Relax. Take a deep breath. Smell the crisp fall air, crunch some leaves underfoot, enjoy some comfort foods, then.... PANIC! There's so much to do during the final weeks of the year (as we count down the days til Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas and New Year's), it's often a whirlwind of activity, stress and non-stop To Do's. Never fear... with some proper planning and sensible goals, you too can find time to relax, take a deep breath, crunch some leaves... and enjoy the change of seasons!
- Take advantage of sales on holiday-themed storage totes. Though see-through totes are best, the color-coordinated versions offer easy recognition of when it’ll be needed. Just be sure to keep one category of contents inside (e.g. Halloween costumes) and label (with masking tape or label maker).
- Find appropriate containers for each type of décor – there are now wreath boxes of various sizes and large bags to hold trees and hanging gift wrap organizers. Don’t waste time trying to shove mini outdoor lights back into the box, simply wrap around (paper towel) cardboard holders instead.
- If room allows, store all holiday décor in the same room/area. The big events typically take place from October through December, so you’ll want easy access to all of it, and all in one spot – not throughout the house. Once Halloween is over, undecorate and store items, then pull out the Thanksgiving /Fall décor with ease.
- Find a place to store all gifts you buy in advance – a drawer, storage tote, underused closet… anywhere where you can put all gifts that are waiting to be wrapped. (No secret hiding places allowed, or you’re likely to find things in February!)
- Get a small plastic envelope to hold receipts of all holiday gift purchases (separate from other receipts) so it’s easy to find and pass along if needed. Consider taping gift receipts to the gift right away.
- Create a tax folder or envelope – if you don’t already have one – to collect receipts and records of donations to charities… the more you remember to do now, the less trouble you’ll have in April
- Create a gift-wrapping station where all wrapping paper, tape, scissors and ribbons and bows are stored together. If no room in a closet, office or guest bedroom, a simple portable caddy will do.
- Recipe/Cookbook maintenance… got some traditional recipes you make for upcoming holidays? Make it easy to retrieve them and pass along to others without digging through mountains of books or boxes of recipe cards later. Now’s the time to look for and mark the recipes (Post-It Note Flags work well), or type up or photocopy recipes into new documents categorized by holiday/meal/ingredient.
- Get your address book in order. Before the card-sending work begins, start looking through your address book now and updating as needed. Especially note name changes and additions to the family. (This is a great task to do while waiting… at doctor’s office, bus stop, or when waiting to pick up kids from school or activities.)
There. That's not so hard, right? You can relax after all. Take time to smell the crisp fall air, crunch some leaves underfoot, enjoy some comfort foods, and by all means do NOT panic!