The holidays are just around the corner. For many, this time of year is very stressful! We try to meet other's expectations and follow traditions that have been in place for years. Somewhere a long the way, the true meaning for us is lost. The activities associated with the holidays become drudgery instead of joyful. If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, follow the steps below to a simplified and more peaceful holiday season.
1. Determine what you want your holiday season to look like. How do you want to feel when you think about the holidays? The key to this is to put it on paper. Write down the vision and the tasks needed to achieve this goal. Place this paper where you can see it frequently. This will be your road map for the rest of the holiday season.
2. Enter the above tasks on the calendar. Shopping, sending cards, decorating and parties should be added to the calendar too.
3. Determine menus now. Use tried and true recipes that have become a tradition for your family. Prepare what you can ahead of time.
4. Seek assistance. A decorator, caterer, house cleaner or a professional organizer can help with the tasks that you don't like to do or that are over-whelming.
5. Create a holiday binder so you can record recipes, gift ideas, Christmas card lists and party plans. You'll be so glad you went to this extra effort next year.
6. Give non-clutter gifts such as movie passes, gift cards, savings bonds, spa treatments or make a donation in the recipient's name.
7. Limit shopping to two or three trips preferably before December 15th. Avoid crowds by shopping on weekday mornings.
8. Do not feel pressured into sending a holiday card complete with family newsletter and a perfect photo. This may take hours to complete.
9. Use only red, white and gold wrapping paper that you can use all year round. Don't be tempted to purchase gift wrap at the end of the season just because it's on sale.
10. Donate decorations that you did not use the past year. This will free up space in your storage area and make decorating flow more smoothly next year.
Please share your tips for simplifying the holidays. Leave your comments below.
How much time do you spend cleaning house on a weekly basis? Do you share my dream that you could snap your fingers and the house would be perfectly clean and tidy? For most of us, cleaning house is one of those necessary evils. A clean house is essential to keep our homes safe and healthy. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of housework. So it would make sense that if you want to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning, you should reduce the amount of clutter in your house. It’s important to distinguish between cleaning and de-cluttering. To clean is to remove the dirt, grime and germs. To de-clutter is to remove the items that are no longer used or simply to return items to their designated ‘homes’. Below are 10 tips to reduce the amount of time you spend cleaning house.
1) The less you have, the quicker cleaning will be. Keep only the things that you love.
2) De-clutter daily. Have all family members pitch in. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or create a basket for each family member for their “clutter” that must me returned to its home before watching TV or eating a snack.
3) Delegate household cleaning tasks. Kids can make their beds, empty trash, load and unload dishwasher, vacuum and dust their bedroom and clean their bathroom.
4) Keep cleaning supplies under each bathroom sink for easy access.
5) Use multi-use/all purpose products. Fewer products to purchase and store.
6) Listen to music, a podcast or talk on the phone to pass time while cleaning.
7) Clean the house on the same day each week. Establish the same routine with kids cleaning their room. Maybe Saturday mornings work for your family.
8) Host a book club or dinner club. Having people over regularly is great motivation to get your house in order.
9) Be comfortable while cleaning. Dress in comfy washable clothing.
10) Let go of perfection. Settle for “Good Enough”.
What time-saving tips do you have to keep your home clean? Please comment below.
My kids will be out of school soon and it almost sends me into a panic. The trick to a great summer is finding a balance between structured activities and downtime. If we schedule every moment with camps and play dates, then summer becomes just as hectic as the school year. On the other hand, if we don’t have anything planned, the kids become bored and that can make for a miserable summer. Follow these tips to ensure that you and your family have a summer of fun-filled and relaxing activities.
1) If you do not use a paper calendar or if you use an online calendar, print out the summer months and place in an obvious place in your home for all family members to see. Be sure to include the pre-planned activities such as sports camps, swim lessons, etc. Then you can write in new events as they come up.
2) Make a “wish list” of things to do over the summer. Get the whole family involved and let each child choose at least one activity. Maybe the roller skating rink or a visit with friends that you don’t have time to see during the school year.
3) Research free things to do in your community. Check out the public library, recreation centers, free concerts in the park. When you find activities that would be fun and of interest to your family, add them to the calendar.
4) Just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean that any routines should go away. Routines are still important but maybe they can be loosened up a bit. Beds still need to be made, belongings put away, chores still need to be done! Be sure to build in reading time each day.
5) Remember to relax. Schedule “downtime”. It’s good for kids to be a little bored. It encourages some creativity within them.