Before you know it, you’ll be knee-deep in wrapping paper, cookie sprinkles and decorative lights. The holiday season is upon us, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend the next five weeks “holidazed.” Try these ADD friendly ideas for managing some of the typical jobs we all face.
A Gathering Place – Whether you’re having all the relatives over for Thanksgiving or just a few friends for a caroling party, start by designating a big tub or laundry basket as the gathering container for items you’ll need. You can do this as far in advance as when you think of it (you can do it right now!
Now, when you return from the store with a packet of festive napkins, toss them in the tub. Same with the cranberry sauce, dip mix and crackers, or the New Year’s noisemakers. If you spot a serving tray you want to use, pull it out of the cupboard and slide it into the tub. By gathering items as you go and having just one place to look for them, you’ll be ahead of the game on the day of your big event.
Mad Money – Budgeting the dollars and cents of holiday spending can ruin anyone’s mood. But you’ll go from mad to glad if you simplify the process. Start with a sturdy business size envelope where you can list your gift recipients. Next to each name, pencil in the dollar amount you would typically spend on a gift for that person. Add up the amounts and compare the total to your checkbook balance. Are you within your budget? Go back to adjust the amounts as needed so you don’t end up with a post-holiday money-hangover!
Now, as you shop, list gift purchases next to each person’s name along with anything else you may have bought in advance. This strategy will keep you from overbuying and ending up with extra items you’ll give anyway and blow your budget or that you’ll need to return. Put purchase and gift receipts in the envelope so they are easy to find when needed. Make sure to write the recipient’s name on the gift receipt as soon as the clerk hands it to you at the store. Why struggle to remember later?
Wrap it up – Hiding gifts, remembering where they are and digging them out to wrap them at the last minute is a lot more work than just wrapping them as you go. Commit to wrapping gifts as you return from each shopping trip. To make this job easier, decide on a place in the house that can serve as a gift-wrap center; a corner of the basement, a spare bedroom, even the formal dining room (comes with its own wrapping table!) Choose a place out of the main traffic areas. If needed add a card table so you’ll have a raised flat surface to use for wrapping. Stand wrapping paper rolls upright in a new garbage barrel or large pail. Place gift bags and tissue in one of the larger sized Ziploc plastic tote bags. Use another for bows, ribbon, gift tags, scissors and tape. The see-through bags make for a quick search for what you want and need. Unless you really enjoy the art of gift-wrapping, ditch the flat paper wrap. Bags are much faster (and reusable, so they’re environmentally friendly.)
Keep the barrel at the staging area until all gift-wrapping is complete. Add any new items you may buy on sale at the close of the holidays. Cover it with a large see-through plastic bag (a dry cleaning bag works well) to keep out dust and store the gift-wrap container in the attic, basement or garage until it’s time to pull out for next year.
Making just a few changes in how you handle common holiday chores can leave you with more time to enjoy the spirit of the season with the special people of your life. Minneapolis-based organizer, Louise Kurzeka works with people who want to make the most of their time and get the best use of their available space using practical, sustainable strategies. She speaks, writes and works one-on- one with individuals and businesses. Contact her at www.everythingstogether.com or (952) 939-8080.