Thursday, December 1, 2011

holiday organizing

from Beth @ NW Organizing Solutions. We will have regular posts from her in 2012 - I took this from her email newsletter/courtney.

The holidays will soon be here and perhaps you are starting to feel the stress. There may be more than 12 days until Christmas, but there is also a lot to get done. How can you get ready for this wonderful celebration without arriving at the big day frazzled and exhausted?

Consider the following 12 ways to help you have a wonderful, organized, and stress-free holiday.

  1. Free up your mind by carrying a small pad of paper with you to write down the many thoughts that will be circling in your head over the next few weeks. Capture on paper your things to do, groceries to buy, and places to go, so your mind can enjoy the season.
  2. Keep your decorating simple. You don’t have to decorate as if it was a show home. Remember it’s the people that are important not the decorations. As you unpack the decorations, sort and purge those that you haven’t used in years or those that don’t look as good as they used to. Showcase your best.
  3. Be choosy about what you put on your calendar. There are so many great activities at this time of year. Think about each opportunity and evaluate it by asking yourself if you will really enjoy it, if you will still be able to celebrate the holiday and if you will be spending time with the friends and family you want to be with? Don’t be afraid to say “no” to some events.
  4. Start working on your holiday cards early. The task of writing all the cards at once may seem overwhelming, so break it down into more manageable tasks. Try addressing the envelopes one day, writing a portion of the cards on another, and finishing on yet another.
  5. Create a gift list and keep it handy. List all the people you have to buy gifts for and some ideas you think they might like. Keep this with you wherever you go, because you never know when the perfect gift might present itself. Check off when you have purchased gifts for each person, so you can avoid doubling up or having to make that last minute trip for a forgotten gift.
  6. Carve out a time to do your baking. Once you decide what you want to make and determine the necessary ingredients and the amount of time needed, schedule baking time on your calendar. If you plan to do lots of baking, consider baking some items well in advance and freezing them.
  7. Set up a wrapping area. This doesn’t need to be anything fancy. Just by gathering paper, tape, scissors, gift tags and ribbons near a large flat surface, you will help make the process go smoothly. Remember that using gift bags and tissue paper is a quick and easy way to wrap a gift. Also consider using a few large rolls of paper with one color theme instead of many small rolls to eliminate waste and reduce the types of ribbons and cards needed.
  8. Update your Christmas card and address list. As cards arrive, record who you received them from and any address changes so you’ll be ready for next year. After the holidays are over, save only the photos or special notes and recycle the rest.
  9. Plan meals in advance. Make a list of all the food items you plan to serve and gather the needed recipes. Make a few simple meals ahead of time and freeze them. You won’t have to spend as much time in the kitchen, so you can have more time to enjoy the season and the people important to you.
  10. Keep a recycle and donate bin close by. Don’t let the catalogs, newsletters, gift wrap, and miscellaneous items take over your home. Once they have been read or used, drop them into the recycle or donate bin.
  11. Reach out to those less fortunate or those who may be hurting. It may be someone you know or someone you have never met, but you can still show them that someone cares. You don’t have to spend lots of money on a gift. A visit to someone who is lonely or a warm meal to someone who needs it is a wonderful gift.
  12. Take time to celebrate. Remember your Christmas doesn’t have to be picture perfect, but a time to celebrate the greatest gift of all and to enjoy the season with those who are important to you. Merry Christmas!

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