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Blog: Organize This!
Get Organized and Simplify the Holidays

Simplifying the holidays can be as easy as getting your thoughts organized. Why? So you can enjoy the holidays and celebrate the reason for the season! Decide how you want to feel when you think about the holidays: do you want to feel dread or overwhelmed? Or do you want to simplify the holidays and enjoy the little things that make it special. In order to be present and in the moment during the holidays, let's break it down:
Guilt-free holidays: Take the word 'should' out.
--No more: I 'should' bake 20 dozen cookies, I 'should' send 200 Christmas cards, or I 'should' put up a big tree. 
--Decide at what level you will celebrate the holidays this year and stick to it no matter what others are doing or what others want.
Traditions are part of the holidays, but they aren't set in stone.
--Some traditions are important and some just don't matter; try to differentiate so you don't feel guilty.        
--Consider starting new traditions especially if your life has changed.
Make a schedule for less stress.
--Put big activities on the calendar: e.g. wrapping gifts, sending cards, baking, decorating the house, etc.
--Shop early so you can take time for fun in December.
Make a budget and stick to it.
--Don't let the advertisers or retailers decide how you should celebrate the holidays.
--Take stock of what you have before you shop so you don't overbuy: gifts, food staples, wrapping, etc.
Sending cards is a gift of a greeting, not an obligation.
--Send cards if you want to; if you have more time after the holidays, send a new year's greeting instead.
--Put your addresses in the computer and print out labels for a real timesaver.
--As you write your cards, play your favorite holiday CD or movie and reflect on each name and the memories that go with that name.
--Simplify card sending by using SendOutCards.com/vali
Clutter-free gift-giving
--Give the gift of an experience: museum tickets, movie tickets, restaurant gift card, spa visit
--Give a gift for the future: Savings Bonds or contributions to college funds
--Give the gift of your time: Babysitting coupons, doing chores, making dinner
--Give the gift of organization: call me for Clutter Crew Cash (organizing gift certificate)
Holiday parties made simple:
--Start checklists well in advance: decide who, when, what, and how.  
--Freeze things ahead of time
--Ask for help if you need it (caterers or family members).
--Hostess Gifts-encourage clutter-free gifts or have a green theme and have friends bring a canned good for the local food bank or animal food for the local shelter. 
Decorating with ease:
--Containerize your decorations according to the room you place them in.
--Take pictures of the items when they are displayed and store the pictures in the containers.
--Next year, decorating is easy especially if you have your partner or children help decorate.
Finally, leave room for holiday fun. Down time is essential: drive around to see the neighborhood decorations, ask the neighbors over for drinks or hot chocolate, watch a holiday classic on the television, or go to the local Christmas concerts.  Other holiday activities that serve others include volunteering at the food bank, wrapping gifts for charity, or donating to Toys for Tots.
Clutter Quote: "Anything that has real and lasting value is always a gift from within." Franz Kafka, German author

posted on: 12/22/2012 2:30:00 PM by Vali Heist
category: General Organizing Tips

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Organize This!

by Vali Heist

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About Vali:

Vali Heist is a Certified Professional Organizer, the owner of The Clutter Crew for homeowners, and a Certified GO System Trainer for businesses. She is the author of "Organize This! Practical Tips, Green Ideas, and Ruminations about your CRAP. CRAP stands for Clutter that Robs Anyone of Pleasure! She writes a monthly column for the Reading Eagle called "Organize This!". Vali's bachelor's degree is in Business Administration from Shippensburg University and her Master's Degree is in Higher Education from Kutztown University. Vali has an extensive background of 24 years in Higher Education including training, administration, project management, writing, and editorial production. Her passion has always been organization and how it relates to the simplification of work and personal life in order to enjoy both to the fullest. Her ultimate goal is to continue finding simple, easy to implement ideas that work in the real world and pass them on to her clients.

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