At long last It’s the holiday season. Many of us have been waiting for this joyful season (cue the Hallmark movies) while mucking through the year. While experiences are my preferred holiday gift, this year we are challenged with safety measures in groups and in person experiences. With that in mind, here are some ideas for organizing gifts for the 2020 holiday season.
Fresh herbs add a lot to your home cooking. The gift of an indoor garden spices up cooking for the chef and diners. These gardens come in all shapes and sizes. You can grow your own herbs all winter.
Keep things practical this year with clear containers to organize your pantry. It’s a gift focusing on function. These clear bins make it easy for your family to stay organized too.
In 2020 we have learned the value of curating social media and getting a good night’s rest. Purchase a common charging station for your kitchen to keep everyone’s devices overnight.
These cozy blankets have been a hit for several years. This year they are more popular than ever to help you get to sleep or take a nap.
Have you been cooking for multiple people since March and look forward to someone else prepping and cooking. Delivery meal kits can be a gift for the chef in your family.
We have been spending a lot of time with our families. Enjoy a new board game such as Exploding Kittens to add strategy and laughter to family time.
Share your ideas here for your family and friends!
This year the holiday season will be different. Holiday celebrations will be smaller and more intimate. Temples and churches will have different ways to celebrate the meaning of the season with zoom. There will likely be less holiday travel. No matter these differences, there are meaningful ways we celebrate together as family and friends. It’s an even better reason to be organized this holiday season.
A meaningful holiday starts with a family meeting about what is most important to each family member. Some of these may be different this year. Acknowledge the differences and sadness about this. Think about what will make this year special. Be open to new ideas and new ways to celebrate. It remains important to add all these dates to your family calendar.
A greater percentage of families (51%) are choosing to stay home this year. It’s a family to family decision. If you decide to travel, remember your wellness packages with extra hand sanitizer and multiple face masks.
If you find that you need a new way for your long distance family to gather here are a few ideas.
- Compete in a family virtual scavenger hunt.
- Play a family game together online like Psych, a guessing game.
- Play virtual card games like Crazy Eights
If you are travelling, there are ongoing changes to restrictions. Be sure you are knowledgeable about these changes.
This may be the best year to change up your gift giving. It may be making this a smaller budget, deciding the number of gifts you are giving or deciding to donate to charity instead of gift giving. Be thoughtful and intentional about what you are sharing.
Homemade gifts have a special meaning during the holidays. Set aside time for your family tradition of making homemade gifts together or start a new tradition. Cooking, baking, canning, sewing or other crafts are a wonderful way to spend time together and share your holiday joy.
Everyone can be a chef during this year’s holiday dinners. Divide up recipes and every can cook (and clean) together. Your family of chefs can complete like Chopped with unusual ingredients. It’s a great year to teach your family how to roast a turkey or make your family’s special toffee recipe.
Family time outside and in
Especially this year, plan family time outside. It can be taking part in a virtual fun run, taking a walk on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, a family football or soccer game or any other outdoor activity. Running around and enjoying time outside will give everyone a change to get some energy out or get energized.
No matter the new normal, now is the time to delegate to your family. Everyone can wrap, decorate, cook, bake and team up. Make assignments early so you are organized and can enjoy the time together.
I wish you a very merry holiday season filled with an abundance of joy and meaning.
File fold: to fold your clothes to appear like a file folder in a drawer
Decant: to empty items out of the original container to a clear container
Roy G Biv: to color code according to the rainbow colors of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet
Have you seen the Netflix show, The Home Edit? It’s real life organizing in celebrities’ homes. The show depicts organizing with a glossy final product.
This show gives a new spin to organizing.
- There are new vocabulary words to do with organizing. This updated vocabulary reminds us that there are always new strategies, tools and tips to share with our clients in our work together.
- We always knew that keeping the final product in mind is important. The impact is clear with this show that cute counts overall.
What’s not new are the basics of organizing.
- The essential concept is functionality. That’s essential on our new normal to lower stress. The more functional your space, the easier life will be.
- Keeping the end in mind is critical to organizing success. Know what you and who you work with want to see and feel at the end of a project.
- Not surprising is that value of labels. Labelling makes it easy to maintain the organizing system you set up.
- Organizing remains a top priority in the 21st century. We are blessed with abundance and we continue to have a need to keep it edited and organized.
Having a new organizing show on Netflix is a happy thing for everyone!
Because of COVID-19 we have lately had more time to declutter and organize our closets. We have the best intentions, however it is hard to get started and still harder to let go of items. We may have the skills to declutter and organize like professional organizers. What we are learning is that it was not necessarily a matter of how much time we have. It is a matter of procrastination. It’s easy to put off getting started and getting organized. Here is a tale of the same day with the same intentions with different outcomes. Names were changed to keep client confidentiality.
Working without the support of a Professional Organizer
Sandy knew that it was time to let go of professional attire and suits. For weeks she had told friends she intended to organize her closet. Finally, she set a date on her calendar to work in her closet. At 9 am she walked with a friend. At 10 am she called another friend. Continuing on with the day, she continued to procrastinate. Before she started, she offered to drive her cousin to work, offered to practice driving with her daughter, and ordered lunch. She texted to find out when the nail salon would be open. Finally at 2 pm she started editing.
Decluttering was harder than Sandy thought. It was much harder and taking more time. There were many items that did not fit so these were easier to declutter and donate. Sandy would pull out an item only to put it back. After two hours, Sandy took a break to assess. She had 3 bags to donate. She was not making the progress she wanted to make and felt discouraged.
Working with the support of a Professional Organizer
My client and I set a date and determined we would meet for a 3 hour session to organize closets. After discussing the goals and taking a tour of the closets, we decided that best place to start would be a place where clothes have been stored rather than edited. The client admitted that it was easier to move the clothes to another closet than eliminate. We started working in auxiliary closets that are in spaces for less frequently worn clothes. We pulled each item out to review whether it was in good condition and still fashionable. We started to declutter and after 2 hours had over 250 items to donate to local charities.
This strong start to decluttering led to organizing the remaining items. We grouped the clothes by short sleeve, long sleeve, sweater and suits. Then, we placed the items accordingly in 2 closets. Donation places will be open soon so I took the clothes with me to drop off at local philanthropies. The entire process took 3 hours to start, finish and exceed the client’s goals.
What’s the result
When we invest time and energy in decluttering and organizing, we want big results. Working with a professional organizer helps you accomplish your goals efficiently and productively.
- Having a professional organizer with you, it’s easier to let go of more items. The gentle pressure of another person guiding you helps you make decisions.
- A professional organizer helps you get started and finish up. There’s no procrastinating with a professional organizer working along side you. Because items leave at the end of the session, there is no regret or back sliding.
- Bonus of organizing! We found some treasured keepsakes too! In one closet was a cherished cub scout uniform to pass along after taking photos.
Regardless of motivation and intentions, working alongside a professional organizer has multiple perks. We are here to help and support you throughout the decluttering and organizing process! Accomplish your goals and get the results you want when you work together.
Life keeps moving. It’s moving fast and it’s easy to get bogged down, especially with our new normal. Your fatigue, anxiety, extra time spent resolving a challenge or a regular work week can get you behind in organizing and staying organized. Here are simple organizing tips to keep you organized on a regular basis.
Get through daily paper work and mail.
Paper is can paralyze us with so much paper coming in. Set up recycle and shred to easily sort the mail daily or at minimum weekly. It takes 5 minutes daily or 30 minutes weekly to do a quick sort and triage.
Have a grocery plan and a dishes plan.
Food makes everyone happier! It takes a few extra minutes to order online, however you are saving time and money in the long run. Make your grocery plan on the weekend so that it can arrive before the week starts.
Paper plates have a new sparkle if you are not getting your dirty dishes done each night. Create partnerships within your family to load, unload, and clean up each night after dinner. That includes taking out the trash. Your future self- that’s tomorrow’s self- will appreciate this more than you can imagine.
Check your calendar each morning and evening.
Our best plans can turn against us without checking our calendar each day. It’s a good start and end to the day to be organize, prepared and proactive. Add tasks, appointments and projects all the time to your calendar to keep it current in real time.
Have a donation bag available all the time.
When you try on something and decide it’s scratchy, the wrong color or too hard to keep from wrinkling is the time to drop it into your bag. We drive by drop off sites all day and simply bring the bag to your car and drop off when it is full. You will find it is much easier to do the laundry with fewer clothes too.
Keep laundry moving
I have seen loads of laundry washed and dried, yet not back to the closet or dresser. Break loads into smaller units to get that final step complete.
Host a daily home and work reset
We wish we had a magic want to get all the items and papers back to where they belong. Since we don’t have that wand, we need a daily reset at both home and work. That’s where your family comes in to partner with you here.
Self-care is a daily priority
Self-care looks like a lot of different things in our lives. It’s going to be on time, exercising, eating healthy, taking a shower, reading a magazine or facetime with friends. Whatever self-care looks like to you, be sure you are keeping it a priority every day. We need to laugh, get outside and get to bed to be our best selves.
It is hard to keep all these organizing maintenance tasks going. If you find a lapse in one in particular, focus on that for a week. It is also easier once you have your family on your team too.
Transitions are a part of every day life. There’s big transitions, like going on vacation. As well there are little transitions all day with text alerts, or changing the laundry while making dinner or working on a project and answering a phone call. Whether it is coming and going to work or school or starting or ending a vacation, these times can be especially challenging with ADHD. It’s not easy to switch between tasks. Set-switching, the official name for transitions, is an aspect of self regulation, intertwined with time awareness, hyper focus, indecision and procrastination. The value of transition time, the time between tasks, meetings and family, gives you time to reset and get ready for what’s coming next. For people with ADHD, this is especially valuable.
Build in and write in transition time
Take your awareness of the need for transition time to the next level by building this time into your schedule. You can do this by adding slots of time into your planner. Think through the time needed to transition as it is not all the same. To transition after a meeting, add 10 minutes between meetings and your next task. Add 30 minutes if you want to finalize notes and organize your action plan. For zoom meetings plan on logging on 10 minutes early. Write in the travel time between in person appointments and add a cushion. That means that you will likely be on time or possibly early. Adding in this time lowers your stress too.
Create transition rituals
We can use physical rituals that happen during transitions. No matter if the meeting is in person or zoom, we need time to reset after a meeting. Make it a habit to walk around the office of your work from home office to reset your thoughts and give yourself a physical break.
Movement and breathing can be physical ways to transition. Stretching and deep breathing give us a lift as we move to the next activity.
You can pair a ritual with a transition. If you always have tea with your task, you can pair up to ease the transition.
Use technology to create a buffer
Technology can helping us prepare and transition to the next activity. We can use the “Countdown Method” with multiple reminders set to alert to transition. Setting multiple reminders on your smart devices and home digital assistants reminds you a transition is about to happen.
Giving yourself permission to stay on a task for a duration of time is a strategy too. If you have assigned a single task to a day, such as Financial Friday, then you have permission to keep on that task all day.
Time blocking adds structure to your transition as well. This happens when you set aside to do specific work at a specific time. By deciding ahead of time the assignment, you can transition in another time block without making an additional decision. You are freed up to do the work rather than decide what is the next transition.
Work from home tips
While we are currently working from home, you need stronger transitions to help you work productively and create a boundary between home and work. Here are a few suggestions to create a transition time during your work from home time.
- Walk the dog
- Drink a glass of water
- Add analog clocks to important transition locations
- Create work boundaries with alarms to end the day
Incorporating transition time is a work in progress. Keep it in mind as you start these new strategies.
Of all the apps that are on our phones, the Notes app is frequently our default app to use. Most of my clients have used the Notes app to capture thoughts, ideas, information and passwords. There is tons of information in this app. However we can add a level of organization to using Notes app that will give it more function and organization. There are many ways to use this app for lists, routines and notes. Here is how I use the Notes app.
General information about Notes app
- As you enter the first line, that line because the name of the list. It is in bold font for this reason.
- Notes app has a search function and you can find your list this way with the name of the list on the top line.
- Notes app is cloud based and can be accessed by all your devices for free.
- Note app can be shared with others to create and use lists together.
- Notes can be printed, shared by email or text, and locked for privacy.
- Photos can be pasted into individual notes or as a note.
- If you press lightly inside a note, a pop up with font options appears.
The Notes app is easy to use for lists. Add lists would you like to have with you all the time. General lists include shopping, grocery, kids’ clothing and shoe sizes, Christmas list, air filter dimensions, medication list or any list you want to reference while out shopping, at a meeting, at a doctor’s office or away from home base. The lists I use most frequently are for business. There is a consignment list for that three month time, action lists for particular clients and a list of favorite products I share frequently with clients.
Routines and Reminders
Notes app can be a daily routines and reminders list with check lists. Add a list of routines with a check circle starting each item of your list. (Find that check circle on the bottom right of your device while working in the Notes app.) Create the list of what you want your routine to include or a series of reminders for a specific task. As you check off, you won’t forget tasks. Un-check the circles at the end of your work or when you have completed this series of routines. Repeat and use again and again.
Depending on your typing ability, Notes app is a great choice to take notes during for personal reference, during meetings and to capture ideas.
- Notes app can be used to reference materials of all types. Gathering information and consolidating it can be done here. Be sure you add a title as the top line to find your information. My clients are information seekers and like to have access to this.
- Meeting notes are easy to find and review. When I meet with clients, I listen, take notes in this app and share these with clients. At the top of the note I add the name, date and session number of our meeting. It helps us track our actions and remain accountable to planning.
- Wonder where to keep your big ideas? It’s here within this app. I love that as you add information, the cloud keeps this updated.
- Each year I highlight my big accomplishments. The list is named 2020 Highlights. I add to this list throughout the year and check it at the end of the year. It’s fun to see this from previous years too.
Over the years as I have used the Notes app more strategically. The more I use it, the more I love it!