It may be “the most wonderful time of the year,” but when you’re actually in the thick of it—shopping, decorating, and planning—the stress can get to even the best of us. As we so often tell our clients, when everything has its place, it makes life a lot less stressful! Try these six holiday organization hacks and nip your holiday stress in the bud.
Before the Holidays
Stress #1: You and yours never got around to the Great Organization of 2013 you’d been planning… Now it’s December and you’re not quite sure what you have or need.
Holiday Organization Hack: Start with your closets
Take stock of closets and toy chests in your home, and donate any clothing or toys you no longer want or need. If you know what your family has and doesn’t have, you’ll be better prepared when friends and family ask what to buy your spouse or kids, not to mention that you’ll be better prepared to do your own holiday shopping too!
Stress #2: It’s time to send holiday cards and gifts to out-of-town family and friends, but before you can get to envelope-licking and stamp-sticking you have to track down everyone’s addresses… Also, you can’t quite remember what you sent to whom last year.
Holiday Organization Hack: Simplify card-sending and gift-giving—make a spreadsheet!
Make a spreadsheet or table with separate columns for names, addresses, and gift ideas, keeping track of what cards and gifts you send to whom throughout the holiday season. Next year you’ll have all the information you need in one place. You can refer back to and continue updating the same list for years to come!
Stress #3: While out shopping, you gravitate toward the sparkling, cheerful holiday section. You know you need decorating and gift-wrapping supplies, but since you have no idea exactly what you need you either A) Go home empty handed or B) End up buying way too much.
Holiday Organization Hack: Make a list, and check it twice.
Just like with your closets and toy chests, take stock of the decorations and wrapping supplies you already have so that you know what you still need. Take a cue from Santa Claus–make a list and check it twice! It’ll save you from spending money on things you don’t need.
After the Holidays
Stress #4: You’re ready to make your home sparkle with holiday warmth, but your excitement quickly fades as you try fruitlessly to untangle your holiday lights.
Holiday Organization Hack: Fashion your own DIY Christmas light holders.
Save yourself the stress and annoyance of untangling strands of lights next year by putting those lights away in a neat, orderly fashion this year. Wrap each strand around a piece of cardboard or a wrapping paper tube with evenly-spaced slits cut into the sides to keep the strand in place. Be sure to replace any blown bulbs or fuses now so that they’ll be ready to go for next year.
Stress #5: Your favorite Christmas ornament broke due to inadequate packaging in storage.
Holiday Organization Hack: Create your OWN Christmas ornament storage solution.
Cut pieces of cardboard to fit your existing storage bins (we recommend plastic bins–they’re typically easier to stack and will keep their contents safer than fabric bins), and attach Styrofoam or plastic cups using hot glue. Place one ornament into each cup, repeat, and stack until the bin is full. Now each of your ornaments has its own little safe haven until it’s time to come out next year.
Stress #6: It takes you much longer than it should to put together your artificial tree, because you have to sort its mess of branches (of barely different sizes) before you can put it together.
Holiday Organization Hack: Take charge of your tree.
When you finally take down your tree, do so one layer at a time and bunch branches from each layer together using duct tape or twine–whatever you have on hand that works for you. Label each bunch of branches by number, top to bottom. Putting it back together next year will be a breeze!