20% Off Everything in The Container Store!

My husband and I were in New York City for a long weekend last month and I finally got a chance to browse through one of the mythical New York City Container Stores. When I worked for TCS part time a few years ago, they were just opening the first NYC store. Because of the uniqueness of the New York retail world (stores with relatively small footprints) and lifestyle (very few people have cars for pickups), lots of creativity was involved in designing the NYC stores and their delivery systems. I squealed with delight when we rounded the corner on our way to the WFMU Record Fair and saw the big blue sign for The Container Store. You see, I'm married to a hardcore record collector, and I usually have to spend a few hours reading a book whenever he drags me to a record show. This time I got to play in my own little organized toy store while he flipped through thousands of vinyl LPs and 45s.

Speaking of The Container Store, this week I received my TCS email letting me know that they are extending their sale tied to Oprah's Clean Up Your Messy House Tour (with my secret boyfriend Peter Walsh). From now until November 30, 2008, you can get 20% off of everything in the store, including elfa shelving. Be sure to print out and bring the coupon on The Container Store's site if you are shopping at one their retail locations. If you don't have a store near you, you can shop online and use the code CLUTTERCREW at checkout or order by phone after downloading the coupon from The Container Store's home page.

If you're at the Perimeter TCS store in Atlanta Sunday afternoon, you're likely to run into me. But if you're too busy to do your own shopping for organizing products, remember that any of the Creative Order organizers can share their TCS discount with you year round. To schedule a personal shopper during the holidays, just call (404) 271-2111 or send me an email at suellen at creative order dot com.

Let the Decorating Madness Begin!

There's a guy in my neighborhood who, just as soon as Halloween is over, begins decorating his yard and house with Christmas decorations. I'm talking lighted candy canes lining the driveway, a giant glowing Christmas Snoopy in the middle of the yard, and twinkling lights on the house.

He always looks so happy while he's putting all this stuff out. I'm convinced that he's smiling because he knows that he's getting a jump ahead of the game and will be sitting back and relaxing while the rest of us are scurrying around with our holiday decorations as soon as Thanksgiving is over.

I think I'll take a page out of his playbook and get started a little early this year. If you've been reading "Better Organized" for awhile, you know that some years I give myself permission to boycott the decorating insanity altogether. It just depends on whether I'm feeling the urge. This will not be one of those years. As soon as I cracked open the Crate & Barrel holiday catalog, I could feel my schoolgirl giddiness swelling up.

For many reasons that will unfold in the coming weeks, I'm feeling more connected to the Universe and spirit than ever before. And for me, this connection is strengthened through the rituals and rich connections that accompany the holidays. So I am joyfully decorating this year!

But, as always, I'll be doing it alone since my husband has little interest in the process. In order to make things easy for myself, I have kept my decorating super-simple over the years. I have a small vintage artificial tree (one of those cool old silver ones like my grandma had), just enough decorations to fill the tree, a wreath for the front door, and one little table-top tree for my dining area. Limiting my decorating inventory to the stuff I really love has made this process pretty pleasant and quick.

For most of you, it won't be so easy. I know many of you have bins and bins of decorations in your attic, basements, and garages. Heck, I've organized those bins for a bunch of you! If you find yourself dreading the decorating process, consider hiring one of the Creative Order organizers to help you pull those bins out of storage and into the house. We can also help you go through your decorations to decide what to use this year, what you may be ready to consign or donate (now is the time!!), and what to put back into storage as memorabilia or to use in next year's theme.

Then again, you could just decide to skip the decorating altogether and instead enjoy the decorations of your friends, neighbors, and family. You have permission to just say no to the decorating madness.