No Clutter Gift Giving Ideas

Please Santa - No clutter gifts only under the tree!

You’ve all had these type of bombs drop into your hands.

  • Gifts you didn’t need
  • didn’t want
  • Clothes that were wrong/ill fitting/etc
  • Perfume that smelled like it was from the 80’s
  • “Special” decorating items – (where should I hang this Big Mouth Billing the Singing Bass?)

You’ve probably given a few of these gifts too.

Like the plate of goodies to the diabetic, wine to the neighbor who is going to AA, or stuff that simply clutters up peoples lives.

We give gifts to make others feel special, they keep it because it was from someone special . . . no wonder most of us bemoan of too much “stuff”!

We hate clutter and while those slippers might be adorable – I already have three pairs – please don’t buy them for me!

Now I’m no grinch and love to give — but want to give something they will love — long after the gift wrap is tossed!

Here’s some quick, easy and no-clutter gifts ideas!

  • prepaid car wash card
  • tickets to an event – a movie, concert, dinner theatre, comedy show
  • Specialty things they can use up and don’t normally splurge for – specialty teas, coffees, wines
  • Donation to a local charity in their name
  • Gift certificate for a massage, manicure, pedicure
  • Organizing services – who doesn’t want to start 2011 with a fresh start?

Of course these are  my top favorites!  We have lots of clients booking these home improving services with us for 2011 — What a fun way to start the year with a fresh clean house, or a room that looks all new (with things you already own)!

The gift of cleaning (one time special cleaning or on a regular service) – sparkling clean with no sweat is DIVINE!

Interior Redesign Home Makeover – Make a home or room a tv star!  Create a fresh look for a room or the entire house using your existing furnishings and decor.  What a great idea to get a fresh start on 2011!

Color & Paint Consultations – Painting a room provides a huge impact for low dollar – if it is the perfect color! Paint it the right color the first time!

Make sure your gifts are loved far into 2011 and not tossed out with the fruitcake!  For more of  services click here. We also work with top notch contractors and service providers so love to give you referrals to experts you can trust!

Margaret Oscilia is a Professional Home Stager serving Salem Oregon and surround areas who specializing in helping home sellers maximize their equity when preparing to sell.  Moving or improving? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

Here comes Santa!While our business is all about making  beautiful homes here is the Willamette Valley – there isn’t anything more beautiful than happy, secure children is there?

One cause near and dear to our hearts are homeless families, especially the homeless children here in Oregon.  It’s a staggering number of children whose homes may be in cars, friend’s sofas, and changing daily.  We serve on the board of homeless shelter and feel that by improving the stability of these families, we can improve our community.

The Salem Association of REALTORS Community Fund creates a magical Christmas celebration for children from the Salem-Keizer School District Homeless Education Program.  Last year over 150 disadvantaged children attended the party, complete with a visit from Santa Claus toting presents, food and fun activities.

This year over 250 children are anticipated and the Salem Association of REALTORS Community Fund needs your help.

Make a Christmas memory – every small donation creates magic — a smile on the face of a child!

See the information on the website of Salem Association of REALTORS Community Fund or contact us for donation information.

Here’s some highlights from last year’s party.

About the Author:  Margaret Oscilia, is a Professional Home Stager and partner of Creative Concepts – Home Staging and Contracting.

decorating for the holidays when home selling

Home Stagers can help when decorating for the holidays

We’ve written several blogs on home selling during the holidays recently, but came across this well written post, and also wanted to share it with our readers.  Yes – there are still homes selling and buyers looking in Oregon – even in December and January!
A real estate agent specializing in relocations in  Oregon, told me from her experience, there are more relocations in January than in any other month and always less homes available for sale.
So – if you want your home to sell, keep it on the market or get it on the market!  Here are some great points and for personalized assistance, our staging consultations start at $100 – a bargain for improving the sale-ability of your home!
by Phoebe Chongchua

As the year winds down, many homeowners fear that now could be a bad time to sell their home. While it’s true that the holidays can deter some folks from house hunting and making a major purchase—don’t give up.

If your house is on the market, step up the action plan to draw attention to it. Don’t let the holiday blues make you feel like there’s no hope. Homes are sold and bought this time of year. But the ones that get snatched up are the ones that are enticing to buyers.

Because this is a very busy time of year with personal travel and holiday celebrations, many real estate experts note that if you have buyers dropping by your open house or making an appointment to view your home, there’s a good chance they’re serious buyers.

There are some things you can do to make your home more “showable”. We often say in the real estate industry, “the way you live in a home is not the way you stage a home.”

So, while this time of year often brings out all the holiday decor, there is such a thing as too much holiday cheer. No, I’m not the Grinch. It’s just that not all buyers celebrate the same holidays.

A good rule of thumb, is to keep decor simple and subtle. If you celebrate Christmas, go ahead and put a tree up but don’t put one up in every room. Remember that buyers will be looking at your home and imagining their own holiday celebrations there. So, be sure to leave them room to envision their lives in the home.

This goes for the outside too. Holiday lights can be placed outside very tastefully but ditch the huge inflatable characters that make it look like your yard is an amusement park. Instead, opt for a nice holiday wreath and some subtle seasonal decor. Keep in mind that curb appeal is what gets buyers in the door. If your home isn’t appealing from the outside, buyers won’t bother to stop for a look inside.

Stash the gifts. If you usually put them under the tree or around the house, save them for the day of your celebration. There are two reasons: presents take up precious floor space and they are a distraction. It’s a good idea to keep as many personal belongings as possible in a safe, private place.

Especially in cold weather areas, cinnamon pine cones or some other mild potpourris can be a pleasant welcome. But don’t go overboard with different fragrances in every room.

Another nice touch is to spruce up the mantle. However, if you usually hang stockings with your family’s names on them, you might consider using less personal ones while showing your home. It’s the same reason, stagers will put away your personal photos—to create a space where buyers can imagine their photos and belongings in.

Listing your home for sale during the holidays doesn’t have to make you blue; in fact it can truly brighten your spirits by putting some green in your bank account. Just be sure to focus on making your home a buyer’s dream this holiday season.

Published: November 12, 2010

Phoebe Chongchua is an award-winning journalist, an author, customer service trainer/speaker, and founder of Setting the Service Standard, a customer service training and consulting program offered by Live Fit Enterprises (LFE) based in San Diego, California. She is the publisher of Live Fit Magazine, an online publication that features information on real estate/finance, physical fitness, travel, and philanthropy.


Related Posts:  Should I take my Home Off the Market for the Holidays?

House for Sale – Should I put up a Christmas Tree?

Margaret Oscilia is partner and a Professional Home Stager with Creative Concepts – Home Staging and Contracting which offers home staging and interior design services throughout the Salem, Albany and Corvallis areas. Creating beautiful spaces to come home to, and winning strategies for home sellers is their specialty! 503-881-0886

By the time the holidays are done I’m really tired of the extra decorations, clutter and hub-bub.  Most people will agree its fun to decorate for Christmas, but decorations that were so much fun to put up are really a drag to take down.

Another problem is that our holiday decorations continue to expand and take over more and more valuable storage space.  This year, take a few extra minutes and add some planning while packing away the holiday decorations.  Here’s some great ideas to help storing your holiday decor be anything but ho-hum!

First check out the items you didn’t use this year.

Are they really items you’ll use again?  If you are holding on to them for sentimental reasons, is there another family member or friend that would use them and cherish them?  Maybe it’s time to pass on ornaments to the kids or grandkids?

Do you know a young family that probably doesn’t have many holiday decorations?  Sharing these decorations can be wonderfully fun – especially if your decorations will be enjoyed and displayed in years to come.

Purge ruthlessly — realizing that decorations that didn’t get used this year probably won’t be used next year! (Sharing is caring!)

Store them well.  Walk through any store this time of year and there are storage boxes galore on sale.  Measure your storage space and buy a few well fitting boxes or totes with lids.  A tall narrow box for wrapping paper is super handy as well.

We store much of our decor by color.  Each year we have a color theme for our tree.  If the theme is for example, silver and red –  we have fewer boxes to sort through as we unpack and decorate because the other colors are sorted to separate boxes.

I love to buy wrapping paper and cards on sale after Christmas and by having good storage and well labeled boxes it’s in perfect condition and easy to find next year.

Wind lights around  paper towel tubes or rolled newspaper.  Leave the end that is plugged into the outlet on the outside of the roll.  Next year you’ll be able to test the lights and have no tangled messes to deal with.

If you are moving in the coming year:

  • Make sure to add extra packing materials and pack for the move now.
  • Label the boxes and seal so they won’t need to be evaluated and repacked later.
  • Purge, purge, purge and don’t buy the year end holiday sale paper or cards.  It isn’t worth storing and moving!
  • Give away your excess cards and wrapping paper.
  • If hard to move items like your Christmas tree stand aren’t in great shape, toss them now rather than later!

Next year as you pull out your holiday decorations you’ll appreciate the moments you spend now organizing!

Margaret Oscilia Home Stager and Redesign Specialist 503-881-0886

Moving or improving? Creative Concepts and Contracting has the expertise to showcase your home’s full potential, stretch your budget, and maximize your time.

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

Santa baby . . . I keep telling you . . . I’ve been a very good girl.

When you zip down the chimney this year can we work on a few things?  No you don’t need to load your pack with that ’54 convertible, (light blue), this year . . .

I’ve got a few other things in mind.

Please help me get:

  • New paint colors that look right – the first time please
  • A new look for my living room without spending a ton of $$
  • A de-cluttered and peaceful home to welcome me
  • An closets and drawers that stay organized
  • A bedroom that says “retreat” when I walk in the door.

Now Santa – I don’t mean to sound picky or ungrateful for other gifts I’ve received.  I use the vacuum I received last year and am especially appreciative.  And the sweater I know will fit if I just get to the gym more in 2010.

But this year – I really don’t need more.  I need to know how to use what I have and want  to make my home look better.  These white walls need to go.  But I’m fearful I’ll end up with a “pinky” beige.

Somehow I’d like to make my furniture look newer, the room seem sleeker and have a more contemporary “feeling” but still be one that is comfortable for my family.  You can do that can’t you Santa?

So please Santa – let’s go “green” this year.  I was wrong!  I don’t need the sable or the convertible – just help me redecorate my home. A home that looks like those in the magazine – you know the look I love!

A new year is coming — I’d like to spend it in a home that feels special to me and my family, but don’t have time to get it done.  I need some magical help to achieve it.  Where do I start?  Where do I shop?  How can I possibly pull it all together without breaking the bank?


Hurry Down the Chimney Tonight

Dear Hurry Down the Chimney Tonight,

After reading your letter I’ve decided it’s easier to deliver that ’54 convertible (light blue).  Asking me to help you pick out paint colors is a HO HO HORRIBLE idea.  I like Red and White . . . never thought about beige!

I could use a little help in organizing the workshop and maybe Mrs. Claus would want a new look for our home as well.

I’ve heard rumors of a company that specializes in this type of magic — they call it home staging and room redesigns – all sounds confusing to me.  But I see they know how to:

  • pull together a great look on a budget
  • recycle and use what you have
  • make sure your paint choices look great (hey they even know about carpet, tile, lighting and other updating suggestions)!
  • update your home so it’s not only beautiful but functional too

They’ll help you decide on a look you’ll love and make it work for your family and provide as little or as much help you need to get the job completed!

Maybe if you’re really a good girl you’ll be seeing a gift certificate for a room redesign in your stocking this year!



Thinking you need a fresh look for 2010? Have a room that just doesn’t have a look you love?  Learn how to make your home a haven with a room redesign consultation!  A special gift that lasts for years!

Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

View our website See our YouTube Videos Connect with us on facebook! Subscribe to our blog

Twas the month before listing, when all through the house
the owners were nervous, and began to grouse.
It was time they decided their house to prepare,
in hopes that some buyers soon would be there.

There was no time to rest all snug in their beds,
images of projects danced in their heads.
“What to do, where to start?” I said with a snap.
“A buyer‘s not going to just fall in our lap!”

Bring in the stager and stop all this chatter,
See if they can tell us what improvements really matter.
In this poor economy to sell in a flash,
we must learn how to give our house some panache!

Architecture to highlight and spaciousness to show
do you think the bottle collection and moose head must go?
Before the realtors and buyers appear,
the need for a plan and strategy was clear.

The stager appeared, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment she was just the trick.
In rapid succession the ideas they came,
she saw all the problems and called them by name:

“The Clutter! The Dirt!
The dated decor!
Deferred maintenance!
And papers galore!
We‘ll stage it all from the front to back door!
And make sure it‘s the house
All buyers will adore!”

With that, her pen — it began to fly,
preparing a plan for success to try
the before photos they showed quite a mess,
and many more issues we must address.

It‘s time, she said, with little ado
To be painting your interior a neutral hue
Your sofa is gaudy and condition is poor
A slip cover will transform it, she began to implore.

From pressure washing the walk and driveway too,
we started on the prioritized list of much to do.
Cleaning, decluttering – there was no looking back,
the extra clothes, the photos and collections to pack.

The windows! How they sparkled! The rooms! How airy!
Opening the closet door was no longer scary!
The master bedroom fabulous décor did sport,
Reminding viewers of a relaxing resort.

More lighting and décor gave the house a new look
All done with very little stress to the pocketbook!
The photos now prepared for buyers online
Showed a property that could be described as sublime!

With a series of comps to compare all the fixings
All fears were allayed; we would have a great listing.
Our realtor can now market in so many ways,
And assured us a sale in a matter of days.

One after the other, with comments to share;
Realtors on tour agreed, no house would compare.
Every room was inspected, our efforts made clear,
A buyer could be expected, we had little to fear.

The Open House, a gala event
They came dropping their cards and compliments were sent.
The buyers were plentiful, all in the queue –
The color of money, oh what a hue!

The offer it came, with the speed of a missile
The key was the Stager, oh what a pistol!
And our realtor exclaimed as we closed with delight,
“Happy selling to all, and to all a good night!”

Creative Concepts and Contracting — more than just happy holiday greetings — a plan of action for home sellers!  Contact us for home staging recommendations that will set your home apart and become memorable to buyers!


Professional Home Staging – Reliable Contractor Repairs – Beautiful Results!

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