Holiday Season Organizing

We are now officially in the holiday season. How do you feel so far? Stressed or on top of it? In case you're wondering how it all snuck up on you, I'm pulling some old holiday prep posts from the archives for an assist. 

No need to panic. There's still plenty of time. Breathe, feel free to say "no" to things you don't want, "yes" to the things you do, and you'll be juuuuust fine. 

Following are tips for the most common problems I hear about: 

Home - a.k.a. "Holy crap why did I never clean my house before now?"

Don't panic. That won't help you anyway. The inclination is almost always to toss everything into a box for the magical neverland of "later" and then stuff it in the closet. Resist. Take advantage of this moment to clear out anything you don't need. Think of it like clearing space for the new year.

  • Go into each room that guests will be in and remove anything you don't need, want, or use anymore. Doesn't have to be a bit ole organizing project - just move around the room in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion simply pulling out anything that you don't need.
  • All that stuff you just pulled? Get it out of the house immediately by way of trash, recycling or donating. Now. This step is *super-duper* important.
  • At this  point you may have created enough space for the house to look good enough. (Good enough is perfectly acceptable!) However, if not and you still to hide things away do so...but not before you've removed everything you don't need, use, or love! Then vow to organize next year so that this doesn't happen again. 

Decorations

  • Take some time to locate and pull out all of your decorations. Go through them and make sure everything is still in good, working condition. If not or you just don’t like it anymore, toss it out.
  • Separate everything out according to what it is – outdoor, indoor, tree, etc.
  • Can put them up at this time or wait until a little later. If you've don't have too much, you can do it all at once. If you do more elaborate decorating then you can put it out in stages.

Gifts

  • Make a list of all the gifts you’ll be giving this year, along with ideas of what and where it can be purchased – in store or online.
  • If you’re on a budget, this is the place to allocate how much money you will spend on each person to help keep you under budget.
  • Already purchased some gifts through the year? It’s time to pull those out and get them wrapped up. (Remember, every little thing you do ahead will save you time when you’ll really need it – in the middle of holiday crazies.)

Parties and Events

  • Are you throwing a party this year? Make your invite list and send your invites out now. Getting on people’s calendar early will help others with their party plans. Also, start preparing and planning for your party now so you have time to breathe and look like the ultimate hostess.
  • (I’m posting party planning tips on Wednesday.)
  • What will you be attending? School, work and family functions. Travel. Friends parties. Special holiday shows like The Nutcracker. Look at everything you know you'll be attending and get it on your calendar.

Master Calendar (or as I called it through my event planning years, The Timeline)

Put everything down on a single, master calendar:

  • when you’re going to decorate
  • when you’ll be in a certain part of town near the store you want to buy X's gift.
  • Travel plans.
  • When you’ll go to the grocery store for party foods.
  • When you’ll make x dish to freeze ahead for x party.

Get every single thing, no matter how small or minor it may seem, onto a single calendar. This way you can get things out of your head and into a single place where you can see everything you need.

Then, to make sure you don’t feel overwhelmed, only look at one day at a time.

Pro tips:

  • Schedule self care. Maybe a pedicure or yoga class while you’re out shopping? Taking some time just for you will help you maintain energy through the season.
  • Plan and prep meals for the week so you have quick, healthy options to 1) avoid fast food and 2) counterbalance the indulgent parties. (I'm posting a healthy cauliflower soup recipe on Friday to help here.)
  • Don’t feel bad if you don’t stick to the calendar. The calendar/list is a tool to make things easier, but it’s not your drill sergeant. Take time to enjoy the season and know that it’s OK to say “no” to something if you need a breather.

Follow these tips to sparkle and shine through December with ease.

What are your favorite tips to making the holidays easier?

Wait a little too long to get ready for the holidays and now need to call in the cavalry? We have a few openings to help make your holiday organizing easier and would love to help.