Get Organized for the Holidays….really??!! But it’s not even Halloween!! I know I know….I hate rushing through the fall holidays just as much as the next person, so why even bring it up? Well, this year wouldn’t it be great if you could save money, save time, create less waste, give back and most of all enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones?? Well, you’re in luck because I’ve come up with 3 Super Simple Tips to help you Get Organized for the Holidays starting today! So here goes….
TIP #1: Evaluate Past Years – This may sound tiresome but it should only take a few minutes. Think about the holiday season from the past few years and make a quick list of the things that worked well and the things that you would like to improve on. Acknowledging where you would like to improve and setting goals will make a BIG difference this year. Here are some ideas of things to improve on:
Sticking to a budget – achieve this by deciding on an overall budget and breaking it down by purchases that you plan on making over the holiday season (gifts, supplies, food, etc).
Keeping track of receipts – achieve this by creating one spot for all receipts. If you do most of your shopping in retail shops, perhaps you can keep an envelope in your glove compartment for all holiday receipts. If you are more of an online shopper, keep a file by your desk with receipts that arrive by mail or a file in your email inbox for all holiday receipts.
Gifting everyone on your list – We’ve all been there. We forgot to tip the mailman or forgot to make one additional mini bread for the special caregiver at school or helpful friend at work. It happens and people generally don’t get too upset about these things, but avoiding those awkward moments would be ideal. Make your gift giving list early and add to it as you go about your days. See Tip#2 below for more on this.
Getting gifts you didn’t want – Ok so there’s no way to completely eliminate this, BUT by keeping a list of needs/wants for yourself and your family members can reduce the number of unwanted gifts. When your family members or friends asks you if there is something you would like for the holidays you can confidently say – I could really use a new cardigan or set of mixing bowls. Don’t be embarrassed. It makes their shopping trips easier and they are happy to get you something you would like and use. More on this too in Tip #2 below.
Overbooking yourself – It’s ok to say no to some holiday festivities if they just don’t fit into your family schedule. Of course no one wants to miss a fun party, but people understand that we are all stretched thin these days and can’t attend every event we are invited too. Send a thoughtful note and let the host know that you appreciate the invitation but are unable to make it this year. If the party supports a cause, you can still donate a gift to acknowledge your support and feel good about donating to a good cause.
Purchasing redundant gifts – So this is common in families with young children. The holidays are over and you realize that when you try to put away all the new toys and clothes the kids received there not only is no room for them but you now have more of the same type of toy (or art supply or slippers etc.) than your child will really appreciate or use. Check out Tip #3 below for more on this.
Waiting until the last minute to shop/make gifts – improve on this by completing your gift giving lists now and shopping a little at a time. You may not be able to bake your holiday cookies for your coworkers in November but you can purchase that Lego set your nephew really wanted while shopping for toiletries at Target this weekend. It takes one item off the list and spreads out purchases a bit to lessen the financial load all at once come December.
TIP #2: Keep a Digital Gift List – for others & yourself! – Since most people carry smart phones these days it’s super easy to keep lists on you and be able to update them at all times. There are so many digital list apps available now that can help you to keep track of your shopping lists, project lists, etc. (such as Wunderlist, Toodledo, Google Tasks, and so on) but I am not going to cover all that here. Using whatever app you choose or even a simple note on your mobile device, is all you need to stay on top of your gifts. I recommend keeping two lists going year round.
Gifts to Give: This will include everyone on your list from your immediate family, extended family, friends, coworkers, teachers, service providers and charities you would like to support. As you bump into someone at school or the grocery store and you remember you want to make them something special this year, add them to your list.
My Family Wish List: As I mentioned above, this not only helps with your own shopping for your immediate family but when your family members ask if there is anything you or your little ones would like this year you can quickly scan your wish list. This list should have a sub list for all members of your household. It can be anything from new socks, fun earrings, an age-appropriate board game or my favorite – experiences and memberships you are interested in (movie tickets, museum passes, music classes, art classes, etc.).
TIP #3: DECLUTTER – This one is a win-win-win (get organized for now – get organized for later – donate to others). As the holidays unfold, the number of items in your home typically grows and grows quickly and oftentimes there is no place to put the new arrivals. Now is a great time to evaluate your current belongings and shed the excess that no longer fits your family. I am not suggesting parking a dumpster in your driveway and randomly getting rid of things, but a thoughtful culling throughout your home could have many benefits during the holidays. The 3 main categories I recommend focusing on prior to the holidays are:
As you weed out the items that are no longer serving your family or no longer in good condition set aside those items to be donated or recycled. There are many food pantries and local organizations that would be grateful for your donations. Make it a family activity and see how quickly your kids embrace the kindness of it all. As a bonus, when you weed out the kids’ toys or your own closet you will realize where there are needs and wants. Be sure to add those items to your lists!
So as a quick recap, these are my
3 Super Simple Tips to Get Organized For The Holidays:
TIP#1: Evaluate Past Years – what worked & what needs improvement
TIP#2: Keep a Digital Gift List – one for others and one for yourself/your family
TIP#3: Declutter – declutter & donate
I hope you found these tips helpful. Have a tip you’d like to share? Leave a comment below.