Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Are You Organized for the Holidays?

December 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Guest Writer – Lynne Wilson, Professional Organizer
Clutter Solutions by Lynne

Fall decorations to put away, Holiday decorations to get out, presents to buy, shopping for special food, getting the house ready for guests….the list goes on and on. Does this time of year make you cranky?

We all feel a bit more stressed during the Holidays. Yes, we’re spending more time with friends and family. We’re planning and attending more activities. But having all this fun happening in such a short period of time can be stressful.

With a few simple changes, we can make a big difference to enjoying the Holidays.

Here are a few ideas for organization:


When repacking autumn decorations and taking out Holiday decorations, do you have “stuff” left over in the boxes that you haven’t used for two or more seasons? Do you have some boxes you take out and not even open?

If the item is broken, tattered or ugly (your Great Aunt meant well when she made that needlepoint wall hanging!) toss it. You’ve had some use out of it but now it’s just taking up precious space.

If it’s just no longer your style, donate it. Folks who cannot afford decorations will be so thankful. Call your local Hospice Shop, women’s shelters or Goodwill and drop off the unused items at their sites.

But what about all those handmade ornaments the kids made? If you don’t use them, ask your grown children if they’d like them. If not, photograph the items to keep as a memory and either toss the item or donate if appropriate. Kids still at home? Sort through the ornaments, decide which ones to keep (really, you don’t have to keep them all) and store in a separate box from other decorations.

Clearly label all boxes. Plastic boxes work best for just about everything regardless of what they contain. That jumble of lights for inside, outside, the tree, the mantle? On a length of masking tape write a description and attach to each cord. Next year, you’ll be so glad you took the time to label this year!

Dishes, mugs, tablecloths, napkins:

So now you’ve got all the Holiday dishes and tablecloths out of the storage box and piled on the dining room table and counters. Where do you keep it all for the next few weeks?

If you get out 10 Christmas mugs take 10 mugs from your everyday dishes and put them in the storage box. Do the same with table cloths, books, knick-knacks and large serving dishes. Now you have created more space and less clutter.


Very likely your child will be getting more toys for Christmas or Hanukkah. With your child, sort through his or her room and closet now. Put toys and games that are no longer played with or that are inappropriate into a box.

Include the child when you take the boxes to a non-profit like Hospice Shop or Goodwill. Explain why it’s important to pass along playthings to others: some children don’t have many toys, it helps save us all money and it helps save the Earth!


Have you been buying and/or making and squirreling away gifts all year? Good for you! Find where you’ve hidden them and wrap them early in December.

Are you just starting your shopping? That’s OK too. Wrap them as you buy them. And purchase a few extra small gifts. When wrapped, add a blank gift tag and a post-it with a description so you’ll remember what’s inside. When a visitor drops in with an unexpected present for you, you’ll be prepared to reciprocate.


Where is that special cranberry chutney recipe? Start accumulating your recipes as you go. Put them on a clip board. Make a master list of needed ingredients.

Shop early for non perishable items. This serves two purposes: The cost will be spread out over several shopping trips and when you start to cook you will have that unusual spice on hand. No late night runs to the market!

As you open sugar, flour, spices, etc, mark on the package or box the date opened so you won’t have to guess in the future. Always keep a marker handy in the kitchen for this purpose.

There are so many cookies and breads that can be baked, wrapped and frozen. Even some main courses can be prepared now and frozen. Check websites like Real Simple or Cooking Light for suggestions. Just defrost when ready to give or to serve. Remember that unexpected visitor? Now you have something to offer.

Aren’t you feeling more relaxed already? Good! That’s the idea of being organized at this time of year and every time of year… Enjoy the holidays!

Lynne Wilson
Clutter Solutions
925 683-9270
“Perhaps too much of everything is as bad as too little.” Edna Ferbe


About Lynne Wilson ~ A native Californian, I’ve lived in Danville, CA with my husband, son and daughter for 28 years. Our family has expanded to include a daughter-in-law, son-in-law and a grand daughter.After retiring from AT&T as a National Account Project Manager, I became a professional residential organizer. Juggling an intense, technical job and the many daily activities a family entails provided me with the skills and desire to pursue my present career.

Member NAPO/National Association of Professional Organizer


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