We suggest these easy steps to help manage the chaos that often accompanies the holidays. While you may not be able to control the kids the night before Christmas or keep your second cousin away from the spiked eggnog, you can minimize the stress of the season through these simple organizing techniques.
You've bought your presents and now It's time to wrap your gifts. Wrapping paper, tissue and holiday gift bags are one of the most commonly cluttered items we see in people’s homes. Although it is tempting to take advantage of the inexpensive gift wrap prices in the stores, first check the amount you have from last year. Most people already have more than enough in stock.
• Bags: Sort through your bags, recycle the damaged ones. Figure out what you will need for your gifts using last year as a guide. Keep a few bags in each size and recycle the generic department store ones.
• Paper: Think about how many gifts you wrap, knowing that most stores will wrap for charity. Pick your favorite design and let go of the ripped, wrinkled or poorly made wrapping paper, saving the tubes for use as light sabers.
• Tissue: Discard your ripped tissue. Tissue is often inexpensive or on sale, so no need to stock up with a five year supply.
If you have young ones at home, remember that all the relatives want a picture of someone ripping open a toy with glee. However, those new toys will soon join an army of old ones. Take a little time before the holidays to let go of toys which are broken, missing pieces or are age-inappropriate. Any toy that has sentimental value can go with the keepsakes and most can be donated to a local preschool, library or community center.
Clutter comes in all forms, both tangible and emotional. Often people have many expectations such as putting on the perfect holiday party or displaying impeccable decorations. One of the best ways to deal with all those commitments is to manage them from the beginning. Focus on how much free time you actually have in the weeks leading up the end of December and not only budget your time but your money as well. Limits are important and it is okay to say no. When making plans set firm dates instead of “we should get together.” The holidays are a great time for collecting experiences instead of stuff (go see the Nutcracker instead of buying one).