I'll be the first to admit that when I see Christmas decorations filling retail stores the minute kids go back to school, my first reaction is, "It's too soon!"
However, looking at it from an organized perspective... preparing for the holidays as early as the beginning of September is PERFECT timing.
If you think about it, September is usually the time that we start working on getting our homes ready for the fall and winter months. We prepare the our yards by aerating and fertilizing grass and raking up the fallen leaves. We prepare our homes by cleaning out our gutters, sealing cracks around our windows, and often replace screens with storm windows. As we close up and store away all of our summer items, we often turn our attention to the rooms/areas of our homes that we store all of our summer stuff in. It's also the same location we tend to store all our winter items too. Whether it be a garage, a basement, or an attic, the onset of fall often leads us to clean out those seasonal storage areas of our homes. That is why it is the PERFECT time to start planning and organizing for the upcoming fall and winter holidays!
The month of September is the calm before the storm (so to speak). The kids are back in their school routine, and once Labor Day is over, the rest of the month is free of holiday obligations. That gives you at least 3 full weeks to focus on and put in to action an organized plan for the fall and winter holidays. So while you're storing away all of your summer items, why not take the time to pull out and inspect all of your fall and winter holiday items? Test all of your holiday lights and inflatable decorations. Make sure everything is in good working order. Take note of anything that's broken and/or needs to be replaced. If one string of lights isn't working, wouldn't it be nice to know that NOW (when you have plenty of time to get a replacement) rather than discovering it doesn't work the day you want to decorate? Decorating during the holidays can be a lot of fun, but it is also a lot of work. Why not make it easier to do by checking things out now, so you won't need a last minute trip to the store when you discover something is not working. Because by the time October rolls around, we're busy getting ready for Halloween! And in November, we're busy getting ready for Thanksgiving!! And immediately after Thanksgiving, we're on full overload getting ready for Christmas!!! That's why September is the PERFECT month to start preparing for the holidays.
So what can you do NOW that will help you reduce stress and create more organization this holiday season? First of all, get a plan in place. You know the saying, "Failure to plan is a plan to fail". That is ESPECIALLY true when it comes to achieving more organization during the holiday season.
Here are my 10 tips that can help:
Mark Your Calendar - Start assigning deadlines to finish tasks needed to prepare for the upcoming holidays.
Take Inventory - Check all of your upcoming holiday decorations and supplies. If something is missing or broken, start making plans to replace it as soon as possible.
Calculate Your Holiday Budget - The earlier you start the better you'll now how much money to set aside ahead of time!
Clean Your Home - The more deep cleaning you can get out of the way now, the less you'll have to do during the peak holiday rush.
Enjoy Local Activities - Look for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas activities going on in your area! Verify available times and fees associated with the activities.
Plan Your Parties - If you will be hosting any parties during the holiday season, make your plans early! Think about who will be attending? What activities will you do? What food will you be serving?
Start Making Your Gift List Out Early - The earlier you know what you want to buy, the easier it will be to take advantage of holiday sales and avoid low inventory issues later in the season.
Get Your Entire Family Involved - Many hands make light work. Everyone in the family enjoys the holidays, so everyone should have equal amounts of the work it takes to prepare for the holidays!
Focus on Traditions That Make You Happy - Don't burden yourself with traditions that may be outdated or that you no longer enjoy! What worked well in the past, may not be right for your current situation. It's ok to let go of traditions that no longer bring you joy.
Less is More - When you start feeling overwhelmed, consider paring things back a little. For example, if you're running out of time to decorate the entire house, consider putting all your efforts into decorating just one main room.
If you want to achieve more organization this holiday season, I have something that just might help...
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Your future self will thank you.