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STREAMLINE YOUR STUFF: Holiday prep tips to help you be ready for this busy time of year

I’ve been sharing holiday organizing tips with all of you since 2008. Can you believe it!

The question is, what more could I possibly have to say?

I dug back into the archives and pulled out a few ideas. I found a great holiday checklist which allows you to check off all the things you may need to do to be ready for this busy time of year. If you want me to send you a copy, I would be happy to do so. Just pop me an email.

Declutter kidstuff

It would be a really good idea to go through all the toys, crafts and books your children have accumulated before they receive more. Please involve them in the process.

Even young children can understand that there are other children who do not get books and toys for Christmas and what a great thing they would be doing if they were to give some of their things to those with less. Most children love the idea of helping others and will usually willingly give away most of what they own.

Designate a wrapping/gift closet

I can’t even count how many times I have found gifts shoved in the corner of a closet or storage room in a clients’ house that were meant to be given at Christmas but were “misplaced.”

There is no better time than right now to go around your house and dig in all those areas where you might possibly have put gifts you bought months ago. And you might as well organize the wrapping supplies at the same time. Get yourself a container or two (it’s nice to use the red and green ones to signify Christmas) and decide on a designated location for gifts and holiday wrapping supplies. Voila. No more lost gifts.

Use a shopping app

There are dozens of apps to help you with shopping and sticking to a budget. If you are an iOS user, download Santa’s Bag. This handy app allows you to make lists, keep track of your spending and share with others. Your kids can make their list in the app and share it with you. Nice.

If you’re an Android user, try Christmas Gift List. This handy app keeps track of what you have purchased so far and what still needs to be purchased, tracks your spending, and even allows you to track which gifts are wrapped.

Get decorating

It seems to me that if you are going to go to all the trouble of decorating, you might as well do it well in advance, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labour. I notice that my neighbours across the way had the holiday decorations and tree up by the third week of November. Now that’s what I call organized.

Instead of adding holiday decor on top of your year-round items, pack away those pieces in the bins that your holiday decorations are in and just use the holiday decor. Otherwise, you may end up with a sea of clutter and you won’t enjoy your holiday look.

Whew — it turns out there is a lot to share. A few more last-minute tips coming in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned.

Jane Veldhoven owns Get Organized by Design in Halifax and loves working with busy people to help them de-clutter, redesign, and redecorate their spaces, move to a new home, or renovate their existing home.

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