Top Ten Tips for Simplified Holiday Organization

By: Jackson Rachel

Anyone who has hosted an event for the holiday season or simply wished to keep their house in order throughout the fall and early winter know how valuable proper holiday organization can be. Decorating the house for Christmas, cooking a Thanksgiving meal and hosting friends and family are memorable occasions, but can be exhausting as well. The tips below can hopefully alleviate some of the stress and pressure the holiday season can create, and help you stay organized.

10. Take your time

The holidays are supposed to be an enjoyable time of year and there is no reason to hurry putting up the tree, stringing the lights or addressing the Christmas cards. A better solution is to take your time and enjoy the process.

9. Invest in the right tools

Proper tools make organization much easier. This includes a calendar with blocks large enough to write all of your engagements and activities in, proper boxes to store your ornaments, and the right cleaning tools to make quick work of cleanup time before guests arrive.

8. Divide each job into manageable chunks

Many jobs seem too big to handle, and taking the time to divide each job into manageable sized pieces can make them more manageable. For instance, decorating the house for the holidays may seem overwhelming, but putting up the tree one day, stringing the lights the next, and setting out your favorite collectible the following can leave you with three enjoyable days of decorating.

7. Store similar items together

When storing your decorations after the holidays, you can make the following year much easier by putting all of your holiday items in the same area. If you store some in the basement, some in the garage and some under your bed, you may never find them all when the next holiday rolls around. After all of your holiday items are properly boxed for storage, carry them to storage location and stack them together.

6. Label each storage container

Labeling each box can make it much easier to find the decorations that you are looking for when it comes time to begin decorating. Make sure that the labeling method makes sense to you. Some people are happy with a vague "living room" "dining room" form of labeling, while others prefer more detailed "Santa's village for sideboard". Whatever method you choose, remain consistent. If you are receiving help from your spouse or other family members, make sure that they are labeled properly.

5. Record what works and what does not

It can be as simple as a list or as complex as a diary, but to really enjoy your holiday, write down what you and your family did that you enjoyed, and what you and your family did that was maybe not so great. This can include activities, recipes and anything else that makes up your holiday season. Next year, when you are stretched thin, you should automatically know what is worth investing time and effort in and what is not. This is especially true when it comes time to put away your holiday decorations. Once you find a storage solution that works well, be sure to stick to that method each year. This can eliminate unnecessary stress because you have a written record of what type of organizational techniques to avoid and what has worked in years past.

4. Buy staple products early

Flour, batteries and anything else that you know you will be using over the holiday period qualifies as a staple. Make a list of all the staples you want to have on hand, and pick up a few each week at the grocery store. This helps to spread the expense over a period of time, which can help make the holiday less stressful for you.

3. Make lists

One of the problems with the holiday season is that we all get so busy with the many activities and ideas we have that it becomes difficult to concentrate. List making is an excellent way to keep yourself organized, which is key to reducing stress. Anytime you become overwhelmed at the thought of all that you have to do, make a list. Whether it is shopping for gifts or attending Christmas concerts, the number of things that you have to do, and when you have to do them can seem overwhelming until you get them down on paper.

2. Be realistic

While your fond childhood memories may include stringing popcorn on thread to decorate your tree, or going Christmas caroling, your children may have very different ideas of what makes up a fun Christmas. In addition, if both you and your spouse work outside of the home, you may have to come to grips with the idea that you have less time to plan celebrations than your parent's did. Christmas may be different and that is okay.

1. Once you have a system in place, maintain it

After taking the time to implement a holiday plan, writing lists and recording what works and what does not, it is important not to become complacent. Developing an organizational plan is easily the most difficult part of having an organized holiday. Take the time to record, list and store things properly, and you may find each holiday less stressful than the last.

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Rachel Jackson is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about topics concerning home maintenance and organization. Rachel Jackson writes about seasonal organization issues, such as Christmas ornament storage boxes.

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