Holiday Organizing Gifts

Holiday organizing gifts

 

If you are the practical, functional kind of gift giver, this post is for you!  Organizing gifts are the most cherished! These gifts give back to your recipient in so many ways.  Your gift gives a feeling of order, clarity in life, and an organized space.  Here’s five of my favorite holiday organizing gifts!

 

Chalkboard menu

Chalkboard menu

Every family loves to eat! Plan your weekly menu and share it with your family with a chalkboard menu in your kitchen.

Corkboard Cork board

Families have lots of reminders and invitations.  A family corkboard keeps everyone on track.

 

Hooks

Decorative hooks

Hooks help everywhere! Decorative hooks can be used in a hall for a landing strip, bathroom for towels, bedroom for bags and more! Amazon dot

Amazon Dot

Amazon Alexa helps you make lists, order groceries and much more!

 

Tile  Tile

Tile’s remote system helps you track the stuff you lose.

 

And that’s a wrap for the stuff!  I always encourage holiday gifts that are experiences instead off stuff. If you decide you must give stuff,  make it practical and functional this year!

Inside Secrets and Holiday Tips Used by this Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant

holiday tips

Holidays come around each year and each year we are looking forward to the real joy of the holiday. How do we professional organizers and productivity consultants make the holiday merry and bright? Here’s tried and true tips we use!

  • Organize as you decorate and undecorate.  Donate unused decorations right after the holiday. This way you are not storing decorations another year and you are keeping only what is most important and treasured.  Use an ornament organizer and mark your bins with specific contents to make decorating easier and more fun next year.
  • Start early if you decide to send holiday cards. Have your family photo ready by October.  As you receive cards, update your holiday card list.  If you decide to keep your cards for the next year, here’s a way to keep them year after year.
  • As you are going through the holiday season, make a note in your smart phone about what worked best in terms of holiday hacks. These are inside secrets you learned as the season progressed.  Here’s an example. Our Houston Zoo Lights are fabulous and you need to purchase tickets that morning in case of weather glitches and to be sure tickets are available that day.
  • With new and traditional recipes, make a note on the recipe what small changes you made.  Each year I make cream puffs and I have notes on what worked best with oven temperature and ingredients.
  • Keep your Christmas receipts together in a ziplock and ask for extra receipts for returns. You will eliminate hassle with returns.
  • Check in with your family on what family traditions to keep and what has gone by the wayside. Spending an evening relaxing at home and getting in bed early helps everyone enjoy the season.

Wishing you a very merry holiday season!

 

Keeping Extra Organized and Productive throughout the Holiday Season

 


 

Holidays add extra to our lives.  Whether it’s extra fun, extra work, or extra time,  there’s much more to think about and do.  When you are running on extra everything, keeping extra organized and productive this holiday season are critical.

 

Extra rest

We don’t think of extra rest at this time of year.  How can you add extra rest with an earlier bedtime?  Perhaps it’s an extra nap that is needed?  Think first of how to add extra rejuvenation to your week.

 

Extra help

It’s as simple as buying the cookie tray rather than making a dozen cookies.  Get extra help this season in any way you can, from food prep, home cleaning and extra hugs.   You will appreciate having this bonus.

 

Extra planning time

Schedules get criss-crossed this time of year.  There are multiple simultaneous events.  Be sure you double and triple check your plans and planner.  You will be happy to know what is planned by capturing it on your device or on paper.

 

Extra spiritual time

Holidays are about a greater meaning.  Keep the joy of the season in more than sprit by devoting time to devotion.   That can be reading, prayer, or meditation time for you as you seek the meaning of this time of year.

 

Extra work scheduling

The end of the year may be a big wrap up time for projects.  Schedule extra time to do a solid wrap up of what you have worked on this year.  Take extra time to let go of extra drafts and extra paper.

 

Wishing you EXTRA joy this holiday season!

Counting your blessings. Thankful. Grateful.

thankful. grateful

 

Each morning as I take my walk, it’s my time to be thankful and grateful. Time in nature gives me time to think about the blessings in my life, including the beauty of what’s around me, how my business and life have come together, and the blessings for those around me.  As I return home, I feel positive. I am ready to start my day with purpose and focus.

 

Why keep your Thankful.Grateful. list organized

Those of us who are thankful enjoy a more positive, vital and optimistic life.  We have lower levels of depression and stress.  We support others with our kindness, compassion and feel good about helping others.  Our focus is on people and relationships rather than stuff.  We feel we are tracking and progressing towards our personal and professional goals.

 

How to create your Thankful.Grateful. list

There are many ways to count your blessings.

  • A journal is a capture tool that keeps your thoughts in one place. A nightly writing time gives you a wrap up to your day and a great night’s rest.
  • A blessings jar, placing slips of paper with a note, in a jar all year, keeps your blessings together to share on a holiday.
  • Share with another who you are thankful.grateful for her/his part in your life.  Openly write a thank you note, send a text, or ask to meet to share your thankfulness.
  •  Express gratitude for those who serve and help you. Go to the manager of your local shop and share how an employee has gone the extra mile for you.  Complete a survey online and mention the employee by name.
  • Kick off your meeting with a thank you to one of your employees or members.
  • Thank volunteers in your association or group with a small gift card and note expressing for what you are grateful.
  • Keep a list of  your top 25 items in an app in your phone.  All year long populate this list to reflect on what you are grateful for all year.
  • More than any way to make this list, it’s most important to start your list.

My Thankful.Grateful list

It’s just a start for me. These are my overall items on my list, empcompassing how I live my life. I keep this in my Notes app on my phone.  I love referring to it when I want to remember why I do what I do.

  1. Family near and far
  2. Meaningful work with purpose
  3. My clients. Brilliant, creative, resourceful, trusting
  4. Kingwood (my city)
  5. Education
  6. Opportunities to be lead an amazing association
  7. Opportunities to be a contributor in my community
  8. Life experiences with concerts and travel

I hope you will share your list with me. I love knowing what we are all thankful. grateful.

Week Before Thanksgiving To Do Lists

thanksgiving organizing

 

It’s the week before Thanksgiving and there’s much to do!  Pies to bake, turkey to baste and a table to set are just a few of your responsibilities this week. Setting up a list of lists will make your next week run smoothly. That’s what lists do: get ideas out of your head, get stuff done, help you have more fun and help you stay in the moment with your guest that day. Here are the lists that you need the week before Thanksgiving. These To Do lists will not only help you stay on track, these will also help you have your most organized Thanksgiving!

 

 

Finalize your guest list

Who will you be sitting with during your holiday feast?  It’s time to finalize your guest list and connect with all your guests.  Your guests may request to bring items for your meal so have a list prepared just in case they would like to bring a dish.

 

Gather your gear

Do you need extra linens or will you be eating on eco-friendly plates? Is this the year you will cook your turkey on the grill? Now is the time to purchase what’s needed for your feast. Set out your plates, silverware and other table scape items to be sure you are ready to set the table.

 

Create your shopping list

What’s needed for your feast and the week ahead? What breakfast, lunch and leftovers do you have planned for feeding your guests? Are your guests vegan, gluten free or vegetarian? Nows the time to check special dietary requests.  Checking your list early means you can check on sales at various shops and save money.

 

Beverages and bar options

Even before your big meal, will you be serving special beverages? Research festive holiday drinks and kiddo drinks for your meal.  Be ready with a family friendly punch or adult cocktail station set up before the meal begins.

 

Create a cooking plan

In order to have all your dishes ready at the same time, write a list of when you will prepare, cook and bake your holiday dishes.  Review your recipes to be organized about when to start cooking. Assign cooking responsibilities to friends and family who arrive early that day.

 

Purchase your turkey

Turkeys come in fresh and frozen, big and little. Be ready for your feast by purchasing your turkey ahead of time and holding it in the coldest part of your refrigerator.  Turkey tips are available to be sure your bird is delicious.

 

Thanksgiving Day List

You got this! Stick to your list of lists and you will enjoy your day.  It’s time to put your friends and family in the mix to share the fun in cooking and preparing.

 

More Thanksgiving ideas here!

 

ADHD Guide to Happier Holidays

adhdholidayguide adhd

 

Time is not your friend during the holidays. There’s so much more to do. If you have ADHD, time challenges are part of what you face during the year.  Here’s a simple guide to a happier holiday for you and your family.

 

Keep self care at the top of your list

Holidays are the season of lists, with lists having lists.  Top off your list with holiday self care. This is the time to keep your exercise, medication, meditation and sleep schedules without disruption.  Keeping these routines on track will help you stay energized and positive.

 

Set your budget early and keep on track

Finances are a major part of all holidays. There’s gifts to buy, food to purchase and always last minute unplanned expenses.  Set up your budget early, with specific names and dollar amounts. Leave a little wiggle room for last minute purchases.  There’s apps for that too! Spendee, Mint and EveryDollar help you track your funds. Even before you set out to shop, open up all the Amazon boxes and make a list of all the gifts you purchased throughout the year. The power of a small, thoughtful, handmade gift can make a big impact if your funds are small. A donation to a meaningful charity in the family’s name shows thoughtfulness.  Simple gifts are profound and from the heart.

 

Meet to know what’s most meaningful

By far the most important and valued time of the holiday season is time spent together.  Get your family calendar together in early November.  Invitations, school plays, church gatherings and other celebrations will start soon! With your family, decide what’s most important and meaningful to each family member. Be ready to prioritize and then capture on your calendar these dates early.  When double bookings arise, take a few minutes to send a gracious thank you and proceed as planned.

 

Team work makes holidays easier

Make a list of what you have to do this holiday season. Now write a name next to the responsibilities where another person, team or tech can do this work.  Delegating is the way to have extra time to get the most complete. Create partnerships for work that can be done by more than one person. A partnership means that there will be laughing and fun, not just work to get done.  Look for community members to be a part of your team too, like teens who babysit, wrap or add extra hands when needed.  There’s lots of ways to add help in the holiday season.

 

Holiday are not all perfection all the time.  Take time this holiday season to find ways to make your holiday happier, and not perfect. The most imperfect holiday is often the most memorable.

 

How to Fix Holiday Glitches

how to fix holiday glitches

 

As holidays approach, we’re thinking of twinkling lights and not last year’s dry stuffing.  Even worse, last year we may have spent much time preparing, yet not feeling that holiday joy. Heading into the holidays is the best time to think about the big picture of the holiday season.  It’s time to assess what worked and what did not.

 

Here’s some oops moments that may have happened to you last year.  There’s solutions for you to fix these holiday glitches.

 

Oops! Holiday cure!
There’s so much to do for each holiday. Set aside a planning time in early October.  It’s a meeting for you, your list and your planner.
There’s so many activities and events every night during the holidays. You booked 2 events on the same evening. Start early with your holiday planner and calendar.  Enter every date as you receive each invitation.
You wanted to send holiday cards and you need a family photo and your address list updated. Use a family photo taken during the year. Use multiple photos of faces only.  Update your address list as new holiday cards arrive.
You need to decorate the house and your family is busy with school, sports and choir. Downsize your decorating. Decide if your decorating should be a single tree, indoor decorations only, or another smaller effort this year.
You purchased too many items on Amazon and don’t know what your purchased are or for whom you purchased. Open all the boxes and create an inventory of your purchases. Assign names with post it notes on each item. Assess if you have enough by setting a budget or a number of gifts.
There’s so much to wrap and you must bake, go to church and other things to do. Pay a neighborhood teen or grandkid to be your holiday wrapper.
You want to go to the cookie swap and you need to bake 12 dozen cookies. When do you have the time for that? Through social media, ask for referrals of local bakers, crafters or other small businesses to help you.
The holidays fly by and you feel you have not enjoyed the time together as a family. Host a family meeting with everyone sharing what’s most important to them to celebrate the season. Share what’s most important to you and set aside time for this.

 

As you prepare for this year’s holiday season, keep in mind your level of planning and organization.  Balance your investment in time with your joy for the outcome of that investment. It will lead you to a happier holiday season.

I believe, do you?

I believe

 

  • I believe it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

 

  • I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. (Audrey Hepburn)

 

  • I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. (Robert Fulghum)

 

  • I believe that two people are connected at the heart, and it doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are or where you live; there are no boundaries or barriers if two people are destined to be together. (Julia Roberts)

 

  • Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart. (Anne Frank)

  • This holiday season may your every belief and your every wish come true!

7 Gift Experiences for 2017

7 gift experiences for 2017

 

 

Every year we focus on stuff. What if this year you focused on gifts that include experiences?  Having an amazing experience, that’s a gift of time, togetherness, or fun, can be a new way to celebrate the holidays.  In this year when your holiday may be a “new normal,” experiences can make it easier to skip the inside decorations and make the most of time together.  Here’s a round up of the best organizing experiences for you, your family and your colleagues.

 

“Animal encounter” at your local zoo or aquarium

When your home is under construction, it’s a great time to get everyone out from under foot.  An “animal encounter” takes you behind the scenes at a location you may already be a member. It’s a one of a kind experience for your animal lover.

 

 A day of “winter fun”

A sunny southern city, Houston has plenty of options for a day of winter fun. Discovery Green ice skating, viewing Zoo lights, or taking in the lights at Santa’s Wonderland can all be extra fun during December.

 

Attending a dress up, special performance

Each year, Houstonians treat their families to The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, Handel’s Messiah, or Mannheim Steamroller.  These special outings give your family a holiday boost too.

 

Learn a new skill

Have you or your family wanted to learn a new skill?  What about cooking class together, skiing, or golf? A gift certificate for a class can give you and your family the opportunity for a test run.

 

Family crafts

Host a family get together at a painting or pottery spot, such as MudPie, Pinot’s Palette and the Rustic Brush. All of these offer holiday options to creatively party.

 

Competitive fun

Is your family or are your colleagues up for challenging competitive fun? The Escape Room, laser tag or paint ball might suit you all for an afternoon of collective, competitive play.

 

A gift you give each other

There may be one big wish your family or colleagues have and that’s a gift you give each other.  It’s as small as coupon book of small, weekly chores. It’s as big as creating a photo book from all your iphone, Facebook or other spots.  There are endless options including making a special cake or dinner for a friend or family. We all have a special something we can do for another.

 

I hope this list inspires you this holiday season to give more than stuff. Give a memory!

 

 

How to Use Project Management For Holidays Happiness

 

Holiday organizing

Holiday planning can be overwhelming and take the joy from the holidays.  With so much to do and so many people to see, taking a project management approach to the holidays can make the season less stressful.  Using project management you can plan, execute, and achieve specific goals.

 

Define your project objectives

The hoiday experience is about meaningful family activities.  What’s most meaningful to you and your family? That’s the best starting place for you to know what you want your holiday to look and feel like. Write this down to keep on target.

 

Set your scope

How big is your holiday project?  Is it defined by a budget and how much you plan to spend this year? Is it defined by the calendar and how many events will you attend each year?  Set limits on your holiday project with these boundaries for your scope.  How big will your holiday plan be?

 

Plan your itinerary

Your itinerary can include where you are travelling to, what homes you will be visiting, or what local experiences you will attend. Coodinating locations and time frames gives you a big picture plan for where you want to be and when you will be there.  It’s often a time to consolidate and coordinate your purchasing too.

Manage quality

Your holiday expectations play a big role in the happiness. It’s a planning what your holiday can look like. Real family holidays are not perfect and are messy.  Take perfectionism off the table, for holiday decorations, holiday treats or holiday gifts. Know what you want to be “perfect” and let the rest go.  The best quality to focus on is the meaningful time spent with your family.  It’s gauged by the smiles, hugs and precious time together.

 

Close your project

Close your project with an assessment what went well. What are the things your family enjoyed together? Did you meet your budget? Are there things you want to repeat again next year? Having a short recap with your family helps you enjoy the time together even more.

 

Don’t reinvent the wheel each holiday!  Check out the holiday planning notebook here.