Organizing for the Holidays

Thanksgiving FeastAdvance planning and organizing is often a vital step in the success of projects and events. The importance of knowing what you need to do, what you need to buy, with whom you need to communicate – and when! – probably can’t be overstated. Holidays are no exception; in fact, planning and organizing for your holidays are the key to enjoying a happier, peaceful, more joyful season.

As the holiday season approaches (Thanksgiving is just over two weeks away), there are a number of things you can do this month to get your home and your head ready:

Toys, Toys, Toys

If you have kids, holidays probably mean toys! Take some time now to clear out kids’ toys, books and electronics to make room for gifts. Talk to them about donating items, which gives them more space and – more importantly – teaches them the value of sharing what they have with others. A little space cleared in your kids’ play room or closet will make it much easier to find a home for new things in December.

And Clothes, Too!

The same goes for clothing, shoes and accessories. Pick a closet and declutter. (This past weekend I went through every article of clothing I own, down to my socks, got rid of a bunch of stuff and organized the rest – what a great feeling!). Getting rid of clothing that you don’t wear or don’t like makes it easier to see what, if anything, you and your family members actually need… so when Aunt Sally calls, you’ll have some gift ideas to share!

Simplify Shopping

Ask family and friends what they would like for Christmas. We so often struggle with gifts, particularly for those hard-to-buy-for family members, but sometimes we don’t think to ask. Consider giving (and receiving) clutter-free gifts like tickets to a movie, concert or sporting event, or taking a trip together.

Remember to keep your list with you (on paper or saved on your phone or tablet). This way you’ll have it handy if you happen across a great sale or have a few extra minutes to squeeze in some gift buying. Track your spending on each item or person so that you don’t overspend your budget.

Keep all of your holiday shopping receipts in one place so that it’s easy to find them in case items need to be returned.

Greeting Cards Have All Been Sent…

Well ok, maybe not yet. But this is one task that you can knock out early so it’s not hanging over you during the weeks ahead. Keep a list of those you send cards to (or receive cards from) each year so making your list an easy task.

If you’re sending photo cards, take or select your photos now and get them printed to avoid holiday mail delays. Address your envelopes or affix printed labels and stamps so cards are ready to pop in the mail as soon as you want to send them out.

If you really want to beat the rush, consider sending Thanksgiving or New Year cards. It’s a great way to stay in touch with family and friends, and your card isn’t one of a large stack that they’re receiving each day.

Don’t Miss Out on the Joy

It’s easy to get so caught up in the busy-ness of the holidays that we overlook their meaning, and the opportunity to celebrate with family and friends. Ask family members to share those activities that are most meaningful them during the holidays – baking cookies, going to The Nutcracker, taking an evening walk through the neighborhood to look at holiday decorations – and make a point to do those things. Schedule them on your calendar just like parties or meetings to make the holidays special for everyone in your family.