The holiday season is upon us. This means parties, decorating, shopping and cooking for many of us, and with families, friends and work we can quickly become overwhelmed trying to do everything so it’s important to make decisions on how we spend our time. Because we not only give gifts but we receive them, as well, it also means there’s more stuff that will be coming into our homes. So how do you handle extra demands on both your time and your space? Through better holiday organization.
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1. It’s OK to say “no.” While you want to be nice and do it all, you can’t. If you try to do too much, you’ll end up spreading yourself too thin, become exhausted and probably not be half as effective as you could be if you chose what events to attend and said ‘no’ to the rest. Asking yourself these three questions will help you make the most out of your holiday schedule: (1) Do I have time for this? (2) Will this benefit me, my family or my career? (3) Do I want to do this? Remember that you don’t have to do something just because you were asked.
2. It doesn’t have to be perfect. None of us is Martha Stewart, and even she has a team of people helping her prepare. If the turkey burns, it’s OK. If the place mats don’t match, who cares? During the holidays, it’s especially important to remember that it’s not about making yourself or your home look perfect, it’s about spending time with friends and family and appreciating each other. Perfection also tends to keep people from doing anything out of fear it won’t be perfect. Just do it! No one’s first try of anything is ever perfect and no one but you is expecting perfection so give yourself a break.
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3. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. You can prepare for a lot of things in advance. My mom used to start decorating on Dec. 1. Each day she would place a few decorations up and when we got home from school, we had a blast looking for what was new. That way, she didn’t have a huge project to do, it got done in plenty of time and we had fun. If you’re doing the cooking, see what items you can prepare in advance then freeze or store it. Seek out stores that offer shipping and wrapping services to save some time and effort. Use holiday gift bags and boxes and skip the wrapping paper and remember that a well thought out gift is much more meaningful than a big ticket item.
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4. For all the new gifts that people give to you, not all of them are going to be winners. Throw a White Elephant party, re-gift or just donate what you don’t like or want to a charity. For those items you do want to keep but you’re short on space, this is a great time to use the “one in, one out” rule. What items do you have that you aren’t using anymore, don’t like and don’t want? Get rid of something each time you bring something new in your home and you’ll always have a place for it. This is also a great time of year for your kids to go through their items to see what they don’t want and aren’t using so they can donate it to another child. This activity can serve as wonderful lessons on how to organize and be charitable.
5. Slow down and enjoy it! If you plan ahead, do a little at a time, create a to-do list and stick to what’s really important, you’ll be able to actually enjoy the holidays rather than simply trying to survive them. Think back to when you were a kid and loved this time of year. You can experience that again if you take a few breaths and let go of trying to do it all perfectly.
Alison Kero started organizing in 2004 when she owned her first company, Gotham Concierge. At the end of 2012, Alison started ACK! Organizing, which she thought described the feeling most of her clients felt when faced with the amounts of clutter they had accumulated and are also her initials. Alison’s approach is to work directly with the client to teach them the tools to get and stay organized based on who they are. She believes the client needs to work directly with the items they’ve collected so they can let go of the past and move toward a freer, more organized future.
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