If, like Tolstoy said, all happy families are alike but all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way, then we’ve all been in a family that was happy enough to share the holidays but maybe had an unhappy moment when Daddy bought Mommy a vacuum for Christmas. Like vacuums and blenders, organizing gifts might be too practical or unromantic for most but they could be the perfect gift for the organizational maven in your life.
You’d be surprised how many organization obsessives do not own their own labeler. A good Brother P-Touch labeler is a gift that is useful and even a little fun. Get the mid-priced model, which is big enough to type on easily yet doesn’t have a ton of unnecessary features. For extra credit, get a few rolls of label tape. I like black type on half-inch white tape, but if your recipient loves color or is a teenager, try black on neon pink or yellow.
If your recipient already has a labeler, do some sleuthing and find out what size and brand of label tape they use and gift a few rolls—label tape is always appreciated by organizing afficionados.
Beautiful wood or bamboo drawer inserts that expand to divide the drawer into compartments could be a wonderful gift if you’ve noticed the cook in the family has a jumbled kitchen utensil drawer. They work well for the family “junk” drawer also. Try Bed, Bath & Beyond and Crate & Barrel where they are available for about $30.
Smaller dividers are available to organize bathroom drawers and could be appreciated by someone in the family with an out-of-control make-up collection. Target and The Container Store carry small bamboo drawer dividers and utensil containers that can be used in narrow bathroom drawers. Clear acrylic is a nice alternative if bamboo or wood are not available or don’t mesh with the giftee’s décor.
A cool tape measure might be a great stocking stuffer for the organized giftee. I have a standard tape measure that is covered in saddle leather that I bought from a Sundance catalog years ago that is the envy of all my organized friends. Sharper Image offers a digital tape measure with a laser for $80. Leatherology has an adorable pocket or purse-sized tape measure for $45. There’s a clever tape measure in the shape of a brass chameleon—the tape is the tongue. You can find it online for between about $17 for the Walmart version or $108 for what looks like the identical version from Coppertist.
Hangars have been a pretty good gift for teenage or college age girls for a long time, and a box of velveteen-covered Huggable hangers is usually a solid side gift.
Organizing books are a good choice if you know what’s already in the giftee’s library. See what the latest on the best seller list or get them something a little outside their comfort zone, like a book on feng shui. Book Mine (Napa and St Helena) and Copperfield’s (Calistoga) are great stops for interesting titles. The Home Edit books, which are beautifully designed, make pretty gifts. Wrap them with a sheaf of expensive file folders or a box of useful Sharpie pens.
A really good tool box or tool chest is a great organizing gift that’s on the spendy side. I drool over the big rolling tool chests at Home Depot that look almost like kitchen islands. A garage that has a lot of small homeless items might get organized in a jiffy with one of those for storage.
The best gift of all might be a card with a written offer to help the recipient organize the family photos for four hours or to give several hours on a Saturday to makeover the garage or basement. Be sensitive! Offer organizing hours only to someone who has expressed a sincere interest in doing the project—be careful of it coming off as criticism or gifting it because the project is something you wish would get handled.
Ironically, organizing gifts are not going to be welcomed by the unorganized person, so use your best judgment. For the organizing supplies-obsessed, however, a pack of neon sticky notes or polka dot binder clips in the Christmas stocking will bring a smile to their face every time.