The holidays are anxiety-inducing enough without worrying about the clutter that comes with gifting, decorating, cooking, and all of the other festive traditions. Lucky for us, Maria Baer, Maven and Resident Organizer of The Baer Minimalist, is an expert at getting and staying organized – and she shared 10 tips for making this holiday season the most stress-free one yet.
1. Create an annual holiday checklist
Prepare a recurring holiday checklist on your calendar for each year (if you still keep a paper calendar, write it on a sticky note that can be transferred each year). Include things like booking family photos, a starter gift list, and a reminder of events or traditions to schedule.
2. Map out your milestones early
With so many holiday parties and events, take a day early in the season to map out important milestones. What will you need to have on hand for these events? Hostess gifts? Special outfits? A go-to appetizer to share? Then, try to tackle as much as possible in a single day so your holidays can be a grab-and-go affair.
3. Wrap all gifts in a single sitting
… Or two.
BONUS TIMESAVER TIP: If you take gifts to several different family homes (parents, in-laws, etc.), wrap each set of gifts in the same paper so it’s easy to spot gits under the tree as you pack the car for each celebration.
4. Give intangible (or expirable) gifts
Gift experiences or consumable treats that don’t add clutter to your household – like a Bin Scrub Subscription to the person who has it all, an Indy Maven membership for your bestie, a Sprouts Cooking Class for the kids, or a Taste Indy food tour for a great day date.
5. Ditch whatever stays in the boxes after decorating
As you decorate for the holidays, assess the items that are not put on display. Do you anticipate using them down the road? If not, consider donating to a homeless shelter or family in need PRIOR to the holidays.
6. Make a gift list
Create a list including names of recipients, price limits, and ideas that you can use as a jumping-off point each year. Use Pinterest to store gift ideas throughout the year.
7. Create an e-Directory
Keep an electronic address book that can be updated throughout the year as you receive notes and cards.
BONUS TIMESAVER TIP: Spend a few extra dollars to have your address printed on your envelopes through sites like Minted or Paper Culture.
8. Meal plan
Create a list of meals for the following week while you are waiting in the pick-up lane at school (or whenever you have 5 minutes to spare). Opt for curbside pick-up or sign up for grocery delivery through a site like Shipt. This saves time … and also keeps us from those crazy impulse buys.
9. Take wrapping inventory
Take inventory of your wrapping paper, tissue paper, tape, bows, gift tags, etc. at the end of the season and buy discounted materials for the following year. Store them with your holiday décor so they don’t clutter your general wrapping supplies the other 11 months of the year.
Finally, remember this time of year is a great opportunity to be with your loved ones and shouldn’t be taken over by stress. By planning ahead, you can truly ENJOY each and every day of this special time of year.
Find out more tips on staying organized year-round on The Baer Minimalist’s website.
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