We are excited to have a wonderful guest on today. Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop. She is sharing with us some great ideas on getting organized after the holidays. I don’t know about you, but I sure need some help here. Let us know if you have any great ideas to share as well!
The holiday season can be stressful, hectic, and difficult to control, so it’s important to be prepared to reorganize your life before you’re thrust straight back into it with your New Year’s party hat still stuck on your head. Once you’re back to your regular routine, it will be even more difficult to take the time to organize the post-holiday mayhem that’s been left strewn around your house. So, before the real world intervenes, try organizing your post-holiday schedule, decoration storage, and “stuff management” in anticipation of more toys. Sound overwhelming? Try some of the following tips to help you make your way through the post-holiday crunch.
Don’t let the first few events of the new year catch you off-guard. Keep your family calendar updated and, even more importantly, maintain updates in your personal planner as you receive notice of future engagements. By keeping your planner in your purse or near you at all times, you’ll be able to pencil in new events without double-booking or getting too overwhelmed. You can easily find a small planner that’s well suited to your needs at an office supply or local craft store, and November and December are great months to find planners for the new year. To supplement your organized schedule, try using sticky notes in places that will get your attention at the appropriate times. For example, if you know you have to get to a PTA meeting right after dinner on Tuesday, put a sticky note reminder on the refrigerator or above the sink to remind you while you make and clean up the evening meal.
Organizing Meals in Advance
It’s easy to get a bad case of kitchen burn-out after the holidays, but your family still needs you to plan and prepare meals – even in January. Try making an effort to include foods that you haven’t eaten during the holiday months to help prevent your picky eaters from getting tired of certain meals. Sure, you’ll probably have leftovers to use up, but try to give them clever disguises. For example, if you’ve got Christmas ham sitting in your refrigerator, bring in some of the unexpected with Caribbean ham and pineapple sandwiches. Add cilantro, green peppers, fresh chopped pineapple, and Caribbean jerk to your typical ham sandwich to spice things up and keep variety in the mix. By planning meals like these in advance, you’ll be able to worry about one less thing in the new year, allowing you to stay focused on keeping the unexpected organized.
Storing Holiday Decorations
Labels are a key element of decoration storage. You know how frustrating it is to go sorting through boxes and tubs, searching in vain for one particular Christmas ornament or part of the nativity. To prevent this in the future and to help you pack up your decorations once the holiday season is over this year, plan your storage options in advance. You can use a label maker, tape down handmade labels, or even write on your boxes, as long as you include a detailed description of what’s inside. It’s also helpful to group items of the same type together, such as ornaments, the nativity scene, other decorations according to which room they’re usually displayed in, or however you’re most comfortable with organizing your decorations. By pre-labeling and planning your decoration storage, you’ll have less work to do both at the end of this season and at the beginning of the next.
Making Post-Holiday Space
No matter how hard you try to prevent the pile-up of more material gifts at the end of the holiday season, you’re almost always left with a mountain of new stuff to deal with. This year, plan ahead by getting rid of clutter before the holidays add more to the mix. Ask your kids to donate five toys to a local charity or make some Operation Christmas Child boxes with items that you already have in your house. This is a great way to help your kids recognize and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas: the joy of giving. It also helps you keep your house organized by getting rid of things that aren’t absolutely necessary. You can even go through everyone’s wardrobes and find a local clothing and shoe drop-off center for items you no longer use, try to give your kids nonmaterial gifts, and empty your stash of “re-gift” items by giving them all away this season.
In addition to getting rid of existing clutter, you can plan space for the inevitable wave of new stuff that hits after the holidays. To create more space in your kids’ rooms, give colorful storage cubes as Christmas gifts. If you have new furniture on your wish list, make sure you get some with built-in storage capacity – this is especially easy to find in tables, and many even include hidden storage space. Maximizing your space efficiency is a great way to help keep your post-holiday life organized and relaxed.