Holidays are a hectic and busy time. In addition, the gift giving and good intentions of family and friends usually mean more “stuff” accumulating in your home. Add that to the decorations, the cards, the gift wrapping supplies and you can have a recipe for a clutter strewn zone. Or, you can follow some easy tips to reduce the chances of being overcome by clutter and chaos and enjoy the holiday season in a calm environment. Here are some ideas to get you on the right track:
Start a holiday binder (a 3-ring binder from an office supply store will suffice). Create dividers for different categories, such as recipes, gift lists, store sale flyers, Christmas card list, etc. Then get a flat plastic pencil pouch to put in the binder to hold all the holiday receipts, including gift receipts.
Incoming Holiday Cards– find creative ways to display incoming holiday cards. Some ideas include finding an attractive holder (you can find really attractive and inexpensive versions at Lillian Vernon and Current). You can also use scotch tape and tape them around a door or onto kitchen cabinets. Punch a hole in the corner and use red or green ribbon to tie them to a wreath. Let your kids create a collage or laminate and make placemats. Be creative.
To organize outgoing holiday cards– consider going to sending e-cards. This cuts down on stamps and time. Otherwise, try to set aside a few hours and get them all finished, addressed and ready to mail at one time. I have always set aside the weekend after Thanksgiving for this task. Having a time on the calendar to take care of a large project, such as mailing holiday cards, can make the task seem less daunting. Another idea is to only mail out cards to those people you receive from. Keep all your holiday card supplies in a basket near your mail station and as cards come in, sign, address and stamp a return card.
To cut down on too many gifts under the tree or too many gifts to store until you meet with family, consider giving more gift cards to favorite stores. Gifts to charity in honor of a loved one are also quickly becoming a popular way to give a meaningful yet clutter-free gift. In economic times like these, consider talking to your family/friends about picking names or just giving gifts to children. Everyone is feeling the pinch in their wallets so most will not be offended (they may even be relieved) by the suggestion of skipping the gift exchanging this year. Replace it with a fun family get-together with hot cocoa, board games and time for reminiscing. Those are the moments that memories are made of and clutter-free to boot!
Try to designate an area in your home for gift wrapping. Keep everything you need including scissors, gift wrap, gift bags, tissue paper, gift tags, pens and ribbons in one place. Many stores, including www.containerstore.com, have storage solutions for all your gift wrapping needs.
Just remember, the simpler things are the less stress you will encounter!
Happy Holiday Organizing!!