Follow this Holiday Organization Checklist and Stress Less
Updated: Nov 14, 2019
40 days until Hanukkah.
41 days until Christmas.
42 days until Kwanzaa.
48 days until 2020.
Plenty of time, right?! It’s funny how the holidays sneak up on you. Am I right?. Here we are frolicking in the leaves (who has time for that, but play along!) and then bam — it’s Christmas Eve!
The holidays are full of fun traditions, parties, food, and shopping. And with that comes a lot of time, preparation, STUFF, and stress. While it may seem early to be talking about the holidays, now is a good time to get organized for them.
Here’s a checklist of ten simple tips you can use to prepare for the holidays. Don’t get overwhelmed! Trust me, these are easy — and if you pick even one or two to tackle, you are already winning!
Pre-Holiday Organization Checklist: Let’s Do This!
Clean out your fridge and freezer: Now is a great time to clean out your freezer, so that you can make room for that frozen turkey for Thanksgiving. And while you’re tackling it, take a look at your refrigerator — dump all expired items and leftovers, so that you have room for not only the holiday food, but your favorite bubbly and craft beer you’ll be serving to guests at your holiday get together.
Make sure you have the right storage containers: Entertaining this holiday season? If so, you’re likely to have leftovers. Make sure you have the right containers for food storage. I recently switched from plastic to glass food storage containers, and now have all of the right size containers. Pick ones that are leak proof, and that store efficiently. Ones that nest are my favorite because they are space-efficient. After a few weeks in use, these glass containers that nest have worked perfectly.
Keep takeout containers: This may be the only time I encourage you to save anything! If you host a holiday meal, it’s likely you’ll send your relatives home with a little something. Instead of buying plastic containers, save your takeout containers for that purpose. It’s cost effective, environmentally friendly by reusing, and you don’t lose your favorite containers. (We know that Cousin Timmy says he will return your glass container, but let’s face it, you’ll never see it again!)
Tidy up your guest room: With the hustle and bustle involved with shopping and cooking, it’s easy to forget about the out-of-town guests that will inevitably descend on your home two days before a holiday! Take the time now to clean up the guest room. Make sure it’s decluttered so that they have a comfortable space to spread out. Also, make sure that there are fresh sheets on the bed because who likes making a bed at the very last minute?. As a bonus, add a little extra hospitality by putting together a basket of toiletries. Buy it now, and set aside for later.
Take stock of your holiday decor: Don’t wait until the tree is in the stand, and the kids are begging to decorate the tree! Now is the best time to make sure you’ve got enough tree and outdoor lights, and your wreath is in good shape from last season.
Invest in storage bins for ornaments: Are your ornaments still in the Crate & Barrel cardboard box they came when you were in your early 20s? If so, immediately go and buy plastic storage bins. Over time, these boxes start to break down, and you’re getting close to 10-million-piece glass pickup! Buying the bins now will allow you to have them for when the tree comes down. And if you’re like me, when the tree is ready to come down — it’s coming down ASAP!
Decide how to display incoming holiday cards: I love receiving mail, and I especially love receiving holiday cards. My personal favorites are the holiday cards with the photos and the stories. They tend to arrive in bulk in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and with everything going on, they can quickly get piled up. To avoid the pile, make a plan with what you are going to do with incoming holiday cards. Decide to: store them in a box, display them in your home, or pitch them (that’s okay too, just make a plan)! In our home, we display cards by hanging ribbon with colorful clips around the door frames on our main floor. Not only is it festive, but it allows for our kids to see them. They enjoy seeing their friends, and also asking about the families of our high school, college and work friends who they don’t know as well or at all. Want some fun ideas for holiday card displaying? Click here!
Review and purge the toys: Christmas is a time of giving, and many are blessed to have generous family and friends who shower kids with wonderful gifts. While parents are very grateful, as we should be, there’s also this overwhelming feeling of “what do we do with all of this stuff?!” Take control of this now by reviewing your kid’s toy collection. Purge and donate what they no longer use, and evaluate their current interests. This will give you an opportunity to give gifts they really love — win/win!
Consider giving experiences this holiday season: In a world filled with stuff, memories and experiences hold much greater value. So, with that consider giving your loved ones experiences. The beauty of experiences is that depending on what you choose to give they can be very inexpensive, they don’t require a trip to a store, and they don’t take up space. Most importantly, they make people feel great. It could be as simple as giving your sister a “free night out” where you babysit her kids (hint, hint). Or perhaps a gift card for your nephew to the local rock climbing gym. Check out these fun experience gifts for kids.
Protect your calendar: Mark your calendar now to avoid the stress associated with last minute to-dos and lack of quality family and personal time due to hustle and bustle. For instance, block your calendar now during your lunch hour for the two weeks leading up to Christmas to run errands. Or, reserve one Saturday night in December for a family night. While holiday parties and festivities seem to fill our calendars, plan in advance to protect the valuable time with your family unit too. And don’t forget about yourself — while we often let our own time go first, don’t do it! Avoid it by booking those workout classes at the beginning of the week so you have no excuse but attend when the day arrives. You’ll be glad you did!
Like I said, only 41 days to go until Christmas, but who’s counting?! Tell me what you find helpful to manage the holiday to-dos, or share your hacks. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tag your hack on Instagram @thelighterhome.
Or, if you need help getting your home organized for the holidays, drop me a line at email@example.com.