Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Last Minute Holiday Organizational Tips

Christmas is just around the corner. What can we do now to make this Christmas and the next a little less stressful?

As the Christmas cards come in, take the time now to check addresses and update your contact list. Plan now on how you want to handle the card you receive - especially those with personal pictures and notes. I do not keep cards unless there is a very special note or picture. Then the card will go into a memorabilia box. If you like to use favorite cards as gift tags for the next year, put those cards in a small box and label them "gift tag cards." If you want to keep some of the pictures, consider scanning them as they come in. Another option is to place them in your memorabilia box with other family photos. If you plan to answer notes in the cards, schedule the time to do this now or very likely they will be sitting in a bag or basket for the whole year. (This I know very personally.)

Wrapping Paper:
I encourage you to let go of those little bits and pieces of the roll that are left after wrapping your gifts. You might want to keep some smaller pieces to use as gift tags. If this is your plan, place the small pieces in an envelope or folder to protect them. Paper that came off gifts you received might be kept for next year if it is pristine. The same can be said for keeping and reusing gift bags. If you find that you have a lot of paper left from previous years, now is the time to decide what you really love and let the excess go. Tissue paper can be used to wrap fragile ornaments when packing up after the holidays. Do have one place to store your entire holiday wrap.

Start your gift list for next year now. What have you discovered that your friends and family really love? Make a list. Keep a list of all clothing sizes. Shop all year round and keep all gifts that you buy in one place. This shows you how much you already have when the holiday shopping season hits next year. Tag the items with the names of who you thought of when you bought the gift.

After Christmas, wrap up carefully all your decorations that you plan to keep and use next year. As you box them, divide them up so that it will facilitate putting them out next year. I have all early advent items in the top of one marked box. Others, who do more extensive decorating, mark boxes by the rooms where the decorations are used. Discard broken or unloved items.

As you receive gifts, now is the time to donate what you no longer need or love. If you receive a new coffee pot, donate the old one. If you got a new robe, let the old one go to charity. Have children participate in clearing out toys they no longer love to make room for their new gifts.

Have a happy holiday season!

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Make Your Calendar Work for You in 2013

By now you have probably gotten tired of writing notes on the back page and putting sticky notes in your old calendar.

Let's plan how to set up your new calendar for the upcoming year.

Step One: Review your current calendar. This is the fun part. Go month by month to note birthdays, anniversaries, and standard meeting times. Also note doctor/dentist appointments that are already set for the upcoming year.

Step Two: Transfer these dates to your new calendar in a color that will stand out. As you go through the year writing in all the other appointments, you don't want to lose focus on these dates.

Step Three: On each month, either along the edge or at the top of your calendar, write in actions that you usually do during that month. For example, in January I have "clean out birdhouses" and "organize office zone." In February I have "deduct from checkbook deposit box expense" and "organize my guest bedroom zone."

Step Four: On each month, Make a list of when organizational dues are expected and when you make annual contributions to organizations. For example, in March I have "National Audubon" due and in April I have "Atlanta Botanical Gardens" and "National NAPO" due. Most of these organizations start to solicit months before the renewal is actually due. This side bar of information on when items are really due keeps you from guessing or having to check back into your files or checkbook.

I always enjoy setting up my new calendar. It is fun to review what I have done during this past year and to feel prepared for the upcoming year.

Jonda Beattie
Professional Organizer

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Annual Christmas Panic

OK, we are now really in December. Christmas will be here really soon.

Time to panic!


In spite of my best efforts, I have run behind on my timeline. In spite of my great plan early on, I have also over scheduled.

What should I do now to keep away that panic and stress?

Here is my current plan:

  1. Back to envisioning how I want this holiday to look and feel.
  • I want my holiday to include time with loved ones and friends.
  •  I want to feel happy and at peace with the world.

     2. Getting real about what can be done.
  •  I am still working on cards - but individual messages are going to be very brief and only to those I don't communicate with except at Christmas.
  • My decorations will be less than previous years.
  • My house will not attract the board of health, but this is not the time for any deep cleaning or organizational projects.
  • I will streamline cooking - eat out more - and keep foods for the party and the holiday meal simpler than in the past.
    3. Getting help.
  • I will ask for help from friends and family as needed.
  • I will hire help for some cleaning and yard work.
    4. Revisiting my calendar.
  • I will move some items around to accommodate my new commitments.
  • I will let some items go.
   5. Taking care of myself first.
  • I will sleep more.
  • I will eat healthy (well, at least most of the time).
  • I will do my weights and walk.
   6.  Laughing and smiling - a lot.
  • I will schedule time with fun friends.
  • I will go to uplifting events.
  • I will laugh at the absurd and ridiculous - and that means laughing at myself at times.
OK - Now, I have a Plan B. I feel better.
Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer