25 Days of Christmas: Organizing Crunch Time

December is truly the "crunch time" for an organized life. Not only do we have many more obligations and events to keep track of, but life in general is more hectic. We deal with long lines, other people in a hurry, businesses being closed, and trying to manage the never ending to do list. On top of all this, we want to make sure we start the new year off with stress-free organization. I want to share some tips with you on not only how to manage December, but to get started organizing for a fresh start in 2013.

Do for December:

  • Check with businesses you will need to patron and inquire about closing schedule. Most businesses either close certain days, stay open later, close early, and even open early. You don't want to pick up a last minute gift, only to find they closed an hour earlier than usual. This is also a good practice for banks, utilities, pharmacies, and any other business you frequent. 
  • Sit down with your calendar and double check all events. Make sure you have a list of items you need to pick up. This can be gifts, hostess gifts, thank you notes, cans for a food drive, or even a pie for a dinner. This is also a good time to double check times and RSVPs for events. Go ahead and finalize all plans with family members and double check the whole family's calendars. This includes parties, dinners, children's activities, plays, musicals, organization events, parades, etc. along with the normal every month events. 
  • Go ahead and plan out your menu for the week of Christmas. You will be so glad you did this. Go ahead and plan for the days following Christmas,so you can relax. 
  • Make a plan to dispose of wrapping paper/ boxes/ etc. Whether you want to recycle, keep for scrapbooks, or throw away. You want to have the needed items ready so that you aren't scrambling at the last minute. 
  • Make a plan for deep cleaning what you need to before Christmas and what to do daily to keep your home tidy at all times. Maybe even consider hiring some professionals for during the holidays. There are window cleaners, house cleaners, landscapers, and even carpet cleaning. FAB Maintenance in Norwalk, CT is especially great! Even my tiny town has all of these. 
  • Make a plan for cleaning up between opening gifts and the beginning of festivities. 
  • Double check and update your gift shopping lists. 
  • Make/ double check your grocery list. I actually do all of my Christmas grocery shopping at the same time, but separate from everything else. This helps me keep track better and not have regular groceries and holiday groceries to lug at the same time. 

Prepare for 2013:
  • Decide what projects needed to be tackled to start 2013 off right. I will be sharing mine starting December 26th.
  • Make sure all finances are in place to date. 
  • Buy a calendar. I have forgotten before, so I write "buy a calendar" in my December to do every year. 
  • Go ahead and transfer at least the dates for January. 
  • Organize medicine cabinets and throw away expired medication. Here, the cold season is really bad in January. By doing this, I know what I need to pick up and that the medications are fresh. 
  • Go through your pantry and throw out expired items. Donate non-perishables to your local food bank. I actually keep a box in the bottom of my pantry just for this reason. 
  • When you have a few minutes, sort one closet at a time. This is a really good time to donate any clothing that is no longer used. The same goes for toys and other household items. There may even be an organization in your area that refurbishes and cleans up toys/ clothes for needy children. 
  • Work on your winter cleaning list. Especially those items that are for fire prevention. 
  • Start working on a plan to tame the paper clutter
  • Check your 2012 resolutions and start working on your goals for 2013

There you have it- these are the basics of how I stay sane throughout the holidays and new year. Organization has to be part of our lives if it is going to work. What is your plan?

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  1. Great organizing tips! I am usually pretty organized, but the chaos of Thanksgiving/Christmas AND the kids being home from school for two weeks always confuses things! For example... I live for my calendar, and keep it updated so that we all know what's going on that week/month... but I almost ALWAYS forget to buy a new one until mid-February or so. I just added "buy a calendar" to the top of this week, thanks to your tip! :)

  2. You are very welcome and I'm glad you enjoyed them! I always forgot to pick one up until all the good ones were gone. I once went to 10 different stores trying to find the right one only to settle with one that I hated. What kind of calendar do you use?

  3. I'm kind of a weirdo with my calendars. I have a 6-week dry-erase calendar on the wall in our hallway, and day-to-day stuff that we need to remember to do goes on there. We cross off days and when it gets down to the 5th week, I sit down and transfer everything (and I mean everything, I am a touch OCD at times) onto my wall calendar, which is just a standard 12-month flip style. This year we had "Beautiful Places in South Carolina", which has lovely photography of state parks and waterfalls.

    I keep the 12-month calendars, mainly because I use them as records for child support/visitation for my kids' dad, but also because I like to be able to look back and see what we did on a given day in past years. Oh! And I also keep an updated Google calendar for my blog posts and our school/work schedules, and at some point the relevant stuff gets transferred to the other calendars too.

    Told you I'm kind of a weirdo with calendars. ;)

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  5. That is not weird at all! I have to have a planner calendar- I always have. I used a dry erase one in college and when I was working outside of home to put important dates/ projects/ and anything else I needed to see first thing in the morning. I never got used to a wall calendar. I do use one for birthdays and anniversaries. I always kept it by the door because I use one with pockets for birthday cards and other things to mail. I wish I could get used to the google calendar, but I really only use it when I am coordinating projects with others. (PS I love that beautiful places calendar.) I think we are the same, only with different tools! I am very OCD with my planner.