Be Prepared for Holiday Shopping Days

The holiday shopping season is ramping up.  The Halloween decorations and costumes fill the store shelves. The Christmas items will soon follow.

I just heard that Amazon is now having a special “Holiday Shopping Day” sale this October.  This sale is called “Early Access Sale” day on October 11-12, 2022.  It will be two days of holiday deals. Other retailers are also getting in on the act by having early special deal days.

First there was Black Friday on the day after Thanksgiving. Then the sales started on Thanksgiving day. The last few years many of the Black Friday sales started a couple of weeks before the actual Black Friday day.

It get’s early and early each year!

And now there are these special “sale” days in October.

But before you bite at that lure of these special sales, make sure you are prepared ahead of time.


Planning Your Personal Shopping List

Do you know what you need to buy for your holiday decorating or party planning? If not, now is a good time to take inventory of what you already have.

  1. Inventory your decorations and/or holiday party items. If you took photos of your home during the holidays last year, they can give you a good idea of what you already have.
  2. List any items you know that need replacing.
  3. Check the prices ahead of time at your favorite online store.
  4. If an item on your list is not on sale or isn’t a fantastic sale price, you might want to hold off on buying it right now. It’s still early. Better sales may come along online or in stores.


Planning Your Gift Giving List

If you have a lot of gifts to buy, these early sales may be helpful. You can save some money, especially if the sales are good ones. It also helps you get a jump on the gift buying so you don’t end up rushing around last minute to get things. Plus it can help spread you gift buying budget over a longer period of time.

But before you even begin to purchase any gifts the first step you need to do is create your Master Gift List.

If you’ve been a follower of my blog for awhile you may have already created this list.  Now is the time to make your yearly update to it.

If you don’t have a Master Gift List, now is the time to make one before you do any shopping. This link to the Master Gift List will give you the details you need to create it.


Preparing for the Holidays

It’s so easy to get caught up in wanting and buying the latest and greatest Halloween or Christmas decoration. The professional marketers know exactly how to lure you in.  That’s why they are adding more “Special Holiday Shopping” days every year. They’re also trying to create that “urgency” to buy now!

If we’re not careful we can easily end up spending more money than we want to, plus have a lot more things that could end up as clutter in our homes.

Halloween is one day of the year and those decorations are usually up for only 3-4 weeks at the most. You still have to store them for the next 11 months. Christmas is only a little longer, usually from Thanksgiving to the first of the year.

Planning and preparing ahead of time will help you stay a step ahead of the marketers, which will put you in control.

The lists mentioned above are a great way to do this. On the Article and Blog Index page there are more helpful articles listed under the Holiday section.


I also have two eBooks available for sale on Amazon and Barnes and Noble with a lot of tips and ideas to help you plan and prepare for both Halloween and Christmas/Chanukah. You can still take advantage of the those “Holiday Shopping Days” because you will only be buying what you need or want according to your prepared lists.

How To Have A Fun, Safe, And Decluttered Halloween

Tips To Simplify and Organize Your Holidays







To a lighter load along the way.

Janice Scissors

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Clutter – Use It – Trash to Treasure

Many times our clutter consist of items we once used but are no longer using them. When this happens we really only have two logical choices to make. Either figure out a way to use the item again in our current life or lose it.

The Use It or Lose It idea has helped me make decisions on some of my stuff. These are things that have ended up in a closet, drawer, or storage room just taking up space and gathering dust.

Here are some questions I ask myself to help determine whether an item is worth keeping or letting it go.

  • Is this something I can use in my current life if it’s cleaned up, refurbished, or repurposed in some way?
  • If it doesn’t fit in my current life in some way, why not?
  • Is it time to let it go?


Re-doing My Office

A few years ago I had a small bulletin board hanging up in my home office. This room is on the main floor with open doorways to the front hall and the family room.

When we remodel the whole main floor with new wood flooring and painting, I decided to get new office furniture. The old stuff was inexpensive furniture from the discount stores and had seen better days. . It was not going to look good with the beautiful wood floors.

So I got rid of most of the furniture and bought a new desk and two bookshelves from Wayfair. That old bulletin board went downstairs to the storage room.


Refurbishing the Old Bulletin Board


Recently I decided I wanted to put a bulletin board up on the wall above one of the bookshelves. But there was no way that old one was going to go back up there. At least not in it’s current condition. So I did a little research to see how to refurbish a bulletin board with paint.

I enjoy painting things but rarely do it. Even though I’m not highly skilled in it, I decided to paint the bulletin board plus add a little stenciling. If it didn’t work out, I could either donate the board or trash it.

I bought some acrylic craft paint at Walmart and some seashell theme stencils online.  I decided to keep it simple by using only two colors. One for the board and another for the frame and stencils.


First I taped off the frame. The cork board ended up taking 3 coats of the acrylic craft paint to get it to look good. Next time I will use some kind of primer first.


When the cork board was dry I painted the frame white. Then did the stencils.







I think it turned out pretty good. It’s cute, a little whimsical, and looks a lot better than before. I took a piece of clutter in my storage room and made it a useful item for my office.









A Different Way to Look At Our Clutter

We don’t have to always look at our clutter from the standpoint that it has to be let go. It may have outlived it’s usefulness in it’s current state but we can repurpose it to a useful item in our current life.

If we don’t think we can repurpose/reuse it in some way it’s probably best to let it go. It just might become a trash to treasure item for someone else.


To a lighter load along the way.


If you’re on Facebook be sure to check out my groups on decluttering.

Clutter-Use It or Lose It

Controlling Paper Clutter Support Group

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Decluttering My Beauty Routines and Products

For the past couple of years I’ve been decluttering my beauty and body products plus simplifying my routines. The pandemic has actually helped me in some ways to reduce my inventory of those kinds of products.

Since I didn’t go out to many places this past year, I didn’t use a lot of my make-up. Nor did I purchase many new items.  As a result, I have a lot of old and/or unused make-up that is probably bad. It’s time to let go of these items.

I use to buy a large majority of my make-up and other toiletries from my Avon representative. She left the catalogs for me every two weeks for years. When she retired in December 2019, I decided it was time to change my shopping habits.

Reducing the clutter and simplifying routines also meant I had to reduce what came into the house. I had to learn to not buy into the advertising about all the “miracle” products that would keep me looking 20 years younger. I also had to learn that I don’t need to have five or six different scented shower gels and lotions all at one time.

Reducing Inventory

Even before the pandemic and my Avon rep retiring, I was already on a “reducing inventory” plan.

It started in the summer of 2019. We remodeled our master bathroom. The bathroom isn’t large but it did have a small closet in it.

The remodel consisted of redoing the shower stall, new vanity, new toilet, and new floor. It also consisted of removing the popcorn ceiling and the taking out the soffit over the shower stall. That made the room look and feel larger. We kept the closet because there was only room for a small vanity.

Before the remodeling started, I had to pack up all the stuff in the closet and vanity.  Once I gathered all those lotions, shower gels, shampoos, etc. into a large box, it was easy to see I had way too much stuff. I then knew I had to reduce my inventory.

I decided I would use up what I had before I could buy/replace any new products.

My closet is now mostly decluttered. After using up most of the products I like, it’s been easy to see the ones I didn’t use. Most of what is left I still use.

However, after taking this photo I realize I still have some things I originally kept but haven’t used in the last two years. Time to doing some decluttering.

Stocking Up Too Much

When I find a product I like it’s so tempting to stock up when it’s on sale.  Why pay full price when I know I’ll use it. But if I’m not careful, I’ll end up with way too many items on cluttered shelves.

I like using different scented shower gels and lotions. Avon had great deals on these kinds of products in every catalog. As a result I ended up stocking up on too many.

I also bought several different ones from Bath and Body Works, especially when they had their sales of buy 3 get 3 free.

Great deals but how many different scents/products did I really need?

Changing my buying habits was crucial if I wanted to keep my new bathroom decluttered. I was lucking for the three things that helped me break the buying habit.

  • Remodeling the bathroom
  • Avon rep retiring therefore eliminating the catalog temptations.
  • The pandemic which didn’t allow me to go to the store to sample the scents from their sample bottles.

Letting Go Of Unused Products

Now my inventory is getting low. So it’s getting time to shop again. Only this time I plan to be careful about what I buy and how much. I have to remind myself that I don’t have to stock up on something just because it’s on sale. Maybe one extra bottle on the shelf, but not three or four or more.

As I mentioned above, after taking the photo I noticed there are some items that are not being used. I have learned over the years that a simple photo can help us see a lot more than our eyes alone can see. It’s a great tool to help with decluttering.

Anyway, it’s time to let go of those unused products. Here are a few ways to get rid of them without too much guilt.

  • Shower gels, bubble bath, or shampoos that are not liked can be used to clean toilets. Flylady taught me years ago that any kind of soap will clean. Plus these smell much better than the chemical cleaners.
  • Unopened lotion and other products can be given away to friends or homeless shelters. Just make sure they are not too old and expired.
  • Opened or too old of products need to be trashed.


Focusing on the Future

Although I’m still in the process of learning to keep the bathroom toiletries minimalized, I’m finding that I don’t miss having so many choices. I have my few favorites and they are easy to find on the decluttered shelves.

If I want to try a new scent and/or kind of lotion, I will allow myself to give it a try. It’s great if I like it but if I don’t, I need to let it go as soon as possible. I will not allow myself to feel guilty for wasting money.

Because I didn’t waste money. I spent the money on an experience (not just a product) that didn’t work out. Oh well.

Life is too short to beat ourselves up over every little “mistake” we may make. Learn from it and move on.

In other words, let go of the disliked product and remember not to buy it again.


To a lighter load along the way.

Janice Scissors





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Sentimental Items – Save the Memories, Not the Clutter

Letting go of a sentimental item is hard. Sometimes memories attached to that item are very important to us. We don’t want to lose those memories.

The the fear of losing those memories may be a lot stronger than our love for the item. Especially if the item is not being used and it’s in the way or hidden in a box or drawer somewhere. So we continue to hold on to those memory triggers much longer than we need or want too.

Inheriting Items

After we moved my mother to a nursing home, we had to sell her house. I was the only one living in town so the majority of the work fell on me. On the plus side, it gave me the opportunity to see which pieces of furniture I might want. Since it was a local move it was a lot easier to move any furniture to my home instead of across the country where my sisters live.

One item I took was a treadle sewing machine. It was actually my grandmother’s on my father’s side. My parents got it after my grandmother passed away many years ago. My mother wasn’t a sewer but she liked the way the cabinet look. It became a piece of furniture in her bedroom. Her jewelry box sat proudly on top.


Anyway, for close to 30 years the antique sewing machine was closed up in it’s antique sewing cabinet in my mother’s bedroom.

When I moved it to my house I put it in a corner of my dining room. Along with the sewing machine and cabinet came all the memories I had of it in my grandmother’s house. I remember seeing it in her second bedroom between the beds. My cousins and I would play in that room when we got together for holidays.

Even at a young age that sewing machine grabbed my attention. To have it in my own home felt like an honor. Since I was the one who became the sewer in the family, that added to the special significance of it.

What to do with it?

A few times I lifted the machine up out of the cabinet to see if it worked. It did except the belt that moved the wheel was broken. For some reason my old dog thought it was something to chew on. I didn’t replace it because I didn’t want her to chew on the new one. She was old with some strange behaviors so I didn’t bother fixing it at that time.

Shortly after she passed away we decided it was time to pull out all the old carpeting and replace it with new wood floors. At that point, I let go of a lot of the old furniture. I planned to buy some new things after the floors were done. I wasn’t ready to let go of the sewing machine yet so I moved it around the corner into the laundry room. It’s not a large room but the machine wasn’t completely in the way.

Deciding to let it go

The sewing machine first became a problem when the floors were completed and it was time to move the furniture back. The wheels were rusted. There was no way I was going to have those old metal wheels on my nice new light wood floors. I considered getting a floor rug to put it on. But the more I thought about it, I didn’t want to cover up a part of the wood floors with a throw rug. But I also didn’t want to let go of the machine.

So it sat in my laundry room month after month until I could decide where to put it. The new furniture was mixed with the old pieces we kept. With the beautiful floors becoming the focal point, a light, minimalist look became a relaxing environment to be in. Less furniture also made it easier to clean the house. I can’t complain about that.

In the meantime the sewing machine and cabinet sat in my laundry room becoming more of an inconvenience than anything else. I finally reached a point it was time to let it go.

Preserving the Memories

Before I let it go I wanted to make sure I had a way to preserve the memories. It wasn’t just the sewing machine and cabinet that were memory triggers, it was also all the sewing items my grandmother had put in the drawers so many years ago. Apparently my mother never touched anything in the drawers. It was like a time capsule from my grandmother.

Sewing cabinet drawers time capsule.

In the drawers were wooden spools of thread, needles, pin cushions and cut off hems from dresses and pants. She was a short woman so most of her clothes needed to be shortened. Why she kept the extra cut off material is anyone’s guess. Maybe she thought it would come in handy one day.

To preserve the memories of those time capsule drawers I took lots of photos before putting things in the trash. But I still wanted a little something I could physically touch. That’s when I went searching for some ideas. Pinterest is a great place to find creative ideas.

I decided to keep the old wooden thread spools, pin cushions, and other small sewing items in a medium size glass vase. Each time I look at it I think of my grandmother hemming her clothes. The vase is sitting on the counter next to where my new computerized sewing machine is.

The old and the new right next to each other.

Old memories in the jar. New memories as I sew doll clothes for my granddaughter, cute masks for my family, gifts for a new baby, or a holiday gift for a friend.

Memories preserved in a jar.

Any Regrets?

Do I miss the sewing machine? Every once in a while I have a small regret. But for the most part, I love the clean open space where the cabinet use to be. I still have the memories each time I see that glass vase full of the sewing items. Whenever I run across a photo in my digital albums, it sparks the memories. Even though the big physical item is no longer in my house, I didn’t lose the memories. I digitalized and miniaturized the memory triggers.

If you’re struggling with letting go of sentimental items check out these blog posts for a little more inspiration.

What Value Does An Item Have

Treasure Lost And Found


To a lighter load along the way.

Janice Scissors


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Deadlines Help With Decluttering



Have you ever had a deadline help you with decluttering? I know I have. Think about this for a moment.

Remember when you were having the family over for a holiday dinner or birthday party? How did you prepare for it? If you’re like most people you planned the food/menu for the dinner or party. Hopefully you shopped for most of the stuff ahead of time leaving just a few perishable items to buy last minute.

But what about cleaning the house? I always find it amazing that when I’m preparing for company I notice all the clutter laying around. I know the stack of magazines has been there for awhile. But now it looks real messy. The DVD’s and video games are overflowing the shelf under the TV.  How long have they been a chaotic mess? And when did the empty cups and dishes start accumulating on the coffee table and end tables? I didn’t realize the cat and dog (or kids) had so many toys laying around.

You get the picture. We become blind to everyday clutter until we know company is coming over. Then we start looking at our house through their eyes. 

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