Now that Halloween has come and gone, we are gearing up for the official holiday season which begins next Thursday with Thanksgiving (and Chanukah). After Thanksgiving, we only have twenty-seven (yes, 27) days until Christmas.
Are you ready for the holidays?
This time of year I get so many inquiries about how to transition from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas in an organized way.
Recently, I was asked how to combine Fall clean up with holiday prep.
The answer is all of these questions is to create a plan. As with any other type of organizing project, you need to start at the beginning and systematically work through the process.
Here are some ideas:
1. Create a holiday notebook. You can use a paper version (such as a binder), an app on your Smart Phone, a bulletin board or any other method that works best for you. Do the "brain dump" and jot down all of your thoughts about the things you need to do to get the job done. This will take the "remembering" out of "remembering" and immediately reduce your stress by providing you with a sense of control and a plan.
2. Divide and conquer. Take your list and create various categories with deadlines. What type of things do you need to accomplish? When do you need to get them accomplished by? Here are some suggestions:
Cleaning the Home, Decorating the Home (inside and out), Sending Out Holiday Cards, Gift Giving Ideas, Gifts Purchased, Supplies For Wrapping Presents, Preparing A Menu, Guest Lists for Holiday Parties, Budget/Expenses, etc.
3. Create a holiday calendar. Devote a calendar to holiday activities and tasks. Indicate the deadlines you have established for getting things done. Assign a different color to each member of the family so that nothing is missed. This can include chores for the kids to accomplish and invitations for parties. Don't forget to include gift giving to teachers, the mailman and other service providers in your life. What good is purchasing a gift for them if you forget to give it to them?
4. Choose a select few. You cannot accomplish everything at one time. Do yourself a favor and prioritize what needs to be done sooner as opposed to later. Select a few items at a time and focus just on them before moving onto something else. Obviously, it makes sense to clean the home before you decorate it, so don't worry about decorating until the home is clean. Each day that you do this, you will be able to check things off your "To Do" list and move forward.
5. Work with a deadline in mind. Even though you want to start at the beginning of a project, it is best to be aware of your deadline so you can plan backwards. What I mean by that is, for example, if you are having a holiday party at your home on December 21st, you want to make sure that your To Do list for that project is completed by that date. Determining how long something will take will enable you to provide sufficient time to get it done and, therefore, everything will be done on time.
6. Ask for assistance. Are you getting bogged down with the details and don't know where to begin? As a professional organizer, I can help you to create some time management tools you can use to supplement these suggestions so that you can enjoy the holidays with less stress. (Feel free to contact me.)
In the coming weeks, I will be providing more tips on how to get and stay organized through the holiday season.
In the meantime, I am sending you best wishes for a happy and ORGANIZED Thanksgiving holiday.