Last Updated on 17/04/2022
We all know the drill. The holidays are yet another time of year when it seems like the entire house needs to be organised. There is so much going on that we can easily get overwhelmed and forget what really matters. It’s not worth sacrificing your sanity, though. With a little bit of structure and planning ahead, you can keep things tidy and ensure you have enough blissful time for yourself carved out over the holidays. Here are six easy ways to stay organised over the holidays without getting too stressed or forgetting about yourself.
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These six tips will help you get through the hectic holiday season with greater ease. Plus, they’ll make it much smoother tidying up around home once the festivities are over.
1. Create a Holiday Checklist
First thing’s first. If you don’t have an overview of what exactly your potential stressors are, then you need to grab a pen and paper, and write down your to-dos to keep track of everything you’d like to get done. Shopping, groceries, baking for the kids’ school event, office gift exchange, preps for guests, parties, charity donations? Bucket it all on this list, which you can come back to all throughout the holiday season.
Having this all down in front of you will significantly reduce the overwhelm and help get you organised right at the start of the holiday season. You might even find that you can scratch a thing or two off your list entirely.
2. Set up a Gift Wrapping Station
Have a designated place for wrapping paper and ribbons, and for hiding wrapped gifts. It’ll make your gift giving preps easier and will also save you time looking for supplies when you’re in the mood to do some wrapping.
My folks used to have a “wrapping station” at my dad’s workbench in the cellar. Of course I wasn’t supposed to know that, but as a teenager I wound up using it for my own gift wrapping tasks. Nowadays I hide my long rolls of wrapping paper behind the living room drapes and no one knows the better. Find an area that works for you, whether it’s in the kitchen or closet or garage, and set up your supplies there. Don’t forget the scotch tape – you’re going to need plenty!
3. Declutter & Prep for Guests
If you have guests coming in from out of town who will be staying at your place, or even if you just want to make room for new stuff you’re gifting family members: slip in some quick decluttering bursts when you have an extra few minutes to spare. You’ll free up some space, make way for the new, and it’ll also make you feel better.
Doing a mere few minutes of decluttering might not seem like a lot, but it adds up fast and will make your place look a lot tidier with minimal effort.
Start getting the the guest room, powder room or bathroom ready for guests a couple of days before they arrive, and stock your home bar so that you’re prepared to offer drinks. You’ll probably want to have some non-alcoholic choices on hand, as well as child-friendly beverages. Don’t fret, though! You can mix lots of different drinks with very few ingredients, or simply keep a couple of bottles of your favourite wine and fruit juices on hand.
4. Prepare for Meal Prepping
If you’re planning on cooking a big meal for the holidays, start prepping well in advance. After you’ve chosen your recipes, you’ll want to begin writing up your grocery list. It’s also a good idea to clean out the fridge and make room in the pantry before you start shopping, especially if you plan on buying a lot of items to cook and bake with.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to set the actual table at least a day in advance. This way you have enough time to get anything you might have missed. And if you’re cooking yourself, you can also start a day beforehand with all the chopping, cutting, and kitchen preps, too! This way you’ll be less stressed when it’s time to actually get cracking.
5. Split Up Your Cleaning Sessions
You’ll lift a weight off your own shoulders if you do not wait until the last minute to tidy up your place. In the ten days or so before your gathering, start doing a bit of tidying here and there. It honestly makes a huge difference, and you won’t be left scrambling at five to twelve.
No idea where to start? Take my Speed Cleaning Checklist and use it to kickstart a tidying and cleaning session. You might also like to refer to it again shortly before your guests arrive!
Apart from your usual hoovering, mopping, and dusting routines, now is also a great time to set the mood for your guests with some decorative pillows, warm throws, and scented candles.
6. Go Easy on Yourself
Don’t forget that this time of year is for you, too. Keep your work/life/holiday balance in check. The holiday season should ideally also be a phase of slowing down for you. It’s not meant to add more stress to your life. So don’t overload your to-do list. See if there are easier, or faster, solutions to some of the things you want to get done. Perhaps you can do all of your shopping in one place this year, for example, instead of running all over town. Or take advantage of gift-wrapping services where they’re available. Maybe even order a catered meal instead of cooking everything yourself this year.
If you do forget something on your list, remember it’s not the end of the world. Presents can be given any time of the year. You can send a New Year’s greeting card if you forgot to send a Christmas card, and no one is going to begrudge you for forgetting to do your string bean side dish this year. So don’t beat yourself up if something goes down the tubes!
Keeping your home tidy can be difficult, and it’s even harder to stay organised at the holidays with all the hustle and bustle going on. How do you manage to keep everything in check? Leave your best tip in the comments below!