check-marked, circled and adjusted, with a tally of how much I’ve spent on each kid. I also carry a list of everyone’s sizes– my brain gets fried when I’m shopping. We keep decorating pretty simple and do lots of homemade gifts and baking… I’m really appreciating my big kids’ help lately!

  • I used to be organized, keeping lists for Christmas gifts, baking goodies ahead of time etc., but this year I went back to college full time (at age 39). I am no longer organized at home, I am too focused on staying organized with school work. I need help with getting that way again

  • I love to organize because it simplifies my life. The most important thing I do is to spend the time to pick up and put away my projects every time I do them so the clutter doesn’t accumulate.

  • I could so use something like this!!! My desk is in the LR and everything is every where…so need something to organize my bills and make my desk look nice and neat!!!!

  • I try to cull clutter during the holidays, toss old and unusable decorations and put everything in its designated place as soon as I am done using it. I also like to make lists…lots and lots of lists.

  • The best way for me to keep organized is to be organized. I have everything in bins, baskets and I put everything away as soon as I am through with it. Simple and easy works for me

  • Lists for everything and everyone, they are in a small notebook that I can carry with me. A few days I re-check everything and I’m ready to go.
    Your new office looks great.

  • Living as a military wife one would think its easy to be organized. Every 3 or so years I clean up and clean out. Not so easy. I have to find a new place for everything and try to keep as organized as possible. This is a very difficult task especially with 4 kids. I could use all the help I can get.

  • I too struggle to stay organized during Christmastime, but I think this year I’m going to stay on top of it! Everything used to be just dumped in the garage (since only my husband and I ever went in there), but this year I brought wrapping supplies and such into the house, using a large vase to corral wrapping paper in the corner. Honestly, that’s the only thing that gets disorganized at christmastime (we don’t have kiddos, so christmas isn’t really any different than other times of the year), so I’m pretty thrilled that it has a “home” now!

  • I honestly just try and keep a schedule for each day. Keeping up on the everyday mumbo jumbo so I don’t get behind on anything, then adding in those fun holiday activities for my 5 year old daughter… Having a 4 month old as well this year will make it quite a bit more challenging. But, keeping organized keeps me a float!

  • It looks great and extremely organized. I am in the process of redoing my home studio. I can’t wait until it is all done so I can show you photos of all of my organized art supplies. One thing I do for my girlfriends Christmas presents every year is fun. I love to garage sale and thrift shop, so when I find a unique purse I get it. I store the purses in my gift stash bag and use the purses as gift bags for my friends. I fill the bags with all kinds of goodies. They always love them. It is always fun trying to figure out which bag fits which friend every year.

  • To keep organized at Christmas:
    I buy my Christmas cards after Christmas when they’re all marked down. I print out my address list for everyone that I send cards to and put that list in the box with the cards for the next year. I Make a point to mail out my cards every year on December 1st; that way cards that I’m sending over seas will get there way before Christmas.

  • I LOVE the Martha Stewart organization items at Staples. Sometimes I ditch my family and go to Staples and look at each and every thing, thinking about where I would use each thing in my house. ;0)

  • Sorry if this was said before (I think I had to give up scanning the comments after the first 100!)…
    We have a few locations we go to at Christmas with gifts, so similar to wrapping childrens’ gifts in different paper, I wrap mine by location. That way a double-check before we leave will reveal anyone we missed and save apologies and embarrassment later. For items that basically have to go in gift bags, I use a piece of the paper with a hole punched in it and little curling ribbon to tie it to the bag. I used to think the bags were such a time-saver over wrapping, but try carrying 10+ of them at the same time and arranging them in the car without stacking (and hence crushing the bag below)! Boxes are much easier.

    As for wrapping, just like most tasks, getting the right tools makes a big difference. I have the scotch tape dispenser that goes on your wrist and gives you short strips one at a time and a paper cutter (that I believe was also made by scotch) which glides across the paper. A clean dining table also helps :)

  • I don’t have many organizing ideas but I do have a container I bought that holds giftwrap/tissue/ribbon all year. It hangs on a coat hangar in closet. Also, I keep two photo size boxes to hold Christmas cards/CD’s in one and other cards in other. I keep my receipts in a special white change purse in my purse. I guess the old saying about being organized is to “keep everything in their own place.”

  • The key to my Christmas organization is that I buy all my gifts in January. I found a gift store that was going out of business last January. The prices were outstanding, 2 for 1 and 3 for 1. I bought plaid soft flanel scarfs for the 6 men in the family, big colorful sarong type scarves for the 7 women. I have a “gift” section in my closet so I don’t forget what I have bought. I also purchased bed and bath accessories in a beautiful bag for the gift exchange at work, a wallet for my friend who lives on the other coast and three matching handmade earring and necklace sets for myself!! I spent about $200 for this bounty, not including the jewelry which I bought for $50. If I don’t find this sort of sale, then I pick a theme for the next Christmas. Last year it was books. Borders going out of business sales helped a lot for that theme.

  • A couple of years ago, I set up a small area in our basement with wrapping supplies. Now, as soon as I come home with a gift purchased or received one in the mail, I immediately go and wrap it (generally in the box that it came in if it was ordered online). Only takes a couple of minutes & it keeps the whole wrapping thing from getting overwhelming.

  • I am and am not organized…I just can’t figure out how to stay on top of certain happenings/paper work.
    I almost hyper-ventilated in Staples the other day. I have not been in there in a few years — and wow, all the tools, ideas and supplies — but I have no idea where to even begin. I saw the Martha Stewart supplies and would love to put some to use.

    Thank you!
    I follow you on pinterest and fb — don’t tweet much.
    Absolutely love your blog and your style!

  • I LOVE you idea of putting the tubes of wrapping paper into a bucket to stand them up. Easy organization and storage but also easy to see all of your options. I might have to “steal” this idea Jillee… THANK YOU!

  • I tweeted about your sweepstakes but I’m really UN-educated about Twitter because the only reason I have an account is for just this such an occasion. I don’t know HOW to copy the url of my tweet, but here is the url to my page: https://twitter.com/trixiejo302
    I also have no idea whether or not I’m Tweeting publicly or not. Ugh.

  • I dream of being organized someday………….until then, I stay organized by procrastinating until the VERY last possible second. Then I rip everything out, dash around like a mad woman getting everything done, and stuff everything back away in panic until it’s time to put it all away. It’s not the best system, but it works for me. LOL

  • I stay organized by using separate cloth bins for each persons stocking stuffers and gifts, and wrapping them all in one evening. Then I don’t have to scramble right before Christmas!

  • I stay organized by simply not doing much. It is just hubby and I here. The most we do for decorating is a table-top tree and hang up the Christmas cards. I keep the wrapping paper all together in a big garbage bag along with the tape and tags. I keep the Christmas cards together with the stamps and I have all the addresses in an index card box.

  • Another great post! I always enjoy poking around on your site :) The thing I do to create a little order in the chaos is to sit down with a cup of tea and our calendar as soon as deer camp is over and our hunters head home. For me this will be tomorrow afternoon. I set aside dates for shopping, time for online ordering, time to write a few Christmas cards, and time for baking and candy making that can be done in advance. I write these things on my calendar just like appointments. Then I email my sisters-in-law for gift ideas for the nieces and nephews. At Thanksgiving, the ladies take a few minutes and decide who will host Christmas, how we are handling gifts, draw names for gifts if necessary, and decide on any additional Christmas activities. I add those dates and info to my calendar when we get home. As soon as the December church event info is available, I add that too. Then it’s just a matter of keeping up with my calendar. My cards go out on this date, I shop on that date, and here is when I make Christmas cookies and tuck them into the freezer until my nieces and nephews come over for a decorating party. Shopping is completed two weeks before Christmas, and items are wrapped and labeled as soon as they arrive. Most importantly, I’ve learned to just let go if things aren’t going as planned. If I’m having trouble getting those Christmas cards done, for example, whatever I’ve finished gets mailed on the date I’ve picked, and I’m finished. My family will know I love them even if they don’t all get a card :) If I can’t get those cookies made ahead of time using my favorite recipe, everyone brings over a tube of cookie dough on decorating day, and we make quick work of the baking while the frosting gets mixed. We’ll still have fun! And that has been the best “organizing” tip I’ve learned over the last few years!

  • Ever since I got Lyme disease this summer I have had low energy. This gives motivation as I can only Dream of being this organized! Life is sooo crazy most days!

  • I purchase a small coupon holder each holiday, label with each person’s name who is on my list. Keep coupons or ideas under each name. Then after each purchase I keep the receipt in the same space. I hate trying to find receipts or remember my ideas for gifts. Using the coupon holder, is just a small way to add a little organization during shopping chaos!

  • I’m one of the many unemployed this year, so instead of buying gifts, my family is getting homemade. Packages of cookies, candies, hot chocolate and crocheted items for the kitchens. We only have two youngsters this year, a barely two year old that will be getting a blanket made from his great grandmothers sweaters (my mother) that recently left this world in January and my 5 year old niece that will be getting a set of paperdolls that I’m making using her image.

    To keep the holidays easy, I send an e-mail out to my family early with a menu. Everyone picks something from the menu to bring and I also ask that they bring to-go containers and we split up the leftover food at the end of the night so everyone can enjoy it again in their home.

    I’m adding one more item this year to each basket. A copy of all my mothers favorite holiday recipes (some in her own handwriting.) That way, my mom will be sharing the holidays with us always.

  • To stay organized during Christmas, I make a gifts-to-get list and a gifts gotten list. Another thing that helps keep me organized is to make sure I pack up the decorations in the same way I want to unpack them next year.

  • This year I am setting small, attainable goals in order to get finished with what I need to do, and not to have complete chaos the last week of Christmas. Need to get organized!

  • Your home office looks enjoyable to work in. All of the organizational tools do come in handy. I label everything so the Martha Stewart dry erase labels will be a perect addition in my houehold as well.

  • I also tend to get overwhelmed. :) I try to keep lists, plus pay attention to what everyone says that they want or need throughout the year so I know exactly what to get!

  • I’m staying organized using a binder I created full of lists, tips, recipes, party ideas, a calendar and dividers keeping everything in order. It keeps me sane!

  • I love using notebooks and labeled dividers for organizing the holidays. I have sections for recipes (rather than sift through them I have my favorite Thanksgiving recipes in one divider, Christmas candy and cookies in another divider), gift lists for each family member, gifts to make ideas, gifts to purchase ideas, craft decoration ideas, preparing for the holidays time line, event calendars, etc. It takes so much of the stress of the holidays out of my life and I really get to enjoy the holidays!

  • I used to carry a small notebook in my handbag with all my lists and ideas. (I am a chronic list-maker from way back.) Since having gotten an iPhone, I use the notepad app to keep the lists. (I do like someone’s comment about Evernote and will have to look into that app!)

    For Christmas, I make a list of the name of individuals (friends, relatives, etc) for whom I plan to buy. Anytime I am visiting with them and hear them say they like something or “want” something, I will make a note of that. (It looks as if I’m texting.) Then later on I’ll research cost, etc and if it’s something I can do, I will put that idea next to their name so that I can keep that in mind. Then if the item goes on sale, I will purchase it then. I am also a huge dollar store shopper, so if I see something that reminds me of someone I can purchase it to have an extra little something for that person. All my gifts are kept in one location so that if I need to see what I have purchased I go to the closet where they’re all kept and look through my “loot.”

    For coworkers, I will make one item for everyone at the office. (This year I’m trying my hand at the chocolate-coated stirring spoons for hot chocolate and coffee.) When I make the same thing for everyone, I can make a few extra so that if I forget someone, I can quickly correct my errors, and if there is a new hire in the office, she isn’t forgotten or left out. Coworkers start asking in November if I am “making” gifts this year, too. It’s nice to hear.

    For decorating, I have picked a couple of themes so that I can have a little variety but I can also add new items (ornaments, etc) to my collection without starting over with new ornaments every year. After Christmas, all the Christmas decorations are re-packed into their plastic totes.

    Wire-edge ribbon makes lovely bows when I tie them around the packages. The ribbon is very forgiving if it gets crushed during transport.

    Pop-up tape is handy when wrapping.

    Finally, getting a bulb tester to check for light strands has saved me hours and hours of decorating headaches!

    (I love my daily “Jillee” blog, and I tell everyone about your cost-saving ideas!)

  • I start on New Years day by buying gift bags on sale @ oriental trading.com. Then throughout the year I shop sales to buy gifts for my family.The women in my family exchange gifts & this year I got earrings @ 80% off by combining sales at my favorite women’s store’s outlet site with on-line promo codes for additional savings. For co-workers and others, I will be making foot scrubs and hand pump soaps that I found on Pinterest. I keep everything organized on my Kindle and personalize and wrap in my New Year’s sale bags in early December, freeing up most of December to celebrate Christmas with less stress.

  • Lots of lists…but I also keep presents I’ve purchased in separate bags for my boys, which makes wrapping time much easier for Santa. Thanks for the giveaway…perfect timing!

  • We buy our wrapping paper from the wholesale clubs the day after Christmas. The rolls are usually very big and last a few YEARS! Then when we wrap presents we rap each grouping all in the same paper. So my parents and their family all get one kind, his parents and family get another and my kids get a third. This way when we go to leave for each event we know we just grab all the packages in one kind of paper. It’s made things easier. Sometimes the paper is double sided so that gives us even more options if we need them.

  • I use a Christmas calendar of sorts…I’m sure you could find lots of lists out there on Pinterest! The one I use I’ve had for years and it breaks everything down starting right after Thanksgiving. Gives a guide for what needs to be done when. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Let’s see, first I do shop for birthdays and Christmas throughout the year. I like to try and have as much of the shopping done as possible by Thanksgiving. I hate all the crowds. I make a lot of lists so I don’t forget anything and can mark things off as they are done. I make a Christmas card list every year and get those ready to send out the last week of November. I don’t mail them at that time. They are just ready to go. I mail the long distance cards earlier and the local ones a bit later. In the last few years I wrapped all the gifts in brown paper and tied them with fun, brightly colored ribbon. I make tags for each gift. I have found this to save time, storage space, and money. The real bonus is the fun of making tags and picking out ribbon. I love to be creative. The funny thing is that since I started using the brown paper, I have gotten more compliments on my gift wrapping. The decorations will go up after Thanksgiving. I’ll wrap the gifts and then be able to relax and really enjoy the holiday season. Your office space looks great! I would love to have craft room/office. Someday I’ll make that dream come true.

  • I keep my list on my phone as well because I know the kids can’t find it! I keep track of what I have bought, what I want to buy or just a list of ideas for Christmas and birthdays too. It also helps me to find stuff that I have squirreled away and forgot about, don’t say you haven’t done that before!

  • I need to come up with a better system this Christmas, we’ve downsized to an apartment from a 4 bedroom home and we are very short on space! I think to keep things small, I’m going to make necklaces for the girls in the family and other handmade gifts for the men.

  • I try really hard to keep gift-giving and the holidays simple by shopping all year around for gifts for all children on my list. I keep these gifts in large tubs on the top shelf in my bedroom closet. ( I will eventually have to become more inventive with my hiding spot, but so far it’s working. ) I am not above finding gifts at second hand stores or garage sales as long as they’re in good condition. I have found lots of collectible toys this way, and always for good prices. This way I always have gifts on hand for a last minute birthday party and I don’t have to blow the budget for Christmas shopping. I only buy gifts for the children in my life and my for husband (and I do some of his shopping the same way, but most of it happens online closer to the holidays). The rest of my gifts are home made and I start to make those in November. I believe we should try not to make the season all about gifts, but about efforts and love, and family most of all. Happy Holidays!

  • Several years ago I looked at Flylady’s holiday control journal and mixed it with some Cindy Rushton ideas, then added some of my own touches. I asked the family to sit down & tell me what made it feel like Christmas to them — lights? certain food? a tree? Music? and that became my foundation for the entire season from Thanksgiving to Christmas. I listed those “gotta have ’em’s” and made sure we accomplished those things if nothing else!

    My holiday binder has:
    our traditions
    Grocery List
    Cooking plan of attack
    gift idea list
    Advent/Hanukkah/other special things we do each year
    Cleaning Schedule
    Decorating Plan
    Games/Music/Puzzles/Candles, favorite books to read, etc (special touches)
    Ideas for Next Year (things we want to remember or improve upon)

  • it’s such a pity your giveaways are only for US citizens. I’m a dutch girl who loves your blog, and i absolutely love your giveaways. this would come in especially handy right now cause i’m finally moving out of my parents home and have my own place now, which could use some lovely organizing stuff. I really hope you do a worldwide giveaway one day. In the mean time, ill just enjoy your blog posts every day.

  • Love the new office, so bright and clean. In the midst of trying to oranize my son’s room for future use as a work space. For christmas I use my computer software has an option to list groups of people and I use this to
    keep track of different groups of people. Cards, gifts etc.

  • Thanks so much for this giveaway! I would like to say that I have a great organizing idea for the holidays, but I guess I am kinda like a running back; I just duck my head and run straight through the madness. :)

    One thing I have found indispensable during busy times of year is keeping a family calendar. I have a large wall calendar that hangs in our kitchen. I write all events, appointments, etc., on the calendar and that way when we are frazzled and don’t know which end is up, we can consult the schedule and regroup.

  • What a lovely office space! My biggest tip for staying organized is to pare down what we own. Just having less stuff has made keeping what we do have much easier. And that includes Christmas stuff. I challenged myself to pare down to just the stuff that helps us focus on the true meaning of Christmas, and in doing that, I was able to get rid of several boxes of stuff. This not only helped with my effort to keep what we have organized, but it also was much more realistic in terms of my available time to decorate. Our home still feels warm and welcoming, perhaps even more so now that there is more room to breathe. Plus, I have more emotional space to welcome our guests this time of the year.

  • All of our decorations are stored in labeled, plastic, lidded totes, which helps tremendously when taking them out and putting them away!

    Also, instead of gift tags, each person has their own pattern or patterns of wrapping paper, which is helpful even to little ones who can’t read yet!

  • I use a binder to stay organized at Christmas. I keep a list of whom I need to buy for, what and when I’ve purchased it (as well as the price – to stay on budget!), a list of card recipients, a list of what I need to purchase for the next year, etc.

  • Congrats on you beautiful office space! My 16 yr old acquired the spare room to store all of the gaming paraphernalia as well as the items a 16 yr old just can’t live without. However in doing this, I was left with no room of my own to keep me organized, therefore I use my computer to make list of wishes & purchases of Christmas gifts. And have to hide the purchased gifts in my closet, basement, garage & storage shed (based on size = kayak). Needless to say I need lots of help & a gift certificate from Staples would be a good start. You have given me so many great ideas and tips, thank you so much! Have a great Thanksgiving & wonderful Christmas.

  • we certainly don’t have organizational tips, but christmas is kind of inherently more organized when you scale it down. more organized, more pleasant, and for me the gifts themselves are more enjoyable when they are few and thoughtful than when they are plentiful, which tends to overwhelm me and leave me with the guilt of what to do with the extra “just ok” gifts.

  • First things first, I have to clean the house top to bottom before anything Christmas-y comes inside. Then it’s OK to decorate. I *try* to shop early and I have the best of intentions to get it done early, but darn, that’s hard!! I also keep a specially decorated notebook to jot down gift ideas and I keep my Christmas card list in there and I check names off the list as I go!

    Great office space, by the way!!!!

  • I keep all my decorations in plastic tubs with a list on top of what is in there and where it goes – like everything that goes on the mantle together in one box. If I decide not to use certain decorations anymore, get rid of it instead of storing it!

  • Nice office!

    I have my kids and niece and nephew to write down a list of what they want and mark them off as I purchase. I live in an old house with lots of under the roof storage nooks. I put all of the gifts in one so that I don’t forget a gift!!

  • I organized all my decorations in plastic bins and hid gifts in the empty bins. The kids never thought to look there! I keep track of gifts purchased in my phones notepad with a total spent, simple.

  • I stay organized during the holidays by reigning in the impulse to do/create everything. My decorations are very minimal, I use solid colored wrapping paper (so I can use it at other times of the year as well) and I refrain from accepting every party invitation.

  • I keep a simple gift spreadsheet- I have for years. It includes birthdays and Christmas. After Christmas, I just make another copy for the next year. The sheet has everyone’s name, budget for gift, and when I buy something, I note it and what I spent. That way I can see what I have already bought and spent, and if I have a pile of gifts, what goes to whom. We have a lot of birthdays in the family for little people from October through January, so as I give a gift, I also turn the text a different color. It may sound complicated, but the only effort I spent was creating it the first time. By copying it every year, I can easily start again. And the previous years sheets give me a chance to quickly look to see what I gave to someone last year, so I don’t accidentally duplicate.

  • Lots of great ideas here, I think I need to reread and take notes. My holiday organization, such as it is, consists of lists upon lists, choosing a single wrapping paper for each person, and hiding gifts on the top shelf of my craft closet which has a lock. I’m also trying to scale down the gift buying. For the last couple of years my kids have gotten something they want, something they need, and something to help them remember the reason for the season, plus stocking and sibling gifts. Last year we switched from every child buying an inexpensive gift for each of their siblings to drawing names for a gift exchange and raising the per gift budget slightly. I noticed the reduction in Christmas morning clutter, but my kids didn’t seem to mind.

  • I have a binder where I keep recipes, family dinner menus, gift ideas, craft ideas, games, master copies of gift tags I can copy onto colored cardstock, etc. I have a separate binder that holds Christmas stories. So I never have to hunt for that really good fudge recipe, or wonder how many crabs do I need to buy for Christmas Eve, etc.

  • I loved this office organization post, Jillee! I have been trying to organize an office in my upstairs and this gave me some great ideas. My kids put up a great wall unit from IKEA when they were home this summer and it has all sorts of cubbies and places to store things, so I no longer have any excuse to be organized! I love that I have places for all my wrapping paper supplies too.
    For organizing at Christmas, I keep a big notebook, and write each and every thing down that I buy and try to keep it somewhat “even” with my married kids; I love to buy and do so all year long. I try to make the grandkids have the same “number” of presents to open, even if someone might get more, it’s the same number of gifts, as kids care about this kind of thing. I have big tubs that I fill for each family with their gifts, so if they go to different places (or need to be mailed), they are already all together. I made and freeze my traditional poppyseed bread and then just pull it out when I’m ready to deliver. I buy the individual cream cheese packets at Sams Club or Costco and deliver several with each large-sized loaf of poppyseed bread. I try to get most of the baking done by the end on November. Bring on Christmas!

  • One thing I have started doing is not buying ‘occasion’ wrapping paper, but something striking that is good for all occasions. My two favorites are brown kraft paper and anything black and white. Hobby Lobby has large rolls of papers, often at half price. Also, buy the 50 foot rolls of ribbon from warehouse clubs that go with the ‘generic’ paper for any occasion. This way I don’t spend more on the wrapping than on the gift.

    I LOVE Staples!

  • Congrats on your office space! Looks lovely!
    I tweeted: https://twitter.com/JaylieG/status/268943132694036480

    Also for christmas organization, I keep a daily journal (usually Planahead Large Journals and I am a collector of journals) with me, which I tab and make sections for what I need (Gifts, Cards to send to whoever, List of people I give gifts too, parties, baking section, etc.) and I carry it around with me for the whole month, including new years. I also don’t do alot of gift giving, more like cards and goodies. Makes it more personal I think.

  • I keep a spreadsheet of all the gifts I am giving and what I have left to buy for every year. That way I can cross reference what I bought or made in previous years for people. I have a blog post about it. Great system! BUT I don’t have a home office either. ::sad:: just a corner of my room with a desk, computer (for my kids since I use my laptop on my kitchen table downstairs) and my sewing machine and stuff. Would LOVE Martha to help me tidy up my little space! THANKS

  • Love your office, Christmas is pretty low key around our house so I don’t have any super organizing techniques. I would love to organize my desk with Martha Stewart items from Staples.

  • I shop for Christmas at sales during the year. My goal is to have all shopping done before December. Once my shopping is out of the way I can enjoy all the decorations and festivities without worrying about buying the right item or overpaying for things.

  • SO FUN to see your new organized space. When I finally admitted my grown son was not coming home to stay again :), I turned his room into the craft room. So I have enough room for the same-size cubbyholes you have (Martha Stewart brand…which I received in a roundabout way last Christmas; returned the PJs the hubby bought for me and had enough to buy the cubbyholes and inserts: WOOHOO! I felt a little bad about that return, but it has made me so happy! AND FLANNEL for PJs? I had to remind the hubby about hot flashes; haven’t worn flannel since I was a young girl!), a long table, my sewing machine (which is in the previous closet on an architect’s desk, along with a file cabinet; the closet has curtains in the same teal color as the walls only darker so these can be drawn when the room is used for sleeping), and a jewelry-making armoire. Two pegboards on two walls and bulletin boards and idea boards on the remaining wall space. The nice thing about it is that everything is mobile, so I can fairly easily (okay…if I don’t have the table covered with creative pursuits) take things down and put them away so there’s room for nice double-high blow-up beds for when my son visits. It has become the go-to place for the grandkids when they visit (we have a large, ancient TV in the corner to watch movies on), so it’s just been great all the way around. As far as organizing goes, especially at Christmas, it’s still a work in progress. I do use large plastic bins and label them, and boxes for the lights (w/labels too), but my system always has room for improvement. Thanks for sharing!!

  • I have just downsized from an office room all my own to a desk in the kitchen, which is nice when I am having to be near the stove while trying to do some bookeeping or emails. But I think a small office space needs more organizational help, so help please Martha and Avery.

  • A simple way to keep organized for Christmas is–Celebrate Hannukah!

    Menorah? Check

    Candles? Check

    Dreidels? Check

    Potatoes and applesauce? Check


    Gifts optional

    Too bad it is not exactly that simple when Nice Jewish Girl marries Nice Not So Jewish This Generation Boy

    For years we did the traditional Christmas but now that we have kids married and with grandkids–one of which moved back in with one husband and one kid and then added another kid and STOLE both of “My” business rooms–aka her former bedroom AND her brothers former bedroom!!!—We now do a simple form of Christmas at Great Grandmothers–I stash the gifts there in a large crate and since we live on the same road it is easy to go early and do whatever simple cooking is needed day-of; add in things from our house.

    At our house due to very curious toddler we have done a fake-fake tree last year and this! We got a decorative metal tree about 2 feet tall that we can hang a few non-breakable ornaments on and the rest either stay packed away or some special ones are hung around the room above kid level. The tree fits nicely on a large wooden trunk in our LR picture window area and the extra special fragile decorations live in there between holidays. This way too if Christmas and Hannukah overlap we can display and light the Menorah in front of the window the tree is in!

    We let the kids do window stick-em decor and wall pops decor and garlands, lights around doors inside and outside on deck etc etc. And we let them decorate the goat barn which we actually liked so much we left the pretty lights on all winter–since I can see this from my bedroom I really loved seeing the colored lights in the winter darkness.

    This actually has saved us a lot of headaches–the right sized tree; keeping it fresh–we are not artificial tree fans–digging out all of those lights!!!!—decorating and undecorating and my husbands tinsel addiction is a bit more under control now!

    And to think–I was JUST at Staples shopping for–Christmas gifts!!!! And never KNEW about Martha! Oh well tomorrow IS another day!!!!!!!


  • I make a list! I love lists! After purchasing gifts, I store all of them on a shelf in my closet. I know right whre they are and of course, I check my list often!

  • Wow this looks great! I stay organized at Christmas by saving my lists (mostly for open house menu and to do) from one year to the next. Then I just tweak them a bit.

  • To keep organized I make lists, lists and more lists. There is one for people and gifts to buy, holiday entertaining grocery list, and the last of what needs to get done around the house to prepare for the big day.

  • I have been reading all of the comments and there are lots of great ideas. I have a small notebook with the sizes and interests of everyone I want to buy a gift for. As I buy something, I note it in the book and put it in a large Rubbermaid tub I store in the attic. I also keep records of the menus from past Christmases and lists of food items I would like to try in future holidays. I keep a list of ingredients that I need for holiday meals and treats so that I can purchase them when they are on sale.
    Our church has a Giving Tree with requests from various charitable organizations so I also keep the info for the gifts we plan to give. We always pick 4 people to donate to. Since both my and my husband’s parents are dead, we always choose one elderly woman and an elderly man, a young woman my daughter’s age and a young boy. Sometimes there are requests that are unfilled so we take extra requests to fill.

  • Wow! What a great space! That chair is awesome!!
    I am not really much organized at the holidays. I put my list for gift ideas on my phones notes and then wrap as soon as I get home so there is no peeking. We don’t over buy either.

  • I am by no means a master of celebrating an organized Christmas, but I have gotten better at making my lists and sticking to ’em. That’s about as organized as I can handle, but it’s made a big difference. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • One of my best tips is a refusal to use my Christmas gifts until AFTER I get my thank-you notes written. It makes certain I take the time to acknowledge the gifts before I put them to use.

  • Your new office is beautiful. We moved from a large home to a small home last year, I am trying to have a minimalist home, out of necessity! Your office gives me that minimalist calm. Thank you, I hope I win.

  • Two of the things I do to stay organized at Christmas is to keep a running list of Christmas cards I send out every year and keep the gifts I buy all year in one big box so they are not strewn all over the house!!

    Love your new space!

  • I am a list maker, I start by making a list of what each person wants or needs. Then I decide what my spending limit is for each person. Now if I see something not on the list I add that along with the cost to keep me straight as far as money. Just to keep me on budget, I start early. Have already bought a couple of gifts.

  • Ha – I should be reading the advice, not giving it! The best tip I have is to make lists, lists, lists! Gift lists, food lists, event lists. If I don’t write it down, it will not get done.

  • I buy throughout the year , everything is put into a storage bin, I have a master list that has ideas or gifts purchased for each person, starting in November I start wrapping ! It’s the smartest thing , takes so much pressure off closer to the holidays I get the happier I am knowing there is not a pile of gifts to wrap. I also make homemade gifts popcorn, fudge cookies, its also easier to buy the tins ahead of time, I like everything as fresh as possible , but wait till the last minute and those tins can be hard to find

  • I keep a notebook, and start each year with a new page for each person (with sizes, colors…). Everytime I think of something they might like, I write it down. If I buy/make something- that also goes on the list, and the item goes into my “private” closet (off limits to everyone else!!!)
    When birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, Christmas… come around- I know what I’ve gotten (or at least some ideas of what to get them)

  • Wow, the office looks great! That chair was a complete steal! Very nice…Avery products are always on the mark. I am a Special Ed. Teacher and a bit neurotic about all things organized and label-y. :-). Really love those vertical files and chalkboard labels. Makes me want to redo my work space at school!
    Congrats on your new space!
    Christmas…the best advice I ever got was to get a small spiral steno pad, pocket sized, and put each person’s name that you need to buy a gift for at the top of each page. One page per person. Make a list of your gift ideas and when it comes time to shop it makes it so much easier to zero in on prices and stores. You can keep this small note pad in your purse, it takes up no room, I like to make sure I add sizes to each page, fave colors. A real life saver!

  • I love Christmas.. but staying organized during the season.. No way. I try and write lists but that is a lost cause because I typically lose the list. But I still love purchasing th organziational stuff.

  • I start off in Nov. with collecting addresses and start doing my christmas cards, but I wait till Dec. before I mail them. I have a Christmas notebook were i keep all the addresses, menu’s for the meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Gift list for the people that I need to buy for, ect….

  • I’m definitely the person who has shown up for a family Christmas with ZERO gifts for anyone, so maybe my organization advice is not useful…I keep the household decorations simple so it’s easy to get them all packed up after the holidays. No finding that Santa Claus tucked in a corner in February and having to go downstairs to pack it.

  • We use the envelope system for budgeting and organizing Christmas Shopping. Each person has thier own envelope with an amount written on it.

    For the adults, we keep their lists and as soon as we get home, we mark off the items they actually received. Then we put the list in the envelope for next year (to use as reference for likes/dislikes…we have about 5 years of lists right now – it’s amazing how some things never change!). We hit the after Christmas sales for things that can be purchased in advance (scarves, gloves, sweaters, jewelry, etc…), then we put the receipts in the envelope for that person, so we can track what we bought and how much we spent. We have rubbermade totes in the closet for advance purchases, as well as “on hand” gifts (things you can give anyone at a moment’s notice).

    With the envelope system, we stay on budget (no January credit card regrets) and we can purchase all year long – especially helpful when someone mentions they would like to have a unique/special items. So, everyone gets gifts from the heart each year :)

  • basically, our motto for organization for Xmas is to just not. Literally we order the week of Xmas and use Amazon Prime so we have guaranteed shipping for free. I loath everything about early Xmas shopping and Black Friday. But I”d like to be more organized in other areas!

    • With very limited space to lay things out for wrapping gifts in my bedroom (keeping it secret) I figured out a way to use the queen size bed…bigger and handier than the floor space! When I want to wrap the Christmas presents, I use one of those old folding cardboard cutting boards that sewers use to lay out fabric and patterns on. (It lives in the closet with the giftwrap when not in use) I gather the gifts on one side; the supplies needed at hand, and a yardstick. Lay the roll of wrap down, lay the gift on it, and lay the yardstick on the wrap where you want to cut the paper. Using the yardstick as a straight edge, you don’t need scissors! It’s really quick to just rip the wrap to size. I also use a piece of the giftwrap to make a folded (like a book) gift label ~ it matches the gift that way! I store my rolls of gift wrap in a rectangular trash basket ~keeps them upright and they go back in the closet in it when I’m done.

  • I LOVE the clean look of Martha Stewart! For Chirstmas organization, I have speadsheets for each person I need to buy gifts for. Over the course of the year when I am out and about I will either write down items to purchase for that said person, or buy them and write down that it has already been purchased. I set my budget at the beginning of the year and go from there. Gift wrapping has always been a hassle for me so this year I started Wrapping as I buy the gifts. My basement is full of Christmas presents already wrapped! Sometimes I even forget what I got them, so it’s not only a surprise to them, but to me as well! I write a number on the package and write that same number on my list. That way when the boys are opening up their presents, they are opening like items together.

  • I keep lists with everything that needs to be done. I then organize it in to lists of priority and recruit my husbands help. He is terrible at doing things if I just ask but give him a list and consider it done.

  • Good Job Jillie!!
    I like to stay organized for Christmas by keeping it simple! Just a few side dishes with the turkey, a couple gifts for the kids, and a no hassle fake tree are a couple of things we do to keep it simple!

  • WOW! Everything looks beautiful and I thank you so much for giving me inspiration. I LOVE the turquoise folders and everything else, especially that chair. What a deal that was! TFS.
    Juanita in OH

  • I keep one calendar with everyone’s activities written in different color ink. For example, my activities are written in blue, dad’s are in red, sis’s are in green, brother’s are in black. I also try to block out a day of rest for everyone. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • Keeping a Christmas Journal year to year helps out a lot. Knowing what you have to buy (or give money to) for even all of the charities, boy scouts, local food banks, service men, cookie exchanges, choir directors, secret sisters, etc. makes you keep yourself focused and you can honestly say NO to some things. I found this web-site helps a lot. http://christmas.organizedhome.com

  • What a wonderful room!! It is so bright and airy, it seems like a good ‘thinking’ room. :) I don’t do much to stay organized because that’s just the way I roll, but I do make lists for who I am giving to, and also TRY to get things done early.

  • first of all love the new office!!! in the middle of redoing a guest room/office now myself and am loving that desk. as for organizing the holidays… well usually really organized but hurricane Sandy blew that away this year!!! i have a notebook with everyones name in it that i need to buy for and as i get ideas during the year i jot them down, if i buy it i check it off. the good thing is its all in the notebook so i can always see what i bought the previous years so i don’t repeat things. most years i am just about done by now but like i said us long islanders got blown away abit! so i am a little behind this year. oh well. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! enjoy your new room.

  • Very nice work space with a very pretty chair to relax in if you ever get a chance to do that ;~) There’s really not much organization that I do regarding Christmas….we have only 1 daughter and son-in-law and no grandchildren :~( and they are the only ones we buy gifts for besides ourselves. Everyday gift giving is all organized in a flat box under the guest bed. As far as Christmas decorating organization all my decorations are in tote boxes in the attic with separate, maybe two tote boxes for all my crafting paraphernalia that I like to do for those people I work with.

  • I track all gift giving on a spreadsheet, so it’s easy to see what i have already picked up, what i still need to get, how much I’ve spent, etc and I keep it on Google Docs, so the hubs and i can both access it anywhere.

  • I try to keep everything organized for Christmas. I have a Christmas card book to mark who I send to and get back from each year, i keep list of names and as i find things for them, i write the item and price under the name. (to keep it fair for everyone lol), i write a list of cookies and bars i want to make, i plan what day i am going to do the window lights and then decorate the house, and then plan with my Mother the menu for Christmas day! I am super excited this year for the holidays!! My Son comes back December 10th from a 10 1/2 month deployment in Afghanistan and it is my 1st Grandchild Mason’s 1st Christmas!! Cant wait for my Son to be reuited with his wife, child and the rest of the family!! :) :)

  • Congrats on the new office! And it even has an outside door. Sweet!

    To be quite honest, I just don’t get that organized at Christmas, but I have downloaded and pinned a few organizational sheets to help me keep track of my card list and gift list. I have a terrible habit of buying a gift for someone and forgetting that I have something and then buying something else! Go figure! :)

    I really like the Martha Stewart collection at Staples.

    Where did you get those darling larger tan boxes with metal trim? I like those too! :)

  • What a beautiful space to work in! Thanks for all your inspiration and the great give-away. Fingers crossed.

    We keep it very simple at Christmas and try to make it more a time of enjoying each other and marveling at the amazing-ness of the Gift, rather than about the gifts. I do books for the children and some small items, and homemade goodies for friends (maybe some of those cinnamon sugar pretzels this year!). I do send out a family letter and pictures to lots of friends. We have a Word document with all the addresses, and try to update it whenever someone moves. It’s fast and easy to print out the labels and stick them on envelopes. ( I tried to just print the envelopes, but our old printer kept jamming up.. so decided the labels are easier.) Check out flylady.net for all the help you need in organizing your home, life, and the holidays. She has a free holiday control journal to print out that has a small daily task to do, starting in Oct., that will have your house clean and decorated, gifts bought and wrapped, menus planned and groceries bought well ahead of time, one babystep at a time so you’re never overwhelmed. Love it!

  • I stay organized with lists. I use just a plain sheet of notebook paper, and write down every person I need to buy gifts for. I space them out, every three or four lines I’ll write another name. When I think if something I want to get for someone, I add it next to their name. Once I buy it, then I’ll cross it off. It’s not very fancy, but it works for me. Plus, I can just fold up the paper and tuck it away. No spoiled surprises!

  • When we finished our basement, we built a closet around the sump pump. I installed shelving above the pump, and assigned everyone a shelf. I had the only key!

  • I keep organized at Christmas time (and all year) by remembering two things: less is more AND quality over quantity. Fussing over gifts (and, therefore, $$) is so unnecessary. Not everyone I know needs a gift from me, nor do I expect one from everyone I know.

  • I keep a notebook with a list of people receiving gifts, gift ideas, then final purchases. I’ve had the same notebook for years, and it helps keep track of who has received what over the years so I don’t give the same gift twice!

  • Congratulations on your gorgeous new work space. As for keeping Christmas organized designate a closet in your home as the gift closet. The fill the space with shelves, each shelf represents a person. If your space allows long shelves then you can divide the space up with purchased shelf dividers or just make tape lines. I shop and wrap all year keeping a written journal so I know who I have purchased for and what they are getting. If space allows and you have younger children you can have one shelf for boys one for girls, purchase birthday gift items on sale or clearance. Wrap three sides of the gift and allow your child to shop in the closet when the invitation arrives. Once they select a gift wrap the fourth side and put in the car with the invitation so you are ready for the party day. Back to Christmas, there are of course the black Friday deals that I cannot usually resist. In years past I would line up very early at the store that offered the best deals and work my way from store to store hoping the deals I wanted were still there. Several years ago I came up with a much better, fool proof plan to get everything on my black Friday list. It is called Wal Mart. I go through the sale ads and say the deals begin at Wal Mart at four in the morning. I go at three and scope out the perimeter of the store, which is where they keep the skids wrapped with the deals. I find the one I want the most and also the others I am interested in as well. I then go around the store with the list I created from other sales ads putting those items in my cart and by four when they are unwrapping the skids I grab and run from skid to skid. I am usually in line by 4:15 getting there deals and using the sales fliers from other stores because they price match. So no more running from store to store and taking numerous hours. One store, about an hour and half and back to bed!!!!! Best black Friday shopping ever. Later that afternoon I wrap everything put on appropriate shelves and decorate the tree!!!! Shopping all year makes it stress free and then from black Friday to Christmas Eve I can make home made gifts, cookies etc. Hope that helps and happy Christmas planning to all.

  • I am a list maker, so I make a list of everyone I will be buying presents for and then make notes as to what they like. When I decide on something, it goes on this list. As I buy things for them throughout the preceding months, I simply mark it off. I keep the presents stored in a big rubbermaid container in my bedroom from prying eyes! Congratulations on your new office.

  • HI Jillee!
    I like to shop a little all year long and hoard gifts away in the closet until Christmas time. I think the hardest thing for me to organize is that stash of gifts. It was hard to tell who had which gifts :/ My temporary fix is to hang grocery bags (reusable or plastic) onto hangers sorted and labeled by person and category (Clothes, toys, stockings, etc). It is working great for me, at a glace I can tell who I still need to go shopping for! No more wondering and plenty of peace of mind :) PLUS since I shop store sales all year round (and yard sales) we end up saving A LOT of $$, which can then go towards our holiday travels :)

  • Nice job on your home office. I am always trying new ways to be organized. One of the most effective for me is my daily ABCD list. On the days when I feel like I need to be focused, I take a 3×5 piece of paper and on it I list A:, B:, C:, and D:. A is for APPOINTMENTS (places I have to be at a specific time), B is for things I need to BUY, C is for people I need to CALL (including the phone numbers I need), and D is for things I need to do specifically on that day. This is not a master To Do list, it is for the day. I usually fold it up and keep it in my pocket. Works for me!!

  • I like to have things written down. I used to make lists but now I use excel spreadsheets. I can add and delete, highlight items I’ve bought. I’m a very visual person so seeing it on paper (or the computer screen) really helps keep me focused!

  • I love the new office, Jillee. We use a planner that lays out EVERYTHING from gifts to food to travel in a time line according to what needs to be done when.

    So, let’s say you have a home made gift you want to give, like your decopage votives, that needs to be completely made and sent before Dec 15th, the Parcel Post deadline or Dec. 22nd, the Express Mail deadline, you make a list of the things that must be done: purchase/acquire items for votives, make votives, package votives, send votives and place all these things on the planner. We list it all, everything that needs be done, packing bags for travel, setting up farm care, foods we will bring or ingredients for meals, presents both purchased and made for whom and when. All goes on the planner so you literally know to the day what you need to do when to be happy and sane on both Thanksgiving and Christmas. And we have a birthday at New Years, so we plan for that, too!

  • The timing on this is great, as my office/computer room is not at the top of my list. Yours is inspirational! It would be great to win those items to set up mine. One reply reminded me of what I do with my Christmas cards. When they arrive, I tear the return addresses off the envelopes and tape them inside the cards before displaying them. When I take them down in January, I have more time and I store the addresses properly then.

  • My organization method for Christmas is just keeping everything in front of me where I can see it! Not necessarily in a neat and tidy way….some organization materials like yours would sure come in handy for that.

  • Oh- how I am longing for a room all my own to use an office. Though my husband has his own office it is truly a disaster area. I am currently operating out of the dining room where we have set up a makeshift desk. It isn’t too bad- but I am sure I would be more productive and organized if I had my own hubby-free pet-free space!!! HA!

  • Yikes; organization at Christmas? In the past there hasn’t been a lot of organization but I plan on things being different this year. I’m about to make myself a notebook with sections: calendar, to do, list, menu and cards. That way I can keep everything in one spot, slip the notebook in my purse when shopping and FINALLY have an organized Christmas season.

  • All kinds of different lists keep me organized. Gifts, meals, shopping, crafts, advent activities, etc… I should get those pretty blue folders you have up top there to keep my lists more organized…

  • I keep organized at Christmas by making lists! I am the List Queen. Since I’m buying all year for gifts, I have too. I love cute note pads and composition books for my lists. I start a new one every January 1st. It becomes my journal/gift list/dream book for the year. BTW. I LOVE your blog. Thanks for sharing all your ideas.

  • I stay organized throughout the holidays with a planner I made years ago and use every year. It has all my addresses for Christmas cards, gift lists, menu planning and much more…it’s a great resource to go back to year after year.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  • I make a list of all the people I am buying for and shop all year for their Christmas gifts. I also keep a running list of gifts I pick up along the way because they are a great deal/something I won/something I reviewed, so that I can use them for gifts when appropriate. All gifts are kept in a special section of the locked attic or ina locked cabinet in the spare room.

  • I shop after Christmas since the prices are WAY cheaper than I could ever get them on Black Friday. I have a bin that I keep the gifts in and put them away. Sometimes during the year if I need a gift for a last minute party I always have something. If I see something that is on sale during the year on a website or local store I snatch that up and add it to the pile. LOL
    I also keep all the wrapping stuff in one bin as well that way I don’t have to chase down scissors, tape…etc.

  • I shop all year long and for all ages…. we do foster care, so we never know who will be in the house at Christmas. I have a christmas tree storage bag in the garage and all year I buy presents of the cool items for the ages and wrap them. I put a number on them with a sharpie and have a list on my phone of what each number gift is. At Christmas then I cover the number with a gift tag! I also have a coupon holder folder that I keep all receipts, just incase. When Christmas comes around I am ready and everything is in one spot. The gifts I didn’t have the age for I take to the Children’s home in Orange County. This way everyone has something to open on Christmas and I kept my head from spinning and my budget in tact..

  • I keep all gift wrap organized throughout the year so at Christmas/Hanukkah (both at my house) I can focus on all the other things popping up! We are big list makers for the gifts, so buy and cross works well.
    However – the rest of my life needs office organization like NO other!

  • LOVE your new office space!! I keep lists, lists and more lists on my iPhone and iPad (I love that they synch to one another to always keep my up-to-date)! Whenever I run across a gift, decorating or recipe idea, I add it to my list and, if I need a visual reminder, I will take a photo with my phone or “pin” a website photo to my Christmas Pinterest Board or ZipList recipe file. I love Ziplist because I can automatically add recipes to my file and shopping list. I use shelves in my craft room to store purchases and keep them organized until they are wrapped.

  • I keep detailed lists of what people want throughout the year. I have my Christmas decorations in totes in a closet. I also keep my wrapping paper, bows, tissue paper, tape, etc. in an organizor in the same closet. That way I know where everything is. Much less confusion. I’m going to try to stick to a budget this year with Christmas shopping. Wish me luck because I have a tendency to go overboard when it comes to shopping.
    By the way, I LOVE your home office. I need to work on ours. Right now it looks more like a catch-all than an office. Thanks for the post!

  • I do not have many people to buy gifts for so I try to look all year long for gifts. I keep them all together so that I know what I have. I make a list of what I have bought and ideas for what else to get. However, I really try to make the holidays more about being together than gifts.

  • I can’t read all 137 comments to see if mine is a duplicate, but I just make list the old way and cross them off as I buy the presents. I store everything in plastic bins and do all the wrapping at once and leave the presents in the bins that I have to take someplace so I can just grab it on the way out the door. I have forgotten my extended families presents before on Christmas day, not fun:(

  • Love the office–I knew it was IKEA!
    1. This year making all the gifts–Jillee my house looks like a test site for your posts.
    2. Wrap all gifts in fabric from my stash! Easy for cleanup, just fold and put back on shelf. Green for the planet, saves green for me :)
    3. Decorate with food– fresh fruit, nuts, baked goods displayed under clear bowls, more items already in serving dishes in fridge (even the fried chicken gets a fancy dish & garnish), arrangements with the holiday dishes placed in a corner buffet area with one end as a permanent hot cocoa bar (for drop in guests), winter apron, napkins, potholders strategically set out etc. Use fresh evergreen & holly as accents, I always have red roses in a large clear vase filled with cranberries. The food gets eaten, dishes go in the dishwasher, linens get washed & put away, plants to the compost bin–holiday put away is a snap!
    4. Tag team for door buster sales. Did the with DH, Son 2, Son 1 & D-in-law 2B. Every one had their hit list (but always looking for rest of items too b/c the stores scatter things on purpose), meet at the checkout in 10 min or less (I used to carry cash b/c there was always a cash only lane -sadly it’s no longer, no one has the cash- it was always the shortest line). Forget shopping carts-they slow you done. Then onto the next store. I even did the mad house Toys R Us. Most Black Friday shoppers are not focused (except for the die hards that get in line Thurs. morning for that great electronic-can’t compete with them).
    Enjoy the holidays!
    Staples card would go to printer ink–Jillee’s labels are so cute you just can’t stop printing them!

  • I keep a color coded google doc spreadsheet. (Colors represent what I’m making vs. buying, what is in progress and what’s finished.) Having it as a google doc means I can access it via computer or phone, so I always have it with me. I have extra tabs for instructions for DIY projects and recipes. It’s awesome!

  • This is the first year I actually have some extra space (We moved into our new house earlier this year from our depressingly cramped tiny condo!) and I have a “Christmas Closet” that my husband is not allowed to enter! It’s let me store all the great gifts I’ve found throughout the year so I can take advantage of sales and bursts of inspiration. When it comes time to wrap presents, I can shut myself into our home office (which is where the closet is located) and start wrapping to my heart’s delight. It’s always a work in progress, but it’s getting there!

  • I have a home office that just needs to be created! So many boxes and clutter that it has become the dump room. This gives me inspiration to get it cleaned out, fresh paint and brighten it up! I stay organized at Christmas by keeing all my wrapping paper in a storage box with the tags, scissors, tape all in one place. Now the real trick that I found early on when my kids were little (and couldn’t read yet) was to by different paper for each person in the family. This makes it much easier to wrap!! Adults usually get the same paper, but for the kids…I make it more personal with themes they like. Christmas morning is MUCH easier!!

  • I try but it seems I always find one Christmas gift that I put away somewhere and found after the holiday. I did not know about Staples and Martha but would love to shop especially with a gift card. Fingers crossed!

  • I stay organized through the holiday’s by continually simplifying what I do. Inexpensive cards at Target, family photo at Costco, and print the labels. Who has time to hand write all that stuff anymore? Besides, I want it to get there… he he. Poor postman might not be able to read it if I wrote it. Make lists as to what I’ve bought or ideas throughout the year, iphone notepad works good or evernote.com and make a folder and just send the ideas there.

    This year I’m EXCITED to use your money envelopes for each child/person in my home. Set a budget for their Christmas allotment and every time something is purchased, write it down. So excited to play with this system and am using this as the jumping in point. Black Friday here I come.. envelopes in hand.

    Thanks Jillie

  • All of my wrapping supplies are stored together normally, but for Christmas I bring them into our guest room where I do all the wrapping (it’s nice to have it contained in a room out of the way where I can let it get messy for a few days). I try to wrap fairly soon after purchasing so I’m not too overwhelmed. I put it all away after wrapping the last gift. Also – our family uses Google Calendar so we all know what’s happening. We love it!

  • Hi Jillee,
    What a nice office you have! I LOVE the chair! It makes a huge difference to add the color and some “softness” to the room! I hope it gives you many hours pleasure! Now you need an ottoman to put next to it in case you ever need to “just rest your eyes!” ;)

    I am not overly organized, but somehow it always gets done. We used to hide gifts in the attic. Now, my grown ‘kids’ mostly want gift cards with me getting them a couple of surprises to open up. The highlight is that our family and my siblings (5) and their families all get together on Christmas Eve as my parents (who are now gone) always had us do. It keeps us close and it really makes it seem like Christmas! Then we all go to together to the church we grew up in for candlelight services. Nothing better, especially in this crazy, busy world!

  • Wow, love how the new office turned out! My hubby and I share a home office since we moved 2+ years ago and it’s still a disaster – I think it’s time for an overhaul this winter!

    As for Christmas organization, sadly it’s about as organized as the home office. I need some serious organizing help!

  • In my family we get very overwhelmed by to much clutter or chaos so we do simple. I don’t really need to organize Christmas because we do not go overboard to begin with. We give each other one present each so that’s pretty easy to keep up with and we try to find a fun activity or show to get tickets to around the holidays. Experiences instead of more things I guess. Everyday organization is really important because we get stressed easily without it. (Your new office looks like a very peaceful place to get work done!)

  • I am a big fan of Excel! I use it each Christmas. I have one list for all my Christmas card addresses and then another list for all the gifts I need to buy, wrap, and ship. It helps me keep track of where I stand with each and I love that I can sort all my columns by location (shipping all my Chicago gifts together), store, etc.

  • What has worked for me in the past is to designate an area and or room in the house and that is where I store everything…I am luck and have the extra space so that also helps…I also find it best to wrap as I buy even if we don’t put things under the tree until later…It can be very overwhelming to try and do everything on Christmas Eve and that also takes away from family time….Thanks for the fun and awesome give away!
    Happy Holiday’s….

  • My ways of keeping things simple is to have one menu for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. It. Never. Varies. (by much). This is the same menu that my grandmother and mother made for these holidays. The only time of the year that I fix this menu is for these two holidays, so we’re not tired of it and it’s a tradition for us. By keeping the same menu, I don’t have to worry about timing. I know what food I need for this menu and when I have to buy the food so the turkey’s thawed and the green beans are fresh. I know what needs to be cooked, how long it takes to cook and when to start cooking each item. I know what I can make in advance and how long it takes to make it. Since I have a TINY one bedroom apt, there’s very limited storage space, fridge/freezer space and counter top space for things I need daily. That means that extras have to be done at the last minute. Baking is done a day or two ahead of the holiday so that things are still fresh. (Since these are for meals or gifts, FRESH is important!).

    I keep all things Christmas – my Christmas ornaments/decorations/music, etc; in 2 of those large popcorn containers and in a couple of totes. They fit inside my linen closet. I can lay my hands on them in seconds.

    Lastly, I use a combination of Evernote, Stickies (a program you can use to paste “sticky notes” on your desktop) and my (not fancy – no internet connection) cell phone to keep track of what I’m doing. Evernote keeps recipes and things I want to buy, complete with pictures. Stickies is where I post the candies, bread stuffs and baked goods I want to make for the holidays along with tasks I’d like to get done and places I want to go. I use my cell phone calendar to make reminders of events or places to be and use the alarm to see that I don’t forget or double schedule myself. (Before I got this phone, I would place a call to my home phone and leave myself reminders of things I don’t want to forget.) I have a note pad on this phone and I can also sync with my computer a word or spreadsheet doc of things I want to buy/people to buy them for, shopping lists and to-do lists. It’s easily accessed, I have the phone with me all the time and I don’t have to worry about keeping a separate notebook in my purse – one less thing for me to carry around!

  • Besides the millions of lists I make I am not really that organized. I have shopped throughout the year & I THINK that I actually know where all the gifts are this year. That is MAJOR improvement!

  • I was able to extend the Santa Claus belief with my son for quite a long time. I bought one new paper every year that was specific for Santa (it was used for other gifts the following year), all stocking stuffer and presents were wrapped in just that paper. When he was much older he told me that the paper is one of the things that made the difference in believing, because he would start to doubt and notice that no other gifts under the tree had the same paper or pretty ribbons. Santa only did stockings and 1 special present every year (my immature ex husband, didn’t like Santa getting the credit for the gifts our son received, and almost blew the whistle on Santa when he was 3).

    One year we moved into a new home 3 days before Christmas, I struggled with the tree stand that year. My former mother in law wanted Christmas Eve at their home that year, even though Christmas dinner (for 10) was at our home the next day (the one we just moved into), and my ex husband (wasn’t ex then) had no other siblings that were attending. We arrived back at our home at midnight with a borrowed tree stand from the in laws. Put our son to bed (was 3 yrs old) and I stayed up until 4am putting up the tree and wrapping gifts. I skipped the lights (wasn’t prelight) and ornaments that year. Just hung candy canes. My son woke up in the morning, and said Mommy look, Santa left us Candy canes, he didn’t want us to have a bare tree. Started a new tradition of candy canes not going on until Christmas Eve, when Santa brought them.

    I use to be much more organized for Christmas, but the last few years I am scattered brain. In fact when I read this I was reminded of a gift I picked up on a silent auction at an event in June. But I have NO idea where it is. Looking forward to reading some of the ideas on here. This year some friends will get handpainted mugs with homemade hot cocoa, some will get handcrafted lotion, some homemade apple butter. Mostly nieces and nephews most of them being grown up receive gift cards (one side of the family drawing names though). I will be making a baby rag quilt for new great niece (have 2 weeks off between college classes, so maybe this weekend).

    I also need to give my new office an overhaul of organizing. It is the rarely used spare bedroom, I have an L shaped desk in one corner and queen bed in the other. Need to redo the closet to have space for crafts, non profit committee items, school work, and household….. Can I just move my office into the Martha Stewart section of the store.

  • GREAT office! I love the magazine files. I have a bunch of them myself because they hide SO much.
    I’m a list maker. I keep a small spiral notebook in my purse at all times. There are all sorts of random daily things written in there. I now have a Christmas tab added to the book (just a post-it) with my list of shopping goals. It also helps that I start really early. Thanks for the giveaway!

  • I used to shop during the entire year and think of ideas for people or something I’d like to have but didn’t want to spend the money on it, but then forget about it when the holidays came. Since then, I’ve kept a running note on my smartphone of gift ideas for myself and my friends/family as I’m out shopping throughout the year. That way when it comes to shopping time, I already have a list of ideas for people and things that I genuinely would like to have for myself!

  • Love reading your daily post, lots of inspirations. To help keep the craziness of the holidays down to a minimum and also not break the budget, I start shopping for those close family and friends in June. I’ve always been a “inspiration” buyer, i.e. if I see something and the thought ” so and so would like this” I weigh it’s value and uniqueness then buy it. I’ve learned to then tag who it’s for and make a note on my composite list. I’ve also learned to keep all future gifts in the same place since there’s nothing like finding a Christmas gift in March. My goal each year is to have most of my holiday shopping done BEFORE Thanksgiving. I find deals throughout the year and unless specific requested don’t go for the traditional consumer gifts. Who wants to give something that will only collect dust somewhere and rarely if never used. My next goal is organizing my hobby room so any help with that would be great.

  • I wrap gifts as soon as I get them home. That eliminates the need to hide gifts in obscure places all over the house. They can just stay out on display and they’re all ready to go (with names attached of course!)

  • i’m a list junkie. i write a gift list for every person in the family (including the dogs!) and lists for to-dos that include: november, december, christmas eve, christmas day and house (stuff to do to the house as we go along).

    my gift lists are living lists and are constantly changing. i don’t necessarily stick to them perfectly but if i happen to see something perfect then i’ll pick it up and delete something else from that person’s list.

    this year i’m going to try a new idea and that is to do 3 gifts per kid. something they need, something i want for them and something they want. (and christmas stocking stuff on top of that)

    Thanks Jillee for all of your posts and your new office looks great!

  • Early in the year, I make a list of everyone I need to shop for, as well as our spending limit for each. I keep it on my phone so it’s always nearby. Every time I think of a good gift idea, I write it down next to their name. If I’m in a store and I notice something, I’ll buy it and keep it in our “christmas closet” until Christmas. I also have a private Amazon shopping list that I use to keep track of gift ideas. Any time I have a little extra money throughout the year, I go to my list and buy one or two things. I set up e-mail notifications for when certain gifts go on sale so I can buy them at the lowest possible price. My shopping is usually done by Thanksgiving every year.

  • Right now my “office space” is in my four year olds bedroom. This is what happens when a baby joins the family and turns everything upside-down :) I would love to carve space out somewhere else and this gift card would help out a lot!

  • This probably won’t help me win the organizational Martha Stewart/Avery/Staples gift card but my best suggestion to stay organized is to simply buy and give less. Expect less. Want less. Stop and think, is this really going to enhance my life or someone else’s life. As consumers, we have way too much stuff. I am cutting back to about 3 gifts per person for my immediate family. I want to physically and emotional do more things for people, as opposed to buying them things that they really don’t need. I know which friend needs a cup of coffee and a hug, which friend could use a babysitter, etc. I will do more and give less. I do not want a lot of presents either. I have everything I really, really need already.

    I could use the organizational supplies at my job at a public library in our children’s department. I would share the products with my coworkers to make centers that we all could use. We serve hundreds of children and parents every week.

  • Congratulations on your beautiful office and finding that GREAT chair! I’m a list maker and I start around February 1st making lists. When I see things I need on sale throughout the year I can pick them up cheaply.

  • The main way I keep organized at Christmas is using lists. Lots of lists! I have each child (we have 4) on a page and I write down what I’ve purchased and what still needs to be purchased, plus I make lists for other gift recipients we will buy for. I make lists for food items, Christmas cards, thank you notes, etc. I can’t keep it all up in my head. Once I have the lists going, everything else falls into place nicely for me.

  • I keep organized at Christmas time by writing down everything I want to accomplish, then I prioritize. I visit my list several times and each time, I re-prioritize. As time passes, I find out what’s necessary and what’s nice. Through this process, I’ve learned the art of letting go of the niceties to get to the necessities first. It eliminates a lot of stress.

  • I am a list maker! And I snoop around for the Black Friday ads as soon as I can get my eyes on them…there are several out already, which makes my list making a lot easier :)

  • I love your office space! I’m sitting in the chair in my bedroom with my feet on an exercise ball….aka…my office. I’m moving into a new home soon and looking forward to creating an office/work space. The giftcard would be a great help!

  • I just started cleaning out my daughter’s room for this same purpose. I have been using the dining room table for the last couple of years. My daughter went off to college 3 years ago and is coming home less and less. Sooo, we decided to clean it out for my office/craft area. Your area looks great. All those items from Avery and Martha Steward really helped finish it up.