Holiday Season Organizing Tips
Whether you are hosting or travelling this holiday season, I always recommend a little pre-holiday season organizing. Below are some quick tips to get your household and family ready for the holidays:
Organize your pantry and fridge. Some tips here (see section on kitchen organizing).
This is particularly important if you will be hosting overnight guests and/or preparing the celebratory meal.
If you are travelling, it is always nice to come home to a clean fridge and kitchen. Throw away or give to neighbors any food that might spoil while you are gone.
Organize the linen closet. Some tips here (see section on linen closet organizing).
Check to see if you have enough towels for your guests; pull out and wash guest towels and linens if they have not been used in a while.
Create lists of ingredients and a rough sketch of meals you will be serving.
Consider using a grocery delivery service for some of your shopping needs. This is a huge time saver.
If hosting guests, I recommend writing out some “make-your-own-breakfast” suggestions and letting guests know where they can find the ingredients and cooking tools, such as coffee, teas, cereals, granola, milk, yogurt, fruit, toast, jam, eggs, frying pans, etc.
Set up the guest room/area.
Make the bed(s) with fresh linens. Set clean, folded towels on the bed(s).
Provide a nice welcome for your guests by setting out a small pitcher for water, some flowers, and some magazines or a local guide to your city.
Make some room in the drawers and closets for your guests.
Clean the bathroom your guests will be using.
Stock with fresh towels, plenty of toilet paper, soap, and a couple of extra hand towels and washcloths. Setting out a small stash of travel-sized containers of toothpaste, a couple new toothbrushes, soap, and shampoo and conditioner, is always a nice touch in the event that your guests have forgotten any essentials.
Create some space for your guests in the medicine cabinet or on the bathroom shelves, if possible.
Schedule boarding or petsitting for your pets.
If you will be travelling, go ahead and schedule pet boarding or petsitting well in advance as many of these services fill up around the holidays.
Whether or not you are travelling, the beginning of the holiday season is a great time to focus on some essential house projects and get your holiday shopping and gifting organized:
Before the new year, plan to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to be sure they work and replace batteries, as needed.
Clean and organize kids rooms. Some tips here (see section on organizing kids’ rooms).
Every year, before their birthdays and the winter holidays, my children and I organize their rooms. In this process, we figure out what they no longer need and would like to donate to another child and any items of clothing that they may need or toys that they want to request for their birthdays or for the holiday.
Work with your children to create their holiday wish list. Or ask older children to provide you with their list.
Step 2 (room organizing) is always a good step first step in figuring out this list. You might consider asking your children to prioritize their most favorite requests if the wish lists in your family tend to be large like ours (ha). I always ask my kids to include both things wanted and things needed (like winter clothes they have grown out of, for example).
Budgeting and planning for your holiday gift shopping.
Once you receive your children’s wish lists, you can narrow or expand the list, as desired. I like to use an Excel spreadsheet to organize and budget for holiday gifts (I am an organization nerd, after all). I usually use different tabs: one for my kids, one for my husband, and one for family and friends. I decide on a general overall budget for each person and use the spreadsheet to track purchases and make sure the overall gift “allotment” is balanced between my children. Parents, you know how kids count those presents! I find setting your budget before you start shopping keeps you on track financially, but this level of organization also helps me focus on finding thoughtful, yet affordable, gifts for each person on my list.
It is so important to remember the many people who may not have a secure, warm place to live or adequate food this holiday season. Please consider a donation to:
Your local food bank - In Austin, consider the Central Texas Food Bank. If you are outside of the Austin area and want to find a local food bank in your city or town, go to Feeding America and search by zip code or state.
A Coats for Kids drive in your area (these drives collect new or gently used coats and distribute them to children in need). In the Austin area, click here for information on the 2018 Coats for Kids drive. You can drop off a used coat to be cleaned and distributed to a child in need or donate $20 for a new winter coat for a child. Nationally, consider donating to Operation Warm, which provides new coats to millions of children in need across North America.
A children’s holiday toy drive. Check out this Huffington Post article for some good ideas for ways to donate a gift to a child in need.
I hope this post has given you some holiday organizing inspiration! Happy holidays to you and yours!
(This post is provided for informational purposes only; the information is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge, but there may be omissions, errors or mistakes, and no guarantees are made.)
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