Organizing ahead of time allows you to enjoy more time (and less stress) with your loved ones during the holiday season.
The holiday season is the busiest time of the year. Even if you have days off work, you’re still doing something — buying gifts, decorating the house, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed and exhausted with back-to-back holidays, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
With this holiday organizing guide and some preparation and planning, you can prepare for any holiday and have time to enjoy it.
From decorations to budgeting to preparing meals, here are my favorite tips to help you breeze through and have fun this holiday season.
1. Make Decorating a Breeze with These Simple Tips
Decorations are one of the best parts of the holiday season.
But, no one tells you about how much time you spend trying to find your decorations and untangling them before actually decorating.
Decorating should be a fun experience with your family, but when decorations are scattered or hard to find, it gets frustrating and stressful.
Through the years, I learned some great tips to make decorating as seamless as possible. Now, you get a chance to try them out, so you’re no longer frustrated detangling miles of Christmas lights.
Here are some foolproof tips to keep your decorations organized all year round:
- Use sturdy, reusable plastic storage boxes — No worrying about ripped cardboard boxes here. Having clear, stackable storage bins will make your boxes easy to store and keep your decoration dust-free.
- Label storage bins with tape and sharpie — Know exactly what’s in each storage bin with clear labels, so you don’t have to dig through all boxes to find that one missing item. The tape and sharpie makes it easy to customize each box with minimal effort and cleaning.
- Wrap your lights — Use an old hanger or paper towel roll to wrap your Christmas lights. It keeps the lights in place and prevents them from tangling.
- Take pictures — If you love how you decorated this year, take a picture as a reference for the next year.
- Use large plastic bags for large decor — Use large black plastic bags to store extra large decorations to keep them dust-free during storage.
Black bags are recommended if you have an extra scary decor for Halloween. Use duct tape and a sharpie to label them clearly.
- Buy decorations that make you love — Buy decorations that make you happy, and don’t feel the need to buy them just because everyone else is putting them up.
There are many benefits to organizing your decorations and storing them correctly the first time around. You save time, energy, and money by knowing where your decorations are. You also save space when everything is neatly stacked and organized.
Now, on to everyone’s favorite part of the holiday season — the food.
2. Meal Prep for the Holidays with Ease
Sure, decorations are important, but great food brings everyone together. Food doesn’t magically appear though. It takes time, effort, and lots of planning before it’s laid out on the table and devoured in seconds.
Before I became a professional organizer, I was a chef. Meal preparation was essential to feed hundreds of hungry customers, and I wanted to share my favorite kitchen tips so you can run your kitchen efficiently.
These meal prep tips will save you time and energy when you host and cook for your guests this year:
- Decide early what you’re going to make — Whether it’s family favorites or new creations, make a list of what you want to make, so you have plenty of time to plan, prepare, and shop for ingredients.
- Make a list of all the ingredients you need — Write down everything you need so you don’t accidentally forget something and have to go back to the store.
- Comb through your fridge and pantry — Before heading to the store, look around and see if you already have items in your home, so you don’t buy duplicates.
- Make space — Take a quick moment to check the pantry, fridge, and freezer before heading to note how much space you have for incoming groceries. Not having enough room in your freezer can lead to a challenging game of Tetris.
- Get groceries at least 3-4 days in advance — Avoid crowds and empty shelves. Shopping early will save you time from waiting in long lines and give you plenty of time to pick up last-minute ingredients. For paper towels and dry goods, you can go even earlier to shop.
3. Get Your Finances in Order with a Solid Holiday Budget Plan
The holiday season is full of joy and happiness, and it tends to be a time when you spend the most and accidentally incur debt.
According to a survey in 2021, about 36% of American consumers gained an average of $1,249 in debt during the holiday season.
Keep your finances in order and stay debt-free with a solid budget plan.
Here are a few budget tips to manage your money during a tempting holiday season:
- Be honest with your numbers — Look at all your bank accounts and credit card statements to get a realistic number on how much you can spend while having enough to cover daily expenses.
- Set an amount and create categories — After deciding how much you can spend, break it up into categories, including gifts, food, decor, and holiday travel expenses.
Each category amount will vary depending on what YOU care about. Everyone’s budget is unique so don’t feel pressured to spend more or less than your friends or family in these categories.
- Start collecting wishlists and create one of your own — If you have a hard time giving gifts, ask for their wishlist. Wishlists are a shortcut to getting your loved one something they genuinely want without playing a guessing game.
While you’re at it, create one for yourself on a Google Document or notes app on your phone. It’s never too early so you can always edit your wishlist and share it next holiday or your birthday.
- Shop Sales — Gifts are expensive and can quickly add up. Black Friday and shopping deals are great ways to save money if you have a plan and stick to it. Without a list, it’s easy to get deal-hungry and buy everything on sale — leading you to spend more than expected.
- Suggest a Potluck — If you’re hosting a holiday party this year, suggest a potluck. It’s an easy way to cut down on food costs and time spent cooking. You also get to enjoy meals from other friends and members.
Finances are personal and it’s easy to feel like you’re not giving enough or doing enough. But being within budget and struggling to pay for daily expenses in the future is a better deal than collecting loads of debt during a short holiday season.
A well-thought-out, tailored budget that works all year round helps you prepare for unplanned or significant future expenses, including the holiday season. If you don’t have a budget yet, it’s a great idea to start now.
4. Decluttering Before the Holidays
Declutter before the holidays to greet the new year with less clutter and more joy and space.
Most people think to declutter after the holiday because you’ll be cleaning things out anyways. But, doing it beforehand has more benefits than you’d think.
It allows you more time to focus on your friends and family and less time worrying about your clutter. Most importantly, you get your space back and spend less time cleaning later too.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for decluttering before the holidays:
- Declutter with intention — Ask yourself what your decluttering goal is. It can be something as small as having more walking space or clearing space to make more room for your hobbies. Write down your intention and tape it to the wall. It will be constant and gentle reminder until you achieve your goal.
- One category at a time — Gather all similar items into one space and declutter into three piles — toss, keep, and donate. Decluttering one category at a time allows you to focus and quickly sort through your items. This is a great way to pare down on clothes, books, and magazines that can be scattered all over the home.
- Gain clarity through decluttering — You learn a lot about yourself as you find that certain items don’t bring joy anymore. By seeing these changes, you realize that you have changed a lot since the last time you decluttered your space.
- Regift items to your loved ones — Share items you no longer love with family and friends. As you declutter, you may think about a family member or friend who might love the item instead. It’s a win-win situation! You know the item is going into good hands, and you are making more space for other things that matter in your life.
When you finish decluttering, you’ll feel comfortable and happier in your space full of only things you love or need. While it takes a bit of work upfront, its rewards are worth it.
Get Organized and Ready for Any Holiday With a Bit of Help
Organizing for the holiday season is difficult, especially when you are doing it on your own. At Livable Spaces, we specialize in helping people just like you get organized and ready for the New Year.
We use the SHiFT® method, where we meet you where you are, with no judgment, and work with you to get to where you want to be.
We don’t just organize your home. We also look at all aspects of your life, including social connections, finance, health, and time to help you as a whole.
As certified professional organizers, we are here to provide tools and guidance so you can grow confident in yourself and live the life you want in a home you love.
Whether you have ADHD, chronic disorganization, or hoard, we are certified and certain we can help.
Ready to declutter and get organized so you can feel less stressed and maximize joy during the holiday season? Schedule a call today to declutter and organize in time for the holiday season.