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Your Home In Order for the Holidays
Cape Cod Parent and Child
December • January 2007
By Nicole Gabai
President of B. Organized!
DECEMBER, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR JINGLE BELLS ARE?
believe the holidays are just around the corner? When I said that to
my 5 year old nephew Gabriel, in the car the other day, he thought
it was the funniest thing he had ever heard! He thought when I made
a left turn, there would be Santa and his reindeer, a big tree and
falling snow. Well, it almost feels that way.
With a little
planning, lots of lists, and some simple solutions, you can make
this year’s celebrations more relaxing, meaningful, and more
enjoyable while you’re sipping eggnog by the fire and hosting
large family dinners with long lost relatives.
There are a
million reasons why clutter accumulates at home all year long. But
there is no better time than before the holidays to de-clutter. Set
aside 3-4 hours on a few different saturdays and you’ll start the
preparations off on a high note.
Here are some
specific ideas to give attention to:
1 – Clothes
closets – if you haven’t worn it in 1 year – give it away to
someone who will. Same for the kids closets, too. Tell the kids
Santa only comes to an organized house! Whatever their ages, the
message is clear – if everyone helps out, the season will be that
much more joyous.
2 – Kitchen
cabinets – Take a good look at all the mix-matched sets of glasses
and plates. Give away those that are no longer a joy to use. You can
buy a new dish set at Wal-Mart for under $30 and a set of new
glasses is even cheaper at Christmas Tree Shop. You’ll start the
holidays off in a festive mood!
Important papers and stuff – You know all those little pieces of
paper floating around? You know, the ones on every counter top and
in every extra basket? Add 2 very important files to your filing
system – “TO BE FILED” and “TO BE REVIEWED.” Now, when you
sit down at your desk, you’ll feel so much better knowing all
these papers and notes are at least in a file. Take some time to
sort and file away all these notes. To really keep things in order
during this busy season, make an effort to regularly open and sort
your mail, put things away when you’re done with them and do small
chores often so they don’t become huge.
4 – The
freezer – Take a good long look at all those plastic containers
of, well, you’re not quite sure what and begin tossing out all the
left-overs and half-eaten goodies to make room for the extra
ice-trays and ice bags at holiday time.
5 – Update
the Christmas and Channukah décor – If the blinking tree lights
didn’t work last year, they probably won’t work this year
either. You know the ones I am talking about, that string or two you
have all rolled up at the bottom of the holiday decorations box.
Toss it, forget about it and spend a few bucks on some new strings.
If you are
missing all the needed candles for the menorah, then now is the time
to stock up and give the menorah a quick polish too.
6 – Kids
toys – kids getting a new video game this year? Give the old one
to charity. He’ll never go back to version 1 anyway. Any old and
gently used toys no longer a favorite or under appreciated? Now is
the perfect time to donate to your favorite church, temple or
charity. (see sidebar for local ideas)
7 – Driving
directions – This is a great file to have in your filing system
all year-round. However, at this holiday time, it’s especially
handy to have copies of directions to YOUR house. Have these typed
in your computer and it will save time when you can shoot an e-mail
to friends and relatives.
gifts - Start collecting holiday gifts for everyone on your list.
Another great time-saver is to keep a file all year long of gift
ideas. That way, you can easily surf the internet for lots of those
9 – Create a
timeline – This is a master list with all the to-do’s that need
to be done before your special event, whether it’s a dinner party,
or a breakfast on Christmas morning. Once it’s all on the list,
transfer a couple of to-do’s onto each day before the big event.
As each item is accomplished, cross it off the list! It’s very
10 - Lists,
lists and more lists – Making written or typed lists for the
holidays will make it much easier to remember everything. Excellent
lists to have at this time of year are:
-meal planning lists
-holiday card lists
11 – Help is
on the way! - Ask for, and accept help. It’s the best way to ease
the stress. When I throw a party it’s usually a big undertaking.
It’s much easier when I know I can count on my friends to lend a
hand. Some people bring wine and beer, some pitch in to help set up
or clean up and some bring food.
others means giving up some control – I let guests bring whatever
food and drinks they would like to bring, and then just go with the
flow. It’s half the fun of celebrating and my friends feel more
involved in the joy of the event.
superwomen among us (uh, who are they, really?) can’t do
everything on their own. Give yourself a gift this season, and hire
a babysitter for an evening or a few hours during the day so you can
have some downtime, or spend some alone time shopping or ordering
DONATING CLOTHES, SHOES AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS:
Emerald House, Davisville Road in East Falmouth.
DONATING COMPUTERS, BOTH MAC AND PC:
Schedule a Pick-up at hp.com/recycle.
DONATING GENTLY USED TOYS:
Check with your local church or synagogue.
ORNAMENT STORAGE BINS, BOXES AND CONTAINERS:
12 - Mailing
Lists and holiday cards – One option to make your life easier is
to send New Year’s greetings instead of adding holiday cards to
the Christmas list. I always tried to send my cards before the end
of December and then I realized I could make my life a little less
stressed by extending my deadline. My cards don’t get lost in the
shuffle of dozens of other cards in the end of December and I can
take a little more time to write a more meaningful message as soon
as January rolls in.
To keep your
mailing lists up to date, keep all your data stored in the computer
using “Outlook.” It’s the best for keeping track of names and
addresses. And keep in mind that the best time to update your
holiday card list for next year, is at the end of this year’s
holiday season. Add, modify or delete as needed.
13 – It’s
a wrap - Keep all your rolls of paper, tape, bows and decorative
bags in a Gift Wrap organizer. You can find a great one at the
Container Store or on-line at Stacks and Stacks. When all your
shopping is complete, spend an evening or two wrapping gifts and you
won’t be digging throughout the house trying to find all the
elements you need.
When all is
said and done, it’s the time spent with friends and family that
really makes the holidays meaningful. Don’t try to be perfect. I
give you permission to just enjoy the season and the company you’re
with. Happy organizing and happy holidays!
Gabai is the president and founder of B. Organized!, a company
specializing in innovative solutions for your home, office
(especially paper intensive environments) and children’s rooms.
The company also handles moves and relocations. She has owned the
company for seven years and was previously based in New York City.
She is now based in Falmouth and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
508.532.2715. She is offering a class on organizing at the
Falmouth night school in the fall. In addition to working closely
with her clients, providing customized solutions, Nicole also
presents workshops and seminars on how to get yourself organized.
Her work is widely recognized throughout the northeast, from Maine
to New York, Connecticut and New Jersey to Tennessee and Miami and
internationally in Peru and Mexico.
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