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Blog: Pam's Organizing Blog
Top Ten List for Getting Organized for the Holidays

Ready or not, the Holidays are here. Ten days from now we'll be eating turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie. Christmas is four weeks after that. Are you ready? No? Don't panic. There is still time to get organized for the Holidays so you can Enjoy the Holidays!

1. Make Lists. Don't try to keep everything in your head. Make lists and keep them to use for next year. Make lists for everything, decorating ideas, recipes, gifts, ship dates, etc. Start a Holiday Binder and use it each year. Fly Lady has a great one here.
2. Order your Christmas cards now. We always do the photo cards because our family is so spread out and they all love to see pictures of the kids. I love them because they are personalized. I received our cards last week from Snapfish and plan on having them addressed and stamped and ready to mail December 1st. Now is a good time to get Thank You notes too.

3. Create a gift spreadsheet. I have done this the last seven or eight years and it is a big help. Label your columns – Name, Gift Idea, Location to Buy, Amount, Wrap, Mail, Complete. Then start listing people on the rows. Fill out the chart as you go and as ideas come to you. This is also helpful in the following years as it reminds you what you have already given someone so you don't accidentally repeat gifts.

4. Wrap it up. Make wrapping fun instead of a chore. Stock-up on wrapping supplies now. There is nothing worse than hearing someone say "We're out of scotch tape and still have five gifts to wrap" on Christmas Eve. Make sure you have plenty of paper, bows, ribbons, gift bags and tissue, as well as several pairs of scissors, lots of tape and gift tags as well. Invite your friends over (after the kids are in bed) and have a wrapping party. It's amazing how much fun wrapping can be when you do it with your friends and add in some wine and snacks!

5. Schedule a pick-up with your favorite charity. Put it on the calendar. Go through toys and clothes with your kids. Explain to them that each item they donate is a gift to someone who is less fortunate. Teach by example. Make sure you go through your own "Toys" as well!

6. Prepare a budget and stick with it. The gift spreadsheet will help with this but also do it for food and decorations and holiday clothing. Keep your receipts and know what you have spent. You will enjoy the holidays more when you haven't gone into debt to have them.

7. Shop day. Plan a day to shop. Prepare your gift spreadsheet beforehand and go prepared. Don't buy it unless it is on your list. Plan this with your spouse or bring a friend. I have found that doing the majority of my gift buying in one day has saved me a lot of time and effort in the long-run. It's also something my husband and I enjoy doing together. We have lunch and shop till we drop. So call Grandma to baby-sit and go buy those gifts. You will feel really good once you have the majority of your gifts purchased.

8. Do something for you. After all the shopping and baking and wrapping and writing and planning and cleaning, make sure you do something for you. And since you are organized and have all of this done (hopefully) by the first or second week in December, you will have time to get a pedicure, see a movie, or visit a friend without feeling guilty or rushed.

9. Don't forget the little things. Like batteries and teacher gifts and stamps and stocking stuffers and an extra gift for that friend that stops by with one for you. Make a list. Add to it each year and soon you won't have to worry about the little things any more…you'll have a list!

10. Don't over-schedule yourself or your family. Be prepared to not do EVERYTHING. Keep the family calendar up-to-date so everyone knows when and where they are expected to be. Remember, you can say "No." And remember that the holidays are best spent with friends and family creating memories.

Happy Holidays!

posted on: 11/12/2007 2:30:00 PM by Pam Rackley
category: General Organizing Tips

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About Pam:

Hi. My name is Pam Rackley and I am the owner of Calm the Clutter, a professional organizing company. I have been a Professional Organizer since 2005 and I LOVE MY JOB! My Mom calls it a sickness but what I really love to do in my "free" time is Organize. I have a simple organizing philosophy -- that it takes time, motivation, and determination to get organized and stay organized. I also remind my clients that perfection is never the goal. Perfection is not realistic and can not be maintained. The goal is simple, clear, functional systems and a place for everything. I am a proud member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and serve on the local NAPO board for Dallas/Ft. Worth.

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