Written by Professional Organizers in Canada
As the holiday season approaches, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the whirlwind of shopping and entertaining that comes with this time of year. With a little help from Professional Organizers in Canada, Canadians can focus more time on enjoying the festivities of this holiday season by organizing a few key spaces in their homes and by planning their shopping in advance.
Preparing your home for holiday entertaining:
- Concentrate your efforts on the areas that will have the biggest impact. For instance, don't worry about the storage and pantry areas or the 'private' rooms, such as your family's bedrooms that will not be used by guests. Concentrate instead on the 'public' rooms such as the dining room, the living room, the family room, and the bedrooms and the bathrooms that will be used by guests.
- Clear away as much of the non-essential day-to-day clutter and year-round decorative items as you can, replacing it with seasonal decorations and special touches.
- Tuck away projects and hobbies that will not be used over the holidays and replace them with games, books and seasonal music that you and your guests will enjoy.
- Clear some space on the vanity and in the closets where you will be accommodating your guests, so that they can make themselves at home and be as relaxed as possible – it will only add to the festive mood in your home.
- Ideally, you will have cleared away clutter and non-essential items well in advance of the holidays, but in the worst case scenario, if you need to stash the clutter in boxes at the last minute and relegate it to the basement that is fine, too. That will give you a good place to start in the New Year when you embark on your New Year's resolution to 'get organized!'
Organizing your holiday shopping with some time management and planning:
- Make a budget and make a list of people you want to buy presents for - don't wait until your credit card is maxed out in December! Determine what your household can reasonably afford to spend on holiday shopping, then prepare a list of whom you will be buying for and decide an approximate dollar amount to be spent on each person.
- Spend some time online or going through catalogs in order to come up with several possible gift suggestions. If you are doing this well in advance, online shopping is your best bet as it will save you a great amount of time and you will not be tempted by something above your budget as you stroll through the malls.
- For gifts that you wish to buy in person, divide that list into two or more excursions so that you don't have to wear yourself to a frazzle on one shopping trip.
- Ideally, shop at off-times such as weekday mornings or Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings when the stores will be less busy.
- Alternatively, set yourself a goal of buying one gift each day on your noon hour or perhaps stopping at one store each night on your way home so that the shopping is done before you know it.
Decoration teardown - how to make sure everything is organized for next year:
- To avoid being the house on the block that still has decorations up well into February, it is helpful to actually schedule a day when you will take care of this last holiday chore. Schedule the time on the last day before you return to work so that you are not faced with coming home at the end of a long day or week and still having the decorations staring you in the face. You may not have the energy on that last day of the holiday break, but you will have a lot less energy when you are back at work or school!
- Review your decorations. Are there any decorations still in the boxes that you didn't bother putting up this year? If so, these are the first you should consider ditching or donating as clearly they did not make the cut. If the item is sentimental but you still wouldn't be caught dead displaying it, take a picture of it before you toss it so that you can keep the memory, not the item.
- Decide how you best like to store your holiday decorations. Do you like to keep all the similar items together (such as wreaths, candles or decorations by color) so that you can mix and match what you use and where you put it? If so, think of broad categories including linens, serving ware, freestanding ornaments, etc., and group them together that way. As you open each box next year, you will have fresh inspiration for how you can arrange your various decorations. Another approach is to pack away all the decorations by room, e.g. living room, kitchen, foyer, etc. This works best if you tend to use the same decorations in the same room year after year, and gives you the option of decorating or un-decorating one room at a time. For this type of approach, it can be helpful to take some photos of your decorations on display so that you can recreate that particular vignette year after year and keep the tradition going.
Established in 2000, Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) is a national registered non-profit association that provides education, business development tools and a code of ethics for all types of organizers across Canada. Individuals or businesses looking to hire a Professional Organizer can turn to POC's website, organizersincanada.com, for the Find an Organizer Directory. This easy-to-use tool allows members of the public to search for a POC organizer by location and expertise.
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