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Strategies for the Season! (Part Two) Wrapping It Up!

Wrapping Station

Let’s talk about wrapping things up! Wrapping presents takes space, privacy (especially if you’re helping Santa!), and a little preparation. Make your Organizing Utility Tote into a mobile wrapping station!

  • Keep gift bags, tissue paper, ribbon rolls, and large bows in the body of the tote.
  • Keep regular tape and scissors in the mesh pocket on one end & a packing tape dispenser and a box cutter in the other (for those big packages).
  • Use the five exterior pockets to keep up with small bows, tape refills, pens & markers, and peppermints (to keep up your holiday spirit)!
  • Add a clipboard with your Christmas list to check off names as you wrap their gifts and hold your sheets of name tags.

You can put this kit and roll of paper in your trunk when you visit grandparents and do a little emergency wrapping if they need the help!  Or pair the Organizing Utility Tote with the Large Utility Tote & sneak your wrapping supplies from your car to your closet so the kids don’t see Santa’s special wrapping paper & name tags as you bring it inside! Now you’re ready to wrap!

 Wrapping Party

You’re busy. Your friends are busy, and you’ve all got to wrap presents for kids this Christmas without your kids catching you! The Solution? Throw a wrapping party!

Step 1: Set a Date!

Everyone’s going to be busy this month, so plan your wrapping party now! Finding time when all your friends can come might be a challenge, but it’s well worth it to spend some quality time over tape and tissue paper with people you care about!

Step 2: Set up a Distraction!

Plan to rent/stream a new movie with popcorn and snacks, send the kids outside to play (doesn’t work long!), send your significant others out with the kids to a movie, arrange an afternoon with their grandparents, or hire a sitter.  Don’t forget to consider your significant others’ feelings. Wrapping those perfect Santa-gifts — especially for younger children — adds to the excitement of Christmas!  Keep in mind that your wrapping party doesn’t have to be just for the girls!

 (Note: if you and your friends are making separate arrangements, this part can be a little easier to handle.)

Don’t forget to have a Plan B! If you planned on a day in the park, but the day of your party is wet & cold, you need to have alternative ready to keep your party on schedule!

Step 3: Plan To Entertain & Enjoy

Make those basic party decisions:

• Eat: holiday candy, finger food, order a pizza, or an appetizer potluck

 • Drink: punch, sodas, teas, coffee, cocktails, or wine.

 • Music & Entertainment: Christmas Music, It’s a Wonderful Life, or some other Christmas staple for background noise.

 • Remember:  You’ll all be using your hands so avoid sticky or greasy foods.

Also, if someone on one of your gift lists has an allergy to peanuts, don’t serve any as you wrap just to be safe!

As always, consider the health & diets of your friends when creating your menu!

Make a Needs List for Groceries & Supplies.

  • Decoration: This step is pretty simple – you’ve probably already decorated for the holidays!

  • Utilities:  Tape, scissors, gift tags, bows, boxes, packaging tape, pens/markers, etc.  Everyone should bring their own supplies (even you!) but it doesn’t hurt to have extra paper & supplies ready if they need it!

  • Groceries: Ingredients for whatever finger foods or drinks you choose to serve (if any) & holiday candy. Chocolate makes wrapping go faster!

Make Invitations.

• When|Where|Why? You may have called everyone to make the arrangements, but don’t underestimate the power of an invitation (even an e-vite) to help your guests prepare for the party!

Remember to Bring… This is a wrapping party — it’s like a potluck for presents! Remind your guests to bring their wrapping paper (+ their special paper for Santa), tape, scissors, bows, gift tags, boxes, etc.  Also, use this opportunity to remind your guests to bring “extras” if a gift has special needs — requires batteries or they want to include the gift receipt for exchanges. No one wants to spend Christmas afternoon digging through junk drawers or stealing batteries from remote controls to make those new toys work!

Make a To Do List for the Day of the Party.

   • Prep for Appetizers

   • Send the kids on their distraction

   • Set up the wrapping stations

   • Set up the trash station

   • Get out all your gifts

   • Add more To Dos as needed

Step 4: Set up your Wrapping Station

Get the Organizing Utility Tote ready as described at the start of this article.

Make sure you’ll have adequate, sturdy table space for wrapping, and a trash bag just for scraps.

You’ll need a ‘wrapping spot’ for everyone you invite. 3 friends = 3 wrapping spots You don’t want to leave a friend sitting on her hands waiting for room to open up! Card tables will work! (If you need another card table, ask your friends – one of them might be able to bring a spare table with her!)

Plan to Keep Gifts Organized. There’s nothing worse than realizing that you don’t remember what you wrapped in that pretty penguin wrapping paper – let alone who it was for. Avoid this by making a list of Whos & Whats and clearly labeling your gifts before the wrapping begins.  Try using sticky notes to keep gifts separated. Be prepared to help your guests keep their gifts organized! Get different color sticky notes for each guest to help them stay organized & prevent present mix-ups!

Step 5: Disaster Planning!

What happens if the kids come home early?Be ready in case your distraction doesn’t last as long as you’d hoped: keep the gifts in your special ‘from Santa’ paper or your unwrapped gifts in the Large Utility Tote! Should your kids come home, you can easily move the gifts out of sight until you can arrange to use your Plan B distraction! Also, consider having the About Town Blanket on hand — you can easily toss a blanket or throw over a stack of gifts. Yes, your kids will know that there’s something under there, but they won’t know what!

Step 6: Have Fun

Don’t forget that — while this is a wrapping party — it’s also a party and a chance to decompress your holiday stress.  Don’t let a difficult-to-wrap present or one roll of slippery, uncooperative paper upset you. Another bonus of having friends over to wrap is having friends who can help you wrap. If you get stuck and just can’t make that one corner look good, ask for help! And if one of your friends starts getting frustrated with a gift, offer to assist.

Just like packing tape — little holiday spirit can go a long way!

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Strategies for the Season!

Christmas is just around the corner. Are you ready?

Your Christmas Planner!

You’ve got a lot of things to keep up with for Christmas! Wish Lists, Christmas card lists, Get-togethers with guest lists & menus,  Gift Lists, Secret Santas, Grocery Lists, other Shopping Lists, Schedule of Events from school holidays to grandparent visits to church plays to day-after sales, Receipts & Gift Receipts, Stocking Stuffers, Decorations to put up, a Tree to Trim… whew!

Take control of your Christmas chaos! Use the Hang-up Home Organizer from Thirty-One to get your holidays in order!

Here’s how:

 1. Hang Up your Calendar!
There’s a calendar bar to hold your December calendar!

Note all the events for next month that you know right now – use a pencil because dates can change and parties can cancel, but ink lasts forever!

2. Keep your Christmas Card List Up to Date!
Beside your calendar is a clear sleeve large enough for a regular page (8.5×11).

Make a Christmas card list and slide it into the sleeve. As you send cards out, you can easily check them off with a dry erase marker! And if you get a card from someone who hasn’t sent you a card before, you can easily reciprocate and add them to your list for next year!

3. Note cards Get You Ready Now!
Below the calendar and 1st clear sleeve are two note card pockets.

You’ll visit friends, you’ll have people over, and your family will have other commitments this holiday season (church plays, caroling, food drives, secret Santa’s). For every event there will be details you need to know: dates, times, things to bring/buy, car pools, Santa rules, deadlines — so for every event make a note card! Keep them in chronological order and update them as details change.  When it’s time to get ready for that event, you can grab its note card and have everything that’s need-to-know right at your fingertips!

4.Tomorrow Matters!
To the right of the note card pockets is another clear sleeve – this one is for a regular page (8.5×11) turned on its side (landscape). 

Keep a blank sheet of paper in here and use the sleeve’s clear surface to make an agenda for the next day or hang a notebook here for keeping up with your holiday plan!

5.Write it Down!
Beside the landscape clear sleeve are three marker/pen slots. 

Use them for a pencil, a pen, and a dry erase marker. Don’t forget important details because you forgot to write them down!

6. Four Pockets of Possibility!
Below the note card pockets, clear sleeve and pen slots there are four pockets with clear ID slots.

This versatile part of the organizer can be tailored to work with your holiday needs. Fill them with lists, flyers (if you have them), invitations, and your notes! Try one of these category combinations:

Busy Family

Family Events



Shopping List


Gifts / Shopping

Travel Plans

While We’re Gone…

When We Get Back

On the Go

Our Parties

Parties Elsewhere

Other Events

Day-After Sales

These are just suggestions! Use them, mix & match, or makeup your own!

Staying organized through the hectic holidays will help you forget the stress and enjoy celebrating the season with your family and friends!

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Beat Black Friday!

Planning to brave the crowds, lines, and chaos of the busiest shopping day of the year?

Go prepared!

Plan your day!

Check out the ads, websites, & sale papers of stores you want to hit.  Use your Fold-and-go Organizer to make a list of both the stores you’re going to and the deals you want to try to get. If you need directions or special sale coupons, print them and put them in the interior pocket of the organizer.

For a compact shopping purse, take the Organizing Shoulder Bag or the Pop Crossbody. They both have adjustable shoulder straps and plenty of pockets.  You can easily carry your Fold-And-Go Organizer, cell, and other purse essentials with room for a bottle of water and at least a little chocolate. A shopper’s got to keep her energy up right?

Are you braving the shopping madness with children?

Get the Tote-Ally Awesome Tote and a Shoulder Strap.  You’ll have room for your purse essentials and a bottle of water… and a healthy snack to stave off whining, Band-Aids for booboos, tissues for tears or sneezes, hand sanitizer — because kids touch everything, and your own special Mom-remedies that have worked on your babies from diapers to diplomas.

Do you prefer to shop-lite — carrying only the most essential of essentials with you?

The Wristlet Wallet or Mini On-The-Go Organizer is for you.  Both are small, but can fit your shopping essentials: cash & cards with room for some change and those very, very important gift receipts! Forgo the purse all together and get the Wristlet Strap to dangle your Wristlet Wallet or Mini On-The-Go Organizer close at hand while you fill your cart.

No matter how you choose to shop – remember to put a Large Utility Tote or two in your trunk. After a long day of deal-chasing, you don’t want to make ten trips from the car to the house. Plus, you can tuck a blanket over the contents of your Large Utility Tote and keep prying eyes from sneaking a peak at their presents as you get them inside!

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Save Time, Save Space — in Style!

We all have those problem spaces in our homes — a chaotic pantry, that magazine stack in your living room, the cabinet that you have to crawl in to reach the back. If you’re going to put in the work to organize your home’s trouble spots, why fill them with those plain plastic bins when you can create a coordinated set of organizing products from Thirty-One?

Pantry Progress

Do you avoid putting things on the top shelf because they’re too hard to reach or the bottom shelf because you don’t want to squat down?

Consider using the Collapsible Cube! At just over 1 foot high, wide, and deep, it will fit on most shelves. The cube also has a handle on the side to let you pull it out like a mobile drawer! Fill it with canned goods and slide it on to that bottom shelf or keep light weight dry foods or chips together on the top shelf.

Need something shorter for your shelves? Try the Square Utility Tote! It’s only 9 inches tall, but 12 inches deep and wide.

For foods you tend to serve together, try keeping an All-In-One Organizer in your pantry. Fill it with spaghetti and sauce, dry noodles or stuffing and cream of chicken soup cans, rice and flavor packs, or any foods you like to pair up. You can use the organizer to divide these foods out from the rest of your pantry and make it easier to notice when you’re on your last jar of spaghetti sauce or that you’re getting low on cream of chicken soup. These solutions can work for your kitchen cabinets too!

Need a less cumbersome spice rack that you can put away when you don’t need it, but take outside easily for a fall barbeque or tailgate? Get a Mini Organizer! You can fill its 5 exterior pockets with the spices you use most and fill the 12 inch wide, 4 inch deep interior with the spices you don’t need as often.


Tailored Teenager Treatment

Help your teen (or preteen) organize!

The Cosmetic Bag is a great choice for keeping your girl’s toiletries in order. If she’s a young lady but too young for makeup, it will keep her lotions, deodorant, hair products, and other grooming tools off the bathroom counter and make packing for a slumber party a snap!

If you’ve got a young man, consider getting him the Men’s Essentials Case for his bathroom essentials.

Both products are great for keeping their bathroom organized and help prevent arguments about who used who’s comb or brush!


Extracurricular Activity

Are your kids part of sports teams, clubs, scout groups, or youth groups?

If they’ve been in it a while, then you know that each commitment has its own gear, uniforms, or other accessories that need to be kept together. Take a Short Utility Bin and turn it into an activity box! You can use a Cinch Sac to keep sports gear together and easy to carry. Add a Zipper Pouch to hold Scout Manuals & project information, as well as any smaller accessories for your kids’ group.


Glove Box Make Over

Does your car’s glove compartment look like an overflowing inbox?

Sort all that paper into a Zip-Around Portfolio with Notepad! You can easily fit file folders in it while keeping your registration and other important car information in one of the interior pockets. There’s also a notepad to keep track of maintenance information! You can add a Mini Zipper Pouch if you have other, non-paper goods to keep up with – like a pressure gauge or spare air fresheners.


If you need to Organize it and you want to do it in Style, Thirty-One has the solution for you!

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Holiday Preparedness!

With Thanksgiving only three weeks away, you shouldn’t just be planning menus — you need a holiday strategy!

Going to a family gathering & taking food and/or gifts?

Keep your casserole hot with a Thermal Container!  Thirty-One has two sizes: Small 6″high x 12″wide x 8″deep & Large 11″high x 18″wide x 13″deep. Both have water resistant thermal lining and sturdy handles.  For extra stability, they fit into the small and large rectangle baskets respectively.

Just taking beverages? The Thirty-One Picnic Thermal Tote can hold two 2liters & and ice pack! Or the Organizing Utility Tote can carry four 2 liters and a bag of cups!

If your extended family exchanges gifts after Thanksgivings Day dinner to cut down on Christmas travel, remember that the Large Utility Tote beats most duffle bags in terms of capacity and looks amazing doing it!

And if you’re showing off your children, remember to take along the About Town Blanket! The adventure of a long car ride (even 30 minutes can be an eternity to a toddler) and a huge meal will probably guarantee that your little sweetie is dancing in dreamland before the Macy’s Parade is over, and you’ll want to keep your angel cozy!


Hosting a family gathering at your house?

Don’t drive yourself crazy. Organize your dinner with the Fold-And-Go Organizer with Notepad. Make your decorations list, guest list, grocery list, and tuck your coupons in the interior pocket so that you have it all with you when you go to the store!

Get out your Organizing Utility Tote to keep your decorations and table settings together but out of the way until it’s time to set them out! Is your gathering large enough that you’ll be using paper plates and plastic cups & flatware? Create an attractive utensil station with the Little Carry All Caddy & a Serving Tray Basket with a Basket Liner.

 And you can use these same tips next month for your Christmas gatherings!

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