Skip the overwhelm this year by getting organized for the holidays.

Whether you are a person who greets the holiday season with open arms or dreads the rush and obligation, there are steps you can take to make it easier.

1. Plan Ahead

The holidays can be stressful, and it’s essential to plan ahead. Whether staying in town or visiting relatives across the country, make sure reservations are made well ahead of time.

Make lists for everything – dinner plans and menus, people you need or want to give gifts to, parties you were invited to, cleaning tasks, and wish lists of things you want to do during the holiday season. Do you want to schedule a lunch with friends or take a drive with kids to see Christmas lights? Set aside for decorating and baking. Write all of your activities on a calendar.

Give yourself deadlines to get cards or gifts sent, buying that dress for a party, or cooking your holiday favorites. It’s best to avoid waiting until the last minute. Check the post office to make sure you are not standing in long lines at the last minute trying to send packages.

2. Take Inventory

Pull out your boxes of decorations and see what you already have. Test your strings of lights to see if they work. Look through your home and see if there are items you can repurpose as gifts or decorations. If you send Christmas cards, do you have enough? Don’t forget to put stamps on your list. See if you need to purchase wrapping paper, boxes, tape, tags, and bows. If you bake holiday cookies, check your pantry for flour, sugar, butter, or sprinkles. Go back to your master list and add anything missing. While you are taking inventory, see if any items are broken or might be duplicated. Donate, recycle, sell, or toss things that no longer serve you.

If you are someone who buys gifts throughout the year, look at what you’ve been storing. You may have a lot of your shopping already done!

3. Declutter and Clean

This may be a perfect time to organize personal items or go through kids’ toys to see what they’ve outgrown or grown bored with. Make room for new items. If you find yourself overwhelmed, a professional organizer can assist in these projects.

If you have a holiday party planned or out-of-town guests coming, it may be worth it to ask friends or hire some short-term help to reduce your stress. Hiring a personal shopper, a house cleaner, or someone to help you with tasks for one day can get you ahead of the game.

4. Order Online

Instead of going from store to store to find the perfect decorations or gifts, give yourself some quiet time with your lists and order things online. You can have them sent to you or the recipient, all wrapped up. Even if you only get some of your gifts online, you can save valuable time and money by snatching up bargains early. Take the guesswork out of shopping by asking people to write a wish list. Most of all, rethink the way you do Christmas. Studies show that the experience of giving and receiving gifts is remembered more than the gift itself.

5. Think About Next Year

One way to make your holidays easier is to plan for next year. What worked for you? If you found the perfect place for your Nativity scene, take a picture or jot down some notes to store with your Christmas stuff for a future reminder. After Christmas, sales and shopping throughout the year will reduce stress during November and December. Placing items in a central location using clearly marked containers will make that inventory mentioned earlier a breeze.

6. Enjoy Yourself!

Holidays are about giving and receiving, and you can’t do this when your physical and mental resources are depleted. Schedule downtime, cook easy meals, or use meal prep services when you have a hectic day. Schedule activities that you can enjoy during the holiday season. Don’t forget what the true meaning of Christmas really is.
While it’s nice to keep up with the Joneses or create a picture-perfect Christmas, it’s essential to make it your own. Sit down with your family and decide what is important to each one of you. Then plan a Christmas you all enjoy.

Consider Hiring a Professional Organizer

Getting organized before you leap into the holiday season will allow everyone to enjoy the festivities rather than rushing around. You do not have to do everything yourself. Consider working with a professional organizer. Totally Organized can help plan your parties, organize your space, decorate your house (inside and out), and more! We love the holidays and want to help you focus on enjoying the spirit of the season.

Let’s Do It!