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With only 34 days until December 25, it’s probably good to start thinking about what you might want for Christmas. Yes, that’s right, I said YOU. I’m not trying to sound selfish or anything, because in my opinion Christmas should be more about giving than receiving. christmas-presents However, we’ve all been asked some time or another, “What do YOU want for Christmas?” and we’re no help if we don’t have a good answer.

With weddings or baby showers, there are convenient gift registries we can use to help our friends and families find a gift for us that we desire. After my husband and I used Amazon’s gift registry for our wedding, I wasn’t quite ready to leave it behind. I loved the concept! The first Christmas after we got married, his parents wanted to know what I wanted for Christmas. Then my parents wanted to know. Then my brother needed ideas. You can see where this is going. But Amazon’s registry, although great for our wedding, wasn’t exactly the perfect fit for my Christmas wish list.

Registries through specific companies or stores are inherently restrictive because you can only register for their products and your friends and family are forced to buy that product only through that store. Enter Kaboodle, a catch-all sort of gift wish list in which you can “collect information from anywhere on the web [and] put it into a Kaboodle list that you can share with others.” No restrictions, anything goes. That’s why I’ve used Kaboodle for my Christmas wish list for the last 2 years. And I’d like to share with you today why I love it.

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Here’s the deal

Like any gift registry, you simply create an account and start a new list. But the unique thing about Kaboodle is that you can add products from anywhere on the web! kaboodle-siteWhen you sign up for an account, you have the option to get some handy Kaboodle buttons to add to your browser so that whenever you encounter something you are interested in, you can easily add it to your list by pressing that button. Once the product is added, you can describe it or leave any comments or notes for your friends or family to read. Your list has a unique URL that you can share with others. When someone visits your list, they may decide to ‘reserve’ one of your items. You can choose a setting that prevents you from seeing whether a product has been reserved or not, leaving some element of surprise. After someone reserves an item, they have the freedom to buy the item from anywhere they want, online or offline, including the store you originally found it in. The only thing Kaboodle does after this point is remove that item from the list so that others will not buy it as well. Easy as pie!

Pros

  • Interface is easy to use
  • Service is free
  • Community feature: people you know can create lists too and add you as a ‘friend’
  • You can add products from anywhere on the web (highly flexible)
  • People can buy your desired gifts from anywhere they want (better chance to find the best price)
  • Option to keep reservation status a secret
  • In addition to adding actual products from real stores, you can add ‘generic’ items like, “I want a chain saw”
  • You can use Kaboodle for more than just wish lists, like collecting favorite restaurants or showing off your collection of designer purses

Cons

  • Every so often (pretty infrequently) adding a product doesn’t always work right the first time (title or picture is wrong, or it’s altogether the wrong item)

Help your loved ones save time and money when they buy you gifts this holiday season

The reason I love Kaboodle from an organizational perspective is because of how easy it is to make a comprehensive, flexible list that offers people the chance to shop for the best price they can find. Plus, you can keep your Kaboodle list all year long and add stuff whenever you see it! No more last-minute ideas for you to come up with and no more last-minute frustrated shopping for your loved ones. I give Kaboodle a thumbs up!!

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Every once and a while here at Lifestyles of the Organized, I’d like to review a product that in some way helps us organize our space, time, or money. Today I’m going to talk about the Sanyo HPS-SG3 200-Square-Inch Electric Indoor Barbeque Grill. What does a grill have to do with organizing, you ask? Well, this particular grill isn’t just any grill.

My husband and I really love grilled food. We have a trusty Weber Charcoal Grill that we pull out every once and a while to cook up some tasty steaks or burgers. But the problem is, we really do only pull it out once and a while. Why? It’s outside (um, winter, anyone?), it takes forever to heat the charcoal, and it’s a bit of a pain to clean. We always drool when we see beautiful large gas grill units that people have, but they are very expensive and we cannot justify such a purchase. So when my husband spotted a deal on a creative indoor grill, we just had to try it.

Sanyo Grill

Stand aside George Foreman and enter the Sanyo HPS-SG3 Grill, a 1300-watt indoor barbeque grill with a 200-square-inch nonstick cooking surface that you can simply set on your kitchen counter. You just plug it in and the coiled grate surface heats up to the temperature you set. The grill comes with a metal drip pan to catch grease and the grill itself sits within a plastic tray. The entire unit measures 23 & 5/8 inches by 3 & 7/8 inches by 14 & 1/2 inches.

Here’s the deal

Part of the reason we bought this grill was because last week Amazon.com was selling it for only $35. The price has gone up a little since then, but it is still a bargain for what you get. Here are our impressions since using it a few times:

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Very light and transportable
  • Can sit right on your kitchen counter
  • Large grilling surface (good if you are cooking for multiple people)
  • Mostly smokeless (no more smoke/steam than you would expect from frying in a skillet)
  • Fast to heat up (similar to an oven)
  • No need to buy propane gas or charcoal
  • Very easy to clean

Cons

  • The temperature dial isn’t particularly accurate (it lists temperature ranges like 300-425 so you kind of have to guess)
  • The grill is a little tricky to store due to its awkward shape (I currently store it on a shelf in a closet near the kitchen)
  • This type of grill lacks the classic ‘grill’ flavors (i.e. charcoal) since it’s electric
  • Some people might not like the fact that there is no cover

Tips

  • Spray the grilling surface with cooking spray right before grilling
  • Fill the drip pan with an inch of water to collect the dripping grease and help make cleaning easier at the end
  • Place grill below a fan/vent to control small amounts of smoke
  • Immediately after grilling, take a wet paper towel and using a tongs, wipe the warm grate off to prevent food from sticking on and drying

sanyo-bbq-grill

Save space, time, and money!

My final verdict is that this cool little grill is nice and compact, heats up in no time, and is quite inexpensive. We will still use our Weber Charcoal Grill (in the summer) for bigger events or if we are really craving that classic charcoal flavor, but for all other grilling needs, this Sanyo indoor grill is just perfect. I give it a thumbs up!!

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