Trim the Tree and Your To-Do List: Add the "Merry" Back Into Your Holidays
For many, the holidays are a much anticipated time of year with the festive atmosphere, the holiday traditions and the overall magic of the season. However, instead of bringing tidings of comfort and joy, the holiday season for many brings over-commitment and under-planning and in turn, a less-than-merry attitude. Trying to fit in all the extra holiday activities and preparations on top of regular life responsibilities is often an unrealistic expectation that we as a society place on ourselves with the pressure to do it all in order to get the most of the season. Often when this happens, we lose the spirit of what we intend to achieve through the holiday activities…to enjoy the things that matter most to us.
Completing the extra holiday activities and managing day-to-day life responsibilities can’t be done without a plan. Forethought and prioritization are keys to a successful and enjoyable holiday season. Think through and prioritize the activities that are important to you. It’s okay to say "no" to those that don't make the cut. Get your holiday back under control and out of unrealistic holidayland:
The “musts” vs. the “would like to’s.” Make one list of the activities you must do…the non-negotiables. Make a second list of the optional activities you have been invited to or would like to participate in and loosely prioritize.
Be choosy. When prioritizing, think of your time like a financial budget--you have a limited amount to spend and you can only do so much with it. Unless you are selective, something will be forced to be given up. Be realistic. I know it sounds wonderful to do it all, but the goal is to not over-burden yourself so that you can enjoy what you have chosen. When trying to identify what doesn’t make the cut, consider past years and star the activities that you found particularly worthwhile and encompassing of your values and goals for the season. In contrast, also ask yourself which optional activities in past years you didn’t enjoy as much and consider passing on them this year.
Plan it out. Pencil in some of these activities on the calendar. Begin with the non-negotiable activities. If multiple dates work for an activity, note that on the calendar so you can have flexibility when the time comes. Next, add the priority items on the second list of things you’d like to do. Leave a few empty days or evenings for the unexpected and when the calendar is full, put the pencil down. Feel free to keep the list in case activities fall through or time is freed up, but don’t over-commit beyond what you have time for. With this approach you are sure to have time for your highest priority activities, so focus on those and enjoy!
Delegate. To free up time in your schedule during the holidays, identify activities in your typical monthly routine that could wait until after the holidays or be delegated to someone else. Here are a few quick ideas:
Consider taking not just your dry cleaning to the cleaners but your laundry also to wash and fold for you….you might be surprised how affordable it is!
Buy more ready-to-cook meals than you would during a typical month.
Hire someone to decorate and undecorate your home and handle the outdoor lights.
Shop online. Pay the extra for shipping instead of fighting the crowds and uncertainty of stock of picking up a gift in store. Or call ahead to reserve your gift in store and even prepay over the phone so you can send a family member to pick it up for you.
Hire house cleaners this month or ask your regular cleaners if they would take on additional tasks this month to remove additional upkeep off your list.
Cater all or a portion of your holiday gathering, or at least borrow a premade menu from online when planning the meal to speed up the planning.
Take the store up on the giftwrapping offer.
Utilize online grocery shopping and delivery services.
Give gift certificates. Everyone loves money to spend at their favorite store or restaurant and the shopping is a breeze! It also cuts down on any unnecessary clutter because the recipient is purchasing what they want or need.
Include a quick thoughtful printed letter in your holiday cards instead of feeling the need to handwrite a personal message in each one.
Make this the year you slow down, break the mold of unrealistic expectations and get back to what really matters to you this holiday season. Just as our tagline at Eliminate Chaos is “More Time For Life®”, simplifying the holiday expectations you put on yourself and take on from others will help you have more time to enjoy that holiday season you’ve always dreamed of.
It's not too late! We can still help you prepare for the holidays...
If you are feeling pressed for time to complete your holiday to-do list or just planning in advance for the holiday tear down and clean up, take the above advice and delegate some tasks to us! One of our Specialist can help you:
Decorate your home for the holidays - and organize the decor when we take it down
Organize the kitchen for holiday cooking and guests
Organize and prepare a guest room
Clean out closets or mud rooms making room for guests
Get your holiday cards done
Make space in your garage so you can park your cars inside for winter
There is limited time left on our December calendars, so act fast to grab your holiday help today before it is all gone!
Contact us at: 425.670.2551 | 509.392.7064 | 877.342.8592
Laura's Upcoming Speaking Schedule
Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life Date: Saturday, January 4, 2014 Time: 1:00pm Place: Seattle Remodeling Expo | Seattle Convention Center | Seattle, WA Investment: Cost of Admission to Remodeling Show Sponsor: Seattle Remodeling Expo Learn More and Register:Here
Right-Sizing: Less Stuff = Less Stress Date: Thursday, January 16, 2014 Time: 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm Place: 21 Acres for Local Food and Sustainable Living | Woodinville, WA Investment: $22 before 12.31.13 and $29 after 12.31.13 Sponsor: 21 Acres for Local Food and Sustainable Living Learn More and Register:Here
Organizing Digital and Print Memories Date: Saturday, February 1, 2014 Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Place: 21 Acres for Local Food and Sustainable Living | Woodinville, WA Investment: $69 before 1.6.14 and $79 after 1.6.14 Sponsor: 21 Acres for Local Food and Sustainable Living Learn More and Register:Here
Eliminate Paper and Information Chaos Date: Saturday, March 1, 2014 Time: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm Place: 21 Acres for Local Food and Sustainable Living | Woodinville, WA Investment: $69 before 1.31.14 and $79 after 1.13.14 Sponsor: 21 Acres for Local Food and Sustainable Living Learn More and Register: Here
"Like" us on FaceBookfor more helpful tips and bursts of inspiration or "follow" us on Twitter. Buried in savings?... “Flipp” through all those holiday fliers in a synch!
Flipp turns stores’ promotional paper fliers into an identical digital version and aggregates them all into an organized, easy-to-use app. You can search by shopping category such as home goods or grocery, by store or by item. You can quickly “clip” items you see by tapping them which groups them all on one tab and organizes them by store. Coupons offered in the paper flier that you would ordinarily clip out and present at checkout can just be shown to the cashier from your app, eliminating the need to carry the physical coupons with you. With over 300 stores including Macy’s, Target, Fred Meyer, IKEA, Costco, PetSmart and Home Depot to name a few, this app will certainly help you to feel a bit merrier this holiday season by saving you time and a purse-full of ad clippings.
"A big thanks to Julie and Terri for helping us to clear our clutter from our workshop and craft area in an effective, easy, non-judgmental way. My husband was blown away by the transformation, and we are liberated by the extra space and less "stuff". Thank you again, EC!" -Joyce and Marshall Rafferty - Seattle, WA .
A great way to try us out and get some organizing done at the same time! For a limited time, we are offering an amazing NEW client organizing special. If you are not an existing client this is a great way for us show you how we can eliminate your chaos.