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Seven Tips for Staying Organized this Holiday Season (1)
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Seven Tips for Staying Organized This Holiday Season

Dec 12th, 2014

Holidays can be hectic. On top of your typical work and home life responsibilities, you’ve got decorating, shopping, gift wrapping, and food preparation to worry about.

If you’re in charge of holiday planning in your apartment and want to remain relaxed enough to enjoy quality time with family and friends this holiday season, here is some advice for you.

Make “Quality Over Quantity” Your Mantra

One way to spare yourself unnecessary hassle without detracting from anyone’s enjoyment is to focus on quality over quantity with every aspect of your holiday preparations. Set goals and limits to keep your responsibilities manageable, and stick to them.

A few well-coordinated decorations can create a nicer holiday atmosphere than a hodgepodge display covering every surface of your apartment. A smaller dinner spread, consisting of carefully selected dishes made with love, is less stressful and will turn out better than attempts to tackle a large gourmet menu. Plan fewer family activities over the holiday season and make them count. Carry on traditions you cherish, but don’t try to pack too much into your schedule.

Start a Holiday Planning Notebook

Use your existing planner or designate a small notebook for holiday planning. Brainstorm a list of your responsibilities, make to-do lists, and set self-imposed deadlines for decorating, shopping, wrapping, and whatever else you can think of. If you’re an app user, employ a holiday planning app to help you stay organized throughout the season.

Attack Clutter Daily

Decorations, cards, gifts, large meals, and an influx of guests all make homes prone to clutter during the holiday season. Take 15 or 20 minutes to declutter each day, and you’ll be able to keep your apartment looking tidy all holiday season.

Set a Menu in Advance

Food is an important part of pretty much every holiday celebration. While time and effort should go into your food preparations, it’s important not to let yourself get too overwhelmed in the kitchen. Decide what dishes will be served a couple of weeks in advance so you can pick up ingredients when it is convenient for you and not have to make many last-minute food shopping trips.

If tradition dictates you eat the same meals around this time of year, this shouldn’t be too difficult. But if you usually bite off more than you can chew in the kitchen, consider altering your typical menu or get some extra. Plan simple meals that require little cleanup, consider using more pre-prepared foods, and don’t rule out catering if it spares you considerable stress.

Make a Gift Planning Spreadsheet

Loved ones have requested your holiday gift wish list and you’ve requested theirs, but do you feel on top of this season’s gift acquisition? Instead of keeping wish lists in the back of your mind while shopping, sit down with all of the wish lists you’ve received and create a holiday gift planning spreadsheet. Jot down the names of everyone you want to buy gifts for, and decide what you will get each person. Use the spreadsheet to keep track of purchases, gift wrapping, and deliveries. Even if you have a few blanks in the “gift(s)” column, this exercise can shave hours off of your gift planning and shopping.

Use Practical Storage Solutions

Storing holiday decorations can be a challenge, especially if you have limited space in your apartment. Storing ornaments and decorations in their original packaging makes it easy to find specific items, but can be an inefficient use of space. A space-saving way to store ornaments is in boxes with built-in dividers (like these from Target!).

For other decorations and wrapping supplies, clear plastic storage bins are nice because they allow you to “X-ray” your inventory and spend less time looking for specific holiday decorations. If you’re overwhelmed by your holiday decor, donate less cherished items to consolidate your inventory.

Take Time to Relax

As the one who has taken the reigns on planning, you deserve to enjoy the holiday festivities as much as anyone. Carve out some time in your schedule to rest and decompress in order to prevent burnout and ensure you’re in a state to make the most of this special time with the people who mean the most to you.

For last-minute gift ideas and tips for starting the New Year off right, be sure to check out our upcoming blog posts!

How do you stay sane during the holiday season? Share any advice you have for staying on top of planning and enjoying holiday festivities in the comments!

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