Almost every holiday season, I often find myself feeling less than merry. And, I know I'm not alone. With all the extra responsibilities on our plates, both personal and professional, it's easy to feel more like curling up on the couch than caroling with your cousins.
But after talking with my dear friend and professional organizer Lori Krolik from More Time For You, I've learned the secrets to solving 8 common holiday-induced problems--and they all have a common theme, organization.
As my gift to you this holiday season, I'm sharing her wisdom so you can have more time for what truly matters, especially this time of year.
Your Christmas list is freaking you out.
The list of gifts you need to get is beyond daunting. You can't remember who you bought what and who got you something last year.
Enter, The Christmas List app. This handy tool allows you to manage all your gift recipients. You can import contact information directly from your iOS device, plan gift ideas, create shopping lists, set budgets, share your lists, create gift lists by categories, and more.
What a great solution to ensure you don't double buy items, overspend, or (yikes!) forget someone.
You're out of money--and time.
Everyone has limits. Figure out what yours are NOW and stick to them. Set a predetermined amount for what you will spend on gifts and the number of people you will be buying for.
Apply limits to your time and efforts, as well.
This means, when you are looking for gifts for your kids' teachers, ask yourself, is it really worth driving to five different stores looking for the perfect sweater?
You are ready to wrap gifts and realize you have three bags of bows but no paper.
Before you start buying, wrapping, decorating, baking, et cetera, take inventory of what you do have on hand. This includes decorations, wrapping paper, and holiday cooking supplies.
This way, before you head out to the store, you'll know what you have on hand, and won't make the mistake of buying more than you need.
You'd rather get a root canal than to untangle Christmas lights.
Getting in the holiday spirit often comes with a lot of stuff. It looks so festive when it's up, but what about the rest of the year? Do yourself a favor and head to the store and buy tons of containers--and use them. They will prove invaluable when it comes to packing up all that holiday décor.
Create categories for storage--entertaining, kids' books, or organize by room. Then store them all together in an out-of-the-way yet accessible place. This way you won't waste time hunting for something rather than spending time with family.
And, remember when you are taking down lights or wrapping up ornaments to take a little bit of extra time now to do it right so that it'll be easier next year.
Your holiday cards are taking over your house.
We all love receiving holiday cards from family and friends, but what do you do with them after you oogle over how big Cousin Billy has grown or how cute Susie's family looks?
There's lots of clever ways on Pinterest as how to display these cards or turn them into photobooks but if you don't have the time to do that, make cuts.
Get a container for each year and apply the 80/20 rule to who makes it into your holiday card photo archive. Lori suggests keeping those from close family members and friends (especially those with personal messages or photos) and recycle the ones from your real estate agent or dentist, for example.
Unneeded gifts are cluttering up your house.
Lori has some shocking yet sage advice--Just because you receive a gift does not mean you need to keep it.
To quote Marie Kondo, "The true purpose of a present is to be received. Presents are not things, but a means for conveying someone's feelings." Embrace the joy you feel when you receive a gift, but don't keep it out of obligation.
On another level, don't be a "spreader of gift clutter." Many of our friends and family members are fortunate to have enough stuff. Experiential gifts like trips or concert tickets can go a long way in terms of creating lasting memories.
You're stressing over what to do for co-workers.
Speaking of being a "spreader of gift clutter," talk in advance with your workplace team about how to handle the holidays.
Set standards for a gift exchange, a Secret Santa, or holiday cards. Or, in lieu of gifts, host a little celebration with the team, inside or outside the office.
Of course, for managers cash bonuses for individual team members are always much appreciated if a viable option.
The new year is giving your team anxiety.
There's always high hopes for a new year. To get started off on the right foot and with a clean slate, initiate a team "clean up."
Whether emotional, physical or both, encourage your team to purge bad feelings, hash out and resolve grudges and clean up work spaces. Give them some space and time to organize common areas, supply closets or break rooms, clean off surfaces, trash old papers, and clean up their desks.
Making it a team effort will inspire collaboration, buy-in to commit to sustaining it, and set you up for success in 2018.