This week’s guest blog post comes to us from Bonnie Dewkett, a certified professional organizer who began organizing as a child, and she has been organizing ever since. Her company, The Joyful Organizer, creates and implements organizational systems for the home and office. Passionate about helping others meet their organizational goals, Bonnie loves to see the positive impact that getting organized has on people’s lives.
The holidays are rough. Yes, they are filled with parties, family and friends, food and fun. However, they are often the cause of a lot of stress. If you don’t read anything else this holiday season, read this quick and easy guide to having a stress free holiday!
1. Check your wrapping paper inventory BEFORE you sit down to wrap. So often people sit down to wrap and have nothing OR (and this is even worse!) buy lots of stuff at the store because they don’t know what they have on hand at home.
2. Instead of hostess gifts, have your guests bring canned goods that can be donated to a local food bank. People are relieved to not have to think creatively AND you can make an impact in your community.
3. Ornament, tree, wreath and light organizers are usually only readily available BEFORE the holiday. So while you aren’t thinking about long term storage right now, pick them up throughout the year when you see them (if you need them). Not only are they specialized for the items they are designed to hold, but they are also often holiday themed so you can easily identify them in the storage areas of your home.
4. Create an emergency present bin so you are never caught empty handed. It’s even better if you buy items that you can use after if you don’t end up giving them out. Great items to include are gift cards (iTunes and Starbucks), candles, candy, cookbooks and soaps or lotions.
5. Hire a house cleaner. You are going to be shopping, planning, and cooking up a storm. Treat yourself and have someone clean the house for you. Schedule well in advance for your party or event.
6. If you can’t get around to cleaning, make sure you spend a few minutes on the front doorstep. Step outside with a broom and clean off spider webs, bugs and dust from the lights. Sweep the step and shake out the mat. It will make a great first impression.
7. If you have kids coming to your gathering or party, have an activity on hand. A movie will do, but games and art supplies may keep them entertained longer. If you really want some adult time, hire a college student home on break as a babysitter for a few hours.
8. Buy a self inking address stamp. This makes the card process go much faster. AND kids love to stamp. Set them up at a table with your pile of envelopes. Don’t try to lick all the envelopes! Use a moistened sponge or a specialized envelope moistener (yes, those exist).
9. Set a casual dress code. Everyone gets dressed up for the holidays and with all of the financial commitments and stress going around, make your party easy and comfortable with a casual dress code. OR, if you feel like having a little fun, make it a Christmas pajama party!
10. Share the cooking. Everyone wants to bring something, so let them! Have your guests bring a side dish, plate of cookies, etc. Let go a little bit and enjoy the variety! Make sure you have vegan, nut free and vegetarian options on hand. If you know guests with those dietary guidelines, ask them in advance for expertise.