A Gifter’s Prep List

A Gifter’s Prep List

For the big day…and big weekend for some, we would like to offer a prep list so you can sail through your holiday gift exchange with only thoughts of sugar plums dancing through your head:

 

 

  1. My dad always has a pocket knife available on Christmas morning to cut through tape and ribbon and difficult boxes. We highly recommend!
  2. Batteries of various sizes. Sometimes the batteries are worn down in the products we bring home, and sometimes we just didn’t see that “Batteries not included” warning.
  3. Speaking of batteries, be sure to give your gifts with lithium batteries a charge before wrapping if you want them to be ready when opened.
  4. Got gift receipts? Separate gift receipts from your own, and have them available to wrap with the gift or hand over in person.
  5. Food Containers that you can part with, such as GladWare. Whether you are bringing home cookies and leftovers or sending them along with someone else, you will want to have these handy.
  6. For easy paper and box clean up and recycling, have an extra large bin available where you will be unwrapping.
  7. If you are exchanging gifts, it is a good idea to have a stockpile of tote bags to help yourself or others carry home received gifts.

The night before:

  1. Charge cameras and video equipment and cell phones
  2. If you have a coffee pot with a self timer, set it for early!
  3. Set out cookies for Santa!

Happy Organized Holidays!

 

 

Holly Jolly and Organized

Holly Jolly and Organized

As we are approaching the final holidays of 2016, it is easy to think we have more time than we actually do between now and the end of the year.
It is a great time to look at the calendar and consider all the cherished and necessary activities we would like to do to get the most out of the holidays. Are you hosting a holiday party? Traveling out of town? Baking holiday cookies? Volunteering at a local food pantry? Plotting these activities on a calendar now will provide a realistic overview of your holiday timeline, so that you can accomplish your seasonal goals in a paced and enjoyable way. This type of planning is key to managing tasks and devoting your time to the people and traditions who help make the season meaningful.
Here are 8 holiday hacks—from now until the end of the year to help keep your holiday household fluid and festive:
1. Stage your special days. Find and sort through your holiday décor. Set aside the items that you want to use in one convenient place so they are available when ready to use or display. Donate any unwanted items.
2. Plan your giving. Set your budget, make your holiday list, plan a shopping/donation schedule.
3. Stock your gift wrap supplies. Tissues, tape, bows, tags. Fra la la la la…la la..la la
4. Stock your pantry and holiday spirits. Peak through your cabinets, make a list, and get to the store before the rush.
4. Retire any tired traditions. Which activities bring you and your family the most joy? Give those your full attention…and retire the rest! It may even require saying “no” to conflicting activities.
5. Update your list of contacts. Do you send gifts or holiday cards in the mail or via email? Review and update addresses in your favorite contact portfolio. The postal deadline is almost here!
6. Book your travel. Whether you are ringing in the New Year in the big city, going to Grandma’s, or heading back home, the time is now to reserve flights, hotels, and rental cars! Don’t forget to review your perks programs to see how many points you can take advantage of this year.
7. Be ready for the weather. This may include preparing our vehicles for cold-weather care, packing some supplies in our travel vehicle, and reviewing coats/gloves/hats for condition. In addition, we may fireplaces and furnaces that require maintenance.
8. Find an app or paperless note taking program on your favorite device where you can keep your holiday lists. Be sure to purge these when the season is over.
Enjoying the holidays really is about being available to enjoy the everyday moments with cherished family and friends. The small things you do today will help you stay mindful and in the moment when it really matters. Enjoy your organized holidays; happy planning!

Toys in Toyland: Minimizing Clutter During the Holidays

Toys in Toyland: Minimizing Clutter During the Holidays

Here we are just before the Christmas holiday rush. For those of you who have finished your shopping…bravo!…you are part of an elite minority.

If you have little ones, or little ones to buy for, we like to offer some organization tips that have to do with quantity and quality. Now more than ever, we see bedrooms that spill into play rooms, that cross over into living rooms and kitchens, and basements. It is important for us to remember that as easily overwhelmed as we adults become with piles of stuff, so too, do our children.

Mounds and mounds of toys in every space make it difficult for children to discern what to play with, but also hinders their ability to understand how to properly put toys away. If items are on shelves and on floors and under beds and in toy chests, our kids won’t have a simple concept of where things belong when it comes time for pick up. To keep it simple for kids and adults, we like assigning one home for each type of item. For example, a bin for Barbies, a tub for trains, a toy chest for sport gear, etc.

This requires attention to quantities. It also requires knowing which items are important enough to keep and to store properly. Before the next round of toys arrive, we would like to suggest four ways to get your inventory under control:
1. Remove all toys that no longer match your child’s age
2. Remove all toys that no longer have ALL the pieces included
3. Donate any gently used toys that are not loved as much as the ones about to be unwrapped and enjoyed. This can be a fun ritual for your child who can help prepare the toys for another child to love at Christmas.
4. Reducee items where there are already large volumes. For example, reduce the number of books or games, stuffed animals, or costumes, etc in which quantities are high. Your child can have as much fun with 6 dress up costumes as they can with 30. Again, quantities easily overwhelm our children. Placing the right amount of items in front of our kids helps them stay interested and engaged.

Here are a few toy tips we think help with toy storage and accessibility:
1. When buying extra-large items like motorized toys or doll houses, etc, make sure you have the space to comfortably store the item long-term, or be prepared to remove some items to make room.
2. When buying toys with teeny tiny parts such as Legos or toys with small figurines, make sure that you have storage specific containers or even ziplock bags that will hold these small pieces. Also, be sure that your kids are at the right age to handle and put away the tiny parts. These items are difficult to organize for adults and really difficult to manage for little ones.
3. Plush animals are often displayed more than they are “played with.” Before buying stuffed animals, consider where they will be sitting and if space is available for them to be displayed. If your children suffer from allergies, we suggest skipping the plush toys.
4. If you own remote control items, we suggest using colored stickers to help match the remotes to the correct toy.

We hope your home and holidays are filled with joy and delight–rather than hard-to-manage clutter!
Happy holiday shopping!