Did you promise yourself last year that you would start planning the next holiday early so that it would be stress-free? Now’s your chance! There’s no way around expending some effort to celebrate the season, but looking ahead will help you decide when and how to apply your energy.
Prepare for an organized holiday now, and you will enjoy yourself — and your friends and family — more than ever before, with much less stress.
Scale back your to-dos
Sometimes being more organized means being willing to give up doing it all. This year, choose carefully the efforts you might be able to reduce. For instance, you might draw names for gift-giving in your group of friends and family, rather than stretch everyone’s budgets to accommodate for a big spending spree. Keep your decorations in check, as well, by only putting up the amount that you can easily take down later. And consider the size of your holiday party this year: just what size would make your celebration manageable and more fun?
It’s okay to focus on just a few aspects of the holiday that mean the most to you and your loved ones so that you can enjoy them fully without undue stress.
The FlyLady is famous for her great tips on organizing and simplifying all aspects of life. A great way to help you organize your holiday is to download her Holiday Control Guide. One of its recommendations is to start deep cleaning your home as early as possible, and then become fanatical about putting everything away after you use it — every time. When you follow this advice carefully, your apartment will look great when guests arrive, and you will have created a new cleaning habit that will stay with you long after the holidays are a memory.
An important aspect of enjoying a stress-free holiday is asking for help. Include your friends in a present-wrapping assembly line, have your partner sign your holiday cards or ask your sister or best friend to come help you clean up. (You’ll want to help them out, as well!)
One great way to reduce your work load and organize your holiday tasks is to have someone else do the cooking and baking. Here is where the services of caterers, your local grocery store deli or a favorite restaurant can make life so much easier. Check their menus now and begin deciding how much to spend and what you want to order. You could make this the year where all you do is turn on the oven to warm wonderful food — created by others!
Make some holiday cash
One of the stressors of the holidays is having enough money to cover the expense of the celebration. There’s no easy way around this stressor, but you might be able to add to the gift or party fund by making some extra money before you need it.
Purging your home of items that aren’t used will not only make more room and speed your house-cleaning, but also net you some real money — if the items can be sold!
Fall is when consignment stores roll out their cold-weather inventory, and these businesses want your gently-used clothes to line their racks. Go through your closet clutter and find sellable clothing, shoes, purses, luggage, sports equipment and other household goods. Besides these home items, many consignment shops also resell everything from CDs and books to furniture. You might also look online to make money from your unwanted stuff. If you have large or collectible pieces to move, consider using Craigslist or eBay.
You don’t have to work yourself into a frenzy to get everything done for the holidays. Start today, trim your task list and ask for plenty of help. You’ll cruise all the way through a typically frantic season — and start looking forward to next year’s end!
Photo Credit: Shutterstock / Aaron Amat