The holidays are here, or they will be soon enough, and it’s time to get in gear! Instead of obsessing over the inevitable traffic and parking lot madness, let’s get organized and map out a strategy for success.
MAKE A LIST OF THINGS THAT NEED TO GET DONE. It’s not realistic to complete everything in one fell swoop; however, you should create a master list and mark your progress. Save the easiest or most enjoyable holiday prepping activities for last, and tackle the most pressing or complicated items first. Each week, make a plan to execute specific errands and household chores.
MARK IT ON THE CALENDAR. Write any scheduled events into your calendar as soon as you become aware of them. Decide what days you are available to work on holiday preparation and note those in your schedule as well. This will help you stay on track.
Note: You are not obligated to attend every holiday party to which you are invited. But, be sure to RSVP as soon as possible (within a day or two). If you are on the fence about attending, RSVP no. It’s impolite to the host to avoid replying, or to respond with an uncommitted maybe. Unless it is a formal dinner, you can always change your mind and alert the host of your freed schedule.
CREATE A BUDGET AND STICK TO IT. Agree upon a reasonable budget that won’t cause undo stress. If you plan to buy presents for your family and friends, decide how much to spend on each person. Account for holiday parties that you may be hosting or attending. Budget for bringing gifts or making a meal or drink contribution—all these things add up. Be sure to give yourself some wiggle room in your budget, as unexpected events tend to arise.
BE EFFICIENT. Compose a list of items you need to buy and which stores or websites you can purchase them from. Try as best you can to plan your shopping around peak hours. Avoiding weekends is probably not practical, however, the best times to go are early in the morning when shops first open, or right before closing. If you have no choice but to traverse into a shopping plaza during primetime, take an Über ride to skirt the madness of the parking lot or perhaps commission a family member to drop you off. If you are buying gifts, prevent yourself from roaming around aimlessly. Ask recipients what they need or want so you have an idea of what to look for. Download my Gift List Organizer to help with gift organization.
IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY, START NOW. It’s so much better to have everything ready beforehand so you can enjoy the holidays, rather than spending time stressing over everything that needs to get done.
SCHEDULE SOME “YOU” TIME. Don’t put too much on your plate. Plan some personal time to exercise or pamper yourself. Whatever it may be, make it a priority to set aside time to relax so you can be your best during the holiday season and enjoy all the hard work you’ve done to prepare.
About Mary Bell
Mary Bell is a professional organizer and space planner in the Larchmont area. Her new advice column, Ask the Organizer, will be featured once a month in the Larchmont Buzz. Submit your organizing questions to [email protected]. You can view her website to learn more information about her business, Spruce at www.spruceyourspace.org.
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