Can you believe that the holidays are upon us?!? Where did the year go? At Abundance Organizing we have a couple team members that are just a little bit crazy about the upcoming holidays-read more to hear about their favorite holidays and why. Even if you do not love the holidays, you can maybe like them a little bit more if you take the time to prepare for them. Holidays do not have to be stressful and overly busy! Here are 12 tips for prepping for the holidays that we have put together to help guide you as you get ready:
Tip 1: DECLUTTER
No time better than the present to go through and declutter, purging and discarding items that you no longer use. Kids rooms, closets, and kitchens anyone? We just finished a 30 Day Declutter Challenge at Abundance Organizing. For more inspiration check out the Abundance Declutter Group on Facebook. You have many options for how to discard which include the options to donate, consign, or sell through many an online venue. Have you heard of the Buy Nothing Project? Another great way to gift someone with items you no longer have use for. You may also want to turn a special eye towards your holiday decorations. Are there items you have not used in a couple years? Maybe it is time to declutter them.
Tip 2: ORGANIZE YOUR KITCHEN
The most used space in any home is the kitchen. You will definitely be using the kitchen during the holidays! We recommend that you take some time to get this space right before the hustle and bustle begins. Once your kitchen is organized, you’ll find the rest of your home will follow suit. We have some great tips for you in another blog post to help guide you in getting your kitchen ready for all that is to come. “Zones,” anyone?
Tip 3: BUDGET
The budget is the foundation of any successful endeavor. Yes, this is boring and can be restricting-or is it freeing? Any way you look at it, planning ahead, and sticking to a budget will leave you without that pit in your stomach at the end of this holiday season. A budget is also great for helping you make decisions. You will have more parameters set in place because you have taken the time to think through the money you will be spending.
Tip 4: LISTS
Are you a lover or hater of lists? They can be extremely helpful when you are prepping for the holidays. There are going to be so many things to remember. Start off with a giant masterplan list of all that you need to do to make the holiday season happen. Include everything! This list can also be extremely helpful when planning the budget. Then make additional lists that can include shopping lists, gift lists, to-do lists, and so many more. Think through whether these lists would be most accessible and beneficial to you written on paper or as electronic lists. Do you need to keep a running list of groceries needed on your phone? Maybe you like to write everything down and keep it all in one notebook? You decide what system works best for you. However you decide, there is no negating that writing things down will save you from forgetting something!
Cathy and Mindy absolutely love Thanksgiving! For Cathy, Thanksgiving is spent in the kitchen-her favorite room in the house, and involves shopping at the grocery store-her favorite store. Mindy celebrates her favorite holiday almost all week long which always includes a big Thanksgiving Eve Oyster Roast Party on Wednesday, and then hosting family and friends (who are like family) on Thursday.
Tip 5: GIFT PLANNING
Do you make gifts, grow gifts, purchase gifts throughout the year, purchase them at the last second? There are definitely some tips to help keep you organized and make the gifting process less stressful and more enjoyable! Keeping a going list of what gifts you have already purchased, who you still need to purchase for and such forth is a great way to keep you organized. Have you ever gone to the store and completely forgotten that one teacher or neighbor or friend? Planning ahead of time is essential for this and will also be helpful in finding that perfect gift for someone ahead of time. It definitely takes some thinking and planning on the front end, but you will be happy you took the time!
Tip 6: CLEAN
Yes-it is not the most fun topic of conversation. However, if you do not have a professional that you employ to clean your home, then this is a really big important task for you. Before your guests arrive, while you still have some time left, focus on the areas of the house that may not get the most attention. When was the last time you cleaned out your fridge, dusted the blinds and ceiling fans, or spot cleaned your walls? If you have these deeper cleaning tasks out of the way, then you will only have surface cleaning to keep up with. We definitely recommend writing out a chore schedule.
Tip 7: MEAL PLAN
Why wait? Plan your holiday dinner menu now! Before the hustle and bustle starts, or you get deeply lost at your wrapping station, take some time to decide what you will be serving on the big day. Collect your recipes, make a list of your meals, and then create a shopping list of all the ingredients you will need to purchase. Are you planning to order your holiday dinners? Make sure you collect all the information you need to know ahead of time and get your order in on time! Don’t stop with the holiday menu, though – plan for the rest of the holiday season! Put together a list of meals, takeout restaurants, or prep some freezer meals that can be your go to for quick or reliable meals during these next couple months.
Tip 8: GROCERY SHOPPING
Before you even begin this, take some time to go through the items that you have in your pantry, cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. If you have items that you would like to donate, we have some great tips for you on our blog about The Surprising Dos and Don’ts of Food Donations.If you did not declutter these spaces when you decluttered the house or organized the kitchen, now would be a good time to do so. Throw away old and expired items. Take inventory of the items that you do have so that you do not buy extra. Don’t forget to make lists!
Beth and Whitney both love Hanukkah! Beth loves the yummy potato latkes, beautiful candle lit menorahs, celebrating with family, and the excitement of presents for eight nights. Whitney also loves being with her family during this holiday. They continue the tradition of hiding gifts-everyone has to find the gifts they are given and it is one of her favorite things about the holiday.
Tip 9: PREP THE TABLE
First decide on your theme so that you can start collecting items. If you have any craft, paint, or sewing that is needed to be done in order to decorate your table, be sure to do this ahead of time. Stains and tears also have no place at the table so make sure you toss the table linens that have stains or tears and wash/iron the ones that will be used over the holidays. How about napkins-do you use cloth napkins? Have them washed and ready to go! Having the table linens ready ahead of time will save you time and energy when it is time to prep the table. We will have more on this later on-be on the lookout for more tips for preparing your table for the holidays!
Tip 10: WRAPPING STATION
Now is a great time to get your wrapping station set up and ready for action! You will never regret starting to wrap early. For best location, find a place that is out of the main flow of traffic. Think through what you will be wrapping this year and what supplies you need . Are you going to invite your friends over for a wrapping party? Whether wrapping alone or at a party, once you have your supplies collected, get them ready to be used. Put the tissue paper together, bags together, wrapping paper together, bows together, and such forth. Are you always looking for a marker or scissors? We recommend keeping these items in a handy container so that you always know where to look when you need to cut some string or write on a gift tag. If you really want to get organized, you can even put your wrapping station items in order of their use so that you have somewhat of a supply chain rhythm going.
Tip 11: DECLUTTER YOUR PHOTOS
So important to make sure you have enough space for a bunch of new photos and videos. Now is a great time to go through your phone, memory cards, or database and delete photos and videos that you do not want/need. This will free up space to add more in the coming months.
Tip 12: HOLIDAY CARDS
Now is a good time to start working on your cards if you send them out during the holidays. Make sure you have the photo, stamps, updated addresses, and such forth. You can even order them now. There is nothing wrong with having them sit around for a bit at your house or even getting them out sooner than you expected. The sooner you get them sent, the less you will have to worry about, and the longer your friends and family will be able to enjoy them!
Becca and Christina are crazy about Christmas! Becca is the gal who decorates for Christmas even before you start to see Thanksgiving decorations. The Elf on the Shelf does overtime at her house! Christmas has always been Christina’s favorite holiday-it is the time of year that is spent with family making memories. There is nothing like the sound of the gravel as you drive down her grandparents’ long driveway to bring back the years upon years of wonderful memories.
As you can see from Cathy, Mindy, Beth, Whitney, Becca, and Christina, it is possible to at least LIKE the holidays. It may take a little bit of extra work. Just follow these 12 tips for prepping for the holidays to help you feel ready. You can do this-and we are always here to help! Check out our Abundance Declutter Facebook Group for more support. What do you love about your favorite holiday? Let us know-we love to hear from you!