Getting Ready for the Holidays

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amy_volk_216w_march_13By AMY VOLK

It’s time to start thinking about the holiday season even though we just had Halloween! I encourage everyone to start all your holiday planning in October, but early November still allows you to make a plan that won’t make the holidays stressful.

I’ve been doing a series of workshops for Goodwill about Getting Ready for the Holidays, and thought I’d share a few tips from that! If you follow these few tips, you will alleviate the added stress that Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah can bring with them.  This year, Thanksgiving falls on the same day that Hanukkah starts, so some of you will be planning for TWO holidays at the same time!

1. Start purging now!

The holiday season means more stuff coming into your house, including new Halloween costumes, new decorations, gifts, and more.  Get a jump start on the holidays by making room for the new by getting rid of the old.

*Fill ONE bag per closet between now and Thanksgiving

*Purge decorations – What didn’t you use last year? What don’t you LOVE?

Remember that your home is NOT a storage unit, and everything in it should be USED or DISPLAYED!  If it’s not, get rid of it!

2. Make a Holiday Binder

Create your holiday binder and start using it now.  As you make your gift lists, start looking for specials or deals that you can snag early.  Using a 3-ring binder and some pocket folders with tabs, you can create a binder to hold all your holiday lists, recipes, coupons, and holiday card supplies.

3. Start early!

It’s not too early to think about Christmas or Hanukah cards, Christmas shopping, or planning the Thanksgiving meal.  Start to make lists, shop online, order Christmas cards, holiday photos, reserve prepared meals, make reservations at hotels and restaurants.  Buy gifts as you see them and stash them away.  Use Apps for smart phones like The Christmas List or Reminders list in the iPhone to create ongoing lists for each person you are shopping for.

4. Color code containers

I really like clear containers, but colored plastic bins are fun and a trigger for the eye.

Orange for Halloween or Thanksgiving, red or green for Christmas, and blue for Hanukkah.  Containerize decorations and use index cards to write key words on for labeling.  If using clear containers, you can tape index card on inside of container. Otherwise tape on outside of box.  You won’t have to open containers to see what’s inside-just look at key words.

Implementing these few tips will allow you to enjoy the people in your life around the holidays instead of thinking about all the stuff you need to do! Start now and then you will be free to kick back when it matters!

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